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The following is a list of commonly used terms and phrases that pertain to LED displays and how they work. You can scroll through the list or click on a specific term to jump to that location.

bulletDisplay Array or Matrix
bulletLight Emitting Diodes (LED's)
bulletLED and Display Colors
bulletNumber of Pixels
bulletTypes of Pixels
bulletPixel Light Sources
bulletProgramming
bulletSpecial Effects
bulletDiscrete LED's
bulletData Block Modules
bulletClusters
bulletTile Modules
bulletPixel Diameter
bulletCenter to Center Spacing
bulletBrightness
bulletResolution or Density
bulletViewing Distance and Speed

 

bulletDisplay Array or Matrix

The display area of a programmable sign is composed of rows and columns of "pixels".  The term pixel is short for "Picture Element".  The characters and graphics of a message are formed by turning on or activating specific patterns of pixels within the display array.

bulletLight Emitting Diodes (LED's)

An LED is a tiny chip of silicon made to produce light in a variety of colors including red, green, yellow, and blue.

bulletLED and Display Colors

Bi-color LED's are made using red and green LED's in the same package. Most indoor programmable LED displays today use either all red LED's or they use red and green LED's.  To a lesser extent all amber is sometime selected. It is possible to create 256 or more shades of color from red to green using only red and green bi-color LED's.  Blue LED's are the most expensive and have the highest brightness.  Adding blue LED's to the red and green will give you over 2 million shades of color.

bulletNumber of Pixels

LED (light emitting diodes) displays are described by the number of rows by the number of columns.  Example A 7x40 display has 280 pixels.

bulletTypes of Pixels

The pixel can be one or more LED's.  A discrete LED is one individual diode.  LED blocks and clusters are multiple LED's installed as a single unit.

bulletPixel Light Sources

LED's are significantly less expensive than incandescent lamps.  LED's are also less expensive than monitors over a life of 10 years. •LED's have an expected life of more than 100,000 hours or from 11 to more than 20 years.  The longer life dramatically lowers maintenance expense compared to monitors or lamps. •LED's need very little power and generate less heat than other light sources.  Less power and heat mean less operating and maintenance costs. •LED's are small and lightweight.  This lowers the cost of the enclosure and installation.

bulletDiscrete LED's

Individual LED's are inserted one at a time into a circuit board.  The anode and cathode lead wires are then individually soldered to the circuit board.  A pixel may be composed of either one LED or several LED's installed close together.  LED's grouped together appear as a single pixel when all LED's in the group are lighted at the same time.  A group of LED's in a single pixel may contain more than one color LED.  The various colors are produced by turning on the appropriate combination of LED's in the pixel.

bulletData Block Modules

Data block modules are LED's mounted on rectangular circuit boards and epoxied into block modules that contain a specific number of rows and columns of pixels.

bulletClusters

When a brighter pixel is needed, multiple LED's are assembled in "clusters" of LED's that together form one pixel point when they are lighted.  Multiple LED's are connected to a molded cup which is then filled with clear epoxy to hold the LED's in place.  Clusters may contain one color LED or in a multi-color application the cluster may contain a combination of different LED's

bulletTile Modules

To simplify the assembly of larger signs and to permit more flexibility in the design and construction of signs, we produce subassemblies that contain a specific number of rows and columns of pixels.

bulletPixel Diameter

The size of a pixel is stated by the diameter of the pixel.  A pixel can be as small as a single .1" diameter LED.

bulletCenter to Center Spacing

The distance from the center of one pixel to the center of the next adjacent pixel is called "Center to Center Spacing" or "Pitch".

bulletBrightness

The output intensity or brightness of an LED is measured in millicandela. The most common technique used in indoor displays to get the greatest range of brightness is called "multiplexing".  The LED's are strobed rapidly, faster than the eye can detect, one at a time.  This method limits the brightness of each pixel since the pixel is only turned on for a sequence of brief instances. When an LED is latched on, it is lighted continuously until it is turned off again.  This produces brighter pixels.  Data block modules can only be multiplexed; discrete clusters are usually latched.

bulletResolution or Density

Pixel diameter and center to center spacing define the resolution or density of the character being displayed.  The closer the pixels are to each other, the higher the resolution or density of the character.  Low resolution characters are designed for distance viewing.

bulletViewing Distance and Speed

The size of the sign and the size of the characters are defined by the applications usage.  A rule of thumb for determining how large characters must be to be easily read is to allow 50 feet of distance per readable inch or to allow 600 feet of distance per foot of readable text.  Example in order to read a message on a sign 600 feet away, the characters and graphics in the message must be at least 12 inches high. The rule of thumb for messages viewed from an automobile is that an 18" character is required if traffic is moving 35 miles per hour, and a 12" character is required if traffic is stopped.

bulletProgramming

Programming sets the characteristics of the characters used in the message: font, size, color, and position; as well as any special effects.

bulletSpecial Effects

•Scroll Up or Down. •Wipe Up, Down, Right, Left, In and Out. •Twinkle sparkle, Glitter, Starburst and Explode. •Roll, March or Job. •Snow, Spray On and Slide Across. •Switch and Interlock. •Paint On and Scan On. •Split Color, Rainbow and Reverse Video. •Flash and Hold. •Start and Stop Time. •Date, Time of Day, Temperature and Battery Backup. •Animation, Graphics and Dot Programming.

 

 

 

 

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