Sign & Digital Graphics

November '17

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20 • November 2017 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S ELECTRIC SIGNAGE "It is amazing as power supplies and ballasts have been used in our industry for so long, yet we do see them mounted in the bottom of a sign cabinet," states Meyne, "and this is where we see the most failure from water damage." Environmental Considerations This discussion about how to protect power supplies—and LEDs in general— from elements that could potentially damage the sign has much to do with where the sign is located and the quality of the components. Wensco's Redmer points to the IP (International Protection or Ingress Protection) Ratings for LEDs. "There is an IP rating for LEDs, lamps, power sup- plies and all types of things," he explains. "Most LEDs nowadays are IP66, IP67 or IP68. The first digit stands for solids pro- tection, and the second number stands for liquids protection. The digits indicate conformity with the conditions of how far they can go." He adds that a lower IP Rating would mean susceptibility to dust particles, water leakage and more, but those with the higher IP Ratings can survive such elements more dependably. "If you're outdoors, you don't really have to worry about the LEDs for the most part, espe- cially if they have IP67 or IP68 ratings," Redmer says. "And the same goes with the power supplies." Specific to the driver, there seems to be a consensus that a certain type should be used outdoors. Vincent suggests using a Class 2 driver in these situations. "For electric signs, you should always use a Class 2 driver," he shares. "Keep in mind that there are UL drivers in SAM (Sign Accessories Manual) that are non- Class 2 (isolated) drivers. These may be used in special circumstances, but they are not automatically qualified to be used with Class 2 low-voltage LEDs. So be careful, there are a number of vendors that are selling low voltage drivers above 12V, 5A (60W) per channel and falsely claiming that they are Class 2. They should not be used, as this is a safely concern and fire hazard." This project was fitted with LEDs and installed, it is clearly visible at night. (Images courtesy of Principal LED)

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