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 $89.99
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
I've had some recent conversations (phone and in person) and just wanted to remind everyone who might be taking a interest in our awesome NC Reckless LED's.
Our NC LED's are NOT the same as NC LED's sold by other distributors. I don't care what they might be telling you
NC LED is really growing and branching out.
Our NC Reckless LED line is named "Reckless" for a reason, their NOT the same module you could have gotten a sample from some other Vendor here in the US or abroad i.e. Europe. A quick side by side comparison is the DEAD giveaway.
NC LED Recently opened up a plant in Vietnam and they make all kinds of modules from various diode producers including Samsung, their catering and competing with other lower tier/cost LED Manufacturers here in the US and all over the world. The NC LED Lower Tier modules are still good, don't get me wrong and much better than the other lower tier manufacturers.
NC LED makes LED modules from all kinds of various Diode Producers like LG, SOL, Samsung, etc, and even some Chinese Chips (Vietnam).
That being said....
Our NC Reckless LED's are specifically made in Korea, and unique. Our modules are built to specific configurations (we chose from our testing) ONLY with top tier top grade Samsung Diodes.
Honestly there is over 30+ Samsung grades and when you open up a magazine like Signs of The Times and see flash words like "Samsung" & "50¢ per module". NOT THE SAME THING, sorry if you bought something called Samsung and expect that to be a Top Tier diode just because of name.....SURPRISE! That is lower tier/grade garbage I would not use commercially
With a background in electric sign production I wouldn't do that to you.
Our Reckless LED Line is the Cream of The Crop when it comes to NC LED Modules, there is a reason why ours appear "True White" compared to other NC LED's (lower cost) and those other LED's you may be currently be purchasing. Our module specifications have on board current drivers (Constant Current) and NOT Constant Voltage (resistor base) for long life. I'm not putting down or detouring anyone from other NC LED's, they are good quality and better than 75% or on par with all the crap out there in the market....but....their not TOP Tier or High-End.
Anyone who has been buying our LED line, thank you for supporting our high-end quality products for your projects and customers and for supporting The Sign Syndicate. Rest assure you're good when it's from us!
Side Note, our offering is expanding in colors, as well as White Temperatures 3000K, 8000K, & Soon 4,000K, 5,000K, 2700K
Check us out
By Erik Sine
Had a customer send this to us by email, maybe they'll chime in a tell us more but...
It's simple, they're replacing cheap plastic LED power supplies made in CHINA with better quality, better thermal cooling LED Power Supplies...OUR Union Korean Made LED Power Supplies.
Our 60 watt (displayed above) is IP68, Recognized by UL as Class II (SAM) and for Wet Location. These are versatile, you can use in a box or sign structure, or use externally. Most importantly you can breath easy when your UL Inspector surprises you with a visit and sees these units, including our 120watt version which is one of the few approved and listed in the SAM
The cheap plastic Chinese LED Power Supplies by Principal LED & others are great for areas that have good cooling like external fans or for your kids school science projects but not in closed areas where ventilation is not great. The "cheapies" are attractive for the price at $12 or less, but not great for consumers who have to pay the service bill of a crane and labor to replace because as professionals we know these only last for short periods of time.
"Buy the best and only cry once"
By Erik Sine
I'm quite impressed....
So I'd like to introduce our newest addition to our family. The NC White Horse Mini!
These lil suckers are BRIGHT as hell. Their about .4 watts each, True White high quality tier/grade 6500K Samsung Diodes.
Their approx 5 mini modules per foot, they come in 100 module strings and you get about 25' per string....and as you can see, 3 diodes per module, and just like it's bigger brother "The White Horse" their 160˙ wide angle modules.
But, because their so small, these only come in constant voltage NOT constant current. The upside is, these are lower wattage modules.
So many possibilities with these high quality modules that are small, yet pack a BIG punch of light...DAMN!
The good news is, their only $89.99 per string of 25'......The bad news is, there was a miscommunication and they only sent us 20 bags, but more are on the way.
P.S.- NOT made in CHINA!!!
NC LED 's are generally pretty small anyway, especially the Reckless-2, but as a visual the White Horse Mini is significantly smaller!!!
With Great Channel Letter Benders like the SDS/AdamsTech Machines out there creating some small 8" to 5" Letters, below are a few LED moduldes for visual layout purposes. Tot he far Left we have our NC White Horse Mini, and NC Reckless-2 to the right of it. The Reckless-2 can work as well but imagine if this letter just just a little bit smaller. Visualize the other components needed for in conjunction with the poly-carbonate backs. The tab support for the aluminum pan letters, the peg stand-offs and well as the secondary wiring hole.
Larger modules don't make sense for these small tight letters. With the White Horse Mini's, having that extra room to move modules around makes more sense along with more even lighting than using long or larger modules. With the White Horse Mini's you won't struggle with letter assembly.
Everything you would expect from our NC Reckless & White Horse LED Line
You can purchase these from our online shopping cart
Does anyone have a reliable source for a clock movement? Need to build a couple of signs with 30" analogue clocks built into the display. Looking for two mechanisms that tie together and are controlled by a device that keeps the time accurate.
please advise John@CTSign.com