• Recognizing LED Technology for Sign UseYour Place:HOme - Light news
  • Auhtor:    Time:3/11/2015   Hits:581
  • Look around; LED illumination is just about everywhere. The technology known as LED is an acronym for Light Emitting Diode. Commercial vehicle taillights, some auto taillights, in your mouse, on key rings, in flashlights, alarm systems, emergency exit signs, toys, underwater pool lighting, wall washer lighting, video displays, POP illumination and yes, signs.

    For the last two years the LED application arena has taken great strides. The good news is that this greater usage will result in even lower prices and more options. Several companies offer LED "cluster" lighting fixtures that can generate millions of color changes randomly and/or are controlled to create various colored lighting effects. Think of it as a video display used to create color effects instead of images, and you’ll get the idea.

    Accepting LED
    As with all new technology, the "current" status quo gets offended and either totally puts its head in the sand or strikes out with innuendos. We sign people only have to remember the Gerber 4 to draw a parallel to the future. LED technology will be used more and more in the sign industry because it offers so many advantages. It is affordable, and there are so many technology companies doing research and finding new markets and applications to replace the status quo, not just in the sign industry, but all markets.

    LED technology brings so many benefits to the table that many traditions will change, just as it did with the Gerber type equipment. Another easy to understand parallel, are cell phones and computers. Just look at the options today and remember that just about 15 years ago you were fussing because you had to get a new phone line for your business facsimile machine to keep up with competitors and your customer’s needs.

    Today, we have at least six companies offering their version of an LED system to light your illuminated letters and even border tube options with LED. Rest assured, there will be more. Like all new technologies, not all versions will develop to maturity, so keep that in mind when you are looking at new options.

    Technology Awareness

    Not all LED systems are equal in their presentation or mounting recommendations. Take special note of the differences in the applications of each product specifically for each application. This is not to say there is a bad system in this lot. It is just to say that each vendor solution has a different approach and biases to what the sign industry needs. For instance, if you were to bid one system for any given project as your choice, but are then called on to bid a new job that specifies another system, you will need to take precautions to know the differences.

    Let's look at some differences in LED's as used for the sign industry and what you might need to know to make a proper buying decision. Right now between the six dominant companies, they have warranties anywhere from one to five years. There are also four distinct product differences:

    a rigid multiple LED array
    individual LED's
    arrays of five LED's
    a flexible twelve-inch strip that can be bent to shape and cut to length.
    One vendor uses the "return" or side of the letter for mounting the LED’s as an indirect light source. The others are typically mounted for direct beam illumination on the back or for halo applications on the backside of the face. For voltage regulation, some use resistors on their PCB (Printed Circuit Board) while another requires a separate amplifier to guarantee the proper voltage to each LED. When it comes to connecting the LED's, some have plug-in connectors for multiple connections and others require a solid core wire.

    Just as the vendors offer various warranties, the same is true of the prices of the different systems. Even though I know the price points, it would not be my position to offer that information. Just be aware that there is a broad range of prices and materials for any one of these systems.

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