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This is a story that was posted on our site here back in August of last year, but with more infomation. Looking into the story more closely that were provided a lot does not add up, maybe someone can correct me, if I'm wrong.



Genesee Beer Sign Relit with LEDs

post-3-0-12043600-1328153918.jpg

I think the sign installers just got themselves into a bind, I sure don't know what information Garston Sign Supply supplied them has to say, it's a good idea to retrofit a classic open channel letter sign that has red neon, to LEDs. But in a couple of years they will have an unhappy customer, and this sign will be re-retrofitted. Maybe it's a good thing they left the glass housing receptacle holes in place.

There are signs that can be retrofitted with LEDs, and there are signs that you just don't do, this Genesee Beer Sign is one of them. Why do you ask?

Here's the question that should have been asked going into this project, and something that should have been brought up. Does saving in energy for a new light source that regularly degrades in time, outweigh the other existing light source that does not degrade in light output? Maybe Victory Sign, Mower & Associates, Davis Marketing, or Gartson Sign Supply don't know.

I dont think the owners of Genesee Beer are going to be excited with a re-retrofit bill in the near future.

If I'm the owner of Genesee Beer, the ROI in an expensive upfront cost to gut and retrofit this sign with flexible LEDs to gain a little savings in power every year will never happen, it's like that boat that never ports, the golden parachute that never lands. Because in a few years, the project term will be, "Re-Retrofit".

The least expensive route to this project WOULD have been to simply and efficiently "re-engineer" the existing neon system, make runs closer together, make sure there is proper drains and ventilation holes, check for reliable and proper loading, remake all new glass or BETTER YET use the old glass (maybe even anneal it too) and add new electrodes preserving that old uniqueness, neon glass is CHEAP! Whammo! Done! Red Neon does not degrade in light because it's only Glass and Gas, it's not even susceptible to ambient temperatures.

NOW that would have been a story, "We preserved this sign in it's original form by taking down the classic neon glass made way back in 1952, and simply removed the electrodes and repumped it". IMO


Neon Project @ 380 linear feet

3.6 watts per foot = 1,368 watts
$719.00 @12 hrs a day for 365 days to operate

11 Transformers = $990.00
New Wholesale Glass = $1,710.00

****Much cheaper on glass cost for just adding new electrodes to old glass

Total $2,700.00



SloanLED Flexibrite @380 linear feet

2.8 watts per foot = 1,064 watts
$532.60 @ 12 hrs a day for 365 days a year to operate

22 Power Sources = $1,914.00
SloanLED Flexibrite = $7,075.00

***Does not include the price of glue, clips, andcaps and wiring

Total $8,985.00



ROI: 48 years



In the media link it's said the the Beer company only pays $26 a month in energy now, that's not possible, it would be more around $46 to $50, and the consumption is not double over using neon

Between the 48 years how many times will this project need to re-retrofitted? In the current state of product I'd say, at least 7 times just being generous.



I just hope one day someone can't say, remember "Citgo"?

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

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And you are suprised by this article? Same shit new paper to wipe with! LOL

Installation & Maintenance Services

Brian Phillips | expresssignandneon@sbcglobal.net | P. 812-882-3278

Express Sign & Neon | 119 S. 15th Street - Vincennes - IN 47591

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Depends on the LED maker and glass diameter of the neon lamp. Taking foot candle readings right on the lamp surface since this is a exposed lamp and not for back lighting, it can range from 20 to 60 Foot candles for LED lamps, as high as 185 for Neon lamps on a 30ma system. Check out the Border Security test for these results Steve.

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

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I have no idea what he's referencing when he says 50ma to 20ma either.

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

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Nice job laying out the facts Eric. I was thinking the same thing as I read the article in Signs of the Times. The energy savings with LED are miniscule and really insignificant when compared to the initial project cost. Plus the sign isn't as bright and I think it just doesn't look as good as it would have if it was remade with neon. Seems like we have another case of someone being sold the idea that they need the latest technology without taking the time to figure out whether the new technology is actually better in their appilcation.

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  • Seems like we have another case of someone being sold the idea that they need the latest technology"

This hits it right on the head. Say "LED" to someone and it's immediately assumed that it must be miles better than old fashioned neon lighting. I've had more than one customer ask about retrofitting a sign from neon to LED's and they have already assumed that the LED's will cost next to nothing to run. Add in the labor costs and most retrofit jobs need to be very carefully examined to be worthwhile.

