Southern California Sign Blog

Burbank Sign Company | Should You Retrofit Your Channel Letters?

Posted by Julie and Chris Ramirez on Thu, Dec 27, 2012 @ 04:12 AM

Here are a few helpful items. Some of LED illumination's potential advantages over neon are:
• LED is less fragile. Neon tubes are much more susceptible to breakage both in transit and during installation.
• LED can mean a lower utility bill for you. LED is a more efficient light source, and the electrical transformer is smaller.
• LED is a more focused light source. An LED module produces a "cone" of light, where neon illumination is emitted from all sides of the neon tube (this can also be a disadvantage for LED, as noted below.)
• Installation of an LED channel letter signs can be easier, as it does not always require conduit on the secondary side.
• LED is a more environmentally friendly product. Neon tubes often contain mercury.
• LED is safer to install, service and maintain. LED is typically powered by 12 volts DC, where neon is powered by 4,000 - 15,000 volts AC. The high voltages required by neon present a significantly higher electrical hazard potential.
However, with all of these differences, neon still has its place. Here is where neon illumination can be better:
• Neon illumination has a certain warm glow that many think LED has yet to match. This is particularly true for reverse and front/back lit channel letter signs. Neon's 360 degree illumination is very easy on the eyes when used with front/back lit letters. LED's focused "light cone" is not as good with these letter types.
• Some custom colors can be better matched with neon. If your client is concerned about a specific color match (such as a logo color), neon may be a better choice.
• Open face channel letter signs still require neon - LED is not yet a viable option.
So, the short answer to "which illumination source is better?" is that it all depends on the project at hand. LED and neon are completely different illumination sources, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

Sign Estimate
If you have any questions or for further information, please contact The Sign Studio (818) 843-9200 or info@signstudiola.com.

Topics: Electrical Signs, Channel Letters, Burbank Sign Company

All You Need to Know About Channel Letters - Definitions and Images

Posted by Julie and Chris Ramirez on Mon, Mar 5, 2012 @ 06:03 AM

All You Need to Know About Channel Letters - Definitions and Images

Channel Letter Glossary - Need a quick channel letter term definition? Here are a few common ones:

Acrylic: Translucent plastic used as a channel letter face material. Acrylic is available in a wide of colors, and its thickness is typically 1/8" or 3/16".

Channel Back: Aluminum that is routed in the shape of a letter to form its backing.

Cut-off switch: Electrical switch placed on the outside of the building, usually above, below or on a channel letter signs raceway.

Drain holes: Small holes placed at the bottom of a channel letter. Drain holes permit rain and condensation to drain out of a letter's interior.

Electrode: The terminal at the end of a neon tube that connects to a GTO wire. Neon tube fabricators attach electrodes to glass tubes by melting the glass to form an airtight weld.

GTO cable: Insulated electrical wire designed for high-voltage current. GTO cables connect neon tubes.

Electrode boot: A rubber boot designed to be installed on the double back or electrode of a neon tube to protect against electrical shocks or arcing.

LED: An electronic light source for channel letters. LED stands for Light Emitting Diode, and this type of lighting is illuminated by the movement of electrons in a semiconductor material. LED Channel letters are becoming more and more popular.

Neon: Another illumination option for channel letters, neon is a luminous glass tube filled with inert gas. High voltage electricity from a transformer excites the gas to produce light. Tubes may be bent to form various shapes and letters.

Permit: A legal document required by a municipal building department that allows the installation of a specific sign at a designated location. It is illegal to erect a new sign without first obtaining the appropriate permit.

Polycarbonate back: A protective plastic insert cut to the same shape as a reverse channel letter and attached to seal the letter's back. This prevents rainwater entry and also keeps animals from nesting inside the letter. Polycarbonate backs also provide mounting surfaces for neon tube supports.

Raceway: An enclosed aluminum channel (typically 8" by 8") that spans the entire length of the letters. Channel letters are pre-installed on the raceway in the shop, thus simplifying installation in the field.

Return: The side of a channel letter. Returns are commonly constructed of aluminum, and are typically 5" deep.

