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Erik Sine

The Great White Hope (Pre Project Thread)

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I strongly recommend the use of USLED and Gelcore for the remaining 2 slots - they are the most widely used outside your current list (as well as Permlight, but they don't seem to care about being in this market segment any more, so why use 'em). If Zdenko comes back to life, then replace one of GE or USLED with the Lumificient - though I'd rather see the bigger 2.

I agree with YYZ - they seem to be the two names that pop up all the time due to sign supply distributors pushing those two products. USLED performance would be almost amusing in your test and GE's would just show how having a big name costs people a lot more.

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I think I might agree with you both. I went ahead and bought the SloanLED "V-Series" at manufacturer specified quantity for the project size. I choose V series over the GW2 because it doesn't make sense to me to pay $26 per foot where off the bat brightness is not much different than Axioms or YYZ's Whites. I am debating to buy the GE Power Whites, which is basically the same thing. Maybe I need to have at least one high cost LED just for demonstration sake. I will also buy USLED today, the widely advertised White Lightnings we all see in the sign mags and finish this off, their mega white lightning is almost impossible to get a hold of with no one stocking it so I'll stick with the more affordable series.

SloanLED, GE were very reluctant to participate in this project. I told both this website and community is non biased, but I can tell on the other side of the phone they had that cocked eyebrow, why I have no idea since they advertise and promote so much as better than others. USLED, I'm not sure if I contacted them back but not sure if I have the time to wait around for a reply.


You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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Erik - you're giving Sloan an excuse for being less bright than others in the comparison by not using their brightest product. Same thing with USLED if you don't use the Mega White Lightning. There's a reason they are reluctant to be part of the comparison - and that's exactly why they need to be.

I just called our local distributor and they have some in stock, but they're $14 a module (or $28 a foot!). Apparently it goes down to about $11 in high volumes.

Oh - and the off-the-bat brightnesses actually aren't the same as Axiom or YYZ. More money, more power, less light ;)

Edited by YYZ

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Erik - you're giving Sloan an excuse for being less bright than others in the comparison by not using their brightest product. Same thing with USLED if you don't use the Mega White Lightning. There's a reason they are reluctant to be part of the comparison - and that's exactly why they need to be.

I just called our local distributor and they have some in stock, but they're $14 a module (or $28 a foot!). Apparently it goes down to about $11 in high volumes.

Oh - and the off-the-bat brightnesses actually aren't the same as Axiom or YYZ. More money, more power, less light ;)

and they use school teachers to buy competitor products

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I got off the phone with Steve from SloanLED and finding out whether they would like to participate or not, maybe I'm not talking with the right people but have yet to get a reply back from previous reps. Hopefully by the beginning of next week I'll have an answer. I'd like to have all on board participating because I'm sure there will be questions and inquiries and it would be nice to have a rep for that

Their concern (Sloan) is application it seems. V-series is recommended for channel letters where GW2 and a newer line up and coming is mostly for cabinets or large channel letters. As we've said earlier all this info depends on what a customer wants to achieve. This is why I'd rather have both practical and brightest for this project. Also I'm not 60ma'ing 12/13mm CL71, kind of exceeds most applications

There won't be, one best product, it all weighs on what a clients application is.

Anyway, waiting on a last ditch attempt with GE as well

p.s. I don't think everyone gave me their brightest product. Don't give other the excuse to be brighter!


You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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Alright, I've made enough phone calls to SloanLED, enough of their reps who are members here who have been monitoring this thread could have spoken up if they had genuine intentions of ever joining in on this comparison test. SloanLed obviously does not want to participate in this comparison, dodging phone calls and emails should say it all.

Despite their lack or wanting to join in, I'm taking the liberty of purchasing their product myself and throwing it into the test, configured per their specs on their website. The reason why I'm doing this is because they are one of the main leaders in advertising and should be here in this comparison. I think their willingness NOT to join in says something about their confidence in their own product. Which is not very good being a consumer or potential buyer of their product to be reading this. This is a simple benchmark test, I would think of this as the same as if Ford did not release their vehicle to Consumer Reports for evaluation being a reader or follower of this thread and test.

GE, I have still heard nothing back and can only assume the same as SloanLED. I will also be purchasing their product and throwing it into the ring for the same reasons.

