Full-Color & Monochrome Digital LED Electronic Message Centers & Video Displays
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Signs Manufacturing Corporation
TURN-KEY Design, Manufacturing, Installation, and Service
LED Digital Electronic Message Center Signs and Video Displays are also known as LED Signs, Display Signs, Jumbotron Signs, Changeable Signs, Changeable Letter Signs, Scrolling Signs, Marquee Signs, and Readerboard Signs, among others.
Electronic message centers and video displays help your business many ways:
With almost 20% of the US population moving in a year, new potential customers of varying demographics are always viewing your signs. What is effective now may not be effective later…or after lunch.
Research shows that you have about 3 seconds to attract a passer-by’s attention and communicate your message to him. We have exact data on this on our "Letter Visibility Chart" page under "Design and Marketing."
An electronic message center or video display will make your message stand out from the crowd of signs around you. Even displaying the time and temperature can give a viewer valuable information which they will associate with your business. Combining that capability with animated messages, possibly in color, can really drive your sales up, 15% to 150%!
Even the Federal Government has determined that signs containing electronic message centers are safety enhancing devices, not traffic hazards! This is why they are used on federal roadways to communicate with drivers.
Read what the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has to say about the advantages and costs of signs for your business:
Read what the U. S. Small Business Administration (SBA) has to say about the advantages and costs of signs for your business:
Modern electronic message centers and video displays are illuminated using LED’s. This lowers their operating cost by 80+% over older, incandescent systems. If the system is properly designed the bulbs are part of a modular display board that is easily removable and changeable, thus helping to control service costs. The “pitch” or spacing of the LED’s greatly affects the appearance of the display, and the cost of the unit.
In almost all instances an electronic message center or video display is built into or attached to additional signs that contains your name and other permanent information. You need to work with a sign manufacturer, not just an electronic message center salesman.
Why Should I Buy from Signs Manufacturing?
Signs Manufacturing is an excellent sign company, we make great signs. But just being a good sign company does not necessarily mean that a company can install and service Video Displays and Electronic Message Centers. They may be able to weld, install fluorescent lamps and roll paint, but can they build, program and service a computer?
Digital LED electronic message centers and video displays are very complicated computers, remotely served by other computers, use proprietary software programs, and are not what most sign company employees, or electricians, understand.
But because these signs are electrical they must be installed by a qualified electrical sign company or an electrical contractor. We are the largest electronic message center manufacturer in North Texas; one of only 3 in the entire State! And we are State licensed as both an electrical sign contractor and as an electrical contractor.
We know what we are doing when it comes to Electronic Message Center and Video Display fabrication and service. We even carry all parts in stock for immediate replacement if something fails.
A large part of our business is repairing mistakes other sign companies and electricians made installing signs they bought and resold to their customers.
"We paid $34,000 for a full-color LED message center from Wal**** Signs & Lighting. It took them 11 months to get it installed. It is now 4 months old and has never worked in full-color mode. They don't know how to make it work. Can you fix it?"
Jack Miller, Grace Point Church
But most electronic message center manufacturers do not manufacture additional types of signs.
Signs Manufacturing makes more than electronic message centers and video displays. We manufacture, install and service church signs, school signs, apartment signs, park signs, governmental signs, architectural signs, etc. Interior signs as well as exterior signs.
We manufacture road signs and building signs including channel letter signs (internally lighted with neon, Solarbrite™ LEDs, the new automatic color-changing SpectraLites™ LEDs, or externally lighted with first-surface LetterLites™ LEDs), neon signs, wall sign cabinets, pole signs, pylon signs, monument signs, message centers, PinLights™ LED signs, architectural signs, plastic lettering, metal lettering, trim-cap lettering, awning signs, plaques and more!
The Signs Manufacturing On-Location Sales Team's Personalized Service
No matter what types of signs you are interested in, our sales team, consisting of 11 highly-trained individuals, is at your beck and call.
Let us meet with you in your office, or at your new signs location, or home, or anywhere.
You will probably have a firm quotation for what you want during our meeting; certainly no more than a day later.
Visit Our Unique Sign Lighting Laboratory and LED Display Showroom
Unique in the entire sign industry, Signs Manufacturing™ built an 85’ by 50’ (over 4,000 sq ft) indoor sign lighting laboratory for testing the longevity, visibility, and effectiveness of all the lighted signs we manufacture.
The Laboratory is open to the public, for FREE, adding an LED Video Display Showroom because we realized how important one would be to consumers.
If you are considering purchasing an LED Video Display or Digital LED Message Center sign this exclusive opportunity will be particularly important. You must determine what type of sign, and which LED spacing is best, so that your sign will be successful, considering how you will use it.
are always available for you to compare.
We invite you to also observe all other types of signage, viewing them up close as well as from a distance, under varying light conditions (and stay out of the weather while doing so!)
Will your Sodium Vapor or Metal Halide parking lot lights affect the colors of your sign at night? How visible will your pylon sign’s border neon be during the day? Should you consider PinLights™, LetterLites™, SpectraLites™, or Trembler™ signs? Brighter Signs™ neon or Solarbrite™ LED lighting for channel letter signs? Fluorescent or HID lighting for your monument sign? DoDaylight or Cool White fluorescents make your sign’s colors look best? What are the differences between a flex-faced, a Lexan™, and an acrylic-faced sign cabinet?
How will shadows affect my sign's readability during the day? Should the wall behind my sign be light or dark colored? Would a different type of sign look better on my brick wall? Should I consider a routed sign face with push-through letters?
Don't buy a sign from a drawing when you can actually see and compare real signs.
No one else can offer you this unique opportunity. Be sure to take advantage.
Your business will be better because you do.
Can you afford not to?
"I almost made a huge mistake by not listening to you and visiting your showroom prior to buying my sign. I thought I knew what I wanted, after listening to so many salespeople...boy, was I wrong. My vision of the sign did not jibe with what it would really turn out to be, even after viewing so many drawings. It was obvious the moment I entered the showroom. If I had stuck to my guns my sign would have been a disaster. I would have wasted a lot of money."
