Sign & Digital Graphics

November '18

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14 • November 2018 • S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S ELECTRIC SIGNAGE N obody likes backseat drivers. They are annoying and controlling; and they always try to manage everything to their liking. They tell you what to do, even when you are the one at the wheel. They focus on what can possibly go wrong in the present situation. Yet, in most cases we tolerate them. Their hearts are in the right place. With LEDs, there are different types of drivers—though not so different from the backseat variety. These drivers control the amount of power that is fed to LEDs and manage the functional- ity of the sign. They prevent damage from what may possibly go wrong. And we are thankful for them. Power supplies (drivers) are at the heart of the LED sign. Choosing LED drivers and overcoming challenges during implementation B Y R Y A N F U G L E R Ryan Fugler is a freelance writer and for- mer editor of Wraps magazine. He can be reached at rnfugler@gmail.com with ques- tions or comments. Driving Lessons Current Regulators LED drivers come in a couple different formats, and they serve as a regulator of the current that enters LEDs. "There are basically two types of power supplies for lighting," says James Blevons, sales manager at EPtronics, Inc. "Constant voltage that supplies a fixed DC voltage and will operate at a range of output current, and constant current that has a fixed maximum output current and a range of voltages allowing flex- ibility based on the number of LEDs are being driven." Because drivers are critical to extending the life of an LED and the overall sign, it's a rare case when you wouldn't need a driver in an LED sign project. "Most all LED signs require a driver," states Mike Bluhm, Director of Global Product Solutions, SloanLED. "The industry has settled into 12VDC and 24VDC as the input voltage to run the LEDs." Driver Selection Now, knowing the importance of LED power supplies, how do you know which one is right for a given project? What hap- Eco Power series. (Images courtesy of Scott Fetzer Electrical Group)

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