By Erik Sine
Competition Light NOT "Usable Light"
As some of you may already know The Sign Syndicate has been testing NC LEDs since 2010 in Project Tighty Whitey, The Red Light District, & Blue Light Special and after the first 8,000 hours I was pretty impressed in "PTW", even in that short about of time we saw no light degradation (Lumen Maintenance). So I was always interested to see how they progressed, err....regressed in light as time went on.
As many of you know, I don't use LEDs as a primary light source for channel letters unless I have too.
When I have had to use LEDs over the years I've always been real careful about what LED manufacturer I use, and there is a VERY, VERY short list of who I use/used because I'm one of the few electric sign manufacturers that offers my clients a 5 year electrical "Worry Free" warranty that INCLUDES labor to change any electrical component out and I stress....."I"...chose to use for their sign.
For this very reason you can pretty much chuck most LED marketing brochures in the garbage that states their LED's last 50,000+ hours of operation without loosing any light output. Most of the time they've never even tested their own to see how long they last of they take a result of 2 to 5 thousand hours and project to you the consumer those results which usually show little to none and project them in a slow gradual path of light loss. You can't do that that with LED's, but you can when it comes to light degradation with Neon & Fluorescents who have a much larger case history to go off of and it's just phosphor loss unlike LEDs which have so much more to loose.
Most sign shops stick to the 1 year state mandatory (contractors licensing law) warranty, and "optional" or limited component warranty that does NOT include labor for up to 5 years. So should some component YOU chose crap out on your client then I guess they call you, you get a free replacement from the manufacturer and YOU end up charging YOUR client to replace something YOU specified out.....oh real nice!!!
With my clients I put my money where my mouth is, so that's why my list of who to use is short, if it goes bad because of what I specified out I eat it, NOT my client!!!
5 years is a long time, and those who pay attentions to the 3rd party testing that The Sign Syndicate has been doing since 2008 knows most LEDs don't last as long as claimed, at least when it comes to "usable" light.
I've been using NC LED for a particular program for a few years now where I have to use LEDs because the use of electrical component clearance is impossible for Neon. Over the years the results have been awesome using NC LED, and of course happy clients.
The main reason why I choose to use NC LED for my program before we even started selling it here which is obviously recent, is because from the testing we have been doing here namely Project Tighty Whitey as it applies here.....there are a few things in common the brighter white LEDs in the comparison that last longer than others have in common.
1st....Their made in Korea, very tight quality control, think "Japan"!.......NOT China where they have quality control issues. Don't let anyone tell you different, there is too much of a track record and case history for INCONSISTENCY and manufacturers have to constantly hold the hand of the Chinese to make sure they're getting consistency and this is why American companies play musical chairs with Chinese plants who make their products.
2nd....Their constant current, or current regulated on each module...NOT constant voltage aka "Eco". So if you're not familiar with that term Constant Current just know each module is 12 volts from the first to the last on a string. A LED module that is ...NOT CC is constant voltage, aka "Eco"! Those are unregulated and the first LED module on a string is different than the LED on the last, or middle. It also means the first LED on the string could be taking a big hit from the power supply because it's not regulated and you'll get faster degradation as well as uneven lighting.
CONSTANT CURRENT vs CONSTANT VOLTAGE
This is not to say others that aren't with similar characteristics will last nearly as long (there have been exceptions), in past versions degradation over 15,000 hours or 5 sign years is left on 8 hours a day has been about 0 to 3% of the original illumination, that's something that should interest you and the end user, and newer versions only get better with heat dissipation.
NC LED come with three different diode manufacturers, SOL, LG, & Samsung ("Reckless"). I took a personal hand for us to use SAMSUNG, their white is brighter than the other configurations, it's more of a true 6500 white, and you need bright! The LED colors that we stock are SOL chip.
