Retrofitting neon and florescent with LED lighting
For indirect lighting, and for applications behind a plastic face (such as channel letters) LED modules are the preferred lighting technology.
Retrofitting signs is not as simple a process as it might first seem. There are many examples to be seen of poorly executed LED illumination.
These problems are eliminated by using the highest quality LED products, and carefully considering the entire display geometry when choosing modules to retrofit with. Different products have different beam angles, and this is an important consideration that is dependent on the sign depth and total surface area.
In addition to poor aesthetics, and LED retrofit project done incorrectly is prone to repeated service calls. LEDs and their power supplies do not like heat. Here in Texas, thermal management is very important for all LED components to maximize performance and lifespan. A large sign cabinet can absorb a considerable amount of solar gain during a hot summer day. Ventilation of the cabinet, as well as stops to reduce conduction from hot surfaces help ensure the retrofit you paid for performs years into the future.
Retrofitting neon border tubing with LED “flex” neon
There are a couple of good manufacturers of LED neon-like products. These are standard LED’s encapsulated or inserted into a tube or extrusion.
Rather than a “neon replacement”, these should be looked at as an alternative medium that can allow the installation of border/accent lighting in places neon is impractical.
LED neon-flex can also be configured with DMX and RBG color changing abilities. In spite of these exciting capabilities, the long-term, outdoor performance of these products is still being evaluated. Power consumption of LED flex products and 15mm neon is very similar: 3 to 3.5 watts per foot.