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Hal's NST Repair Page
Updated July 27, 2006

depot can

Since I have regular access to a sign company's scrap yard, I will inevitably be repairing neon sign transformers (NSTs).  I hesitate calling this my NST repair page since I haven't repaired an NST yet.  This page will eventually detail my efforts and may be of use to someone, somewhere, someday.
At least, I'm having fun!

Click on photo above for an enlargement.
  July 24, 2006
This afternoon I swiped the rear burner element off my wife's stove, to her chagrin.  I took Bart Anderson's idea of using a gallon can as a burner stand and modified it to my taste.  The rig survived its first NST depotting today, so I believe it should see a lot of use in the future.  The picture to the left was taken after the depotting.  The burner survived and is now back in the kitchen, to my wife's relief.

Click on photo above for an enlargement.
  July 24, 2006
I used a one gallon Planters peanut can and modified its top edge to hold the burner element securely in place.  I cut a rectangular hole in its side to accommodate the element's electrodes.

Click on photo above for an enlargement.
  July 24, 2006
I connected 117 VAC directly to the burner element and let the NST simmer for two hours, until the tar was nice and runny.  The smell from this process is similar to that of a roof being tarred.  Yum yum!

To protect my wife's burner element, I laid two layers of aluminum foil over it and sat the NST on top.  I made sure that the aluminum foil did not short across the burner element's electrodes.

I got the transformer core out of the can and scraped most of the tar off.  Since I wasn't as careful as I should have been, I probably damaged the core windings beyond repair.  Time will tell.  When I get the core cleaned up and inspect the damage, I will decide whether I should try to repot it.  I plan on using gasoline to do the final cleaning process.
Click on photo above for an enlargement.
  July 25, 2006
The morning after depotting, I brought the core in for a photo shoot.  My experience was considerably different than Bart Anderson's.  My transformer rating was a 12KV @ 60mA, as was Bart's.  However, mine was a newer unit with built in ground fault protection.  The two E shaped pieces that make up the iron core are welded together in my assembly, instead of being held together with braces and bolts.  Also, the two secondary coils are both on one end, instead of one on each end, as was the case with Bart's transformer assembly.  Verrrrry interestink!

More photos to come.

Hal's  physics page      4" Tesla coil page      4" Tesla coil video page      Hal's Lifter page      Hal's Van de Graaff page

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