The ion detector is a simple device that can detect high concentrations of ions in the air. It works by drawing electrical energy from ions. Once it collects a sufficient amount of energy, it dumps the charge into a small neon lamp, causing it to flash with a dim orange light. It is by no means a sensitive device (it can only detect ion concentrations of about 3 million ions per cubic centimeter or more), but it can give a clear indication that your ionizer is generating large quantities of negative ions.
Figure 3.
Figure 4.
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To use, hold the ion detector so that your thumb makes contact with the two bare copper wires that are running down the middle of the device. Now bring the ion detector so that the ion pickup antenna is about an inch away from the ion emitter needle as shown in figure 4 (it is best to perform this test in a darkened room). You will notice that the negative electrode (see figure 3) inside the neon lamp will either glow continuously or flash very rapidly, indicating the presence of negative ions. As you slowly draw the ion detector away from the ionizer, it will start to flash at a slower pace. The further you bring the detector away from the ionizer, the longer it takes for the device to rebuild it's electrical charge, resulting in slower flash rates. Under most conditions, the device will no longer be able to collect a sufficient amount of energy to flash the lamp if it is more than several inches away from the ionizer. However, you can be sure that there are still high concentrations of ions present at much further distances.

The ion detector can also detect high concentrations of positive ions. You might even be able to detect positive ions that are generated from your television by holding the ion pickup antenna very close to the screen. If there are sufficient levels of positive ions, the positive electrode inside the neon lamp will flash, indicating the presence of positive ions. Please note that some television sets may not generate a high enough concentration of positive ions to energize the ion detector.