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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"
General LED Channel Letter Failures On The Rise Been getting a lot of calls to retrofit channel letters that are having failures. It seems like that short time period of three to five years has finally come around to where the sign user who bought from the lowest bidder or bought into the idea of "saving money....more efficient mantra" is coming around to bite them in the ass as well as the sign shop who made a poor choice in using the inexpensive most likely Chinese LEDs. The reality is, there are very few LED manufacturers I would personally EVER use for sign projects that I build. I base that based on our very own Sign Syndicate Light Testing Projects where we test just about every LED on the market and have been doing so since 2008 The failures I see out on the field do nothing but support those results . LED Modules are great for peeling and sticking, spending more time in the shop than out in the field but they should not be used for everything. Too many sign shop are lazy, they look for an "easy way" to stay in business, that's the plain truth of our industry. The Sign Syndicate's Neon & LED Test Comparison "The Great White Hope" (2012 Shot) Our enabling of LED manufacturers inflated, exaggerated, and even misleading marketing points is what help kill our own industry, and now those chickens are coming home to roost. Those 100,000 hours, 80,000 hours, 60,000 hours, 50,000 hours that a lot of sign shops within our industry have financially sabotaged, and screwed the consumer. The LED powers supplies have gotten cheaper, so have the LED modules, shops scramble for the 50¢ modules, the plastic $20 power supplies and a few years later...Waalaa.... individual diode failure leading to inconsistent lighting and power supplies that truly couldn't handle the heat of the load. I've seen this rise in retrofit the retrofit and I'm only in 70˙F weather all year around in just that last couple of months. For Red LEDs that were supposed to last sooooo long, well now those same channel letter faces that were so evenly lit are now hot spotting. The LED Sign market if you don't know as it relates to the sign industry is a crap shoot. Very few reputable companies like GE and others, don't even want to be in it any longer, they would rather be in general lighting. Why? Too many cheap consumers, too many sign companies that don't make wise decisions get lured and duped by the ever growing and disappearing market of what was once here today is gone tomorrow. Sure, a lot of manufacturers tell sign shops their components are warrantied for 5 years BUT, do they, do YOU replace those parts for free to your client? Chances are like most of the scenarios that call me say no, "I still get charged labor" Shame on those companies and shame on you if you're one of those companies. You planned out your project, you spec'd out your project and there is absolutely NO reason why a electric sign should not carry a 5 year "worry free" electrical warranty. This industry has plenty of quality components that are built to last, and Neon is still a VERY viable option especially when it comes to consistency in longevity as well as lighting, unfortunately that is no longer an option for a lot of shops because they lack the "know how", or willingness to learn, even worse..they only posses the laziness and willingness to collect a check and walk away. Today I still continue to install the right light source based on the application, that goes for using LEDs, Fluorescent or Neon. 20+ years later I get very few failures , VERY few. I have signs that operated for 18+ without a single maintenance call. I know I may work a little harder, pay a little more, even spend a little more time with each project BUT...I do sleep easier at night, I don't have to worry about taking those calls about having to come back, and I have happier clients that have stuck with more for my 20+ years that I've been in business. Just some Thursday food for thought to chew on.
Can't go into too much detail but there is BIG chance that if you chose the "cheapy cheapy" products for your signs they will be failing this summer with the heat. Some of these Component Manufacturers have changed over to different plants to produce their products most likely un-be-knowing to you. Some of these products were complete garbage to begin with but you were okay with buying $15 power supplies and dollar modules This summer will be a test and so will the next. Make sure you have all your warranty info handy. Some are about to get a lot of service work with tar on their fingers out there raking in the $$$, and some will be popping Tums and Advil!