Frequently Asked Questions


The Flashing Light Prize 2018

Q. I entered the 2017 Flashing Light Prize but didn't win. Can I use a similar system this time ?
A. Yes, provided it can flash something with neon in it at 1Hz with a 50% duty cycle.

Q. Not all "neon" signage tubes use neon gas, what about the other types ?

A. This contest is exclusively for things with mostly neon gas in them. Real neon tubes have clear, see-through glass and light up red.

Q. Can I use a HeNe laser as the thing to flash ?

A. Sorry, they are mostly helium rather than neon !

Q. You said nixie tubes could be used, do you want numbers displayed ?

A. We just want it to flash on and off. You can pick the numbers flashed (or even a jumble of several if you wish).

Q. How accurate does the 1Hz flashing rate need to be ?
A. We'll only be measuring by eye, not by caesium fountain atomic clock !

Q. Does the YouTube clip have to show the light flashing for the full minute ?

A. In most cases, a clip of about 10 seconds should suffice. If, however, the design of your system suggests that it wouldn't last a whole minute (e.g. something is used up while it runs), then the YouTube clip would have to be for the full duration.

Q. How long will the contest run ?

A. Closing date for entries is 15th of March 2018

Q. How much does it cost to enter ?

A. Nothing !

Q. How many times can I enter ?

A. As many as you like.

Q. Will I have to send my system somewhere ?

A. No. All the judging will be based on the clips uploaded to YouTube.

Q. How will I know who has won ?

A. The winner will be announced both on Twitter & on this website on March 21st 2018

Q. Who are the judges ?

A. Brock craft, Peter Knight and James Larsson.

Q. Why are you doing this ?

A. Simply because we're geeks who love flashing lights and thought this would be a fun way of celebrating them.


To get neon gas to glow requires high voltages, radio frequency energy and/or other dangerous things. Moreover, any glass vessel containing the neon could shatter and cause injury. Do not attempt to build anything for this contest unless you have the necessary skills, knowledge and safety equipment. The Flashing Light Prize and its organisers accept no responsibility for any injury or loss howsoever caused.