Construction of a LED Billboard Light
Performance of your LED light fixture is often the first topic discussed when a customer is comparing the multiple brands of LEDs available to light a billboard today. Although this is extremely important, one of the topics commonly overlooked is the construction of the housing and how it affects the performance, durability, and overall cost of installation. Let’s take a few minutes to discuss this topic and how it affects the billboard industry.
A huge selling point of LED lights for your billboard is the long life expectancy. What good is a long lasting LED lighting source if the housing does not hold up over time? Here are a few things to look for when examining the LED fixture’s durability.
Exposed electrical. Are any of the wires exposed leading to the fixture or coming off the back of the fixture? If so, we know that the UV form the sun is going to break down the rubber coating over time. When was the last time you saw a piece of rubber left out in the elements for 10 years? I’m certain it became very brittle and cracked. If your fixture has a SO cord anywhere exposed, you will end up replacing the wiring as this is a point of failure. The LED fixture should have a wire fed through the conduit arm and directly into the fixtures terminal block for easy and secure connections.
What is the housing and lens made of? A quality LED light for your billboard should have a very robust housing to last over the years. The billboard industry has generally used die-cast housing to protect the fixture from the elements. These housing should be coated with a 5,000 hour rated salt spray finish. Most desirable is a tool less access.
Earlier in the year we wrote an article discussing the pro’s and cons of a borosilicate glass optic versus a polycarbonate or acrylic optic for a billboard light. A glass optic transmits more light initially and does not have the issues of UV degradation down the road. A “Yellowed” optic in 10 years is greatly going to affect the appearance of your copy forcing you to replace the fixtures prematurely.
Installation is a key component to retrofitting your existing Holophane HID lights. This cost can vary significantly if the LED lights must be moved left to right, in or out, or even if an additional arm must be added. In an ideal world, you don’t want to have to touch the arm. A simple one for one replacement of the LED light is ideal. The Sign Vue LED family of billboard lighting products can use either the existing 1 ¼” rigid arm or a 1 ½” square arm. The optics are extremely forgiving, so moving the fixtures in or out from the billboard catwalk is fairly uncommon. We went to great lengths designing the Ad Vue LED fixture. The optic is extremely wide allowing us to use the same housing as the Sign Vue and Panel Vue LED fixtures. The wide optic design allowed us to mount the fixture on the existing arm. Our competitions fixture designed to light a 14 x 48 ad with two fixtures is extremely wide. For that reason, they have to use two mounting arms to stabilize their LED fixture. This only adds material cost and labor costs to your project.