What is an LED? Why choose an LED sign? What kinds of signs are there? How do I use an LED sign? Buying an LED Sign

What is an LED?

What does LED stand for?
LED stands for Light Emitting Diode
What is a Light Emitting Diode (LED)?
What is the difference between DIP and SMD technology? DIP is the original LED technology (DIP = Dual Inline Package). Typically a DIP display has a separate component for each colour (red, green and blue) to produce a full colour display. SMD (SMD = Surface Mount Diode) is a smaller component that typically has all 3 colours in the single component allowing higher resolution displays (more dots per m2). Both products have pro’s and con’s, do not be fooled that SMD is better because it is newer, yes it is cheaper but has some limitations, especially for extreme environments and impact protection.
How does an LED display work?
An LED screen is made up of hundreds of tiny LEDs operated by a control box. On a standard scrolling sign the LEDs are turned on and off in sequence giving the appearance of movement. On a full colour screen the LEDs are in clusters of red, green and blue diodes that light up accordingly to create the correct colour.
What is the difference between an LED Screen and an LED TV?
An LED TV is actually an ordinary LCD TV that is backlit using LEDs rather than a fluorescent tube. The correct name for these TVs would be LED backlit TV. An LED screen is made up of hundreds of individual light emitting diodes (LEDs) that light up in sequence to form an image.
What is a pixel?
On a LED display, pixels deliver a single point of light or colour (dot). Pixels can be close together or far apart depending on the desired viewing distance. DIP LED displays are typically made up of 3 LED’s being red, green and blue individual components all working together to form a colour array.
What is the pitch?
The pitch of an LED display is the distance between the centre of two adjacent pixels. The smaller the pitch, the crisper and more realistic (ie: less pixelated) the image will be when viewed from close distances. The pixel pitch should be specified to suit the design and application, having a small pixel pitch for a long viewing distance is wasted as the eye can no see the increased resolution. The more pixels = higher cost = higher maintenance = higher power usage.

Why choose an LED sign?

Why choose an LED sign over another form of signage?
People are more likely to read an LED sign over other forms of signage because they are conditioned to expect important information such as traffic conditions, flight and train schedules on LED signs. Additionally, all LED signs are programmable meaning that you are not stuck a with static message, or the expense of changing your message once it is out of date. Displays can be updated as often as required making an LED sign a one off investment that offers great flexibility.
Are LED signs expensive to run?
No. LEDs consume substantially less power than fluorescent and incandescent light sources. LED technology is also highly reliable, long lasting and requires minimum maintenance. Additionally, LED sign content can be updated at the push of a button thereby eradicating the expense of having to replace out dated static signs.
How long will an LED sign/screen work for?
A good quality LED sign or screen can run for up to 100,000 hours. However it is important to understand that the 100,000 hour lifetime for an LED sign refers to the time it takes for an LED chip to reduce in brightness by 50%. LED signs do have long life spans, but for a chip to last 100,000 hours everything from the quality of the componentry, the drive current, assembly, ambient temperature and junction temperature needs to be faultless.

The junction temperature of an LED chip must be maintained at the level prescribed by the manufacturer. If the temperature rises by 10°C the LED chip will reduce to 50% brightness after 80,000 hours and if the junction temperature rises by 30°C, brightness will fall to 50% after just 12,000 hours.
What is ambient temperature?
Ambient temperature refers to the temperature in a room, or surrounding an object under discussion. In an LED sign the ambient temperature is the temperature within the cabinet and should be controlled using temperature sensing technology.
What is junction temperature?
Junction temperature is the temperature at the point where an individual diode connects to its base. Maintaining the correct junction temperature is important to the longevity of an LED display.

What kinds of signs are there?