Cecil Drake, Drake Communications
Free Factory Tour
Come and see the array of equipment and tools, and the facility dedicated to making good signs.
Contact a sales consultant to arrange a plant tour.
Arrange an on-site demonstration today! Demonstrations are available in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and all of North Texas.
View first-hand the importance of everything we discuss below.
Summary - Sunburst LED Displays™ In a Nutshell
The Special Features and Benefits of Sunburst LED Displays™
Text, Graphics, Text-over-Image, Fonts, Clip-Art, Pre-Programmed Video, Video, Animation, Slide-Shows, Time, Temperature, Sound – Absolute versatility.
64 GB Non-Volatile Memory – This sign will run, and do, whatever you want it to do – every time.
Impact-Resistant, Flame-Proof, UV-Protected Sign Faces and Glare Shields – A Better, Safer, Longer-Lasting sign.
Individual Glare Shields – A sign you can read during the day.
Free Programming Computer, Pre-Programmed – No learning curve.
Structural Steel Frames with Aluminum Exterior Skins – No rust and lasts forever. Virtually Hail-proof.
Ceramic Vacuum Microsphere Exterior Coating – Temperature protection for the sign.
Signlux Paint Systems™ Automotive+ paints and 2 part primer system - The same exterior paint type they paint a Ferrari with. It looks new virtually forever, helping your business.
SolarGuard™ and Lumabrite™ Protected Plastics – Won’t fade and look bad to customers.
Self-Cleaning Sign Faces – Your sign never looks dirty and dingy, chasing potential customers away.
US Military Specification Electrical Insulating Coating - Protects all interior electronics and electrics.
H2ORepel™ Waterproof Interior Coating – Double+ protects all interior electronics, electrics and wiring.
Energy Saving Electrical – Saves 35% or more of electricity costs.
Thermostat-controlled Power Ventilation - Saves maintenance costs while saving energy costs.
UL/ETL Listed Sign – This sign can be installed anywhere, and moved anywhere at a later time. Requires much less electrical service than an unlisted sign.
Special Features and Benefits of purchasing from Signs Manufacturing
The Benefits of Buying Sunburst LED Displays™ Factory-Direct
You need answers to these questions before you buy (anything from anyone.) Don’t be a naïve consumer.
* A poorly installed EMC can void a factory warranty, leaving YOU to haggle responsibility with the installer and sign seller (broker.) For instance, without a separate grounding electrode being installed during the installation of most LED signs the manufacturer’s warranty is void. Will you know if your installer doesn’t install a grounding electrode? Problems will probably begin to occur months later.
Is the sign installer working for you, or the factory, or only the sign seller (broker?) Who is legally responsible?
Who has the financial ability to remedy accidents and omissions? Single-source responsibility is best. Product liability insurance is good, too.
With an electronic message center or video display you are leaving your computer out in the Texas rain, ice, heat and cold, and tornados and hurricane-force winds are trying to blow it away.
Sunburst Displays are built in Texas, for Texans, by us.™
They are only sold wholesale FACTORY-DIRECT to our customers.
Cost and Pricing Information
When you do so notice how dealing directly with the manufacturer will save you additional thousands of dollars in sales/use taxes!
The detailed construction and installation information below, and to the left, is very important in developing a sign that will accomplish your goals.
Please contact us to develop a plan to meet your particular needs.
Our professional staff will usually have exact quotations, and exact scale drawings of your signs installed on your building or property ready for you the same day we meet with you. (Much faster than the 2 1/2 week average in our industry.)
If you are planning for the future, please bookmark our website as a "Favorite" so you can find us when you are ready.
The Best Investment You Can Make
How much would you invest to double your take-home pay?
The United State Small Business Administration (SBA) says that an LED message center sign in front of a business increases the store’s sales volume 15 – 150%.
This is all profit; expenses are already being paid.
Even with a 50% cost-of-goods this is an increase in take-home pay of 7.5% - 75%. Most businesses do not have this high a cost-of-goods.
Deduct from this amount the $10.25 per day it costs to both purchase and operate a 6’ x 12’ free-standing full-color LED message center sign that is installed 20’ tall, paying off the loan in 6 years. After that, only deduct about $1.00 per day.
It’s Black and White; what are your current sales? Do you want the additional income? Are you willing to invest $10.25 per day?
This is probably the safest investment in the world, with the highest potential return, for a business owner to make.
“In my previous 9 years of being in business I have never had 40 customers in a day. Since you put up my Sunburst™ LED Display sign I have so-far averaged 53 customers per day, but my business is still growing again.”
Muhammad Faridi, MD, McAllen Medical Center, Dallas, Texas
You May Qualify for a "BETTER THAN FREE™" Sign
Dependent on your location, Signs Manufacturing may be able to offer you INCOME from a FREE pole, pylon, monument sign, video display, or electronic message center.
Contact us for exciting details!
LED Message Center and Video Display Rentals
Signs Manufacturing rents Sunburst Displays™ LED full-color digital animated electronic video display message centers.
Contact us for details.
Historically monochrome message centers were much cheaper than color video displays. This is no longer true.
In making your decision regarding monochrome vs. color realize that colors in motion are proven to be much more attention-getting than moving single-color lights.
Monochrome (one color) displays are available in “Red” or “Amber (Yellow).”
Full-Color displays are either RGB (Red, Green, Blue) or RGBW (Red, Green, Blue, White.)
The more colors, the more LED lights in each pixel, the larger each pixel, the further back from the sign you must be so that the sign is not “grainy.”
Display Capability - Palette
Because the intensity of a LED light can be changed by increasing or decreasing the voltage to it, the better monochrome displays feature over 4000 shades of Red or Amber. Some manufacturers call this "grayscale."
The cheaper monochrome displays cannot vary their color intensity at all, they are truly one color. A Sunburst Displays™ sign can turn it's gradients feature "off" and display one-color monotone.
Good color displays (RGB) can display over 260,000 color variations; exceptional units 6 million.
We have units available with 256/4,000/26,000/6,000,000 and 281,000,000,000,000 shades/colors.
