The remainder of this page discusses Video Displays and Message Center brands generally.
LED Electronic Message Centers
and Video Displays
LED Digital Electronic Message Center Signs and Video Displays are also known as LED
Signs, Display Signs, Jumbotron Signs, Changeable
Signs, Changeable Letter Signs, Scrolling Signs,
Marquee Signs, and Readerboard Signs, among others.
Electronic message centers and video displays help your business many
They allow real-time communication with potential
With almost 20% of the US
population moving in a year, new potential customers
of varying demographics are always viewing your
signs. What is effective now may not be
effective later…or after lunch.
They attract attention through animation and
brightness so they increase awareness of your
business location and your products.
Message center signs are prettier than signs with changeable plastic letters, improving the appearance of your business.
Your message is not limited by the size of your reader board, or to only one message.
Your advertising dollars are invested in selling in
your trade area, preventing excessive advertising
Changing your message, any time you wish, is as easy
as typing. It can be done often and safely.
Quality electronic message center displays are
readable from a further distance, especially is poor
Full color displays are vastly superior to monochrome displays in impressing potential customers. Fortunately they are no longer vastly more expensive!
You increase your employee's safety vs.
conventional letter-changing poles and plastic letters. Walgreen's Drug
Stores changed from manual readerboards to Electronic Message Centers
partially for employee safety. We were an expert witness in one such
tragedy leading to this change.
An electronic message center or video display will make your message
stand out from the crowd of signs around you.
Even displaying the time and temperature can give a
viewer valuable information which they will associate
with your business. Combining that capability with
animated messages, possibly in color, can really drive
your sales up, 15% to 150%!
Even the Federal Government has determined that signs
containing electronic message centers are safety
enhancing devices, not traffic hazards! This is
why they are used on federal roadways to communicate
Read what the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has to say about the
advantages and costs of signs for your business:
Modern electronic message centers and video displays are illuminated
using LED’s. This lowers their operating cost by
80+% over older, incandescent systems. If the
system is properly designed the bulbs are part of a
modular display board that is easily removable and
changeable, thus helping to control service costs.
The “pitch” or spacing of the LED’s greatly affects
the appearance of the display, and the cost of the
In almost all instances an electronic message center
or video display is built into or attached to additional signs that
contains your name and other permanent information.
You need to work with a sign manufacturer, not just an
electronic message center salesman.
The Best Investment You Can Make
How much would you invest to double your take-home pay?
The United State Small Business Administration (SBA) says that an LED message center sign in front of a business increases the store’s sales volume 15 – 150%.
This is all profit; expenses are already being paid.
Even with a 50% cost-of-goods this is an increase in take-home pay of 7.5% - 75%. Most businesses do not have this high a cost-of-goods.
It’s Black and White; what are your current sales? Do you want the additional income? Are you willing to invest $10.25 per day?
This is probably the safest investment in the world, with the highest potential return, for a business owner to make.
“In my previous 9 years of being in business I have never had 40 customers in a day. Since you put up my Sunburst™ LED Display sign I have so-far averaged 53 customers per day, but my business is still growing again.”
Muhammad Faridi, MD, McAllen Medical Center, Dallas, Texas
The Signs Manufacturing On-Location Sales Team
No matter what types of signs you are interested in, our sales team, consisting of 11 highly-trained individuals, is at your beck and call.
Let us meet with you in your office, or at your new signs location, or home, or anywhere.
You will probably have a firm quotation for what you want during our meeting; certainly no more than a day later.
Visit Our Unique LED Sign Showroom
Unique in the entire sign industry, Signs Manufacturing™ built an 85’ by 50’ (over 4,000 sq ft) indoor sign lighting laboratory for testing the longevity, visibility, and effectiveness of all the lighted signs we manufacture.
We have opened our laboratory to the public, for FREE, adding a Sign Showroom that includes LED Video Displays because we realized how important one would be to consumers.
You must determine which display type, and which LED spacing is best, so that your sign will be successful considering how you will use it. Therefore at least three (3) LED Video Display signs with varied LED spacing are always available for you to compare to monochrome or 4-thousand-shade display signs (also on display.)
Don't buy a sign from a drawing when you can actually see and compare real signs.