What is the difference between an indoor and an outdoor LED display?
Indoor displays are typically not vandal resistant, do not require weather protection, do not require cooling design as they are in an airconditioned location and only need to be low brightness. For an outdoor display, considerable price differences can be seen in the market and this is the biggest purchase risk. Firstly an outdoor display has to be 6 times brighter than an indoor display to be seen in sunlight, this can be achieved with high quality components or use lower cost components and overdriving (over powering) the LED’s to make then brighter which shortens the real life. Secondly the display has to be environmentally rugged and a low cost import product may not consider the display installation, ventilation or orientation to the sun and associated heat soak. An outdoor digital LED display can vary by 300% in costing from a low cost generic import to a fir for purpose designed solution.
What is a scrolling LED sign?
Also known as a ticker sign, scrolling LED signs have the ability to display text that moves from right to left across the sign. This attracts the attention of the reader and allows a longer message to be displayed.
What is an RGB Screen?
RGB stands for red, green, blue. An RGB screen is a full colour screen that uses various combinations of these three colours to create up to 16 million colours and shades. Today most LED digital signs and screens are RGB unless a specific designed solution is required as the cost of the components is negligible in comparison to the entire display manufacture cost.
What is the minimum distance I can read my LED display from?
The rule of thumb is the pixel pitch in mm = the minimum viewing distance in metres but consideration also has to be paid to the size and height above ground. When considering ideal visibility we need to understand the location (indoor, outdoor, direct sun facing) and also if the application is Text, Image or Video based content. Simply the ideal viewing requirements are not a formula and is speculative. Consulting with an expert with many years and thousands of installation’s will provide the best outcome.
What is the maximum distance I can read my LED display from?
What is the maximum distance I can read my LED display from?

TEXT - For text, as a rough guide, halving the text height equates to the viewing distance in metres. For example 140mm text height is suitable for viewing to 70M and the row spacing between text should be at least 1/3rd for maximum visibility. The size of the text, the number of lines and the row spacing allows you to establish the display height required.
IMAGES - For image based content being still low resolution images such as basic pictures and logo’s, typically the maximum viewing distance is 100x the height of the screen to be able to interpret the content being displayed.
VIDEO - For animated and live video content, typically the maximum viewing distance is 30x the height of the screen to be able to interpret the detail in the content being displayed
How do I know what type of LED display I need?
Our account managers will help you find the right sign to meet your requirements. Some of the things that you need to consider are:
  • Indoor or Outdoor
  • Text, Image or Video based
  • Direct sun facing
  • Target audience
  • Size / Aspect ratio
  • Pixel pitch / Viewing distance
  • Pixel type, SMD or DIP?
  • LED component grade
  • Service and Maintenance access
  • Engineering / Council requirements and regulations

How do I use an LED sign?

How can I update my LED display?
Today any reputable manufacturer should be offering a cloud hosted system. For LED-Signs we call this RemoteCMS where you can update the sign, screen or video display from any internet connected device like your mobile, tablet, laptop of desktop PC with the LED display connected to the internet through 3G/4G/5G mobile technology. Of course as a system designer LED-Signs can provide any multitude of technology solutions including Ethernet, Fibre, Bluetooth, Wireless RF, Serial, PLC, 4-20mA or R422/485 to name some common solutions. Also see following question.
What does CMS stand for?
CMS means Content Management System and is the means in how the content is published to a display. This could be as simple as live video (ie DVD / DTV) or it may be a program that is used to create and publish to the content. LED-Signs engineer solutions and while there are 4 common standard systems, there is no limit to the options and interfaces available. These common solutions are:
  1. RemoteCMS, Our cloud based hosted content management system
  2. Windows PC Software, Free of charge option to install a program on your PC and update the LED display
  3. MCS Interface, ASCII based direct interface protocol for system developers and PLC systems
  4. Video, Live video display system, simply connect any video source such as DVD, Video Camera, PC, Laptop, TV Set top Box, XBOX, PlayStation, IPAD or Media Player as a few examples.

Buying an LED Sign

Do I need to install my new LED sign myself?
In today’s environment and legislative requirements by far the most cost-effective option is to install yourself with your local maintenance person, electrician or handyman. If choosing to do yourself LED-Signs provide detailed design and installation drawings as well as project management and consultation. In addition Commissioning can be ordered where we provide installation certification, step by step hands on support, software installation, testing, training and most importantly self-service maintenance training. However, if required LED-Signs provide installation nationally but have maintain a strict WHS policy and engineering requirements for outdoor displays. Additionally, LED-Signs' project management team custom design, engineer, assemble and test all our signs.
Can my LED sign be serviced?
Indoor displays only require cleaning and maintenance every 3 years for standard applications. LED-Signs do recommend that outdoor displays are maintained annually to ensure maximum longevity which is a simple process of cleaning and inspecting that can be carried out by a competent person. LED-Signs offers national service and maintenance if required and also warranties upto 10-Years for peace of mind if required.
How do I get a quote?
Call us on 1300 553 555 or click here to fill out our quote request form.