An electronic message center is in many ways a large computer screen. The screen is illuminated by turning many individual lights, or pixels, on/off (or varying the voltage to them.)
Tighter spacing between pixels allows more data to be displayed and makes the sign look better but increases cost.
Older generation displays group LEDs in clusters. Modern Sunburst Displays™ utilize balanced spacing and more modern software for a superior appearance.
Pixel Size - Clusters vs. a Balanced Array™
Older generation displays group LEDs in clusters. A more modern Sunburst Displays™ utilize a Balanced Array™ for a superior appearance because the LEDs are evenly spaced, and more sophisticated software creates "virtual pixels."
Some electronic message center manufacturers try to overcome inferior LED’s (which are greatly less expensive) by adding more than one LED of the same color to each pixel.
This makes the pixel cluster larger, which makes the pitch larger, which increases the minimum viewing distance. It also uses more electricity.
How far pixels are from one another is called “pitch” and is usually expressed in millimeters (mm.)
The pitch must be small for a display not to appear grainy up close.
Older color displays, because each pixel is actually an unequal cluster of 3 or more different colored LED’s, cannot have as small a pitch as a monochrome display or the appearance of a more modern display with a Balanced Array™. Therefore they must be viewed from a greater distance to have a quality appearance. There is a lot of blank space between pixels.
Old-style monochrome displays are available in 9mm, 19mm, 25mm, 35mm, 46mm and larger, some very larger pitches.
The tightest pitch for a quality RGB color display is 17mm.
The distance between LEDs in Sunburst Displays™ Balanced Array™ can be as small as 6 mm, monochrome or full-color.
How many pixels wide and high the display is, which determines how many of what size letters can be displayed at one time.
Most matrix dimensions are in multiples of 8 pixels, or virtual pixels in the case of a Balanced Array™.
A larger matrix can display more and larger information at one time.
The Advantages of a Balanced Array™
As an automobile driver drives toward an electronic message center which is installed on a 20’ tall pole the vertical viewing angle increases from near 0° to almost 90° as the driver passes under the sign. As the viewing angle increases the intensity of the display decreases. The vertical viewing angle of the LED’s used in the display plays an important role in the usefulness of the display. (For more information on this see “Glare Shields or Louvers” below.)
As a driver drives toward an electronic message center installed on the side of a road the horizontal viewing angle increases from near 0° to 90° as the driver passes beside the sign. As the viewing angle increases the intensity of the display decreases in this direction also. The horizontal viewing angle of the LED’s used in the display also plays an important role in the usefulness of the display.
It is important to understand the vertical and the horizontal angle that the display will be viewed from.
LED lights are directional, and Glare Shields or Louvers can block visibility. High quality LED’s can be viewed by as much as 90° horizontally and vertically and still observe over 70% of the lumen potential.
Some LED’s lose virtually all of their light at angles over 45°. Less-expensive signs must therefore be viewed nearly straight-on to be legible.
Sunburst Displays™ are effective at radical angles.
Determining Your Minimum Display Size
Videos will run on any size sign, with a resolution equal to the pixel matrix of the display.
This is not true for wording, however. Signs that have a larger pixel pitch will not be able to display small letters as clearly as a sign with a smaller pixel pitch (smaller pixel pitch means more dots per square foot).
Decide on how many lines of text vertically you need to display. Decide the maximum height of the letters you want each row to use.
Add at least 2” between rows, and 1.25” top and bottom. If you are going to use both upper and lower case letters allow additional space for the descending letters also. The amount of space varies by letter size and style. Will you want a lighted border around your message?
The cumulative total is how tall the minimum display height of your sign must be, in inches.
But, can the display clearly display your smallest letters? For a standard block letter style the smallest letter a 20mm sign can clearly display is a 6.3" tall lower-case character. A 16mm sign can display 5.1" minimum-height characters.
It is possible to go smaller, but it may require some experimentation with letter styles and spacing. Smaller letters probably require a tighter pitched sign.
If you plan on using some lower-case letters recognize that their shorter height is your shortest letter.
To determine minimum letter height for all sign pitches, multiply the pitch of a display you are considering, in millimeters (say 20), or by the LED spacing in a Balanced Array™ times 2, by 0.315. This tells you the smallest letter the display you are considering can reliably display.
Next, decide on the longest message you need to display. Count both the letters and spaces, and include space both before and after the message. Multiply by 0.3145. Now multiply by the pitch of a display you are considering, in millimeters (say 20), or by the LED spacing in a Balanced Array™ times 2. The answer is how long the sign display must be in inches to display the message adequately in most letter styles. Realize that some letter styles would require an even longer display, but this is a good average.
You now know if the size and pitch of the sign you are considering will meet your needs.
Desired Minimum Character Size
Smallest* Recommended Character Size
The minimum Best Viewing Range is the point at which the display loses significant graininess or color breakdown. Distances can vary depending on the message being displayed.
The maximum viewing distance is the point at which the smallest character which will be generated on the display becomes unreadable. A potential solution is to generate larger characters, but this may increase the minimum viewing distance.
Best Viewing Ranges
The length of time letters are readable when moving towards them.
These times are only achievable when viewing signs made with LEDs with wide viewing angles.
Many signs reading times are much shorter for the same sized letter.
More than any other part of the sign the operating software determines the usability of the system. Sunburst Displays™ proprietary operating software contains many virtually unique features into one package:
Do you know that a .jpg image file automatically adjusts pixel locations as the image is scaled larger or smaller, to continuously create an image with smooth edges – not the choppy “building block” look of older image files (and older LED displays.)
Sunburst’s processors do this also, to display the best image possible.
Superior™ and Enhanced™ Operating Modes
Sunburst LED Displays™ gives our sign owners the option of operating their signs in one of two different modes.
In Superior™ mode the sign operates by dividing an image into individual one-color dots (pixels), as many pixels as the signs standard resolution and sign size will allow. It then uses four-led clusters to display the image by recreating these colored dots. Because of our Balanced Array™ the display has smaller holes between the colored dots and 25% more lighted LEDs at any one time, when compared to an older pixel cluster type display, creating a vastly superior image.