This cabinet is almost just about finished. I received the final shipment of Kill-A-Watt meters and soon beginning to roll on this project, finally.


You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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K, sorry this is taking so long, almost done with this. I SWEAR! :P


You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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All right, waiting for one more vendor whom I contacted after talking to a little bird, which I think will be a nice surprise into the mix. He'll be sending in his "dumb leds" hopefully soon and we'll get rolling on this! :P


You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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Here is the teaser, just waiting on a Kilowatt meter that was defective to and the light meter, and a few loose ends to tie up and this is ready to roll. Here are a few teaser pics for the public. I don't have everything hooked up right now, but I do have to say that there are definitely a few surprises here to say the least.

All illuminated comparison pics, light readings, and power consumptions data will be in the tutorial section of this board.

Here is a few early fabrication pics

IMG_7247.JPG

IMG_7248.JPG


You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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Ahh - so the mystery new vendor is "VenBrite".

LEDs by Ventex!

I've been saying this for years - it's only a matter of time until everyone crosses over. Except SVP... that hole is dug too deep ;)

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Ahh - so the mystery new vendor is "VenBrite".

LEDs by Ventex!

I've been saying this for years - it's only a matter of time until everyone crosses over. Except SVP... that hole is dug too deep ;)

Very interesting these VenBrite. These are the sign industry's first non class II LEd system. The only component in the module itself is an LED, the brain is in the power source itself. Constant current, and the LED's are in a series circuit. Each LED has a Reflector Bowl which disperses the light almost making the LED look like a mini light bulb, is the best way I can describe it.


You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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Very interesting these VenBrite. These are the sign industry's first non class II LEd system. The only component in the module itself is an LED, the brain is in the power source itself. Constant current, and the LED's are in a series circuit. Each LED has a Reflector Bowl which disperses the light almost making the LED look like a mini light bulb, is the best way I can describe it.

They will have an interesting time not using a Class 2 power source with an LED - after Electraled non Class 2 systems caught a few buildings on fire I am not sure UL will look to fondly on this.

For example, as soon as they have more than 10 LEDs in a string the voltage will be beyond 32V and they will have a shock hazard issue and there will need to be protective conduit sleaving between each LED module.

But probably more interesting is how they will prove fire resistance issues. At least the early GE system had all running in parallel...different story in that case.

There are about 3 major sign companies on this board that should chime in about their experiences with non-Class 2 LED systems - lots of lessons learned.

UL should chime in as well.

Good job on the project Erik - I forgot how big the Advance Transformer power supply is versus our IP68 power supply.

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I noticed that Ventex power supply in there with led's. Now I see the two face in my coming out. I have dropped transfrormer manufacturers, message boards and such because I didnt believe in stocking using something that had been so pro neon suddenly jump on the led train. But I have to say that with my justified confidence in Ventex's transformers I would have to believe that an led line from them should follow suit.

Now I noticed a few of the led slots had the wire between the modules not at full length. Does this mean that the leds in these slots are not designed for your set up therefore you have the wrong led from the particular manufacturer in there? Without going back to find exactly what your project specs are I want to think that you are basically making channel letter slots with the standard 5" depth and standard white acrylic, right?


TEastin

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I noticed that Ventex power supply in there with led's. Now I see the two face in my coming out. I have dropped transfrormer manufacturers, message boards and such because I didnt believe in stocking using something that had been so pro neon suddenly jump on the led train. But I have to say that with my justified confidence in Ventex's transformers I would have to believe that an led line from them should follow suit.

Now I noticed a few of the led slots had the wire between the modules not at full length. Does this mean that the leds in these slots are not designed for your set up therefore you have the wrong led from the particular manufacturer in there? Without going back to find exactly what your project specs are I want to think that you are basically making channel letter slots with the standard 5" depth and standard white acrylic, right?

Correct, each slot is 7.75" x 3' x 5" deep simulating a channel letter. I asked all manufacturer's to send me the amount of modules for a double stroke letter, so some of the manufacturer's wire lengths aren't the same as others.

On the UL issue I think these are all about finalized with UL, a metal conduit will have to be used between letter runs. Their LED's are Nichia for white, maybe a few manufacturer's gave up on making a non class II systems because they couldn't get it right, but Ventex seems to have a very good track record. We'll see how this project all breaks down in one years time.