Every LED manufacturer has their marketing claims on Lumens, Viewing Angle, Lens..no lens, etc etc etc. From the Neon & LED testing we have been doing here on the Sign Syndicate they can throw all that out the window because it doesn't translate into anywhere when it comes to the sign industry, how we use them, and how it makes them last over time. 90% of the time it's just a sales pitch to throw at you on why you should buy their over another one. Who cares about Lumens when it comes to signs...we light up a sign face and only care about surface light! Viewing angle??? Don't get me started!
What do we care about being in the sign industry? That it's bright, and most importantly it lasts over time....well...at least the client does more so than the sign sign shop because it's them who will have to pay to re-retrofit to something else.
So, we're very happy to offer the NC LED "Reckless" light source product to our members that we know works as an option for your sign projects here on The Sign Syndicate. It's nice to add another High Brightness LED to our line up, AND the Reckless-2 is the brightest LED in it's class of under 1 watt per module and under 3 watts per foot than anything on the market today!
If you're the type of shop that just likes to stick to big name LED manufacturers because you think you're playing it safe and you're also not too familiar with the testing The Sign Syndicate has been doing since 2008 let me just say this. From all the testing we have been doing with out benchmark testing, and we've talked about it a lot in the past. You pay a lot of money to big name LED manufacturers and the product itself is most of the time is average and most a lot of times subpar compared to what's out there from a few small select LED manufacturers. You pay a lot and you get very little. What I mean by that is, you don't get a whole lot of light in return and you could pay significantly less and get a brighter light output and a product that will even last longer. Not all big names, but you'll have to download the quarterly results that we have in the Board forum and judge for yourself.
Like I said, there are VERY good results from a FEW select companies in Project Tighty Whitey and NC LED is one of those few, AND that's why I'm very proud to offer it to our members.
Why leave money on the table choosing someone else and why not have a more satisfied client using NC LED?
NC LEDs come in both forms, Constant Current "Reckless" as well as Constant Voltage "Eco"(ECO Series), we will be concentrating on the Constant Current versions of these LEDs
Basic NC LED Specs
• 5 Year, 50,000 Hour Warranty
• Constant Current (Regulated) not Constant Voltage like cheaper "eco" LEDs
• Made in Korea.....NOT made in China
• High Brightness LEDs
• Samsung Diodes for white
• Sol Diodes for color
As I stated above, we're offering 100 of the most versatile NC LED "Reckless" Modules which is the two diode Samsung configuration, the Reckless-2 powered by Samsung for only $79.99
Specification Cut Sheets (Updated 4/25/16)
NC SS Brochure.pdf
Lastly I need to mention that I power up these bad boys with our also Korean made LED Power Supplies by Union Elecom
So if you're burning out those cheap import Chinese LED power supplies, (even the so called "Engineered In America...Made In China.." type) and you can't figure out why after loading your power supply to a safe 50 watts on your 60 watt power supply which REALLY may only be able to handle a 40 watt load because of make, convection cooling, and due to the environment in which it's in you might want to get a hold of their derating curve chart and see what your product may be able to handle. Plastic power supplies = NOT good.
So....we now stock the Union Elecom Class II, Listed, 60 watt and 120 watt (Dual channel) LED Power Supplies. These LED Power Supplies are IP68, and fitted with 1/2" nipples so you can simply hook up the primary with a junction box that has 1/2" thread knock-outs so you don't need a Transformer Box to house your power supply for remote installs.
Again, why Union Elecom if you're not familiar with the name or company?
First, their Korean, that means high quality standards. This is what they do, this is what they do best....they make power supplies.....solely! Unlike some other companies who offer power supplies but it's not their primary focus, they really make LEDs or other products as their primary. They just "offer" a power supply to go with their LED's. THAT can be bad and as we all know, we've seen plenty of failure on the field whr we have to come back and replace over and over again!
