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Channel Letter Supplier and Size

Discussion in 'Electric Signs & Channel Letters' started by CentralSigns, Mar 20, 2010.

  1. CentralSigns

    CentralSigns Very Active Member

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    Any suppliers of large channel letters out there in the merchant section. Any suppliers of channel letters at all. I have a billboard job that the client wants to have a couple of lines of large lettering. I dont have any charts as well to let me know size by viewing distance. I would guess that I would need maybe 6-8 in for a viewing distance of 250 feet. Any ideas for US supliers on duty for these. If anyone can help me with either of these questions, I'd owe you a thousand thank yous.
     
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  2. Sign Prophet

    Sign Prophet Member

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  3. CentralSigns

    CentralSigns Very Active Member

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    Thanks Prophet
     
  4. ABC Signman

    ABC Signman Member

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    I would recommend Direct Sign Wholesale, located in Denver, CO. High quality and great pricing. (303) 286-1462. Ask for John Lewis. You will be glad you did.

    Mike
     
  5. gbarker

    gbarker Member

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  6. 731SignTech

    731SignTech New Member

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  7. petrosgraphics

    petrosgraphics Member

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    look into using LEDs for your lighting, just make sure you use a well known brand,

    SLOAN is one, also G. E. tetra is another....
     
  8. Westcoast Sign Guy

    Westcoast Sign Guy Very Active Member

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    Why Led's?
     
  9. petrosgraphics

    petrosgraphics Member

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    when using LEDs your install time is greatly reduced.. to start you are using
    a low voltage power source, there is 1 hole thru the building instead of 2,hole size is a lot smaller,wiring is much easier, the fact that you do not have to handle neon and the wiring
    issues that go along with it. 1st and formost, properly wiring the units....
    neon is real good is a bit cheaper to start with, i have used and installed a lot of neon over the years....for a sign installer LEDs are quicker, for the customer operating costs for LEDs are much less...
    the real key to this again is, there are a lot of manufacturers of LEDs some will say they are the latest and the greatest, over the years i have found SLOAN and GE TETRA to always be there....
     
  10. Westcoast Sign Guy

    Westcoast Sign Guy Very Active Member

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    Well, we as a sign trade don't want to put out a products due to an install standpoint. Low voltage vs high voltage isn't a attention grabber if you are experienced in all phases, that is just a marketing statement used for our end clients. A lot of your LED labor is being done in house trying to get the even lighting, if you care about even lighting. Neon labor is done on the field, which is quick and twist. The only time you save is running flex. You don't want to sell a job according to what is easier for the installer, you care about overall appearance of your sign and how it will perform over time. If you are experienced it doesn't matter what you are installing, vinyl or servicing an electric sign

    Neon it not a "bit" cheaper, it's considerably cheaper. For the client his initial investment vs energy savings over time is also considerable depending on the manufacturer you have picked for LED's.

    In most cases with GE, it will take the client 20 years to make up this difference (Fluorescent of CCFL replacements). Sloan is the biggest waste of money in my opinion, the very under driven, it puts out very little light (surface FC per watt), it's a power hogger and is very expensive.

    What you have to ask yourself as a shop is where is the sign going and what is the climate? What is the application? LED's are a good alternative, but they aren't something you use for everything, unless you are inexperienced or don't have good access CCFL production. The other problem with LED's are, they are always been replaced with a revised product a year later, so now what does our poor end client going to do when a few modules go out and we need to replace them?

    Yes, there are a lot of LED's on the market, but GE & Sloan are one of the oldest for the sign market and not a very wise pick imo, they just have a lot of our government subsidized dollars to spend on marketing and R&D, very little to show for it. Guess who sits as one of Obama's advisors? GE, greatly undermines our industry, that is a fact. There plenty of other good LED manufacturers that perform better then GE & Sloan that do last, and considerably less. But never leave out CCFL lamps, their bright, last long over time, and still very light and energy efficient, and are standardized vs LED's that are not when it comes to service work.
     
  11. petrosgraphics

    petrosgraphics Member

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    i understand, install time can sometimes be a factor... not just for the installer but also for the customer.... drilling two 1.25 holes through brick, block , steel for each letter can and
    does take time, it also makes a mess of the facia of the building..... you are right about
    GE being who they are.... thru my suppliers i have had no problems getting tetra LEDs
    for older applications.. they have made the process of using the proper type as well as the number of modules needed per letter not so mind testing......
    do not get me wrong, still use a lot of neon in channel letters, LEDs are something to consider, depends on the application......
    neon is still a great light source, will it ever be replaced by LEDs or the next latest and greatest, time will tell..
    this subject is one that interests me a lot, personally, there is never enough said on the subject by sign co.s.... most of your info comes the manufacturers.....
    CCFLs, NEON, LEDs..... all must be considered by us as sign companies and a well informed supplier of product..
     
  12. andy

    andy Active Member

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    Get the right kind of led's and find someone who REALLY understands how to get the most out of this technology and you can use this kind of lighting for almost anything.

    Just because you can't get the most out of LED's it doesn't logically follow that no one else can.

