dying neons

From: 	Kevin[SMTP:wawa-at-spectra-dot-net]
Reply To: 	wawa-at-spectra-dot-net
Sent: 	Sunday, August 31, 1997 8:15 PM
To: 	Tesla List
Subject: 	dying neons

I am having a little trouble with my neons.  I believe it is because I
am over stressing them but I'd like to know what I can do to save them.
The other night, I was testing out my toriod and a sphere and I was
getting my largest arcs yet.  Anyway, none of my runs went longer than
15-20 sec and then eventually, everything would stop and the neon would
make a low, quietsounding buzz/hum.  I didn't leave it plugged in when I
noticed that.  I'd run it a bit longer and it'd happen again.  The neon
also began to warm.  My safety gap would fire occasionally.  What
exactly is happening in the system that causes it to fire anyway?  I
have two chokes, but perhaps they aren't good enough.  They're 8" of 2"
diam. pvc wound with regular (not magnet wire) 22 awg insulated wire.  I
recall some one suggesting that you use the same wire used for the
secondary, what's the story on that?  I don't have any capacitors from
my neon to ground either.  Would that make a difference?

I'm not able to come across neons very readily so I want to protect what
I got.  Sure, I could always set my spark gap smaller and not turn up
the voltage all the way, but what fun would that be? :)  

any suggestions would be great