Signs and LEDs

LED. [el-ee-dee, led] noun. light-emitting diode: a semiconductor diode that emits light when conducting current and is used in electronic displays, indoor and outdoor lighting, etc.


RouteOne began incorporating LED components into signs more than 8 years ago as neon was slowly phased out and replaced with LED modules in channel letters. The transition to sign cabinets was more challenging. Evenly lighting a large sign with a white face required extensive testing and adjustment to spacing and components as the technology advanced.

Modules on wire strings or sticks are now commonly used to light standard depth sign cabinets. Modules are typically ½- ¾” wide by 2-3” long or longer for large applications. They can be applied to the back of a single-sided sign or a center panel with modules on two sides for a double-sided sign. LED light sticks, on the other hand, are pre-made by many of the manufacturers. The modules are adhered to one or both sides of an aluminum bar at standard lengths to replace fluorescent lamps. You may also custom fabricate your own in the shop to fit a new custom shaped sign.

The Kelvin scale is named after William Thomson, 1st Baron Kelvin (1824-1907) who came up with the idea for the scale. It’s where we get the K numbers you see on the box if you have tried to purchase a LED replacement bulb for your home.  The varying numbers on the boxes ranging from Kelvin or K2700 warm to K7000 cool with several more between are an important point to remember when lighting with LED. When possible use a lower K white for warm background colors and a higher K white for cool colors of the spectrum for the best results.

Drivers or power supplies create the commonly used 12 volt DC output power system required to light the LED module strings or sticks. The drivers are sized according to how many watts they produce at the 12 volt DC output. Typical watt outputs are 20, 60 and 120 watts depending on the situation. The DC current is relatively safe at this low voltage and simple to wire, making it ideal for through-wall penetrations with small, jacketed wire similar to a doorbell wire. Multi-volt AC input by many of the manufacturers allows for greater versatility of use.

The use of LED lighting in almost all its forms today is about cutting electrical consumption and in turn, lowing your electric bill. Signs are no exception. As in other areas of use, they are here to stay.

Experience RouteOne Wholesale Signs years of knowledge and expertise as we help you navigate the LED landscape. (PUN WARNING) And you won’t be left in the dark. (Sorry, but I did put a warning in there.)