In Enhanced™ mode, only possible because of our Balanced Array™, the sign operates by dividing an image into four times as many pixels as the signs standard resolution and sign size would allow, creating additional pixel locations between every standard pixel. Then our processor blends the image together to smooth color flow; envision using a paint brush rather than a dot-matrix printer. Images are much more vibrant. Lines are not as harsh.
Do you realize that a .jpg image file “fades” pixels, smoothing color-flow between pixel locations to continuously create images with smooth edges – not the choppy “building block” look of older image files (and older LED displays?)
In Enhanced™ mode Sunburst’s Balanced Array™ processors do this also, to display the best image possible.
Balanced Array™ in Superior™ Mode and Enhanced™ Mode
(As you move this picture away from you observe the clarity differences.)
Text, Graphics, or Both
Some competitive units only display text, some must display text as a graphic (drawing), some can display both text and graphics. Some competitors can only display "stick" letters (one line.)
Many varied letter-styles (fonts) are pre-programmed in all our units.
All our units can also automatically place text over graphics pictures.
On our monochrome units (one color) text and graphics can be displayed in 1 or 256 shades of the one color. Full-color units display 281,000,000,000,000 separate shades.
Animated Text and Graphics
All Sunburst Displays™ software can display fixed messages or graphics (drawings) or “scroll” messages or graphics (drawings) and include F/X features. We also show a display such as a cartoon with character movement, for instance.
Monochrome displays convert colors to shades of either Red or Amber (Yellow.)
All Sunburst Displays™ programming can display pre-programmed messages and pictures in a slideshow format, much like a screensaver slideshow showing multiple messages or images.
Video - Prerecorded Clips
All Sunburst Displays™ proprietary software can display videos of varying random lengths.
Live Video or TV
Live video or television feeds are available options.
Schedule various messages, graphics or videos to automatically run at various times of day or night with Sunburst Displays™ software.
Double-Sided Display Programming Options
Most competitive units display the same message or animation on both sides of a double-sided display.
However some competitive units can only be programmed totally independent of each other. There displays will not synchronize, so they take twice as long to program.
Sunburst Displays™ standard is a synchronized display, with independent programming an inexpensive option.
Display Size and Appearance
Some displays have "retainer", or a picture frame around the display.
Some displays are "bleed", or the matrix goes to the edge of the face.
A bleed face gives more display space in the square footage allowed if a city has a restrictive sign ordinance.
Superior Sign Faces and Glare Shields
We engineered impact-resistant, U.V. protected, and flame-proof sign faces and glare shields into our LED sign designs to give our customers even better, safer, longer-lasting signs.
Glare Shields (Louvers)
Sunburst Displays™ curved glare shields are individually molded into the actual face, not bolted on, to individually shade each LED.
These features guarantee that our shields are effective and positioned properly. They also allow our shields to be as small as possible to eliminate their interference with viewing our displays from below or above.
This is a very common problem with competitive displays with shields that are straight, or continuous. Theirs are less effective and must be much larger, limiting the viewing angles of their signs.
Automatic Brightness Control
Sunburst Displays™ and other quality displays automatically adjust their brightness to the current lighting conditions.
A good LED display that is bright enough to draw attention during the day is too bright at night without Automatic Brightness Control. It's like staring into a flashlight; nothing is readable!
LED’s are affected by voltage. For instance, an LED will burn nearly 100% brighter if you double the power feeding it. The LED will last about 1/6 as long, however, making this alternative quite expensive in total cost.
LED's dim as they age. At some point (subjective) they will need to be replaced because they are too dim. Feeding them less voltage extends their useful life.
Sunburst Displays' engineering goal was to balance brightness and longevity.
If only brightness is important a monochrome display that does not include a grayscale feature, or automatic brightness adjustment, will be the brightest, at least initially, because all LED's will always be fully-powered. The LED's can also be more closely packed because only one color of LED is used; room does not have to be dedicated to other-colored (RGB) LED's.
Colors in motion, though dimmer than monochrome, have proven to be a better attention-getter, and the displays last longer.
A thermometer installs on the sign cabinet and plugs into the sign computer in systems set-up for this feature.
Computer Link Types
Optical Fiber. Run underground from the sign to the controlling computer, usually inside the building. This fiber must be run in separate conduit, but it can be buried in the same trench as the electrical supply.
Phone Control. The unit can have a cell phone number and a modem. Simply call the sign from the controlling computer and tells it what to do. The internal memory of the electronic message center repeats these instructions until they are changed.
RF Wireless Modem Communications. An antenna is placed on the sign, and on the building, which is hooked to the controlling computer.
Wi-Fi Modem. Uses a wireless modem connection in the computer, and in the sign cabinet, to communicate.
It is possible to have one computer control multiple of our electronic message centers (all Long John Silver’s are, for example.)
Besides the computer that is used to program the sign there is a processor or a computer inside the sign in most systems.
The poorly engineered signs are programmed and controlled by a single computer that is hard-wired to the sign and must be left "on" at all times. Or, in some cheap signs a second "personal computer" is actually installed inside the sign.
The problem with either of these systems is that the sign is running on "Windows" using a CD or hard-drive and is additionally subject to all the viruses, freezes, lock-ups and reboot problems that a personal computer faces. (As a simple example of the problems faced, who climbs the pole of a free-standing pole sign to reboot the computer after a power outage or computer lock-up? Service call.)
Plus, with all the moving parts in hard drives, disk drives, and other humidity and temperature sensitive components, a PC is a poor way to run a sign from inside the sign. They fail often enough when they are used in the controlled environment of a building.
Tremendous cooling is required when there is an "Intel Inside" but many of these poorly engineered units don't even have cooling fans for the LED displays, much less the computer's processor chip.
In the worst of all signs, the software to program the computer inside the sign is not even in the sign owner's possession. It is not on the programming computer, it is "on the cloud." The sign’s computer must have high-speed internet access.
What if the sign manufacturer does not own the software, he uses a third-party system, and they notify you that in order to keep your sign operating you will now have to pay them $2,000 per month to continue access to the programming software. This happens all the time with other "free" software. Or, he controls the software "on the cloud" but goes out of business so your sign cannot be programmed by anyone.
