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 firstname.lastname@example.org 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
After so many re--re-retrofit jobs using failing or inferior Chinese LED products it's time to just cut their cord, untwist the wire connectors and disconnect the problem and replace with a superior LED product NOT made in CHINA!!!
And of course I'm talking about our "Reckless" LED line by NC LED.
This is one of those jobs where the client was sold on "Energy Efficiency" and "Saving" over Neon, which was the light source on their previous Channel Letter set. Well....after the original signs company who installed this set pulling out the original JS LED modules, replacing with their newer, then another company replacing the individual JS LED failures with another Chinese LED.....JT LED modules.
Those savings turned into high Sign Repair costs and headache for repairs needed quite often for these Highway viewable signs that leaves this establishment a black eye.
With all the benchmark testing we have done here on the Sign Syndicate we know what the Chinese LED modules measure up, and what we can expect from our NC Reckless LED's. Constant Current NOT Constant Voltage, Brighter true white 6500K and most importantly high quality standards because their NOT made in CHINA.
End result, Brighter and Even illumination at night and NO return trips for a Loooooong time. Eventually and soon, all these letters will have to be replaced because the catastrophic failure is coming!
REPLACING CHINA FOR MORE CHINA
REPLACING CHINA WITH OUR NC RECKLESS LED'S. LESS MODULES AND BIGGER SPACING
FAILING CHINESE LED LIGHTING (BEFORE)
RENEW WITH NC RECKLESS LED'S (AFTER)
HARD TO SHOW WITH A IPHONE SHOT, BUT IN REAL TIME THE DIFFERENCE IS DRASTIC. THERE IS ONE OTHER LETTER RETROFIT FROM OVER A YEAR AGO USING OUR RECKLESS....CAN YOU FIND IT?
THIS LOGO HAS NEVER LOOKED THIS BRIGHT BEFORE
YES, OUR AD.
A Lot of our sales come from Sign Shops who's products have failed them in the past, and they've never been happier since making the switch to our NC Reckless LED line. Less hassle, their now more confident in the end products they sell, and their customers are excited about the Bright finished product that displays their identity / branding at night.
For more Product info on our Reckless LED line:
For all Sales & Inquiry you can contact us at (858) 880-1400, or by email email@example.com
By Erik Sine
Thought I'd post some pics of a project I recently put up for a group of owners I've been doing some signs for over 15 years, this is the latest project located here in San Diego in Pacific Beach California.
This job was supposed to be up last December, but as you can imagine things don't happen over night like they should in for this project in California and a good reason why business's leave California for other fruitful states in our grand union.
This project was no different and unlike other states.....here,anything built on the beach, you have to go through the California Coastal Commission. This establishment won't be ready after much delay until almost a year later, and set to open this November possibly December.
This project was originally composed of a third sign, a 18' tall projecting sign which got denied in the permitting process. Can't get them all in California I guess you can say.
So we're left to be happy with what THEY allow us to have.
Anyhow, this project is two 4' x 20' Electric wall sign cabinets, 1/8" alum walls and 3" deep open face channel letters spaced 1.5" from the cabinet background. 18mm Tri-Phosphor Voltarc Accent 30 border, and Voltarc 15mm Rare Earth Phosphor Sparkling Blue Letter outline lighting. The owners wanted a halo lighting similar to a previous job so we used Our NC LED's Constant Current Green LED Modules for low light subtle Rear Letter Halo Lighting.
All Lighting Powered by Franceformer's for Neon, and our Union Elecom for the driving the NC Green Constant Current LED's
A big thank you to Joe Walsh of Voltarc for helping us get what was needed for this job, the Neon is Brilliant and of course stands out over the beach night city scape. This Beach won't be needing a light house for lost fisherman after all now thanks to Voltarc!
There aren't very many Neon signs on this coast that I know of, in fact....I can't think of any so these signs are a real beacon. They must be because the owners asked me if after installation and first lighting if I could hook up a dimmer......" a wut??!?!"
Early assembly shots
And a shot of our LED Wall Pass Thru System
A solo illumination shot of our Green Constant Current NC LED Modules, using just a single stroke for a light subtle offering.
Wall Pattern Day. If you're going to do a sign project on a hot summer day you might as well be RIGHT on the beach. All that project stress went away sitting on the scaffolding listening to the seagulls, the crashing of waves, and smell of sea spray. I won't lie, I wanted to just bust out a hammock and go to sleep.
Yes, I was working in Van's....I'm in SoCal, so that's all you need to know!
Westrim Products Graphed Pattern Paper!
By Erik Sine
So....we've had them and I haven't been pushing them out because I didn't think they were right yet.
But now that time has come.
Been to a few shops of customers and when I saw what I saw, I had to push for it. It's al because one of my customers recently obtained a new AdamsTech Bender. So now he's producing Channel Letters, reverse Channel Letters that are so small and tight the worry is no longer being capable of producing such a letter the worry is now....how the hell to power it up PROPERLY. It's hard to put existing modules in, competent LED modules I mean.
Well....In mid to late September we will have NC LED White Horse Mini's (Far right)
Their 160˙, same top tier Samsung used in our White Horse Product Line. Their about 4 per foot and power consumption will be .48 per module.
If the Reckless 2, and White Horse 2 weren't already small enough as is, the White Horse Line will fit and integrate into all those hard to reach places and give you a bright light output