Sign & Digital Graphics

November '17

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P ower is an interesting attribute, and many individuals are awed by it. But the vehicle that provides the most power isn't always the best fit; however, a low-power solution may not get the job done effectively either. For example, you wouldn't use a jet engine to power your lawnmower; on the other hand, you'll need more than a double- A battery. It's not all that different with LED lighting. "If you over-power your LEDs they're not going to last as long," explains Jim Redmer, director of marketing, Wensco Sign Supply. "Same thing if you under- power your LEDs—they won't be as bright and they won't last as long. If you do everything the right way, your LEDs should last a minimum of 50,000 hours." To provide some context, the LED power supply (or driver) "is an AC to DC transformer. It steps down the line volt- age (120V-277VAC) to usable 12V or 24V (DC) for the LEDs to use," explains Fritz Meyne, Jr., vice president sales, Bitro Group. "Additionally, modern power supplies automatically offer 50 to 60Hz." LEDs are distinctively different than traditional bulbs, and when they are used in signage projects there are cer- tain elements to consider. One of the most obvious is the driver, so let's take a more detailed look at these drivers and how they allow LEDs to function in sign displays. Understanding the Driver To start, "LEDs cannot be driven directly from the line," says Herm Driving the Diode Understanding LED drivers for electric sign applications B Y R Y A N F U G L E R Ryan Fugler is a free- lance writer and for- mer editor of Wraps magazine. He can be reached at rnfugler@ with ques- tions or comments. 18 • November 2017 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S This power supply was installed up the vertical side of the cabinet as it should be, for exterior use. (Image courtesy of Bitro Group) L E D P O W E R S U P P L I E S ELECTRIC SIGNAGE

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