We don't have a "computer" in our signs. The processor in our signs is a "mother-board" with a non-volatile memory (no heat-sensitive processor chip) and its sole purpose is to store and control using the commands you send it from the programming computer we furnish Free with the sign. (No rebooting!)
The programming software is on the computer we give you, and we also give you a back-up copy.
This vastly superior system also uses less energy.
Heat is the enemy of LED’s. Sunburst Displays™ electronic message centers have multiple inflow and outflow ventilation fans. Additionally, every heat-producing component has its own internal cooling fan. Larger units incorporate air conditioners into their design. Excessive heat can shorten LED life by up to 80%.
In poorly engineered signs with little (passive) or no cooling, decreasing the pitch, increasing the size of pixels, or over-driving LED’s with higher-than-required voltage to increase their brightness, increases heat, shortening the life of the unit.
Some units vent out the front of the sign, some out their sides, and some out the rear. This affects how each unit can be installed. For instance, a unit that vents out its sides cannot be covered with brick.
Some message centers are serviced by removing their face, some by removing their back, some by removing a frame around the face and sides of the sign. This also affects how each unit can be installed.
Solarbrite™ Light Emitting Diode (LED) Technology
A light-emitting diode (LED) is a semiconductor device that emits incoherent monochromatic light when electrically biased in the forward direction. This effect is a form of electroluminescence. The color depends on the semiconducting material used, and can be near-ultraviolet, visible or infrared.
A LED is a special type of semiconductor diode. Like a normal diode, it consists of a chip of semiconducting material impregnated, or doped, with impurities to create a structure called a pn junction. Charge-carriers (electrons and holes) are created by an electric current passing through the junction, and release energy in the form of photons as they recombine. The wavelength of the light, and therefore its color, depends on the band gap energy of the materials forming the pn junction. A normal diode, typically made of silicon or germanium, emits invisible far-infrared light, but the materials used for a LED have band gap energies corresponding to near-infrared, visible or near-ultraviolet light.
Unlike incandescent bulbs, which can operate with either AC or DC, LED's require a DC supply of the correct polarity. When the voltage across the pn junction is in the correct direction, a significant current flows and the device is said to be forward biased. The voltage across the LED in this case is fixed for a given LED and is proportional to the energy of the emitted photons. If the voltage is of the wrong polarity, the device is said to be reverse biased, very little current flows, and no light is emitted.
Conventional LED's are made of inorganic minerals such as:
LED development began with infrared and red devices, and technological advances have made possible the production of devices with ever shorter wavelengths.
Blue LED's became available in the late 1990s. They can be added to existing red and green LED's to produce white light. Most "white" LED's in production today use a blue LED chip covered by a scintillate coating made of Zinc solenoid (ZnSe). The LED chip emits blue light, part of which is converted to yellow by the ZnSe. This mixture of blue and yellow light creates the impression of white - hence the bluish or yellowish tint that these diodes usually exhibit.
The most recent innovation in LED technology is a device that can emit ultraviolet light. When ultraviolet light illuminates certain materials, these materials will fluoresce or give off visible light. White light LED's have been produced by building ultraviolet elements inside material that fluoresces to produce white light.
The semiconducting chip is encased in a solid plastic lens, which is much tougher than the glass envelope of a traditional light bulb or tube. The plastic may be colored, but this is only for cosmetic reasons and does not affect the color of the light emitted.
Most typical LED's are designed to operate with no more than 30-60 millewatts of electrical power. In 2002, 5 watt LED's became available with efficiencies of 18-22 lumens per watt.
SMD (Surface Mounted Device) LED's have been created that combine RGB (Red, Green, Blue - which can make White) color sources in one LED. This allows the display matrix, pitch, to be much closer. They are very expensive, but more importantly do not have the nits (candela per square meter) for outdoor use. Manufacturers currently brag that they can produce 4-6,000 nits. We are patiently watching this development.
Signs Manufacturing's Sunburst Displays™ Solarbrite™ LED’s are 8,000 to 13,000 nits, depending on color. (The brightness of Solarbrite™ LED's can be turned down if they are too bright.)
Many companies manufacture LED’s. There are over 5,000 varied LED’s available, and they vary greatly as to brightness, nits, lux, light-dispersal (viewing) angle, useful lifetime, and lifetime.
Some are very cheap, some are quite expensive.
Signs Manufacturing's Sunburst Displays™ only use Solarbrite™ LED’s that are rated to retain 80% of their brightness for 60,000+ hours. These are the most expensive, but highest value, conventional LED’s. Our selection of LED’s is what makes our signs brighter, and last longer.
A Solarbrite™ LED incorporates a new kind of chip, different from all other LED's. Signs Manufacturing is an industry leader in the implementation of new technology in advertising.
Solarbrite™ LED’s utilize military specification coatings on the circuit boards the LED’s are attached to, preventing corrosion and electrical problems.
LED’s are affected by voltage. For instance, an LED will also burn nearly 100% brighter if you double the power feeding it. The LED will last about 1/6 as long, however, making this alternative quite expensive in total cost.
We power our Solarbrite™ LED’s properly, and offer a 5 year warranty on the LED’s in our lighted signs.
Incandescent (household) lamps begin disappearing in 2012, starting with the 100 watt lamp, and will be mostly gone by 2014.
The Government has mandated that all these lamps, with 22 exceptions, must begin being at least 25% more energy efficient starting in 2014, 70% more efficient by 2020.
"Sign Service" lamps are exempt, but whether or not lamp manufacturers will recognize a big enough market to continue to make just them is problematic.
The Value of “Listed" Signs
Virtually ALL cities, as well as the State of Texas, adopt the National Electric Code as law.
The National Electric Code (NEC) requires that for electrical, structural, and installation safety all electrical signs be "Listed" (tested and labelled with an appropriate Listing Mark.)
Certification (testing and labelling) organizations acceptable in the USA to test to the multitude of Standards signs are required to meet are determined by OSHA.