Tie wire: Thin copper wire that attaches a neon tube to a tube support.

Transformer: A channel letter's high-voltage power supply. Transformers are available in various current outputs, typically ranging from 7500V to 15,000V.

Trim cap: The flexible plastic edging that surrounds a channel letter's face. Trim caps are chemically welded to the face, and are available in a variety of colors.

Tube support: A glass standoff that typically is fastened to a channel letter back to hold neon tubing in place.

UL-approved: Underwriter's Laboratories (UL) is an independent product safety certification organization. UL approval means that all sign components meet UL standards for electrical safety.

If you have any questions or need further information, please give us a call at (818) 843-9200 or visit our website at www.signstudiola.com – You can also reach us by e-mail at info@signstudiola.com

NEED QUOTE

Channel Letter Sales Guide

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Topics: Channel Letters, Lighted Sign, Aluminum Metal Sign Letters

Channel Letter Signs - Neon or LED Lighting? What do you think?

Posted by Julie and Chris Ramirez on Thu, Feb 16, 2012 @ 06:02 AM

Channel Letter Signs - Neon or LED Lighting?  What do you think?

Here are a few helpful items. Some of LED illumination's potential advantages over neon are:
• LED is less fragile. Neon tubes are much more susceptible to breakage both in transit and during installation.
• LED can mean a lower utility bill for you. LED is a more efficient light source, and the electrical transformer is smaller.
• LED is a more focused light source. An LED module produces a "cone" of light, where neon illumination is emitted from all sides of the neon tube (this can also be a disadvantage for LED, as noted below.)
• Installation of an LED channel letter signs can be easier, as it does not always require conduit on the secondary side.
• LED is a more environmentally friendly product. Neon tubes often contain mercury.
• LED is safer to install, service and maintain. LED is typically powered by 12 volts DC, where neon is powered by 4,000 - 15,000 volts AC. The high voltages required by neon present a significantly higher electrical hazard potential.
However, with all of these differences, neon still has its place. Here is where neon illumination can be better:
• Neon illumination has a certain warm glow that many think LED has yet to match. This is particularly true for reverse and front/back lit channel letter signs. Neon's 360 degree illumination is very easy on the eyes when used with front/back lit letters. LED's focused "light cone" is not as good with these letter types.
• Some custom colors can be better matched with neon. If your client is concerned about a specific color match (such as a logo color), neon may be a better choice.
• Open face channel letter signs still require neon - LED is not yet a viable option.
So, the short answer to "which illumination source is better?" is that it all depends on the project at hand. LED and neon are completely different illumination sources, each with their own advantages and disadvantages.

If you have any questions or for further information, please contact The Sign Studio (818) 843-9200 or info@signstudiola.com.

Sign Quote Estimate

 

Topics: LED Lighting, Channel Letters, Neon Lighting

Signs Los Angeles | Channel Letters - Neon and LED Lighting

Posted by Julie and Chris Ramirez on Mon, Nov 7, 2011 @ 06:11 AM

Channel letters are a very professional way to identify your business. The Sign Studio produces the top quality channel letters that will give you the maximum style, clarity, and visibility for your business. Our letters are constructed from aluminum, which weathers better than sheet metal; translucent acrylic faces and a custom-formed trim cap retainer. Our channel letters are internally illuminated with your choice of neon or L.E.D. lighting.

There are several different types of channel letters. The most popular are front-lit, reverse-lit, front + reverse lit, & skeleton-lit.

Front-lit: Aluminum sides & back with acrylic faces. Projects direct light.
Reverse-lit: Aluminum sides & face, open back. Letters are stud-mounted so that the lighting element reflects off the mounting surface, giving a ‘halo’ effect to the signage.
Skeleton-lit: Aluminum sides & back with open face or clear acrylic face. These letters showcase the neon lighting element within each letter.

There are two primary installation-methods for your channel letter sign: flush mounting & raceway mounting. The methods used for your signage depends upon mounting surface, access, landlord and other criteria. Call us today at (818) 843-9200 so that we can help you determine the type of channel letter and installation method that is best for your project.

