[Histonet] neon bulb array help

Phil McArdle pmcardle <@t> ebsciences.com
Wed Sep 27 15:51:08 CDT 2006

Hi, and another "vendor response" if you'll forgive me:

I don't believe that specs matter much for the neon bulbs in this 
application, the reason being that the microwaves are directly exciting 
the gas contained in the bulb; since it's not "electrical" per se, specs 
like voltage or wattage shouldn't matter. Do a google or yahoo search 
and you'll find lots of suppliers; go for the cheapest, and you DON'T 
need the type with a built-in resistor; the ones we used in the past 
were about 1/4" long and we clipped off the leads as short as possible 
(our design encased the bulbs entirely, so we didn't need the leads to 
hold the bulbs in place).

Although we don't sell them, you can buy a pre-made neon bulb array from 
other sources, including Electron Microscopy Sciences (www.emsdiasum.com).

It's apparent from your query that you're trying to quantify and 
document your microwave's performance, and we applaud this effort. 
However, you should be aware of limitations of what the array shows. At 
EBS we've found neon bulb arrays of limited practical usefulness for the 
following reason: any microwave's field changes as soon as anything is 
placed into the chamber. That said, the very fact that you're placing 
the bulb array into the chamber alters the microwave energy field. 
(Isn't that the "Westinghouse Effect:" the act of observation changes 
what you're trying to observe?) It is possible to re-test as you place 
different equipment into the microwave, for example, a Coplin jar, a 
100mL container, etc., but the array also only shows what's reaching the 
chamber floor, not what's being absorbed by the equipment. It should be 
stressed that the array can reveal a major hotspot or cool spot, or show 
that your mode stirrer may not be working, and this has value since 
these are major defects that should be addressed immediately.

Hope this helps!

Phil McArdle

Phil McArdle
Microwave Product Manager
Energy Beam Sciences, Inc.
Tel:  800.992.9037 x 341
Fax: 860.653.0422
PMcardle <@t> ebsciences.com

Angela Bitting wrote:
> Hi Histonetters!
> Anyone out there trying to make their Neon Bulb Array so that they can
> test theor microwaves energy pattern is going to find that Radio Shack
> doesn't carry that size bulb anymore and hasn't replaced it with another
> item.
> Sooo, because the Microwave Toolbook doesn't really give a description
> of that bulb, just the Radio Shack part number, I'm at a loss.
> Does anyone know what the specs are on that neon bulb or know an
> identical part number. I'm sure Lowes or Home Depot must sell them, but
> I don't even know what to ask them for.
> Help!
> Angela Bitting, HT(ASCP)
> Technical Specialist, Histology
> Geisinger Medical Center 
> 100 N Academy Ave. MC 23-00
> Danville, PA 17822
> phone  570-214-9634
> fax  570-271-5916
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