Sign & Digital Graphics

June '18

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S I G N & D I G I T A L G R A P H I C S • June 2018 • 19 inches deep due to UL requirements of spacing. If neon is in a sign, LEDs will work fine." Be wary of the condition of the chan- nel letter as well. Letters in good condi- tion should be prime for a retrofit, but those in bad shape pose serious problems. "The physical conditions of a set of old channel letters or fabricated sign cabinet can be a retrofit game changer," Reis offers. "If the set of channel letters are so old that the trim on the faces is starting to delaminate or the steel frame of the fabricated cabinet has rusted out, you may have to let your client know that the job will entail a lot more than just retrofitting the neon or fluorescent lamps to LEDs." On the flip side, "If the letters and cabinet are in good condition, then a LED retrofit is the way to make that old tired sign come back to life," says Reis. "The sign will not only look great, but it will start saving your customer money the day you turn it on." Finally, signage can be featured as single-sided or double-sided, though channel letters are typically single-sided. In the case when double-sided signage is found—in applications such as sign cabinets—there are often additional challenges to face during a retrofit. "There is often a support pole through the middle of the sign that must be accounted for to prevent shadows," says Anderson. "Also, since the LEDs in a dou- ble-faced sign are generally centered in the middle of the enclosure, there is half the distance to the sign face. Choosing an LED with a wide beam angle is very important in this application in order to maintain an even face illumination with- out hot spots." With single-sided letters, there may be more options for LED implementa- tion. Reis says, "With new LED modules that have lenses to spread the light on them, it is much easier and more forgiv- ing to retrofit a set of channel letter from neon to LED. The installers are able to retrofit a double-stroked five-inch deep neon channel letter with a single stroke of LEDs and achieve the same, if not bet- ter, illumination." The LED Aspect In these retrofit jobs, once the struc- ture is determined to be sound, sign mak- ers can turn to the lighting aspect and implement the LEDs. There are a few different factors to consider when look- ing at the lighting component. First and foremost is to look at the lighting output. What should one expect with LEDs versus neon? "LED light output is comparable with neon," Bluhm says. "Another benefit is the viewing angle of a lensed product will provide more coverage than neon on the face of a channel letter." Bluhm explains that LED brightness has increased over the past decade and in configuration of front lit, back lit or both, "they can easily provide enough light for all three of these applications," he states. "That being said, LED chan- nel letter modules make a great solution for removing neon and replacing with an LED solution." And it comes down to picking the cor- rect lighting for that specific sign. Sign makers will want to consider things like Mega Volt, Inc. completed a job for a florist that was more involved than initially anticipated. (Image courtesy of Mega Volt, Inc.) 20 16 9

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