How to repair a neon light

Written by donna armstrong
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How to repair a neon light
If a neon light is dimming, it needs to be re-gassed. (neon lights image by MAXFX from

Neon light replacement and professional repair are expensive. Learning how to repair the light yourself can save hundreds of dollars. Neon lights are very fragile, and their transformers produce 4,000 to 12,000 volts. If you have a pacemaker or a medical condition, it is best that you have someone else work on the neon light.

Skill level:

Things you need

  • Gloves
  • Heat gun or hair dryer
  • Razor knife
  • Electronic power tester
  • Screwdriver
  • Electrical tape
  • Replacement neon tube
  • Replacement transformer

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  1. 1

    Determine if you have a broken tube. Insulated gloves should be worn at all times during testing and repair. Unplug the light and gently wiggle the tubes. Move down the tubes in 3-inch intervals and wiggle the tubes. Check the tubes for cracks as you wiggle them.

  2. 2

    Test the transformer. Disconnect the lead wires to the tubes. An insulation boot is used to connect the wires to the tubes. A heat gun or hair dryer can be use to expand the boot. This makes removal easier. To remove the boot, carefully twist the insulation boot, but do not twist the tube. Connect the two transformer wires to a tester and turn the transformer on. The tester will indicate if the transformer is providing power to the tubes. If there is no power, test the switch. Unplug the transformer and open the switch box. Connect the two wires to the tester. Plug the transformer back in.

  3. 3

    Replace a tube. Unplug the light and disconnect the old tube from the lead wires, on both sides of the tube. Remove the metal crimp or untwist the lead wires that connect to the tube. Remove any wires or clamps that are holding the old tube in place and gently slide the old tube out. Place the new tube into its place and replace any wires or clamps that were holding the old tube. Reconnect the lead wires and installation hubs.

  4. 4

    Replace the transformer or the switch. Unplug the light fixture. Remove the lead wires to the tubes and disconnect the switch from the transformer. Connect the wires from the tubes and switch to the new transformer. Plug the light in and check the power. To replace the switch, open the switch box and disconnect the wires, connect the wires to the new switch and close the box. Plug the light in.

Tips and warnings

  • The insulation hubs can be sliced to remove them. Tape them back up with electrical tape.
  • Neon tubes should be handled with extreme care. If the tube is knocked around, dropped or bumped it can crack or break.

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