You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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I noticed that Ventex power supply in there with led's. Now I see the two face in my coming out. I have dropped transfrormer manufacturers, message boards and such because I didnt believe in stocking using something that had been so pro neon suddenly jump on the led train. But I have to say that with my justified confidence in Ventex's transformers I would have to believe that an led line from them should follow suit.

I applaud your willingness to give Ventex a chance, based on the reputation with neon. Even though it's likely inevitable, it's a pretty big deal for a company to actually cross that line. Now that it's out of the bag - perhaps Ventex can share the product info with the beta test crowd on here?

That said - like Manuel - I have some misgivings about the product now that I've heard a little more about it. It seems they've tried to stand out and be unique by not being a "typical class 2 DC system" - and while it may perform well in test cases, becomes problematic once it goes out to sign shops because it's different, loading is weird, etc... and that's just the practical side, never mind the UL and safety issues with Class 2. It's not unlike the "contactless" system from TFT - which will never gain wide usage - or Lumificient for that matter, with their flat speaker wire conductors. It's one thing to be cool and new, another thing to work really well once in the field. If they are in fact in series and constant current, there will be some major issues with loading, etc.

Now I noticed a few of the led slots had the wire between the modules not at full length. Does this mean that the leds in these slots are not designed for your set up therefore you have the wrong led from the particular manufacturer in there? Without going back to find exactly what your project specs are I want to think that you are basically making channel letter slots with the standard 5" depth and standard white acrylic, right?

In those photos, our modules have extra wire. The modules are 6" OC, so exactly 2 per foot. We provide extra wire because the modules don't always go in straight lines - sometimes you need to double back, jump to another stroke, etc..and you shouldn't need to splice in extra wire to do so. It's better to tuck in a little slack that to not have enough. I always hate playing with other companies samples where they have these little 2" jumpers - very impractical (like the Gelcore ones in the furthest left of the first picture). In thinner letters, by the time you stick one module down, there's hardly enough slack to reach in and peel the liner off the tape of the next module.

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Thats a fair explanation concerning the wire length, thanks yyz. However if I we installing the led strands and didnt know that I should expect some wire slack I would install the modules without slack between. Would the lighting be improper with this?

As for Ventex and potential issues that you see with their system, there is no doubt in my mind that Ventex is covering their bases on UL and such. I would have a hard time believing that they would go into this just to have a product on the market. This is just my opinion thought.


TEastin

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would love to know Ventex specs per part (lumens, price, power)...

Also at the end of the string of 10 modules what is the voltage? if they are in series it should be above 33V. We had this problem with our CCFL for letters - voltage was beyond Class 2 levels so we had to have way of obscuring wires behind metal back.

If they are using Nichia this will be even more interesting - Nichia LEDs can fail open (wire pops) - if this happens the rest of the string fails.

And seriously on Class 2 - Bank of America letters caught on fire in a few locations - a very large sign company has nothing positive to say about using non-class 2 power supplies. They are a bit cheaper but not worth the risks.

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Thats a fair explanation concerning the wire length, thanks yyz. However if I we installing the led strands and didnt know that I should expect some wire slack I would install the modules without slack between. Would the lighting be improper with this?

Depending on the letters, you may or may not see hot spotting in front of the modules. With deeper letters it's less of an issue, though sometimes with narrower strokes you also need to tighten up the spacing a little. Depends on the acrylic face too - as some are more translucent and show the light source more.

It's not just our product - it's everyone's. If you stretched out the spacing between the furthest LEDs would then be just like Axion, Gelcore, etc. We intentionally make our module a little longer so that if you follow the spacing recommendation, you have about 4" between the LEDs and more even light. If you stretch it out, that becomes 6".

Our installation diagrams quite clearly show the wire slack and we even suggest on how to "loop" the wires so that there is less strain on the modules. If the wires are shoved into awkward directions, they can sometimes cause the module to peel off of a letter that might not have been clean before sticking down.

As for Ventex and potential issues that you see with their system, there is no doubt in my mind that Ventex is covering their bases on UL and such. I would have a hard time believing that they would go into this just to have a product on the market. This is just my opinion thought.

