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
By Erik Sine
Utter Reckless Sign Making
Got an opportunity to fabricate and install a reverse pan channel letter sign using the Reckless NC LED lines that we carry.
Unlike most LED's on the market that are Constant Voltage, made in CHINA....unregulated, and short life for whites and especially color LED's OURS are ALL Constant Current, long life and of course rated for IP68...not that that was needed for this....but nice to have an know! Here we used our Yellow/Amber, Red, and our Reckless High Powered White (Amazing 3% Light degradation in 15,000 hours from our testing in Project Tighty Whitey).
I have to reiterate again, it's only been the last few years that The Sign Syndicate got into Light Source Sales since we started out testing for the electric sign industry. We were amazed with our benchmarks on a few lines, and from someone who likes Neon over LED's I was impressed. Neon is still my preference, there are only about 5% of what we've tested that I would ever use when it comes to LED's. If you like LED's, then this is one of those lines. We started selling Axiom LED's for bright high powered white, and soon after I became so impressed with NC LED, it soon followed. I was asked for a couple of years to sell this line, and I finally gave in, here is a little of that "why". I like selling only what I use, and know to be quality. Their main focus was "eco", or constant voltage, I requested a constant current line when we first started testing, it wasn't something they focused on. But after seeing results of other similar make up we soon saw NC LED exceed those that came before it. When we finally picked up the line I wanted something even more different here in the U.S., I tailored a configuration that I thought best suited the needs of the American electric sign industry when it comes to LED's and what it was thirsty for. A product that also does not help financially support those across the ocean that aren't exactly our enemies, but NOT exactly our friends either.
Enter the Reckless...
High Powered White, high grade/tier Samsung diodes, Constant Current, high standards of quality control from Korea (think Japan) and here in the US hence the name #teamncled
All that put together and we get a 100% Sexy...Bad Ass module, it's disgusting I know.
The Reckless is my baby, it's Team NC's Baby, and we're going to treat her right. It appears in the last few months we've been doing almost too good of a job promoting her, and now many suppliers (reading this) are starting to flock to become carriers themselves. Guess their feeling that that what they've been pushing and promising is just not all that, and the failures are hitting them hard. But be assured, learning, seeing, and observing from what happens looking into the past with other mfg/supplier relationships, we've not going to let her be whored out and eventually cheapened #TeamNCLED is going to be taking very good control with all standards when it comes to this particular product, and who can offer it.
What keeps great products going and preservation of that, is the team behind it. It's another reason why I'm proud to be apart of it, it's not just a business but it's a "family" of individuals that are and will stay strong, and stay together.
That said, I have to say, I'm very proud how this particular job came out. It was going to have to be LED because of clearances, I could have made the "Orange" in Neon and I did think about it, EGL green pumped red. But I REALLY, wanted to see what the 1/2 watt Amber modules could do for halo lighting. From an optics standpoint, I love that the modules castings are the color of the light they will produce, no second guessing....easy!
The wall the signs were going on was pretty VERY much appreciated. Flat, light colored, perfect for reflection. We we're lucky, some walls in the shopping center were dark brown, NOT good for halo lighting unless you install with some flat white reflectors flush on the wall.
Easy wall to drill through, easy well enough access behind the wall but ALL Power supplies had to be centered on the wall because of access. If this was a Neon sign, it would be dreadful behind that wall. Behind the wall was one of our Union Elecom 120 watt (Dual Channel), and one 60 watt per sign, which totaled two signs.
At a glance.
Our Constant Current IP68 NC LED .48 watt Amber/Yellow
Our Constant Current IP68 NC LED .48 watt Red
The NC LED system engines, Union Elecom Power Supplies
The Sign Day Shots
Last but not least, and more important night shots to wrap it up
Right now just about all of the signs are LED only, and all white. Some ugly gray looking white, cheap blue white, high kelvin I'm sure but sold as 6500K with a poor bin process, and probably 50¢ modules. There is only one sign what has a nice white like our reckless, a national chain. Other than that the colors involved for this sign REALLY make it stand out, which leads us to this.
That's the point really, to stand out, to compete against our rival/competition (our customers too) and WIN! Winning brings you more clients/customers and referrals, and MORE future work.
That is what you will get when your signs have our LED's integrated into them, it's all apart of "Making Long Lasting Channel Letters, and What It Takes" and the products are only going to get better...BELIEVE ME!
One thing you have or haven't noticed, we've NEVER sold LED's with marketing statement such as "More Energy Efficient...Saving the Planet..Better than Neon or Fluorescent Lamps", those are myths and mis-information, we just sell better LED's than those that claim they do. This is also NOT my full time job, product sales is fun for me. Not being my full time job mean something of value to me and should for everyone else reading this. Not being full time for me means I don't have to lie or whore myself just to make a sale to float my boat. MANY do that because it IS their full time job. I'll just tell you it is a REALLY great product because we've tested it for years, and I myself use it. I can't bullshit for sales, I never have, never will, I never have with signs and I sure as hell won't do it with components....I'm not the type who can look at myself in the mirror if I did.
"NOT made in CHINA!!!"
By Erik Sine
If you can find an LED that competes with our Reckless NC LED I should would like to know.
Is it Constant Current and NOT constant voltage? Reputable high grade diode such as our top tier Samsung? Is it consistent? Is it made in CHINA? Most importantly does it last? How do you know it lasts? I'm not talking about catastrophic failure and I'm talking about gradual light degradation in a short about of time. The Reckless is only 3% light loss in 15,000 Hours. Are they IP68 for wet location?
So far everyone who has tried has bought more as it relates to the applications they use it for.
The Reckless is the brightest in it's class under 1watt modules or 3 watts per foot
Constant Current Red HLC2
Also, introducing our new LED Power Supplies. Union Power Supplies, IP68 for wet location, they come in 60 watt, and dual channel 120 watt units
So far we haven't seen any LED manufacturer who claims to be the best or brightest in the same class compare in a true white rendering, in brightness, or in longevity. American companies using Chinese LED's just don't seem to last or stay consistent over time.
• IP68 UL/CE
• 5 Year 50,000 Hour Component Warranty
• Constant Current
• 3% Lumen Maintenance in 15,000 Hours
• Made in Korea
• High Grade Tier Samsung Diodes
Most importantly.....NOT made in CHINA!!!!
You can visit out online Shopping Cart and order here or call in 858-880-1400 / firstname.lastname@example.org
By Erik Sine
Thought I would put out a warning. There are a few distributors out there who carry NC LED's but be careful.
There are a lot of different configurations and diode manufacturers configured in, on top of THAT...there are different diode grades.
Our Reckless series is the one I curtailed here on the Sign Syndicate for the electric sign industry and is very unique compared to all others. Don't come to assume because it's NC, and constant current it's the same as we supply here. Noooooooooooooo!
Ours is a VERY high grade Samsung, constant current NOT constant voltage or "Eco"
Some of these distributors/suppliers not only use false pics for ads but also have freedom of picking configurations they want, some like to compete to the bottom of the barrel with other low budget LED manufacturers.
Just know, when you buy it here it's "The Reckless" AND nothing but the cream of the crop.
Best part about it? NOT made in CHINA!!!!