"Rope" (Border) LED
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Hi guys!

 

Need to see what the rest of you are using for the following application.  I have a TON of neon on a Checkers Restaurant the customer wants to replace with rope or rigid LED sticks to get rid of the neon that is constantly in need of service.  Any recommendations?  This is exterior and has to make corners (rounded corners with a radius)

 

 

Thanks for any input!

 

 

IMG9513951.jpg

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I could only recommend the GE Rigid tubing, that's the only one that has been lasting in our Border Security Test.  My best recommendation is to better re-engineer the border tubing, midpoint wiring and check the loads with a HV meter.  The Neon will last much longer and be far cheaper than buying and installing the GE Border tubing.  But sell them whatever they want, but the Neon would be more cost effective and probably leaner in margin for you because it will be mostly labor rather than buying GE's material and removing and installing.

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22 minutes ago, Erik Sine said:

I could only recommend the GE Rigid tubing, that's the only one that has been lasting in our Border Security Test.  My best recommendation is to better re-engineer the border tubing, midpoint wiring and check the loads with a HV meter.  The Neon will last much longer and be far cheaper than buying and installing the GE Border tubing.  But seel them whatever they want but the Neon would be more cost effective and probably leaner in margin for you because it will be mostly labor rather than buying GE's material and removing and installing.

 

 

Do you sell it??

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Sorry I do not.  Wish I did as it;'s pretty impressive

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7 minutes ago, Erik Sine said:

Sorry I do not.  Wish I did as it;'s pretty impressive

Thanks!  I think Tubelite may.  I am going to want to check with you in a week or so on purchasing some of the white LED you showed in a photo back a few months ago for a project I have coming up.  You sell that, right?

 

 

 

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Exterior neon, done properly, should not have that many issues! 

 

 

Be real careful with led strips and the hopes of doing radii. 

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16 hours ago, imanut said:

Exterior neon, done properly, should not have that many issues! 

 

 

Be real careful with led strips and the hopes of doing radii. 

 

This stuff was installed back in 2003 VERY POORLY.  The new owner, rather than starting from scratch with the neon, wanted a quote for LED. It may be that we go the start from scratch with the neon, but I have to give him the quote on the LED.

 

 

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You might try looking into flexiBrite.  Go to Sloan's website.  We used it for the first time this past summer and loved it.  It works nice with the curves and such.

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I agree with Eric, If the neon is installed correctly it will outlast the LED and give a better ROI. You will be doing your customer a miss service selling him the LED. Show him the facts data sheets for cost to install and operate then let him decide. 

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The problem with the flexi LED is the trapped heat, moisture etc and why a few companies left the stuff, very fast light degradation and break down of the individual diodes.  So far in our testing and in ideal conditions, very rapid degradation, you'll be lucky to get one to two years before breakdown begins and seeing the visual evidence of that in the gel/silicone tubing

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On 2/6/2017 at 0:39 PM, Sign Lady said:

 

 

Do you sell it??

Erik,

 

I am finding that this LED retro is going to be bad ALL around both in initial cost, ROI and longevity.  Do you have any hard numbers you can send me on the test you have been doing that I could share with this customer to change his mind?  I am having a hard time getting him to listen to me.  I think if I had some hard numbers from a test like yours that has good, long results over a long period of time it would be very helpful in getting him back on my side.  Somebody at another sign company has him believing I am wrong about the neon vs LED.  

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7 minutes ago, Erik Sine said:

The problem with the flexi LED is the trapped heat, moisture etc and why a few companies left the stuff, very fast light degradation and break down of the individual diodes.  So far in our testing and in ideal conditions, very rapid degradation, you'll be lucky to get one to two years before breakdown begins and seeing the visual evidence of that in the gel/silicone tubing

 

My main worry here IS the heat.  Also, this stuff is in "channels" that traps both heat and water really bad - that's a lot of what is going on with the neon.  The installer did a really shoddy job of installing to prevent a lot of what is happening to this neon.  They have just spent SO much money on servicing the neon.  I have tried to explain that had it been installed properly they wouldn't be having the problems they are having.  But you know how some people are - if somebody sells them on something like LED (especially a man vs a woman like me - most men don't realize I know what I am talking about - he thinks the man he is talking to knows more than I do) it is hard to change their minds.  I have given every BAD reason not to change over that I can think of.  ROI is the main one for me.  I don't think he will ever have one.  I think the stuff will go bad before he ever realizes a penny back.

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I have some things I can attach here, be back in a bit gotta drop the kiddos off at school

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We need to have that music playing the background ...."It's a man's world" :P

 

Here's a couple of things you can show him.

 

This comparison was last taken back in 2015

Border Security 1015 Cab copy.jpg

 

A big question you'll have to answer is, is the system on a 30ma or 60ma?  What diameter tube, 15mm/18mm?  Most likely 15mm?

 

At the last recorded picture it was 23K+ hours of operation, or 6.3 years if left on 10 hours a day, or 7.9 years if left on 8 hours a day.

 

Obviously the Neon started out 5 to 46 times brighter over the LED Neon (on a 30 ma system)

 

You can share these with him.

