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Blue, and Green LED technology has not advanced to the point that Red, White and Yellow technology has; they are not as useful in channel-letter signs applications. For Electronic Message Centers, however, LED is the hands-down winner vs. incandescent lighting. It is cheaper, lasts longer, and uses less energy.
Many companies manufacture LED’s. There are over 5,000 varied LED’s available, and they vary greatly as to brightness, lux, light-dispersal (viewing) angle, useful lifetime, and lifetime.
Some are very cheap, some are quite expensive, but all cost more than neon for equal illumination.
Signs Manufacturing™ only uses Solarbrite™ LED’s that are rated to retain 80% of their brightness for 60,000+ hours. These are the most expensive, but highest value, conventional LED’s. Our selection of LED’s is what makes our signs brighter, and last longer.
As an example, a White Solarbrite™ LED is 280 lux, compared to our BrighterSigns™ neon's 235 lux, or standard neon's 140 lux. Of course a single LED is much smaller than the smallest piece of neon, so many of them are necessary to light an object uniformly.
"Lux" is most important in lighting channel letters. It is the candle-power of light shining on a surface. In channel letters we are lighting a sheet of translucent plastic material from the rear.
A Solarbrite™ LED incorporates a new kind of chip, different from all other LED's. Signs Manufacturing™ is an industry leader in the implementation of new technology in advertising.
Solarbrite™ LED’s utilize military specification coatings on the circuit boards the LED’s are attached to, preventing corrosion and electrical problems.
Like neon, LED’s are also affected by voltage. For instance, an LED will also 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. We power our Solarbrite™ LED’s properly.
These new channel letter lights automatically rotate thru 7 or more different internally-lighted face colors!
Or, custom colors can be generated!
The duration time between color changes is remotely controllable, or you can "pause" on a single color.
Every channel letter can change colors independently is desired.
Colors in Motion™
One of the absolute necessities of a successful sign is to draw attention.
Solar Powered Energy Saving Signs
You are saving much more than just energy, and money.
Please stop by and see all of these products displayed in our unique Sign Lighting Laboratory and Display Showroom.
Energy-Saving ™ LetterLites™ Signs
LetterLites™ consume 0.1 watt per light at 5 volts DC! One thousand lights left on 8 hours per day for 365 days will use $4.01 in electricity.
NIGHTTIME COMPARISON DAYTIME COMPARISON
Everything Lighted Everything Lighted Only LetterLites™ Lighted
A LetterLites™ Channel Letter "H" Sign
A "S" exposed double-stroke red neon channel letter
A "I" internally LED lighted white channel letter with red vinyl graphics
A "G" Day/Night Black/White channel letter
A "N" blue acrylic internally lighted channel letter with a backplate
What are LED's?
A light-emitting diode (LED) is a semiconductor device that emits incoherent monochromatic light when electrically biased in the forward direction. This effect is a form of electroluminescence. The color depends on the semiconducting material used, and can be near-ultraviolet, visible or infrared.
A LED is a special type of semiconductor diode. Like a normal diode, it consists of a chip of semiconducting material impregnated, or doped, with impurities to create a structure called a pn junction. Charge-carriers (electrons and holes) are created by an electric current passing through the junction, and release energy in the form of photons as they recombine. The wavelength of the light, and therefore its color, depends on the band gap energy of the materials forming the pn junction. A normal diode, typically made of silicon or germanium, emits invisible far-infrared light, but the materials used for a LED have band gap energies corresponding to near-infrared, visible or near-ultraviolet light.
Unlike incandescent bulbs, which can operate with either AC or DC, LED's require a DC supply of the correct polarity. When the voltage across the pn junction is in the correct direction, a significant current flows and the device is said to be forward biased. The voltage across the LED in this case is fixed for a given LED and is proportional to the energy of the emitted photons. If the voltage is of the wrong polarity, the device is said to be reverse biased, very little current flows, and no light is emitted.
Conventional LED's are made of inorganic minerals such as:
LED development began with infrared and red devices, and technological advances have made possible the production of devices with ever shorter wavelengths.
Blue LED's became available in the late 1990s. They can be added to existing red and green LED's to produce white light. Most "white" LED's in production today use a blue LED chip covered by a scintillate coating made of Zinc solenoid (ZnSe). The LED chip emits blue light, part of which is converted to yellow by the ZnSe. This mixture of blue and yellow light creates the impression of white - hence the bluish or yellowish tint that these diodes usually exhibit.
The most recent innovation in LED technology is a device that can emit ultraviolet light. When ultraviolet light illuminates certain materials, these materials will fluoresce or give off visible light. White light LED's have been produced by building ultraviolet elements inside material that fluoresces to produce white light.
The semiconducting chip is encased in a solid plastic lens, which is much tougher than the glass envelope of a traditional light bulb or tube. The plastic may be colored, but this is only for cosmetic reasons and does not affect the color of the light emitted.
Most typical LED's are designed to operate with no more than 30-60 millewatts of electrical power. In 2002, 5 watt LED's became available with efficiencies of 18-22 lumens per watt.
The Advantages of LED’s vs. Neon
If a sign has red, white or yellow faces our Solarbrite™LED lighted signs can be brighter than ANY neon lighted sign by adding MANY LED lights.
In manufacturing very small letters, we can light them with LED’s even when they are too small to light with neon.
LED transformers, because they are low-voltage output, do not need ground-fault protection; their voltage is not dangerous. Their warranty is one year.
LED lighted signs ship to distant locations with less damage than neon lighted signs. They require less crating. also. This is the major reason "sign companies" that buy their signs from the actual manufacturers push LEDs. But, the reason for selecting a light source should not be what's best for the sign company!
The Disadvantages of LED’s vs. Neon
Think of LED’s as very small, individual, lights. There is no standard for spacing them horizontally and vertically in the varying width and shape of a channel letter. Illumination results (brightness and evenness of lighting) are determined by the experience level of the sign company and their willingness to place illumination results ahead of personal profits. Results vary.
LED’s begin getting dimmer as soon as they are powered up. In approximately 2 to 15 years, depending on their quality, they are too dim to be useful as a sign.
Unlike neon which will burn more brightly for a short while, then dim to an even glow for many years, when LED’s are replaced they continue to burn much brighter than all of the LED’s around them. Also, it is not possible to color match new LED’s and old LED’s. And, because LED technology is advancing so rapidly, exact replacement LED’s are unavailable after only a year or so. Therefore, plan to replace all of the LED’s when only a few have burned out so that your sign does not light unevenly and off-color, giving your potential customers a bad impression of your business.
Many LED light-string components are wired in series, so that many of the LED’s go out when one LED fails. Signs Manufacturing Corporation's Solarbrite™ LED signs do not, however.
Prior to the introduction of Solarbrite™ LED’s the United States Department of Energy (DOE) has studied LED's and states that while LED's are generally far superior to incandescent lights their efficacy does not approach fluorescent lamps and neon. With the single exception of Solarbrite™ LED’s this remains true.
There is a significantly higher "parts count" in a LED lighted channel letter sign. More parts to fail. Click our "Energy Savings" tab one page up to view a comparison of operating costs and number of components so you can make an informed decision.
Signs Manufacturing™ & Maintenance Corp.
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