Sign & Digital Graphics

January '19

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • January 2019 • 23 Basic diagram of a modular LED display cabinet—front, side and rear. (Image courtesy of Optec Displays) ronments and are engineered to withstand pounding rain, blow- ing dust, beating sun, strong winds and frigid snow. Because electronics generate heat, and expand and contract in their natural environments, they need to "breathe." However, while it's imperative to protect against the elements, it is difficult to fully seal something because of the need to exhaust excess heat. The International Electrotechnical Commission ( IEC) sets the Ingress Protection (Ip) rating, which determines the sealing effectiveness of electronic equipment or electronic enclosure. It is useful as a standard measurement of electronic equipment's resistance against external harmful elements and is the most important variable in distinguishing outdoor rated displays/ billboards/modules versus indoor ones. Older LED displays contain the IP65 rating, which means the equipment is virtually impenetrable by any of nature's elements. However, companies are now producing modules with an IP67 rating for the tile (module) and an IP65 rating for the cabinet. To achieve the tiles' IP67 rating, they are fully sealed with a thermal conductive polymer applied to the rear, which provides additional weath- erproofing and allows for heat dissipation. Maintenance, Monitoring and Security Billboards and spectacular displays also require attention to maintenance, monitoring and security. For example, advances in cabinet engineering have greatly improved maintenance, espe- cially with front and rear service options. Additionally, some manufacturers have eliminated multi-pin (traditional 30-40 pin connectors) ribbon cables, which means faster tile changes, fewer damaged cables, and tighter connections. Fewer cables provides a reduction in display weight and clutter, making it faster to find critical components, and less areas for heat to get trapped inside. A few companies have moved to advanced, single-point 5-6 pin power and data connecters using low-voltage differential signaling ( LVDS). The elimination of ribbon cables and use of LVDS significantly reduces EMI (electromagnetic interference) emission, which can cause disruption to surrounding signals, making a large billboard display or spectacular a target for FCC fines or to be shutdown. Other industry advancements include a reduction in daisy chained outages—when one tile is out but not the display's entire row or section as well as redundant data and power that helps lessen signal interruptions and outages. We are also see- ing smarter LED tiles with built-in CPUs to store more infor- mation, color calibration and runtime data and other critical material to help keep the display looking as uniform, bright, and vibrant as possible. This information can be accessed through a diagnostic utility from a remote location, which makes site adjustments easier, calibration data more accurate, and provides an odometer to more precisely gauge the display's runtime and life expectancy. High-Tech Diagnostics For security, maintenance, proof of performance and envi- ronmental observations, 24/7 visual monitoring occurs with front-facing cameras. Recently introduced to the market are diagnostic utilities in a range of technological sophistication. For example, some displays use a base level while others have a more advanced system that even includes the pixel for high- profile, high-resolution installations. Multi-layered diagnostics allows remote access for service teams to conduct system checks, quickly identify problems and dispatch parts or repair teams to the site faster and with greater accuracy, reducing downtime and service trips. Cyber security is an issue for high-profile billboards and spectacular displays, particularly in larger cities. To combat this, direct fiber optic network infrastructure is housed behind heavy firewalls, which also allow larger data signals like live video to Modular LED Cabinet

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