For you the Listing Mark is insurance. It means that the sign has been tested to insure that it is structurally and electrically safe, and will be installed properly. You benefit from the knowledge that it is not solely us telling you that our signs are safe, this is what the testing laboratories and the US Government says also.
Underwriter's Laboratory (“UL” Listing Mark) and Intertek (“ETL” Listing Mark – originally Edison Testing Laboratory founded by Thomas Edison) are the premier certification organizations and 80% of all things electrical are tested by them.
If the sign you are purchasing does not have a ETL or UL Listing Mark label the sign is probably not legal to install, anywhere in Texas. There are a few local city ordinance exceptions.
Intertek is over twice the size of UL, and has a greater global presence. UL is the largest in the USA. We have both companies test and apply Listing Marks to various signs.
Whether it's channel letters, a wall cabinet sign, a monument sign, pole or pylon signs, electronic message centers, neon or other electric signs Intertek and Underwriter’s Laboratory pose the toughest design, structural, electrical, and installation standards on the products they approve.
We are the 9th oldest UL Listed Manufacturer in North Texas. (File #UXYT.E149959)
To see if a manufacturer is a UL Listed sign manufacturer go to http://database.ul.com/cgi-bin/XYV/template/LISEXT/1FRAME/ccnsrch.html and enter "UXYT" in the "UL Category Code" box, replacing "%ccn%".
To see if a manufacturer is an ETL Listed sign manufacturer go to http://etlwhidirectory.etlsemko.com/WebClients/ITS/DLP/products.nsf/$$Search?OpenForm and enter "UL-48" in the search box.
We are the third oldest ETL Listed sign company in Texas. (One of the two older companies makes lighted scoreboards, the other makes lighted office door signs.)
There are many sign companies that pretend to be Listed, but are not!
Incidentally, ISO (International Organization of Standardization) Standards, such as ISO 2001, are NOT electrical Listings (similar to a UL or ETL Listing) that allow a sign to be installed in Texas. That said, components in our electronic signs also meet ISO 2001, ISO 9001, ISO 14001 and RoHS standards.
Underwriter’s Laboratory and Intertek do NOT judge the appearance, appeal, or the longevity of a product. This is why our many years of experience serving international, national, regional and local customers, and our investment so that we can apply the knowledge we’ve gained, will give you a superior product which will impress your customers for years to come.
The Electrical Advantage of a “Listed" Sign
Listed Signs Save You Money.
Sunburst Displays Video Displays and Electronic Message Centers, because they are Listed, are approved to operate with approximately 40% of the power supply requirements of unlisted signs.
This is a huge savings in installation costs, as only 1/3 of the comparable electrical service needs to be provided.
And since the National Electrical Code limits the branch circuits serving signs to 20 amps maximum, this equates to many fewer circuits.
For safety, an untested sign (not Listed) must be supplied with enough electricity to meet the total “continuous” needs of each internal components rating. (Each components rating x 125%)
A Listed sign has been tested as a whole, and the amount of energy actually used has been determined. The sign is approved for use when supplied with this amount of electricity, regardless of the ratings of the individual components.
This is always much less than the rating of each internal component taken individually, so the cost of installing electricity to the sign will be significantly less.
120 volt single phase service is normally required because these Listed displays do not consume a great deal of energy, but some units require 240 volt 1 phase.
Remember, however, that other parts of the sign will have electrical requirements also.
Radio Frequency (RF) interference can cause a sign to interfere with radios, cell phones, radar, automatic door openers, etc.
Although not required, Signs Manufacturing had our electronic signs tested for Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) and Electromagnetic Interference (EMI).
This assures you of an even-more-trouble-free sign when you purchase from Signs Manufacturing Corporation.
This varies by the message displayed, and how long the electronic message center is on.
That said it is uncommon for ANY electronic (LED) message center to use over $1.00 in electricity in a day.
Some electronic message center manufacturers, more interested in the sale than the needs of the customer, overdrive their LED’s to make them brighter (usually because they are using inferior LED’s.)
Besides shortening the lifetime of the display to 1/6 of a properly manufactured display it wastes energy.
Sunburst Displays™ does none of this!
We do provide internal overvoltage, low voltage, spike and brownout protection for the sign. Many manufacturers do not.
The system should have easy to use control software with built in features such as scrolling and blinking messages and a time and temperature display. It should also allow you to preview both individual messages and your whole display queue without forcing you to show the world your half-finished ads by running them on the display. The message should be able to be changed from inside your business, or the system should be configured so that “headquarters” can change the message at each store.
Learning how to program an electronic message center is not hard.
Most good manufacturers have teaching CD’s in addition to Technical Assistance.
Many have telephone training included as part of their package.
Signs Manufacturing is particularly adept at these systems, and helps our customers until they no longer need us.
Then we come back when they find they were premature.
Product and Technical Support
Most important in an investment of this size is product support.
The electronic message center manufacturer must be large and dedicated enough that they will continue to support their products with parts.
Technical support must be easily available and there must be no limit to your access to it.
Even after you have become an expert, and years later, you might have difficulty programming a new-look message.
Make certain your electronic message center manufacturer and installer will be there to help you 24 hours a day.
Minimum Computer Requirements
Most up-to-date computers, purchased within 2 years, have enough memory to create control programs.
It is usually NOT necessary to buy a separate/additional computer to control an electronic message center.
FREE Programming Computer with Sunburst Displays™
Each Sunburst Displays™ electronic message center comes with a "free" pre-programmed laptop computer ready to remotely program your new electronic message center.
Tutorials are a part of the computer’s pre-programming.
Full-color displays can also be programmed using Power-Point, Corel, Photoshop, or any graphics software you are familiar with. So you already know how to program the sign!
The computer communicates via Wi-Fi, so you probably already know how to work it, and it only needs to be "on" when you are changing the program. The sign runs on its own internal processor.
You can create a program at home, and download it to your sign when you get to your business, if you desire.
Proprietary encryption in both the sign and the programming computer software make the sign impossible to use by anyone else.
