Sign & Digital Graphics

January '18

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18 • January 2018 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S ELECTRIC SIGNAGE M uch has been written about the longevity of LED lighting systems as compared to conventional incan- descent technologies. However, even these highly efficient components and products do not last forever. We know from experience that there is a period of depreciation with all electric signs; and sign makers are keen to maximize the life of their LED-based signage projects. When we replace a conventional lightbulb in our homes, we understand that the chances are high that we'll have to replace that bulb again at a future date. With LEDs the expectations are higher for a longer durability. With that in mind, there are steps a sign maker can take to ensure the life or improve upon the effi- ciency of lighting components without having to continually replace pieces. "When an LED chip fails, it's usually because it's either overdriven—given too much energy—or the device before it in the chain (like a resister) is not working properly," explains Mike Bluhm, director of product solutions, SloanLED. So as a rule, Bluhm adds, sign makers should make sure to scrupulously follow the manufacturer's recommendations for energy load to the LED, and to make sure that the components are wired in properly. "Every LED manufacturer rates their LEDs at what current you're allowed to put in there," Bluhm continues, "but there's no 'Current Police' running around saying 'you can't put in more current,' so our biggest challenge as an LED manufacturer is that we have people who overdrive LEDs." Overall quality is another concern, and one that can affect the entire sign system if the LED modules are faulty. "What we have found is that people need to start thinking about quality again," L E D L O N G E V I T Y LED Life Learning about an LED system's life expectancy and its fail points B Y R Y A N F U G L E R Ryan Fugler is a freelance writer and former edi- tor of Wraps magazine. He can be reached at with questions or comments. Living the This reverse halo channel letter job employs SloanLED's Apollo LED module. (Image courtesy SloanLED)

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