 

If you scan left to right you'll see some vendors/products were replaced, because they degraded so quickly, the Sloan barely has a pulse.  The Sloan & GE rigid have lasted because their in a pipe, and it's low wattage low light output so we can expect those to last BUT, the trade off is for long life, low light.

 

If you look closely you can see the individual break down of the diodes trapped in the silicone/gel flexi.

 

With case history we know Neon has a gradual degradation curve in light, LED, is unpredictable and on a chart, up and down, fast hard tangents.  In the first couple thousand hours Neon will take a lumen maintenance of 10 to 18% in loss then slowly drop down( Hg/Argon fill), Clear red will not ans is not affected by ambient temperatures because it's just glass and gas with no mercury to condense up in the cold.

 

For power, Colored Hg/Argon Neon 15mm is 3 watts per foot, 2.5 for 18mm.  Rigid LED is about 2.5 watts per foot too.  So there is no savings to be made UNLESS the Neon system is on a 60ma then you just double it. BUT let's just say you have a parameter of 100 liner foot.

 

 

NEON

100' x 3w =300w  300w x 8 hours x 365 days x .18 kwh /1000 power (C&C) = $157.68 annual cost of operation if left on 8 hours a day, double that if 60ma, less if the dimeter of the tube is 18mm

 

 

LED Tubing

100' x 2.5w = 250w x 8 hrs x 365 days x .18kwh /1050 (Electronic) = $125.14  Annual cost of operation, but see all above for pro's and cons

 

$157.68 - $125.14 / $157.68 = 20% saving in cost of operation using LED

 

Lighting

Neon 15mm 167 Foot Candles

GE Contour 27 Foot Candles

 

167 - 27 / 167 = 83% more light using Neon

 

 

 

ON your ROI, that is yet to be determined but you know the cost of operation savings

 

Cost of LED Material  + Labor = Job Cost / 20% savings ($32.54)  = years of ROI, in most cases it's 20 to 40 years BUT will you need to re-retrofit the LED as seen above?

 

 

Here are some Border Tube Diagrams that I dug up from the Neon Installation Guide, a great reference

 

Neon Midpoint Wiring Method.jpg

 

Neon Virtual Wiring Method.jpg

 

Conventional = BAD

Virtual= Good

MIDPOINT = IDEAL

 

 

How many linear feet are is mama working with??  We can break it all down here if you want for shits and giggles :P

 

To me, already knowing how to work with Neon you'll bring more money home IMO on the labor, rerouting runs, better tranny placement adding better low cost components like Silicone GTO & Caps etc, and it will be MUCH brighter even with new glass than paying than the big upfront cost of just buying the LEDs itself (paying a dist)

 

Also, you can get 60' of Neon on one Transformer and only about 30' of LED on a single power supply depending on the type etc, maybe even more.  So less Power supply placement with neon (Labor)

 

Things change of course with costs but looking back based on 500', just lamps, Neon came to $2,250, GE $27,340, Sloan Flexi $21,250

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Hahaha - You would be surprised how often I hear "is there somebody else there I can talk to?"   My husband gets on the phone and tells them the EXACT same thing I just told them (him) and they say "okay".  I think it must be my southern accent.  LOL .....

 

WOW - seeing that in color REALLY makes my decision for me.  I am not going to sell this guy something that he is going to look at me in a year and wonder why it looks so bad.  Just not going to do it.  Because when it goes South he won't remember all of  the conversations we have had about it not being a good idea to change it out.  He will just insist that I fix it.  Given the costs I have already gotten for the LED (not including labor), not going to eat it, that's for sure - and that's what he would expect me to do.

 

The install there currently is a REALLY BAD version of the conventional shown above.  They have entirely too many feet per transformer for starters is the main thing we have found - but I believe it is 18mm glass.  I will have to pull the work folder and look at the survey.  I am currently working on the diagrams to get the EXACT linear feet drawn out - been using "close" numbers up to this point just for pricing sake.  I will send you one when I finish it and that way we can compare real world instead of hypotheticals just for shits and giggles.  hahaha

 

I SO appreciate you sending this to me - hopefully it will be enough to convince him to stay with the neon.

 

 

 

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On 2/6/2017 at 9:55 AM, Sign Lady said:

....I am going to want to check with you in a week or so on purchasing some of the white LED you showed in a photo back a few months ago for a project I have coming up.  You sell that, right?....

 

 

 

Just caught this, I'm guessing you're talking about the white LED modules?  If so yes

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16 hours ago, Erik Sine said:

Just caught this, I'm guessing you're talking about the white LED modules?  If so yes

 

Yes sir.

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A lot of the other posters are right, If neon is manufactured  and installed properly, it should last a very long time,

As for border LEDs , I have installed many of the Sloan product here in Canada, with no issues. The only thing , I don't like is that you are limited to your radious and must read their installation requirements religiously.

Dave

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We started using Birddog Distributing LED strip neon. There are two types...thick for large signs (LED neon rope), and thin (LED strip neon http://www.birddogdistributing.com/Brilliant-120-Volt-SMD-LED-Neon-Strip-Light-148-Feet.html ) for tight radii. Very reasonable pricing and our customers are happy. Customer service is great and they can answer all technical questions. Spent a lot of time on the phone with them first time around.

