Lightning strikes aren’t the only way electricity can seriously damage or destroy your sign.
We’ve talked about heat and weather before, but electrical problems are one of your sign’s worst enemies (if not properly protected).
From storms to electrical grid issues and beyond, safeguarding your sign against power problems is vital to keeping it alive and kicking.
Top 5 LED Sign Power Issues
Electricity is a force to be reckoned with, and if unprepared, your sign could fall victim to any of the following:
- Voltage Spikes: A sudden increase in voltage, between 300 and 6000 volts (where 120 is normal), often caused by grid faults or lightning strikes
- Under-Voltage (Brownouts): Caused by overloading of the power grid, resulting in a voltage drop below 90 volts
- Over-Voltage: Caused by a very large load suddenly being removed from the grid, causing voltage to rise above 138 volts
- Voltage Sag: When a large load on the power grid results in a short-term (up to 2 seconds) drop in voltage, less than 100 volts
- Power Outage: Zero voltage provided by the grid, anywhere from a couple seconds to several hours
Virtually all electrical grid disturbances can damage electronic components—including your LED sign.
Grid Disturbance Details
The most common (and also most under-reported) of these events are voltage sags, which can happen between 30 and 100 times per year! Similarly, under-voltage events don’t happen as frequently, but can cause similar issues and last even longer.
The damage from these events may not manifest for weeks (or even years), at which point it’s too late.
Voltage spikes can cause immediate damage, including fires, but are much less common and more easily avoided with measures like surge suppressors.
Although “fires” sounds a lot more dangerous than you might think, the real LED sign killers are the aforementioned sags and under-voltage that can insidiously chip away at the health of your sign, causing irreparable damage. Each event is followed by a voltage surge, where the normal voltage is restored—and with possibly hundreds of these events each year, it’s easy to see how damage can occur.
Protect Your Investment
Any LED sign installation should include power metering—most LED sign dealers, manufacturers and electricians should be able to do this for you.
This one-time metering will save you a ton of lost business, rather than watching your sign fail years early because you were unable to catch the problem in time.
Remember, the power company won’t step up to the plate unless you can prove there’s a problem. Monitor your new sign for up to a week, and you’ll know if there’s a problem right away. A little preventative maintenance will go a long way towards protecting your sign, your brand, and your bottom line—especially when your sign is designed and manufactured by MEGA.