I agree on the UL thing. I don't think they'd make an unsafe product - but not being LED guys by background, per se, they may not understand some of the nuances of designing LED systems and overlooking things that make for a stable, effective system from an implementation standpoint. There's a reason why Gelcore went away from using constant current drivers into strings of individual LEDs.

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I just confirmed with UL - using the Ventex system requires that the sign company use a polycarbonate or glass face to the channel letter.

I think there are a lot of companies that have thought it would be great and low cost to offer a product like Ventex is proposing but I know that UL has very strict issues with non-class 2 systems in signage.

I am sure Jim from UL will jump on here and clarify it for you.

The condition of acceptability of the VENTEX system is if you use a polycarbonate or glass face....kind of pricey!!

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I don't understand why The Venbrite system would need a polycarb/glass face and a higher voltage neon system does not.


You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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I just confirmed with UL - using the Ventex system requires that the sign company use a polycarbonate or glass face to the channel letter.

I am sure Jim from UL will jump on here and clarify it for you.

The condition of acceptability of the VENTEX system is if you use a polycarbonate or glass face....kind of pricey!!

I know John personally along with his engineers and believe they have thought this through.

UL Jim - What is the code for faces. I think that they have to be polycarbonate to begin with to have the sign UL. I may be wrong but... A large majority of UL signs do not use a UL listed face material due to the price.


GOOD things happen for a reason......

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It is true that any LED system that exceeds the Class 2 limits must have the wiring and parts enclosed in an enclosure rated material. The reason LEDs have been Class 2 powered is for 2 basic reasons:

1) If the LEDs are powered by other than a Class 2 power source, they are required to be enclosed. In signs this means polycarbonate sign face. Acrylic sign faces are slow burning polymers that cannot qualify as enclosure grade material. Additionally, the sign manufacturer has to provide a marking on the inside of the sign warning service personnel of the need to use enclosure rated sign face material should the sign face be replaced.

2) If the LEDs are powered by other than Class 2, they must be mechanically secured in place. double sided tape would not be acceptable as should the tape let go, as it does at times, there is then high energy components mixing it up within the sign. This increases the likelihood of a fault and thus an arc to ground.

Several years ago a manufacturer was insistent on using other than a Class 2 power source. The sign manufacturers time and time again were held up because the sign face was acrylic and unacceptable. This can be a real problem and it is the sign manufacturer who gets tripped up.

Ventex has at least one product that I know of that is powered by other than Class 2. Therefore, make sure that when using Ventex products what the power source is and be prepared to adjust the sign face and LED securement method as necessary.


**** - 2010

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There has been some confusion created on my part and I wanted to clear something up about this project. I think I may have somehow relayed a message that I am "Charging for test results".

Let me clarify where this project is going and why.

This is the first project to be placed into the Tutorial section of this board. The Tutorial section of this board is reserved for those members who choose to support this board by upgrading their free membership, to that of a "Board Patron". Also, this section is for Members who are sign component manufacturer's, suppliers, distributors, or associations and choose to become a "Board Vendor". The future of the Tutorial section will hold more projects along with Articles written by various individuals.

This Tutorial Section is our way of saying, "Thank You for supporting the website, and here's something back."


You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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There has been some confusion created on my part and I wanted to clear something up about this project. I think I may have somehow relayed a message that I am "Charging for test results".

Let me clarify where this project is going and why.

This is the first project to be placed into the Tutorial section of this board. The Tutorial section of this board is reserved for those members who choose to support this board by upgrading their free membership, to that of a "Board Patron". Also, this section is for Members who are sign component manufacturer's, suppliers, distributors, or associations and choose to become a "Board Vendor". The future of the Tutorial section will hold more projects along with Articles written by various individuals.

This Tutorial Section is our way of saying, "Thank You for supporting the website, and here's something back."

Damn - I thought everything in life was free...I tried to convince all the pretty girls of that the other night at a club here in Las Vegas...thanks for the education and the tutorial section. :)

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Okay, everything is done, the cabinet is vertical and ready to be left on 24/7/365

I'll post the first pic tonight with some with FC readings to follow. Next week we'll get some spectrometer reading too, and re-evaluate those again 3/6 months later. Vendors who aren't satisfied with their choice of comparison by not sending me their brightest are welcome to do so but it needs to be express shipped to me.


You have enemies? Good. That means you've stood up for something, sometime in your life. - Winston Churchill

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