There is one thing that does "help" with the cost, at least in a public relations way. You can get much positive press for changing to a "green" lighting solution even if it isn't really worthwhile. I'd bet that Genesee Beer got lots of free advertising this way. ;)

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Who is in NY who can see the NY Palisades mall on a consistent basis? I think we need to jot down a date on a calendar set 5 years from now to ask sign user ownership how the retrofit is now, compared to what it was, and ask if a proposal ever came about simply 're-engineering" what once was?

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

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  • !llumenati

I work about 35 miles south on the garden state cash cow (parkway). I wonder why Bunting is not doing it, they did the original job.

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

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Of course I am a neon person and as such am basis in my comments about LED.That's just being honest.I am also some what sarcastic. LED is great,you do not have to hassle with us ill tempered neon benders ,worry about transporting breakable neon tubes or have qualified installers that understand how to properly install neon. All you have to do is hire some some glue and paste teenagers to install LED ,saves you a lot of money and time. Then when the little black dot syndrome starts to occur you get to dive back in to the own's wallet again ! You grab up on your $7 an hour paste & glue master "snot nose Duffy" and inform the owner that the power modules you used are no longer available . Just how great is that !

I am sure I am going hear from all you licensed and trained LED installers but this is the real world. Rarely have I seen any sign companies ( at least around here ) that have done any form of training in LED repair or installation.The channel letters that" we" get that have the LED already installed look like some high school science fair project , I make plots of these signs because it takes only a couple of years before the owner asks me to reto them to neon. Done quite a few of those.

The most common question ask of me is "how long will LED last"? My answer is "I do not know ,but I have neon units off sign restorations from the 1940,s that still light ".

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My simple question is what happened to the trade publications doing ANY articles on neon? What happened did it just drop off the face of the earth? I haven't seen an article on neon in the last few years. Are the mags being paid by the big LED manufacturers?

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A well stated counter-argument, Erik. Glad to see we finally have something to agree on.

Now and again we'll have our moments sml%20%2826%29.gif

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

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My simple question is what happened to the trade publications doing ANY articles on neon? What happened did it just drop off the face of the earth? I haven't seen an article on neon in the last few years. Are the mags being paid by the big LED manufacturers?

The short answer IS, we work and live in an age where the Environmental Fringe runs all our industry media. Long gone is the age of "Journalism", everything is agenda driven and common denominator is big advertising money. No longer is anything reported honestly and unbiased, told in a fashion where we hear both sides and we decide ourselves. The editor gets submissions all the time, but he carefully picks and chooses what he publishes, on the inside pages you can clearly see who advertises and spends money.

Without bona fide proof because I'm not there, but I would take a "wild guess", a "stab at it", take a "shot in the dark" and say articles are published with a decision influenced by those who spends money in the magazines, those relationships built overtime that turn into favors, obligation articles that are nothing more than "thank you for spending money here". Just my own opinion without any actual knowledge.

I know every light source has their pro's and con's, their strengths and weakness's, personally speaking I know where I would use LED flex tube lamps and I know where I would use Neon, you'll hear that sign application stuff here HERE, but you won't read about that in our trade magazines, you won't hear or see that in an Association seminar or workshop.

We'll just continue to hear and read about is how good LED light sources are with all the positives, all the pro's. But we won't hear about the negatives, the con's, those well, well those are reserved for ONLY Neon & Fluorescent lamps, and even THOSE are "Mis-Characterized" facts more than not. So our Environmental run media has and continues to mis-characterize a large section, well what use to be a large aspect of our electric sign industry. Our traditions stepped on, nothing more now than door mats to our media now

post-3-0-35911600-1329178912.jpg

It's safe to say and restate my above sentence to, "Mis-Characterizd, and Destroyed a large section, well what use to be a large aspect of our electric sign industry."

But hey, that's why this site exists, most of us swallowed the red pill instead of the blue pill, and we woke up to reality able to see the backdrops and false fronts of a "Markety" industry that starts at the top on down. Yet there are those among us in key positions that push for the blue pill. For those of us here, welcome to the bottom of the rabbit hole!

post-3-0-12990600-1329177096.jpg

As for the SOT where these articles spawn and tell us and outsiders "what" our industry is, there are those in that organization that are starting to loose their, "faith"

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

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Eric nice short answer. Comes down to $ as I said they are publishing to the money paid off weather directly or add dollars. (Starting to sound like the 1950 radio scandle from "payolla") Most of us here know that LED, fluorescent, neon, photo luminescence and a range of other light sources have their place. The fact that I own a neon plant does no mean that I don't use other light sources. I and I'm sure most good sign makers will lead our clients to the best for them. It just gets to me to keep hearing how much better/cheaper LED is than everything else.

But I ramble

BACK TO WORK!!!

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