SolarGuard™ Protection for Sunburst Displays™
Our plastic faces that hold the LEDs, and Glare Shields, have internal UV protection. But your sign needs to look nearly as good 10 to 15 years from now as it looks the day it is installed.
The longevity and appearance of plastic face materials are extended when they are coated with SolarGuard™, a special, clear, mar-resistant topcoat which protects plastics from ultraviolet light and ozone so that they last longer, just like your eyeglasses have UV coatings to protect the plastic lens.
Signs Manufacturing is an authorized SolarGuard™ applicator.
Signs Manufacturing adds SolarGuard™ protection to every plastic sign face component.
Does SolarGuard™ Protection Work? The face on the right was made of “generic” red acrylic and black trim-cap. The left half was coated with SolarGuard™ and the face was left outside for ONLY 7 years; your sign will be out there much longer!
(This product does not come from the traditional sign industry. Few sign manufacturers know about it, or where to get it.)
EMC faces that were NOT protected with SolarGuard™ (Click on each picture to Enlarge.)
Self-Cleaning Faces for Sunburst Displays™
Signs Manufacturing adds Lumabrite™ coatings to every plastic-faced sign.
Lumabrite™ reduces maintenance because of built-in self-cleaning properties.
This products inspiration was the optical plastic lens industry.
Our people are factory-trained in the application of Lumabrite™.
Construction Details for Sunburst Displays™
Free-standing signs are engineered to survive a 140 mph wind.
All face-plates, the part of the sign that the display's external LED boards are mounted to, are CAD/CNC (Computer Aided Design/Computer Numerical Controlled) routed from solid aluminum plate, to prevent rusting and increase heat dissipation.
An extensive lattice-formed 3-dimensional aluminum frame is welded to the face-plate to insure rigidity and further aid in heat dissipation.
Aluminum is also used for all exterior surfaces of the sign cabinet, again to prevent future rusting.
Almost all Chinese-manufactured signs, among others, have steel cabinets and face-plates.
With some manufacturers, incredibly, the face-plate is merely many individual pieces bolted together. Hardly engineered to withstand 140 mph tornado winds.
Water is the enemy of electronic message centers. Sunburst Displays developed a unique cabinet design that channels water and ice away from vital internal electrical components.
The face boards, containing the LEDs, are gasketed and hermetically sealed to prevent moisture from entering the sign through the faces.
All fasteners are galvanized or non-corrosive; no rust.
Most Chinese displays are painted with questionable paints. (Remember when the Chinese were caught painting Mattel kid's toys with lead paint?) We even add self-cleaning properties.
Revolutionary Ceramic Vacuum Microsphere Shield
During a Texas summer, your Texas electronic message center can experience daily internal heat levels of over 200* F, enough to seriously damage it, shorten its life, and cause you expensive repairs.
High heat is very hard on electronics and LED’s, and shortens both their lives.
NASA, with the Space Shuttle program, has proven the value of insulating ceramic vacuum microspheres as a thermal barrier to both heat and cold.
While not as debilitating as temperatures experienced by the Shuttles, we commonly experience temperatures well over 200º inside Texas signs. Water boils at 212º at sea level.
Signs Manufacturing builds a better sign. We cover the metal exterior of each Sunburst LED Display™ with the same ceramic vacuum microsphere barrier developed by NASA.
We have documented 30% internal heat differences, 60º cooler at 200º, accompanied by an 80% increase in heat dissipation when compared to identical signs without our ceramic shield.
NASA confirms that 90% of solar infrared and 85% of ultraviolet rays are reflected back into the atmosphere by this revolutionary product.
Visually the only difference is the very slightly textured appearance of our ceramic barrier when compared to uncoated metal; a small price to pay, especially since you will never notice the difference. We still use the same wonderful paints with the same excellent results.
Impact protection from hail, asteroids, and other objects is vastly improved also.
Made in Texas, for Texans, by Us.™
Free Factory Tour
Come and see the array of equipment and tools, and the facility dedicated to making good signs.
Quality Certified Signs™ Trained Technicians
Go to www.QualityCertifiedSigns.org for listing details.
Sunburst Displays™ employs Certified Welders; horizontal, vertical, and overhead.
We are virtually the only sign company in the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex employing certified welders.
The quality suppliers get their product to us in 4-8 weeks. Our manufacturing cycle is usually slightly shorter than this.
Since most electronic message centers are built into or installed as part of additional signs we need time to fit the parts together.
Sunburst Displays™ warranty is the STRONGEST TOTAL WARRANTY for Digital LED Video Displays and Electronic Message Centers in the industry!
If ANY part of a Sunburst Displays™ video display or electronic message center fails in the first three years of service, if properly supplied with power, Sunburst Displays™ will provide BOTH parts and service FREE OF CHARGE through Signs Manufacturing Corporation.
Even stronger, this Initial Warranty is extendable to six years.
Plus, Sunburst Displays™ warrants their signs with a LIFETIME* WARRANTY, again through Signs Manufacturing Corporation, that reduces both normal labor rates for service, and parts costs, 20% forever.
Sunburst Displays™ Lifetime* Warranty is transferable at no additional cost!
Virtually no other LED Video Display or Digital Electronic Message Center manufacturer IN THE WORLD provides a warranty on ANY labor, much less a transferrable warranty.
Additionally, after the Initial Warranty period, Sunburst Displays™ will provide free replacement parts for any previously replaced part that fails within one year of installation.
Other manufacturers whose products we install and service have varying new-sign parts-only warranties that average 3 years.
"Our ($70,000) electronic-message-centers were nightmares. Even though they were only 2 years old the manufacturer refused to service them. Your new signs, and your service, have been exceptional."
Major Vincent, Salvation Army
"...I had to hound Vital ***** (a sign broker) for weeks and weeks, then I had to call ******** (the manufacturer) to finally get a hold of Vital *****. I thought Vital ***** was taking my deposit money and running. When he asked for the second deposit I was kind of hesitant based on my experience with him. I did some research on Vital ***** and there were judgments in Dallas County, civil judgments for Vital ***** taking money and not putting up a sign! But the manufacturer said I had to deal with him, and he already had a great deal of my money.
