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I'm putting together an enclosure to hold the transformer and dimmer for a small neon sign. I'm quite comfortable with normal AC/DC stuff, but the output from the neon transformer is super high voltage!

The transformer:

Is this safe to do? Or do these always need to be hard-wired?

If this is possible, can anyone suggest a connector that would be appropriate for this? I'd like the leads for the sign to be able to be detached and re-attached periodically. (Seems like a connector that screws on would be best here, to avoid coming loose.)

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    \$\begingroup\$ Does it use two wires or one cable? I suppose that you could use two connectors spaced far enough apart. Or one connector with intermediate pins removed. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 27, 2022 at 17:47
  • \$\begingroup\$ Sorry, didn't realize there were different configurations! It has two separate wires, supplied by the neon fabricators. \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 27, 2022 at 20:43

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Is this [connector] safe to do?

With any amount of electricity comes risk. For higher-voltage connectors, these are usually made in a way to prevent arcing, corona, and accidental contact. These are usually physically larger, to increase creepage and clearance distances. So if an appropriate connector, rated for the max possible voltage/current (5.5kV/24mA according to the website) is used then it should be fine.

We can't suggest products here because they are quickly outdated. This is especially true for HV connectors, as they are continuously evolving. However you should be able to find something by searching any of the major distributors for connector types rated at over 5.5kV and 24mA.

As an extra safety measure, also consider some way to prevent the connector from being accessed/removed/touched while the unit is operating (an interlock.) Never know if a 5-year-old will get their hands on it in the future.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Thanks, this is super helpful! Totally get that you don't want to suggest a specific connector, but any search terms for Mouser or whatever you'd suggest? So many choices even for style of connector \$\endgroup\$ Commented Feb 27, 2022 at 20:53
  • \$\begingroup\$ Yes there's a bazillion connector types today. It's been ages since I had to look one up, and I think that was a SHV BNC, good for (only) 5kV and metal construction. The one Davide illustrates might be one of the most popular styles today for neon lamps. Should be able to go to Mouser or wherever, go into connectors, and filter by voltage rating; however checking there and DigiKey, neither include voltage in their parametric searches, so I empathize. Searching for high voltage connectors will probably show the best to investigate. \$\endgroup\$
    – rdtsc
    Commented Feb 27, 2022 at 23:52
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A web search, https://www.google.com/search?neon+sign+connectors

returns that Amphenol Alden is the go-to source of high voltage connectors for neon and lasers.

This brochure lists their products: https://www.amphenolalden.com/sites/default/files/images/AldenHighVoltageCataloglr-25OCT2017.pdf

Amphenol Alden high voltage connectors

They're available from the ebay and such: https://www.ebay.com/itm/202991371249

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