UNION ELECOM LED POWER SUPPLY
Members can purchase these LEDs by phone (858) 880-1400, emailing us email@example.com or use our online Shopping Cart LINK
Was wondering if anyone would be willing to share a wholesale LED poster Box source with me. We are putting a bid together for a local casino and they are asking for pricing on a few LED light box for back lit prints. I suppose if I had my choice a supplier located mid country would work best.
Big River Sign Co.
By Erik Sine
OWNING THE NIGHT WITH THE AXIOM SYSTEM
First I think it should be known that the Axiom LED's are more geared for the advanced level sign fabricators & planners
There are some bright LED systems out there. Some Claim to be Champs, some claim to be Street Fighters. For those of you who are regulars of The Sign Syndicate, you know Axiom LED is a familiar name. You know of Axiom from discussions here, as well as the testing results that we have performed since 2008 in The Great White Hope.
Axiom LED is a wrecker, a Street...Bar Room Brawler.
As some of you know, not too many LEDs impress me.
If you're a Neon guy, trust me....Axiom LEDs are your WORST nightmare come to life when it comes to standard channel letter illumination. I say this because the Axiom AXLE9XB's are a small compact version of a 13mm Tri-Phosphor Lamp operating on a 60ma transformer.
So, which leads me to the content of this thread.
A referral came up and I had two choices, Neon (White 12mm/13mm Tri-Phosphor Lamps) or LED (Axiom AXLE9XB). I thought long and hard, and this became a good opportunity since I don't do many projects these days...to show off what the Axiom LED system does, and is capable of doing.
Laying out the LED, single strip of Axiom's AXLE9XB Modules in a 4.5" width letter stroke.
What makes Axiom's AXLE9XB LEDs unique is, they operate at 12 volts as a .5 watt LED which are under driven. Or you can run them at optimum and where they want to be at 14.7 volts and unleash the Beast of Nichia within and transform them into a 1.6 watt LED. Nichia has the BEST phosphors!
Here, I left one portion at 12 volts as a 1/2 LED to the right. This is where your normal JT, JS LEDs are normally in brightness. To the left we manually drove up the Axiom AXLE-PS6012 power supplies to 14.7 volts. I just did this for illustration.
The Axiom LEDs are just two modules per foot, or $4.00 a foot for a super ultra high powered, high brightness LED that you won't find in equal, let alone be in the same ballpark when it comes to cost. It would be having to take other LED modules out of manufacturer spec of 2 or 3 per foot to 7 or 8 per foot to try and find the same light output, which would drive your cost from $3.15 per foot to $8.40 per foot using a .5 watt or .72 watt module of competing manufacturers. But, you can do it all for the cost of $4.00 a foot with Axiom LEDs AXLE9XB Modules
Early production shot.
The channel letter faces are all fabricated with Plasco Trim Cap of course!!!
Here's a shot of the military grade 60 watt Axiom AXLE-PS6012 LED power supplies. The operating LED light as well as diagnostic light, right next to it is the set screw fro adjusting them from 10.5 volts to 15 volts. As you can see, these are very small metal power supplies that fit perfectly into sign bodies
Check it out, it's noon and the LEDs are so bright you can see them fighting the day light!
Okay the final shot
I was getting anywhere from 385 to 415 foot candles on the sign face surface with out light meter that we use for the Sign Syndicate Light Testing Projects.
The pictures at night do it no justice, all I can say is your mouth would drop if you were to see in person. If you work with Neon or familiar with it, just imagine a 13mm Tri-Phosphor Lamp operating at 60ma illuminating white faces. That's what Axiom does, and they do it well!
Like I said, there are pretenders, there are wannabe's, and then there is the few 5% who are the real deal in the electric sign industry. Axiom's are bright, a nice consistent color rendering, and MOST importantly, are proven to last years well beyond all others.