The installation company he subcontracted with, City *****, finally did show up and after giving them another $30,000 the sign was installed but City ***** didn't pay Vital *****, I guess, his "fair cut" of it.
Vital ***** was initially mad at City ***** and then he was mad at me, so he came and took the controller out of the sign so now it doesn't even work! I tried to go back to ******** (the manufacturer), and gave them all of the documentation and they said it's between me and Vital *****, they won't do anything about it. I'm never dealing any way but directly with a manufacturer again!"
Mr. Sinkler, Freedom Wash
"...the sign will be dismantled. ...not knowing when and how to get parts was a major factor..."
Cathy Clarke, Johnson Elementary School, Southlake. They are throwing away their $40,000 six-month old sign because they can't get parts to repair it (company out of business.)
“We bought an Adapxxxx Displays LED Message Center. I'll be glad when the warranty has expired and I can justify a new Sunburst LED Display. So far the labor installing our "free" repair parts is over $6,000.”
Miles Pennington, Trinity Valley Community College
“We have spent over $6,300 installing warranty parts in our LED message center. Wish we had your warranty!”
David Worley, Harvest Church
Controlling Message Center and Video Display Cost
Electronic Message Centers and Video Displays cost a lot of money, but they achieve tremendous results.
To keep from spending more money than necessary, consider the design of your sign and the results you want to achieve.
Rather than purchase a larger, blank, rectangular message center and display your name and all other information on it, consider incorporating signage that constantly displays the messages you want to constantly display. It will cost less, and look better!
Because we manufacture and install all types of signage, not just electronic message centers, we can design, build, and install the most cost efficient and effective signage for you (see our "Design & Marketing" page!)
"Click" Below for Additional Information on Installing an Electronic Message Center in:
Our modern 1.2 acre (under roof) production facility, with both high and low dock doors, is located on a 3 acre concrete pad; the additional area being used for parking and "clean" outside storage. One-half acre is planted greenbelt.
Signs Manufacturing Corporation's Four-building Manufacturing Campus prior to our 7,500 sq. ft. expansion (2001 Photo courtesy of Bing.)
Weekend photo showing Signs Manufacturing Corporation's 2004 Building Expansion, taken during our 2009 re-roofing project (Courtesy of Google Earth.)
State Licensed Sign Installation and Sign Service
We are a full-service sign company. We provide sign site surveys, sign permits, sign installation and sign maintenance services for electrical and non-electrical signs for our customers as well as other sign companies. We provide this work in Dallas, Fort Worth (DFW), and ALL of North Texas and Northeast Texas.
State Sign and Electrical License Numbers: TECL17503, TSCL18015, TSCL18016.
Our technicians are also Quality Certified Signs™ certified. (Click the "Installation & Service" tab for details.)
We serve and have installed signs in the Texas cities of Addison, Aledo, Allen, Alvarado, Anna, Argyle, Arlington, Athens, Aubrey, Avalon, Azle, Balch Springs, Bedford, Benbrook, Blue Mound, Bonham, Briar, Bridgeport, Buckingham, Burleson, Caddo Mills, Canton, Carrollton, Cedar Hill, Celina, Cleburne, Cockrell Hill, Colleyville, The Colony, Combine, Coppell, Corsicana, Crandall, Crowley, Dallas, Dalworthington Gardens, Decatur, Denison, Denton, Desoto, D/FW Airport, Dido, Duncanville, Eagle Mountain Lake, Edgecliff, Ennis, Euless, Everman, Farmers Branch, Farmersville, Ferris, Flower Mound, Forest Hill, Forney, Fort Worth, Frisco, Gainesville, Garland, Glenn Heights, Granbury, Grand Prairie, Grapevine, Greenville, Gun Barrel City, Haltom City, Haslet, Highland Park, Hillsboro, Hudson Oaks, Hurst, Hutchins, Irving, Italy, Itasca, Jacksboro, Joshua, Justin, Kaufman, Keene, Keller, Kennedale, Kleberg, Krum, Lake Dallas, Lake Worth, Lakeside, Lancaster, Las Colinas, Lawson, Lewisville, Little Elm, Longview, Mansfield, Marshall, Maypearl, McKinney, Melissa, Mesquite, Midlothian, Milford, Mineral Wells, Mount Pleasant, Mount Vernon, Murphy, Nevada, Newark, North Richland Hills, Ovilla, Palmer, Pantego, Paris, Parker County, Pelican Bay, Pittsburg, Plano, Ponder, Princeton, Prosper, Quinlan, Quitman, Red Oak, Rendon, Richardson, Richland Hills, Rice, River Oaks, Roanoke, Rockwall, Rowlett, Royse City, Sachse, Saginaw, Sansom Park, Sanger, Seagoville, Sherman, Silver Creek, Southlake, Springtown, Stephenville, Sulphur Springs, Sunnyvale, Terrell, Texarkana, Trophy Club, Tyler, University Park, Van Alstyne, Valley View, Watauga, Waxahachie, Weatherford, Wedgewood, Westlake, Weston, Westover Hills, Wheatland, White Settlement, Whitney, Wichita Falls, Willow Park, Wills Point, Wilmer, and Wylie.
ZIP Codes 75001 thru 76958.
Area Codes 214, 254, 430, 469, 682, 817, 903, 940, and 972.
Serving Collin, Cook, Dallas, Denton, Ellis, Fannin, Franklin, Grayson, Henderson, Hill, Hood, Hopkins, Hunt, Johnson, Kaufman, Lamar, Navarro, Parker, Rockwall, Somervell, Tarrant, Titus, Van Zandt, Wood, and Wise Counties in Texas.
We also have signs in 43 different states, and 6 other nations.
Electronic Message Center and Video Display Rentals
We rent trailer-mounted self-powered electronic message centers.
Rental units are available for the Dallas/Fort Worth Metroplex and all of North Texas.
"Click" on the "Message Center Rentals" tab to the left to learn more.
Signs Manufacturing™ & Maintenance Corp.
FOR ORDERING OR ASSISTANCE CALL: