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Deacon last won the day on September 19 2013

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About Deacon

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  • Birthday October 27

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  • Name
    Deacon Wardlow
  • Company
    FiSimply Consulting
  • Job Title
  • City & State
    Louisville, CO
  • Gender
  • Interests
    -English Teacher for the JET program
    -Private Consultant to Japanese Corporations regarding custom technology solutions and International Supply Chain Logistics/Trade
    -CTO/CIO For Barlo Signs International, Inc.
    -Running my own consulting agency (FiSimply Consulting) and working for Vantage LED (LED Technology Specialist)
    -Tech Geek
    -Professional Taiko Drummer
    -Competitive Rock Climbing Enthusiast
    -Outdoor enthusiast
    -Blogger/Twitter/Linkedin stumber/tumblr
    -Lifetime student

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Quick Company Info

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    Louisville, CO
  • Equipment
    Computers, EMC testing equipment (power meters, cable testers, etc.)

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  1. I wrote an article in Sept. 2012 (all the info is still relevant/current) regarding NRTLs (Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories). The article explains what UL/ETL/MET/others are - what is "ok" to use, etc. When I've spoken with UL reps - using an MET/ETL labeled/listed product is fine in a UL-listed/certified shop SO LONG AS the ETL/MET/other product is: 1. Not part of the sign system (i.e. on a separate dedicated circuit and not integrated to look like part of the whole sign (i.e. you need a spacing/separator) 2. The ETL/MET/other sticker is visible to an inspector (if it's on the back and the access is narrow, get a picture of the stickers for the inspector to check/confirm). With any listing, you want to make sure to check (online) what the sign is really listed for. I've seen stuff come from China which is "UL Listed" but it turns out the listing was for a modular system and not certified/listed for a completed sign system. The sign company had to sign-off on their UL# to certify the product (scary liability issues there). A simple check of the UL/MET/ETL number on the corresponding NRTL's website will confirm if the system is ok for install or if there's an issue to be resolved with the product provider. Hopefully this helps. As Eric has pointed out before, UL acts like they're the only option out there - but that's not true. http://vantageled.blogspot.com/2012/09/electrical-safety-certification-marks.html
  2. I wrote a blog on NRTLs (Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories) last year http://vantageled.blogspot.com/2012/09/electrical-safety-certification-marks.html I recall a UL rep (when I worked at a sign shop) telling me UL was "the oldest and only" one for sign shops to work with. I countered that ETL (Electronic Testing laboratories) was started by Thomas Edison and was older than UL in concept and broader in scope. Since the MET suit against OSHA, there are currently 15 different NRTLs - 3 of which have a special focus on sign-related certification programs. While I'm not much of a fan regarding regulation (as it often stymies disruptive growth and innovation), I am a big fan of NRTLs as I've seen what happens when someone puts together a shoddy electrically charged system causing property damage and (in some instances) injury and loss of life. Sign work is hard enough without being life-endangering. Don't let anyone feel your restricted to a single choice. The worst thing with UL is their reluctance to acknowledge other NRTL-listed components thus creating a locked-in monopoly on systems which should be illegal, but is allowed as they say, "Businesses can go elsewhere if they don't like our policies." I think they're seeing more and more sign companies take them up on that offer. .
  3. This is really cool. AR (Augmented Reality) apps for smartphones are starting to gain ground. It's great to see someone integrating AR to show the history of a location through signage. When listening to Michael Dingman speak about his neon collection: , people really see how signage was a big key in shaping the nation (specifically neon signage). It's somewhat great and sad to see neon still holding its own next to digital/other signage in Asia (and some parts of Europe) and yet it's quickly disappearing and being replaced with LED "Neon-like" strips. There's nothing neon-like about the LED forms...
  4. The problem here is a company decides they want to be a reseller of EMCs and they get into the business not really knowing or understanding what they're doing. They do a trip (maybe even two) to China and get their egos so pampered they feel like experts after a few factory visits. They start buying the cheapest systems they can find and putting them up, attempting to match the USA industry-standard 5 year warranty (sometimes they go with the Chinese/Korean 3-year warranty). Everything looks good until year 2 when systems start having problems. They go back to the manufacturer who says, "Send us the bad parts to China, we will fix them." They didn't plan on having to pay to ship things back to China. They start shipping parts to China and pulling parts from inventory. Soon the demand for parts exceeds their inventory, China STILL hasn't returned the parts which were shipped a month or two prior and the company who felt so great bringing-in and selling cheap product w/out support ends up financially strapped w/out the ability to sell anymore and lawsuits piling up. At this point, they close their doors and head out rather than live up to the warranties or deal with the lawsuits and this results in situations like your customer's. Unfortunately a lot of businesses are in this situation and I've seen a new "fix-it" business emerge from dealers who have some connections with the off-shore component providers and experience enough to fix the systems without having to know who the actual manufacturer is/was. The customer should have bought American (Vantage LED, Watchire, Dak, Yesco, anyone other than some unknown front for an offshore manufacturer), not many people know much about the systems though and there was very little information out there. I'm working to change this with the blog I write (click here to view the blog) but change is slow and there are lots of people out there in this situation. There are a few companies who are familiar with the Chinese systems and have gone out to repair the systems time and again to help customers (as these businesses can rarely front the money for another investment in LED Signage). I'm not sure who you could call in the Delaware area, but you could give Aaron Patterson of HiLight Electronic Displays (FL-based company) a call and if he doesn't know someone in the area, he might be able to source parts and help your techs out remotely (I'm sure you could work out some arrangement). He's a very knowledgeable guy and his family has been in the LED signage businesses long enough to see a lot of companies come and go (and they've always been there to help clients out). http://www.hilightdi...om/contact.html I hope this helps your client out. It stinks seeing someone put up that much money and ending up holding the bag when things go wrong.
  5. It's great to see trade publications focusing on the issues which really matter and not running a load of advertorials. It's frustrating opening a trade magazine, hoping to get some insight into products and possibly even tips/suggestions on how to ensure the product you're getting is the right fit only to find the articles about qualifying a vendor are really about why you should be with that company who wrote the article... Glad SBI turned to a knowledgeable source!
  6. A great example of effective EMC use to communicate to the public! Example of why LED Signs should be considered under free speech and not regulated as strictly as they often are (some states, you'd only have a part of this message up an hour at a time or even one change a day). Seems like too many people in the government like to make things harder than they need to be for business.
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