In closing......The no fancy packaging Axiom LED System in order to keep costs low, is for the experienced electric sign project manager and fabricator ONLY that understands the importance of planning, value, lighting, and desire of integrating an element into their projects that lasts over time and whom doesn't get sucked into the everyday hype of marketing terms and claims made by other manufacturers who have a inferior product who try and make up for it by stressing the importance of cute packaging in the form of lens's & module casings That's what you get with Axiom AXLE9XB LEDs, a quality, high powered godly product with diodes from the world renowned Nichia of Japan, a bare bones package that is proven not only against light degradation (lumen maintenance) but against the elements (IP67) all made and produced right here in the good ol USA
The Simple Project Recipe:
Plexiglas MC #7328 White
Axiom AXLE-PS6012 LED Power Supplies
Axiom AXLE9XB 6500 LEDs
Plasco Trim Cap
3M Yellow Translucent Series
Westrim Toggle Disconnect Switch
No Sweat, No Tears, Some Blood.
By Erik Sine
The Sign Syndicate is now stocking and distributing the high brightness American Made Axiom AXLE9-XB LED modules at $2.00 per module or $4.00 per foot with Nichia of Japan diodes along with their military grade power supplies that we have been selling for some time now.
For those that don't know or are new to the site, The Sign Syndicate has been running the only public Neon & LED comparison tests since 2008 starting with The Great White Hope. We've been testing just about every Neon & LED Lamp that's out on the market throughout our various tests.
The Axiom LED was just about the winner when it came to the high powered LEDs, they were side by side with the GE Tetra PowerMax. What put Axiom at the the top was price, it was about 1/5th the price and ended up being slightly brighter by a few foot candles after 36,000 hours (12 sign years at 8 hrs a day) of operation and they were just a shy in brightness to that of the Tri-Phosphor Neon Lamps.
That was the class of 2008.....
Now.....we have the Great White Hope II which started at the beginning of this year, and Axiom just got better being added in this month September 2014. We now have a light source that is just a hair under the brightness of a 13mm EGL DL65 Tri-Phosphor Neon Lamp running at 60ma.....That's Sickly bright!!!
GWH II Test Comparison - Axiom AXLE9-XB (channel located on top)
The Axiom AXLE9-XB is a very good alternative/option to Tri-Phosphor Neon & Fluorescent lamps for large channel letters and sign cabinets.
The wow factor to the Axiom LED module is that you get a two for one LED module with the Axiom AXLE9-XB LED. I demonstrated it in a video below. You can use the module with or in a 12 volt system/power supply under driving it and use it as a .5 watt module, and you just about have the brightest module in Project Tighty Whitey, and the highest Foot Candle per Watt.
You can use run it on a 14.7 volt system and really using it as intended and where it's driving the Nichia of Japan LEDs at optimum with the Axiom PS6012 Power Supplies which are manually adjustable from 10.5 volts to 15 volts and now use it as a 1.6 High Brightness LED as used in the Great White Hope II.
Axiom PS6012 60Watt Power Supply
The AXIOM LED AXLE9-XB Specs
Nichia of Japan LEDs For Maximum Lifetime LM80 Tested 250-260 Lumens Per Module, 500 Lumens Per Foot UL Recognized For Wet Locations & Listed in the UL SAM Up To 60˚C Ambient Operating Temperature Just as Bright As A 13mm 60ma Tri-Phosphor Neon Lamp Under Driven on a 12v System, Optimum & Made For a 15v System Measures at 1.325" Long x .75" Wide, 1/8" High AXIOM LED AXLE9-XB Demonstration Video
You can order the Axiom AXLE9-XB Modules and Axiom PS6012 straight from our online shopping cart here. You can contact us by phone with any inquiries or questions and also to place orders (858) 880-1400 or by email firstname.lastname@example.org
By Erik Sine
Here's a video we did on an easy/simple way of explaining the Axiom AXLE9-XB High Bightness LEDs that are made in the US with Nichia of Japan Diodes & Phosphors and how you can use one LED line for three applications, small channel letters, large channel letters & sign cabinet lighting also how they compare to similar class LEDs.