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On 2/9/2017 at 11:59 AM, rickcurtis said:

We started using Birddog Distributing LED strip neon. There are two types...thick for large signs (LED neon rope), and thin (LED strip neon http://www.birddogdistributing.com/Brilliant-120-Volt-SMD-LED-Neon-Strip-Light-148-Feet.html ) for tight radii. Very reasonable pricing and our customers are happy. Customer service is great and they can answer all technical questions. Spent a lot of time on the phone with them first time around.

 

 

Have you had any issues with degradation?  If so, how fast and how much?  

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It's been just over a year since we installed the first ones. It looks the same as the day we put it up.

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5 minutes ago, rickcurtis said:

It's been just over a year since we installed the first ones. It looks the same as the day we put it up.

 

That's really good to know.  Typically within a year on most I have seen, you can already tell a difference.    Do you know if they supply samples?  I would like to test it here at the shop for a bit before I install anywhere.

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On 2/8/2017 at 11:50 AM, Erik Sine said:

We need to have that music playing the background ...."It's a man's world" :P

 

Here's a couple of things you can show him.

 

This comparison was last taken back in 2015

Border Security 1015 Cab copy.jpg

 

A big question you'll have to answer is, is the system on a 30ma or 60ma?  What diameter tube, 15mm/18mm?  Most likely 15mm?

 

At the last recorded picture it was 23K+ hours of operation, or 6.3 years if left on 10 hours a day, or 7.9 years if left on 8 hours a day.

 

Obviously the Neon started out 5 to 46 times brighter over the LED Neon (on a 30 ma system)

 

You can share these with him.

 

If you scan left to right you'll see some vendors/products were replaced, because they degraded so quickly, the Sloan barely has a pulse.  The Sloan & GE rigid have lasted because their in a pipe, and it's low wattage low light output so we can expect those to last BUT, the trade off is for long life, low light.

 

If you look closely you can see the individual break down of the diodes trapped in the silicone/gel flexi.

 

With case history we know Neon has a gradual degradation curve in light, LED, is unpredictable and on a chart, up and down, fast hard tangents.  In the first couple thousand hours Neon will take a lumen maintenance of 10 to 18% in loss then slowly drop down( Hg/Argon fill), Clear red will not ans is not affected by ambient temperatures because it's just glass and gas with no mercury to condense up in the cold.

 

For power, Colored Hg/Argon Neon 15mm is 3 watts per foot, 2.5 for 18mm.  Rigid LED is about 2.5 watts per foot too.  So there is no savings to be made UNLESS the Neon system is on a 60ma then you just double it. BUT let's just say you have a parameter of 100 liner foot.

 

 

NEON

100' x 3w =300w  300w x 8 hours x 365 days x .18 kwh /1000 power (C&C) = $157.68 annual cost of operation if left on 8 hours a day, double that if 60ma, less if the dimeter of the tube is 18mm

 

 

LED Tubing

100' x 2.5w = 250w x 8 hrs x 365 days x .18kwh /1050 (Electronic) = $125.14  Annual cost of operation, but see all above for pro's and cons

 

$157.68 - $125.14 / $157.68 = 20% saving in cost of operation using LED

 

Lighting

Neon 15mm 167 Foot Candles

GE Contour 27 Foot Candles

 

167 - 27 / 167 = 83% more light using Neon

 

 

 

ON your ROI, that is yet to be determined but you know the cost of operation savings

 

Cost of LED Material  + Labor = Job Cost / 20% savings ($32.54)  = years of ROI, in most cases it's 20 to 40 years BUT will you need to re-retrofit the LED as seen above?

 

 

Here are some Border Tube Diagrams that I dug up from the Neon Installation Guide, a great reference

 

Neon Midpoint Wiring Method.jpg

 

Neon Virtual Wiring Method.jpg

 

Conventional = BAD

Virtual= Good

MIDPOINT = IDEAL

 

 

How many linear feet are is mama working with??  We can break it all down here if you want for shits and giggles :P

 

To me, already knowing how to work with Neon you'll bring more money home IMO on the labor, rerouting runs, better tranny placement adding better low cost components like Silicone GTO & Caps etc, and it will be MUCH brighter even with new glass than paying than the big upfront cost of just buying the LEDs itself (paying a dist)

 

Also, you can get 60' of Neon on one Transformer and only about 30' of LED on a single power supply depending on the type etc, maybe even more.  So less Power supply placement with neon (Labor)

 

Things change of course with costs but looking back based on 500', just lamps, Neon came to $2,250, GE $27,340, Sloan Flexi $21,250

 

 

Had the flu, so haven't been able to get this done until today.    I have attached a semi layout (all I felt like doing today hahaha) of the linear feet for one of these restaurants.   536 total linear feet for the building.  It is in double rows all the way around and 3 sections of straight neon straight up the 4 corners from ground to roof.  Need a few giggles like you offered!!  LOL

Checkers Linear Feet.pdf

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Double row is even better than a single row for your transformer runs that will leave all GTO runs short. 

 

What components are used for the glass connections?  PK's, 200's, Masters? 

 

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