blue car neon tube question

cizzi Solar Expert Posts: 109 ✭✭✭✭
Last summer I bought one of those blue neon tubes that work with 12vdc from canadian tire.. you know the ones the kids have under their cars nowadays? Anyways its about a foot long and works fine on my 12vdc solar setup at home, however when I tried plugging it my car's cigarette lighter jack with the appropriate male connector it does not work.. I checked the output of the car's cigarette lighter voltage with a multimeter and it was about 14.something volts.. like I said it works fine with a 12vdc battery inside my house.. why wouldnt it work in the car? only thing I can think of is that the car is sending to much voltage? but its made for a car.. I also tried with the car running and the engine off.. any help to clarify this would be nice!


  • niel
    niel Solar Expert Posts: 10,300 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: blue car neon tube question

    troubleshooting isn't always that easy to do and it's nearly always something that was overlooked. is it wired correctly? does it have a fuse in that cigarette lighter connector and is it good if it is there? does it work with the car battery? i can't think of anything else it could be right now. let us know if you find the problem and what it was.
  • mike95490
    mike95490 Solar Expert Posts: 9,583 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: blue car neon tube question

    Possibly, the connector does not match very well, with the socket in the car.

    If you installed the connector yourself, did you put a fuse in it - often they have a hidden cavity where a fuse goes.

    Polarity right - Ctr pin is +, shell is - , USUALLY.
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  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,478 admin
    Re: blue car neon tube question

    Depending on the specific ballast and the tube--a typical florescent lamp starts better if there is a grounded metal sheet near the bulb to help start the arc.

    But the problem sounds more fundamental--something wrong with the wiring (blown fuse for the lighter socket or such) or ballast electronics. Does not sound like you are doing anything "wrong" with the different voltages.

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • Lefty Wright
    Lefty Wright Solar Expert Posts: 111 ✭✭
    Re: blue car neon tube question

    Does your cigaret lighter work? Is there a pilot light on the neon light adapter? If so, does it light?

    A multimeter can be problematic when working on automotive or marine circuits because the sensitivity of the meter can indicate voltage even when there is too much impedence to pass enough current to do work.

    A 12V incandescent probe is the better choice for troubleshooting. You know, the probe with a built in lamp with a long clip lead attached.

    I have spent a lot of time chasing my tail because of faulty meter indications on low voltage circuits.