    If you're wasting shop time trying to eliminate spotting then your layout techniques are wrong.

    If neon is costing you less money than led's you are buying your led's from the wrong place.

    If you buy your led's from the right supplier they will provide legacy support... never used stocks of obsolete led module designs. However, seeing as good led's last for 20+ years it's almost certain that the sign will be replaced for a new model long before the led's cause problems.

    If you are forever replacing led modules then you're either a cheap skate who used non IP rated modules for exterior work or your led supplier is selling cr@p.

    CCFL standard fittings? This helps with servicing BUT a good led supplier can give you a system that won't need servicing .. so what do standard fittings matter?

    If you like neon that's fine... personally I find LED's to be a far more versatile lighting technology.
     
  13. Westcoast Sign Guy

    Westcoast Sign Guy Very Active Member

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    Sorry meant to say, the clients initial investment vs annual savings does NOT save the client money in the long run.
     
  14. Westcoast Sign Guy

    Westcoast Sign Guy Very Active Member

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    Andy, what LED's are you using for where bright whites are needed, say 24" letters and above?

    versatile? So your preference is to replace Neon in CL's And Fluorescent lighting in cabinets?

    20+ years? Again, I'd like to know what you are using so we can compare apples to apples in conversation.
     
    Last edited: Mar 27, 2010
  15. petrosgraphics

    petrosgraphics Member

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    in case anyone wishes to know my name is peter...

    for halo lit channel letters the only thing to use for lighting is LEDs... 12", 24", 48"
    letter it does not matter. to simply not have to handle the multiple rows of neon, yes it does, make the job that less taxing..... there are several options in white LEDs, wide spectrum,narrow, minis all sorts.... we all know what it is like to service and install narrow letter styles with neon, it is done all the time, sometimes God just did not make your hands small enough to connect the gto wire to the glass... PK housings are great
    but... small letters just do not make PKs practical.... when i have done installs for
    national chains you never know what you are going to get for lighting..there are times when you look at a LED that looks like a small circuit brd. from who knows where..
    try to replace those when the time comes, or the power source that goes with them,
    or not!!! have found what works for me, GE LEDs, SLOAN has had some problems but both of my suppliers are up to date on their product knowledge, work with me on the type of application..... i personaly am trying to find a balance in LED install and neon
    install...
    you still can not beat neon for bdrs. and exposed lighting with color and designs it's almost unlimited.....
     
  16. Westcoast Sign Guy

    Westcoast Sign Guy Very Active Member

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    I have to agree with you on the thin stroke letters, for me this is the perfect application for LED's and of course where it is cold weather. This is not to say you can't use 60ma neon systems either, you just have to know what your doing when applying a 60ma system

    But on Halo, and when you start to get into greens and blues there's not really a LED than can keep up with neon. Whites you can match, and their "slightly" more energy efficient, but those saving won't add up to much on the long run of things.

    The most important aspect of either light source is your application number one.

    Speaking of PK's, man I can't even remember the last time I've used one of those.

    Also some advice on neon of CCFL users, when you use these for your lighting applications don't use the standard halo-phosphate coated glass, choose the Rare Earths for your colors, and Tri-Phosphors for your whites. You will be truly amazed, it's brighter, & most stays brighter keeping it's original color a lot longer over time.

    When you start to get into larger letters, this is where the client really starts to get hit with the "price", and no annual savings will ever make up for their initial investment. Well they can, but it will take 20+ years, and by then the LED will have been revised 10 times and they will have re-retrofit that letter at least two more times.
     
  17. petrosgraphics

    petrosgraphics Member

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    as for PKs they have not changed in all of the years i have been using them...

    cold weather 60ma is the way to go... talk about a boat anchor. there is nothing like lugging a 15,000 60ma trans. into a crawlspace and dragging it around with you....FUN,FUN

    colors are LEDs biggest problem.. that is why, as we have both said, the application is what sometimes can decide for you what you end up doing....it is good to talk about this
    do not know how much interest there is out there but it is an important part of the industry.. for large and small companies.....
     
  18. Westcoast Sign Guy

    Westcoast Sign Guy Very Active Member

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  19. Westcoast Sign Guy

    Westcoast Sign Guy Very Active Member

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    Andy,

    I think I know why you never answered my questions about what LED's you use for your company, Smart Group.

    You are telling me you put your 20+ year faith in this offshore stuff from Vedon LED? I wouldn't answer the question either that I've asked you a couple times over the years too, I suppose. But why not be proud if you stand behind your LED's?

    It's no wonder why you said if you are paying "more" for neon than your "LED's" then you are buying the wrong LED's. Andy, I would give this stuff a couple months running 24/7 before I suspect it to start rapidly degrade in light output. Just for giggles I may even add it to the Syndicate testing.

    On CCFL fitting?

    I'm talking about same color temp glass throughout any glass manufacturer. If I need to replace a EGL 6500 lamp I can buy a Tecnolux 6500 and expect a good match with temp. Can you do that LED's?

    I hope these aren't the LED's you are boasting about that one can take a leap of faith on.
     
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