LED Signs
20 Questions to Ask Before You Buy
by
: Kim Clark

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7. At how many Frames Per Second will the sign operate? - You will want your sign to transition smoothly and seamlessly.  At a low frames per second count, you will notice a “tick, tick, tick” of the letters and graphics.  A model with capabilities of operating at 60 framers per second will provide the seamless, easy viewing effect desired.

8. What is the Viewing Angle of the sign? - The Viewing Angle is the point at which the text/graphics will “fade” as a car travels by your sign.  Viewing Angles vary from 75 all the way up to 140 degrees.  Beware of the difference between Viewing ANGLE and Viewing CONE.  Viewing CONE can be deceiving.  Basically, it is determined by doubling the Viewing ANGLE.  Be sure to compare Angles to Angles and Cones to Cones.

9. If Shading is an option for your sign, how many Shades are being quoted? - Look for the newest technology with 256 shades.  Some LED sign suppliers are still offering the old technology of 32 or 64 shades.  The more shades you have, the better the graphics will appear.

10. Does the sign feature Hybrid Technology? - Hybrid Technology (Hybrid Individual Pixels) is the most advanced technology available for LED signs.  Beware of signs manufactured with less advanced Pixel Boards which experience higher costs and longer downtimes when repairs are needed.  If a Pixel Board needs to be removed or repaired, the sign may be down for a week at a time and replacement boards cost $350 + labor and shipping costs.  Hybrid Technology signs have individual replaceable pixels (instead of the entire sign board).  Look for a company that offers replacement pixels for free during the first 5 years that you own the sign.  After that, your cost to replace a pixel will be approximately $5.00.  Downtime is virtually nonexistent as it does not require a professional and only takes a minute to change out a Hybrid Individual Pixel.

11. How many graphics are included with the sign? - Look for a company that includes at least 300,000 graphics and 200 animation motion video applications with their shaded and full color models.

12. Is training provided to help you learn to program the sign? - You will want an LED supplier who offers onsite training, web based training, and unlimited phone support so that they can accommodate your training needs.  One of the leading LED sign programming software packages, Media Editor, provides a user-friendly environment for creating text messages with animations using preprogrammed transitions and animation modes.  The software enables users to import .avi files for added graphic impact, creating compelling moving messages in minutes.

13. Does the quote include ACTUAL freight shipping and handling fees? - Quotes that include language such as “estimate,” “surcharge later,” or “invoice later” are not providing you with the actual, bottom line amount that you will be charged for Shipping and Handling.

14. Is the sign face material sign grade panformed unbreakable polycarbonate? - Look for a company that provides a Lifetime Warranty against breakage of the sign face/identification area of the sign.  How do their signs stand up to acts of vandalism and are they covered under the warranty?  Consider the reputation of the company.  How many signs have they provided over the years?  Do they have testimonial letters from customers that address the durability of the sign faces and their customer service support? 

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