No one else, sign company or not, can offer you this unique opportunity. Be sure to take advantage.
Your business will be better because you do.
If you don't visit it could cost you thousands in sales every year.
Can you afford not to?
Changeable Message Signs – A Brief History
When LED lighting first replaced incandescent lighting in changeable message signs their color was monochrome, and their array was balanced.
When color LED’s were introduced existing computers could not coordinate the virtually unlimited display options a balanced array offered. This resulted in a very “grainy” product. The 3 led colors (RGB) were therefore grouped into “pixel clusters” so that these classic computers could control the display, providing better results.
We’ve come a long way; computers and processors are thousands of times faster than early models.
The technical ability to place larger individual LED’s closer together without electrical co-interference has greatly improved also.
Not bound by pre-existing equipment or designs, and rather than invest in dated technology, Sunburst LED Displays™ utilizes modern computing power to control the virtually limitless potential of our large LED Balanced Array™ Video Displays and Digital Electronic Message Center Signs.
Signs Manufacturing™ is an excellent sign company, we make great signs. But just being a good sign company does not necessarily mean that a company can install and service Video Displays and Electronic Message Centers. They may be able to weld, install fluorescent lamps and roll paint, but can they build, program and service a computer?
Digital LED electronic message centers and video displays are very complicated computers, remotely served by other computers, use proprietary software programs, and are not what most sign company employees, or electricians, understand.
But because these signs are electrical they must be installed by a qualified electrical sign company or an electrical contractor. We are the largest electronic message center manufacturer in North Texas; one of only 3 in the entire State! And we are State licensed as both an electrical sign contractor and as an electrical contractor.
We know what we are doing when it comes to Electronic Message Center and Video Display fabrication and service. We even carry all parts in stock for immediate replacement if something fails.
A large part of our business is repairing mistakes other sign companies and electricians made installing signs they bought and resold to their customers.
"We paid $34,000 for a full-color LED message center from Wal**** Signs & Lighting. It took them 11 months to get it installed. It is now 4 months old and has never worked in full-color mode. They don't know how to make it work. Can you fix it?"
Jack Miller, Grace Point Church
Electronic Message Centers or Video Displays are usually built into additional signage, not installed by themselves. Doing so makes them less expensive and more effective at the same time!
But most electronic message center manufacturers do not manufacture additional types of signs.
Signs Manufacturing™ makes more than electronic message centers and video displays.
We manufacture, install and service
architectural signs, etc.
Interior signs as well as
road signs and
building signs including
channel letter signs
(internally lighted with neon,
Solarbrite™ LEDs, the new automatic color-changing SpectraLites™ LEDs, or externally lighted with
wall sign cabinets,
pylon signs, monument signs,
trim-cap lettering, awning signs,
Interested in the concept of video displays and electronic message
centers, but unfamiliar with their cost?
Click on the "Sunburst LED Displays" tab to the left, then the "Cost" tab, and finally the "Pricing"
tab to obtain general pricing and cost
information on various sizes and types of LED
Electronic Message Centers and Video Displays.
When you do so notice how dealing directly with the manufacturer will save you additional thousands of dollars in sales/use taxes!
detailed construction and installation information below, and to the left, is very important in
developing a sign that will accomplish your goals.
Please contact us to develop a plan to meet your
Our professional staff will usually have exact quotations, and exact scale
drawings of your signs installed on your building or property ready for
you the same day we meet with you. (Much faster than the 2 1/2 week
average in our industry.)
If you are planning for the future, please bookmark
our website as a "Favorite" so you can find us when
you are ready.
You May Qualify for a "Better Than FREE™" Sign
Dependent on your location, Signs Manufacturing™ may be able to offer you INCOME from a FREE pole, pylon, monument sign, video display, or electronic message center.
Contact us for exciting details!
LED Message Center and Video Display Rentals
Signs Manufacturing™ rents Sunburst Displays™ LED full-color digital animated electronic video display message centers.
Contact us for details.
BIG Business Booster
There is no question that LED electronic message centers and video displays are the business signage communication wave of the future. Local advertising has never been cheaper because of them.
Every business has a need to promote special events, sales, sponsorships, etc.; either at their business location and/or at local sports events, parades, church and school events.
If your business is not located where you can have a permanent messaging sign, or you need to advertise at multiple locations (like the kid's soccer game), the question is, HOW?
This question has been answered with “The LED Sled™” pictured above, Signs Manufacturing Corporation's new portable self-powered LED electronic message center and video display.
Local businesses have never before been able to be so creative, to think so far outside the box to gain a competitive advertising advantage.
“To rent, or to own, THAT is the question.” (sorry Shakespeare.) How often do you need to promote your business?
If you are a multi-location business you need to own one of these! Some location ALWAYS has special needs or opportunities. Or a new store under construction.
If you’re not in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex you absolutely need to own one because you are too far away for us to rent you one!
Historically monochrome message centers were much cheaper than color video displays. This is no longer true.
In making your decision regarding monochrome vs. color realize that colors in motion are proven to be much more attention-getting than moving single-color lights.
Monochrome (one color) displays are available in “Red”
or “Amber (Yellow).”
Full-Color displays are either RGB (Red, Green, Blue) or
RGBW (Red, Green, Blue, White.)
The more colors, the more LED lights in each pixel,
the larger each pixel, the further back from the sign
you must be so that the sign is not “grainy.”
Display Capability - Palette
Because the intensity of a LED light can be changed by
increasing or decreasing the voltage to it, the better
monochrome displays feature over 4000 shades of
Red or Amber. Some manufacturers call this "grayscale."
The cheaper monochrome displays cannot vary their color intensity at all, they are truly one color. A Sunburst Displays™ sign can turn it's gradients feature "off" and display one-color monotone.
To produce colors at least 3 different color producing LEDs are utilized; Red, Green, and Blue (RGB.) For the human eye, red, green and blue used together create white. Some electronic message center manufacturers try to overcome inferior LED’s (which are greatly less expensive) by adding more than one LED of the same color to each pixel cluster. This makes the pixel cluster larger, which makes the pitch larger, which increases the minimum viewing distance (see below.) It also uses more electricity.
Older generation displays group LEDs in clusters. A more modern Sunburst Displays™ utilize a Balanced Array™ for a superior appearance because the LEDs are evenly spaced, and more sophisticated software can create "virtual pixels” in 4 potential locations surrounding every LED, and each LED can potentially be shared by these 4 different pixels.
How far pixels are from one another is called
“pitch” and is usually expressed in millimeters (mm.)
The pitch must be small for a display not to appear
grainy up close.
Older color displays, because each pixel is actually an unequal cluster of 3 or more different colored LED’s, cannot have as small a pitch as a monochrome display or the appearance of a more modern display with a Balanced Array™. Therefore they must be viewed from a greater distance to have a quality appearance. There is a lot of blank space between pixels.
Old-style full-color displays are available in 12mm, 16mm, 20mm and larger pitches.
Old-style monochrome displays are available in 9mm, 19mm, 25mm, 35mm, 46mm
and larger, some very larger pitches.
The distance between LEDs in Sunburst Displays™ Balanced Array™ can be as small as 6 mm, monochrome or full-color. Pixels can overlap in full-color video displays.
Too large a pitch or spacing for the viewing distance and images are grainy, maybe unreadable. A potential customer’s image of your business suffers. When you see grainy LED signs don’t you think of them as “cheap?”
It is therefore better to err on the side of a “tight” array. Visit our Sign Showroom to personally compare displays before making this very important decision. Remember, we’re local.
A Balanced Array™ can automatically adjust pixel quantity and location to produce as high a resolution as the image will allow for the display size. It’s like a modern “High Definition” television. If the image sent to it is “HD” it will be shown “HD” if possible. But remember, garbage in, garbage out! And, size matters! A larger display will support more detail in images.
Why Not Use a Television?
TV’s do not have as bright a display as is necessary.
Glare on the screen is a big problem.
Only “specialty” TV’s even claim to be weatherproof.
All modern flat-screen televisions are LCD televisions. So-called “LED” TV’s are actually LCD screens edge or back lighted with LED’s.
LCD’s will not function with internal temperatures above 122° F. (200° is common outside in an enclosed box in Texas.)
LCD’s will not function in extreme cold.
LCD screen do not have an acceptable Viewing Angle (see below.)
How many pixels wide and high the display is, which determines how many of what size letters can be displayed at one time.
Most matrix dimensions are in multiples of 8 pixels, or virtual pixels in the case of a Balanced Array™.
A larger matrix can display more and larger information at one time.
The Advantages of a Balanced Array™
Creates a visually a more attractive sign with evenly spaced LED's. Higher Resolution.
The software generates 4 LED's per "virtual pixel" which allows:
▪ Illuminating a second red LED in each virtual pixel to create whiter Whites.
▪ Larger pixels and beefier letters containing more illuminated LED's for the same height when compared to a standard array.
Superior reproduction of letter fonts and graphics.
Larger LED's are used, creating a brighter sign with increased "fill" (less space between LED's.)
LED's are 50% closer together than pixels are in a standard array, this provides a much tighter display appearance.
There are as many as 50% more LED's in any given area.
One Glare Shield (see below) per LED, rather than one per pixel, maximum.
Software can shift "pixel" locations to compact the vision even further.
As an automobile driver drives toward an electronic message center which is installed on a 20’ tall pole the vertical viewing angle increases from near 0° to almost 90° as the driver passes under the sign. As the viewing angle increases the intensity of the display decreases. The vertical viewing angle of the LED’s used in the display plays an important role in the usefulness of the display. (For more information on this see “Glare Shields or Louvers” below.)
As a driver drives toward an electronic message center installed on the side of a road the horizontal viewing angle increases from near 0° to 90° as the driver passes beside the sign. As the viewing angle increases the intensity of the display decreases in this direction also. The horizontal viewing angle of the LED’s used in the display also plays an important role in the usefulness of the display.
It is important to understand the vertical and the horizontal angle that the display will be viewed from.
LED lights are directional, and Glare Shields or Louvers can block visibility. High quality LED’s can be viewed by as much as 90° horizontally and vertically and still observe over 70% of the lumen potential.
Some LED’s lose virtually all of their light at angles over 45°. Less-expensive signs must therefore be viewed nearly straight-on to be legible.
Sunburst Displays™ are effective at radical angles.
Determining Your Minimum Display Size
Videos will run on any size sign, with a resolution equal to the pixel matrix of the display.
This is not true for wording, however. Signs that have a larger pixel pitch will not be able to display small letters as clearly as a sign with a smaller pixel pitch (smaller pixel pitch means more dots per square foot).
Decide on how many lines of text vertically you need to display. Decide the maximum height of the letters you want each row to use.
Add at least 2” between rows, and 1.25” top and bottom. If you are going to use both upper and lower case letters allow additional space for the descending letters also. The amount of space varies by letter size and style. Will you want a lighted border around your message?
The cumulative total is how tall the minimum display height of your sign must be, in inches.
But, can the display clearly display your smallest letters? For a standard block letter style the smallest letter a 20mm sign can clearly display is a 6.3" tall lower-case character. A 16mm sign can display 5.1" minimum-height characters.
It is possible to go smaller, but it may require some experimentation with letter styles and spacing. Smaller letters probably require a tighter pitched sign.
If you plan on using some lower-case letters recognize that their shorter height is your shortest letter.
To determine minimum letter height for all sign pitches, multiply the pitch of a display you are considering, in millimeters (say 20), or by the LED spacing in a Balanced Array™ times 2, by 0.315. This tells you the smallest letter the display you are considering can reliably display.
Next, decide on the longest message you need to display. Count both the letters and spaces, and include space both before and after the message. Multiply by 0.3145. Now multiply by the pitch of a display you are considering, in millimeters (say 20), or by the LED spacing in a Balanced Array™ times 2. The answer is how long the sign display must be in inches to display the message adequately in most letter styles. Realize that some letter styles would require an even longer display, but this is a good average. If you plan on running text twice this smallest size, the display will need to be twice as long.
You now know if the size and pitch of the sign you are considering will meet your needs.
But, remember that size matters! A larger display will support more detail in images.
The minimum viewing distance is the point at which the
display loses its graininess. This can vary
depending on the message being displayed.
The maximum viewing distance is the point at which the
smallest character which will be generated on the display
becomes unreadable. A potential solution is to
generate larger characters, but this may increase the
minimum viewing distance.
Desired Minimum Character Size
READABLE DISTANCE FOR MAXIMUM impact
MAXIMUM READABLE DISTANCE
NOTE: The distances will vary approximately
10% with various color combinations. Maximum
distance is in color with RED or BLACK on a WHITE
background. 5,280' equals one (1) mile.
Prepared by the California Institute of Technology
The length of time letters are readable when moving towards them.
These times are only achievable when viewing signs made with LEDs with wide viewing angles, and a tight resolution.
Many signs reading times are much shorter for the same sized letter.
Prepared by Signs Manufacturing™
More than any other part of the sign the operating software determines the usability of the system.
Most sellers of LED Display signs, whether they manufacture their signs or import them from China, brag about their "Proprietary" software used to operate their signs.
Even though our key personnel are very comfortable writing computer programs in several programming languages, we realize that we will never be smarter than the thousands of Microsoft engineers who worked together to create Power-Point.
Because of this, we created a generic based operating system designed to use Power-Point to create your animation and messaging. Or Corel Draw. Or Photo Shop. Or any graphics software you are familiar with.
You already know how to program the sign because there's no new proprietary programming system to learn.
Proprietary is BAD, not good. Our system uses the ingenuity and creativity of thousands of software engineers, not just a small handful of programmers.
To make you even more comfortable, our processor's design doesn't lock-out other operating systems, forcing you to use only ours. Many competitors and virtually all Chinese signs do this. If they go out of business, and you have a problem with their processor or computer, the sign is trash.
If, heaven forbid, we go out of business and our processor fails later, you can replace it with several brands of generic processors and operate your sign. (It won't be as efficient, versatile, and friendly as our system, but it will work.)
All Sunburst Displays™ software can display fixed messages or graphics (drawings) or “scroll” messages or graphics (drawings) and include F/X features. We also show a display such as a cartoon with character movement, for instance.
Monochrome displays convert colors to shades of either Red or Amber (Yellow.)
Various competitive units do this also.
All Sunburst Displays™ programming can display pre-programmed messages and pictures in a slideshow format, much like a screensaver slideshow showing multiple messages or images.
Various competitive units can do this also.
Video - Prerecorded Clips
All Sunburst Displays™ proprietary software can display videos of varying random lengths.
Various competitive units do this also.
All Sunburst Displays™ are ready to connect to an audio system. Our internal processor is sound capable. Most others are not.
Live Video or TV
Live video or television feeds are available options.
This is not available on most competitive units.
Schedule various messages, graphics or videos to automatically run at various times of day or night with Sunburst Displays™ software.
Various competitive units can do this also.
Double-Sided Display Programming Options
Most competitive units display the same message or animation on both sides of a double-sided display.
However some competitive units can only be programmed totally independent of each other. There displays will not synchronize, so they take twice as long to program.
Sunburst Displays™ standard is a synchronized display, with independent programming also.
Display Size and Appearance
Some displays have "retainer", or a picture frame around the display.
Some displays are "bleed", or the matrix goes to the edge of the face.
A bleed face gives more display space in the square footage allowed if a city has a restrictive sign ordinance.
Glare Shields (Louvers)
Glare shields, also called louvers, prevent a display’s LEDs from appearing to be lighted, by sunlight, making your message unreadable.
Sunburst Displays™ curved glare shields are individually molded into the actual face, not bolted on, to individually shade each LED.
These features guarantee that our shields are effective and positioned properly. They also allow our shields to be as small as possible to eliminate their interference with viewing our displays from below or above.
This is a very common problem with competitive displays with shields that are straight, or continuous. Theirs are less effective and must be much larger, limiting the viewing angles of their signs.
Automatic Brightness Control
Sunburst Displays™ and other quality displays automatically adjust their brightness to the current lighting conditions.
A good LED display that is bright enough to draw attention during the day is too bright at night without Automatic Brightness Control. It's like staring into a flashlight; nothing is readable!
LED’s are affected by
voltage. For instance, an LED will burn nearly
100% brighter if you double the power feeding it.
The LED will last about 1/6 as long, however, making this
alternative quite expensive in total cost.
LED's dim as they age. At some point (subjective) they will need to be replaced because they are too dim. Feeding them less voltage extends their useful life.
Sunburst Displays' engineering goal was to balance brightness and longevity.
If only brightness is important a monochrome display that does not include a grayscale feature, or automatic brightness adjustment, will be the brightest, at least initially, because all LED's will always be fully-powered. The LED's can also be more closely packed because only one color of LED is used; room does not have to be dedicated to other-colored (RGB) LED's.
Colors in motion, though dimmer than monochrome, have proven to be a better attention-getter, and the displays last longer.
A thermometer installs on the sign cabinet and plugs
into the sign computer in systems set-up for this
Computer Link Types
Optical Fiber. Run underground from the
sign to the controlling computer, usually inside the
building. This fiber must be run in separate
conduit, but it can be buried in the same trench as
the electrical supply.
Phone Control. The unit can have a cell
phone number and a modem. Simply call the sign
from the controlling computer and tells it what to do.
The internal memory of the electronic message center
repeats these instructions until they are changed.
RF Wireless Modem Communications. An
antenna is placed on the sign, and on the building,
which is hooked to the controlling computer.
Wi-Fi Modem. Uses a wireless modem connection in the computer, and in the sign cabinet, to communicate.
It is possible to have one computer control multiple
of our electronic message centers (all Long John
Silver’s are, for example.)
Besides the computer that is used to program the sign there is a processor or a computer inside the sign in most systems.
The poorly engineered signs are programmed and controlled by a single computer that is hard-wired to the sign and must be left "on" at all times. Or, in some cheap signs a second "personal computer" is actually installed inside the sign.
The problem with either of these systems is that the sign is running on "Windows" using a CD or hard-drive and is additionally subject to all the viruses, freezes, lock-ups and reboot problems that a personal computer faces. (As a simple example of the problems faced, who climbs the pole of a free-standing pole sign to reboot the computer after a power outage or computer lock-up? Service call.)
Plus, with all the moving parts in hard drives, disk drives, and other humidity and temperature sensitive components, a PC is a poor way to run a sign from inside the sign. They fail often enough when they are used in the controlled environment of a building.
Tremendous cooling is required when there is an "Intel Inside" but many of these poorly engineered units don't even have cooling fans for the LED displays, much less the computer's processor chip.
In the worst of all signs, the software to program the computer inside the sign is not even in the sign owner's possession. It is not on the programming computer, it is "on the cloud." The sign’s computer must have high-speed internet access.
What if the sign manufacturer does not own the software, he uses a third-party system, and they notify you that in order to keep your sign operating you will now have to pay them $2,000 per month to continue access to the programming software. This happens all the time with other "free" software. Or, he controls the software "on the cloud" but goes out of business so your sign cannot be programmed by anyone.
We don't have a "computer" in our signs. The processor in our signs is a "mother-board" with a non-volatile memory (no heat-sensitive processor chip) and its sole purpose is to store and control using the commands you send it from the programming computer we furnish Free with the sign. (No rebooting!)
The programming software is on the computer we give you, and we also give you a back-up copy.
This vastly superior system also uses less energy.
Heat is the enemy of LED’s. Sunburst Displays™ electronic message centers have multiple inflow and outflow ventilation fans. Additionally, every heat-producing component has its own internal cooling fan. Larger units incorporate air conditioners into their design. Excessive heat can shorten LED life by up to 80%.
In poorly engineered signs with little (passive) or no cooling, decreasing the pitch, increasing the size of pixels, or over-driving LED’s with higher-than-required voltage to increase their brightness, increases heat, shortening the life of the unit.
Some units vent out the front of the sign, some out their sides, and some out the rear. This affects how each unit can be installed. For instance, a unit that vents out its sides cannot be covered with brick.
Some message centers are serviced by removing their face, some by removing their back, some by removing a frame around the face and sides of the sign. This also affects how each unit can be installed.
The Value of “Listed" Signs
Virtually ALL cities, as well as the State of Texas, adopt the National Electric Code as law.
The National Electric Code (NEC) requires that for electrical, structural, and installation safety all electrical signs be "Listed" (tested and labelled with an appropriate Listing Mark.)
Certification (testing and labelling) organizations acceptable in the USA to test to the multitude of Standards signs are required to meet are determined by OSHA.
For you the Listing Mark is insurance. It means that the sign has been tested to insure that it is structurally and electrically safe, and will be installed properly. You benefit from the knowledge that it is not solely us telling you that our signs are safe, this is what the testing laboratories and the US Government says also.
Will your sign be tested and approved for safe use in a Wet (Outdoor) location? Not if it’s not Listed!
Underwriters Laboratories (“UL” Listing Mark) and Intertek (“ETL” Listing Mark – originally Edison Testing Laboratory founded by Thomas Edison) are the premier certification organizations and 80% of all things electrical are tested by them.
If the sign you are purchasing does not have a ETL or UL Listing Mark label the sign is probably not legal to install, anywhere in Texas. There are a few local city ordinance exceptions.
Intertek is over twice the size of UL, and has a greater global presence. UL is the largest in the USA. We have both companies test and apply Listing Marks to various signs.
We are the third oldest ETL Listed sign company in Texas. ( File #4007685) (One of the two older companies makes lighted scoreboards, the other makes lighted office door signs.)
There are many sign companies that pretend to be Listed, but are not!
Incidentally, ISO (International Organization of Standardization) Standards, such as ISO 9001, are NOT electrical Listings (similar to a UL or ETL Listing) that allow a sign to be installed in Texas. That said, components in our electronic signs also meet ISO 9001, ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and RoHS standards.
Underwriter’s Laboratory and Intertek do NOT judge the appearance, appeal, or the longevity of a product. This is why our many years of experience serving international, national, regional and local customers, and our investment so that we can apply the knowledge we’ve gained, will give you a superior product which will impress your customers for years to come.
As a part of UL/ETL product testing, in addition to the evaluations of materials, methods of construction, and how the sign will be installed, the following tests are performed:
24 hour Temperature Rise Test
24 hour Electrical Usage and Stability
Gasket Aging Test
Gasket Adhesion Test
Exclusion of Water Test
Hi-Pot Test while the Sign is Wet
Electronics Input Test
Electronics Humidity Test
To become Listed a sign must Pass every test.
The Savings Advantage of a “Listed" Sign
Listed Signs Save You Money.
Sunburst Displays Video Displays and Electronic Message Centers, because they are Listed, are approved to operate with approximately 40% of the power supply requirements of unlisted signs.
This is a huge savings in installation costs, as only 1/3 of the comparable electrical service needs to be provided.
And since the National Electrical Code limits the branch circuits serving signs to 20 amps maximum, this equates to many fewer circuits.
For safety, an untested sign (not Listed) must be supplied with enough electricity to meet the total “continuous” needs of each internal components rating. (Each components rating x 125%)
A Listed sign has been tested as a whole, and the amount of energy actually used has been determined. The sign is approved for use when supplied with this amount of electricity, regardless of the ratings of the individual components.
This is always much less than the rating of each internal component taken individually, so the cost of installing electricity to the sign will be significantly less.
120 volt single phase service is normally required
because these Listed displays do not consume a great deal of
energy, but some units require 240 volt 1 phase.
Remember, however, that other parts of the sign will
have electrical requirements also.
Radio Frequency (RF) interference from an electronic sign can cause the sign to interfere with radios, cell phones, radar, TV signals, automatic door openers, hospital equipment, etc.
Radio frequency interference can also cause radios, cell phones, radar, automatic door openers, TV signals, hospital equipment, etc. to interfere with an electronic sign.
Although not required in the United States, Sunburst Displays™ had our electronic signs tested for Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) and Electromagnetic Interference (EMI), even testing beyond the rigorous European standards.
Our non-intrusive circuitry even protects itself, rebooting the sign automatically if an extreme circumstance interferes with our sign.
This assures you of an even-more-trouble-free sign when you purchase from Sunburst Displays™.
We are told by the testing laboratories that we are the only sign manufacturer to conduct these tests.
This varies by the message displayed, and how long the electronic message center is on.
That said it is uncommon for ANY electronic (LED) message center to use over $1.00 in electricity in a day.
Some electronic message center manufacturers, more
interested in the sale than the needs of the customer,
overdrive their LED’s to make them brighter (usually
because they are using inferior LED’s.)
Besides shortening the lifetime of the display to 1/6
of a properly manufactured display it wastes energy.
Sunburst Displays™ does none of this!
We do provide internal overvoltage, low voltage, spike and brownout protection for the sign. Many manufacturers do not.
The system should have easy to use control software
with built in features such as scrolling and blinking
messages and a time and temperature display. It
should also allow you to preview both individual
messages and your whole display queue without forcing
you to show the world your half-finished ads by
running them on the display. The message should
be able to be changed from inside your business, or
the system should be configured so that “headquarters”
can change the message at each store.
The programming software should NOT be proprietary. This is not in your best interests.
Proprietary is BAD, The Cloud is BAD, Open Architecture is GOOD.
Most important in an investment of this size is product support.
The electronic message center manufacturer must be large and dedicated enough that they will continue to support their products with parts.
Technical support must be easily available and there must be no limit to your access to it.
Even after you have become an expert, and years later, you might have difficulty programming a new-look message.
Make certain your electronic message center manufacturer and installer will be there to help you 24 hours a day.
Minimum Computer Requirements
Most up-to-date computers, purchased within 2 years,
have enough memory to create control programs.
It is usually NOT necessary to buy a
separate/additional computer to control an electronic
FREE Programming Computer with Sunburst Displays™
Each Sunburst Displays™ electronic message center comes with a "free" pre-programmed laptop computer ready to remotely program your new electronic message center.
Tutorials are a part of the computer’s pre-programming.
Displays can also be programmed using Power-Point, Corel, Photoshop, or any graphics software you are familiar with. So you already know how to program the sign!
The programming computer communicates via Wi-Fi, so you probably already know how to work it, and it only needs to be "on" when you are changing the program. The sign runs on its own internal processor.
You can create a program at home, and download it to your sign when you get to your business, if you desire.
Proprietary encryption in both the sign and the programming computer software make the sign impossible to use by anyone else.
SolarGuard™ Protection for Sunburst Displays™
Our plastic faces that hold the LEDs, and Glare Shields, have internal UV protection. But
your sign needs to look nearly as good 10 to 15 years from
now as it looks the day it is installed.
longevity and appearance of plastic face materials are extended when they are coated with
SolarGuard™, a special, clear, high-gloss,
mar-resistant topcoat which protects plastics from
ultraviolet light and ozone so that they last longer, just
like your eyeglasses have UV coatings to protect the
Signs Manufacturing™ is an authorized
Signs Manufacturing™ adds
SolarGuard™ protection to every plastic sign face component.
Does SolarGuard™ Protection
Work? The face on the right was made of
“generic” red acrylic and black trim-cap. The left
half was coated with SolarGuard™ and the face was left
outside for ONLY 7 years; your sign will be out there much
(This product does not come from the traditional sign industry. Few sign manufacturers know about it, or where to get it.)
EMC faces that were NOT protected with SolarGuard™ (Click on each picture to Enlarge.)
Self-Cleaning Faces for Sunburst Displays™
Signs Manufacturing™ adds Lumabrite™
coatings to every plastic-faced sign we manufacture.
Lumabrite™ reduces maintenance
because of built-in self-cleaning properties.
This products inspiration was the optical plastic lens industry.
Our people are factory-trained in the
application of Lumabrite™.
Free Factory Tour
Come and see the array of equipment
and tools, and the facility dedicated to making good
Contact a sales consultant to arrange a
Controlling Message Center and Video Display Cost
Electronic Message Centers and Video Displays cost a lot of money, but they achieve tremendous results.
To keep from spending more money than necessary, consider the design of your sign and the results you want to achieve.
Rather than purchase a larger, blank, rectangular message center and display your name and all other information on it, consider incorporating signage that constantly displays the messages you want to constantly display. It will cost less, and look better!
Because we manufacture and install all types of signage, not just electronic message centers, we can design, build, and install the most cost efficient and effective signage for you
(see our "Design Center" page!)
"Click" Below for Additional Information on Installing an
Electronic Message Center in:
Select the tab "Electronic
Message Center Check List". This is a tool
for your use to insure that quotations you receive
are for the same sign! Insist that your
bidders fill-in each line, then sign the document
when they give you their quote.