We are a fully licensed sign contractor and are able to pull the necessary permits for your installation.  We will help you from concept to finish!

If you have any questions or need further information, please visit our website at www.thesignstudola.com or send us an e-mail at info@signstudiola.comYou can also reach us at (818) 843-9200. 

NEED QUOTE

Channel Letters

Topics: Channel Letters, Outdoor Signs, Back-lit and Front Lit Channel Letters

Signs Los Angeles | Are Your Channel Letters UL Approved?

Posted by Julie and Chris Ramirez on Mon, Mar 21, 2011 @ 07:03 AM

Illuminated Store Front Channel Letters May Look Alike But Do You Know What You Are Getting?

 


 Channel Letter

Illuminated store front Channel Letters may look alike but do you know what you are really getting?

At The Sign Studio each channel letter is fabricated to UL specifications.  Why is this important? Simple, it assures the customer their illuminated 3D letter above their store front is safe and built to last. Drive around at night, see burned out signage, flickering neon and broken plexi faces. The average customer is unaware what they are truly getting for the price they are being quoted, after-all all letters appear to look the same from the outside when first installed BUT the big difference is the way in which the sign letters are manufactured.

What materials will be used in the fabrication of your electrical sign letter? The Sign Studio uses heavy gauge aluminum where some competitors use cheap paint lock metal which start to rust the day it goes up ( ever see brown rusty streaks coming off a letter on the building? that's paint lock metal ), secondly what thickness is the acrylic pan channel letter face? Thin sheets of plastic are half the price of standard but one may not tell until the weather changes because plexi expands and contracts as climates get colder or hotter thus cheap plastic faces crack quick. What about the lighting ? Is it 2 rows of 12mm Neon or 1 row of 8 mm Neon? What about the transformers, are they used or rebuilt? Even wiring cost differ greatly. Thus next time you are in the market for Channel Letters, whether plastic faces, led lit, Open Face Neon or even Halo reverse lit, it is always good to ask if your getting UL letters. Look for the sticker (is it real), ask the shop for their UL number and always be suspicious of low prices. You may find your sign letters look good the first few weeks but when costly service calls happen your original cost rise fast, so when you are looking to get your business name in lights, contact The Sign Studio at (818) 843-9200 or send us an e-mail at thesignstudio@sbcglobal.net.

Remember, know your image will be well lit when the sun goes down with properly fabricated UL letters, you will get what you pay for at thsignstudioonline.com

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Topics: Channel Letters, UL Approved Signs, Illuminated Letters

Los Angeles Signs | LED Illuminated Signs - The Many Benefits

Posted by Julie and Chris Ramirez on Mon, Jan 24, 2011 @ 07:01 AM

The Many Benefits of L.E.D. Illuminated Signs

WHAT IS LED LIGHTING?
LED stands for light emitting diode and the technology has been around since the 1960s. Its greatest benefit is that it uses only 12 volts. Neon uses up to 9,000 to 15,000 volts. LED has comparable brightness to neon and is rated to last up to 100,000 hours when properly installed.

SAFETY
Because LED is a low voltage system, fire hazards are greatly reduced over neon lighting.

ENERGY SAVINGS
LED lighting can save up to 80% power over comparable sized traditional neon-lighted signs. Return on investment can be made within three years via power costs savings.

WALL PENETRATION AND HARDWARE COMPARISONS
LED lighting and components require only one 3/8" wall penetration per channel letter. Compare this to neon which requires two 1" wall penetrations per channel letter. This means less wall destruction and excess conduit and GTO wiring. A LED lighting installation is clean and simple.

WHY AREN'T MORE SIGN COMPANIES USING LED?
Only recently has the technology advanced to the point where LED lighting is almost comparable in pricing to neon. Although it is still more costly to install LED, The Sign Studio DOES NOT pass this additional cost on to our customers. Our bids are competitive with other sign company neon lighting estimates.

Also, embracing change isn't easy. Neon has been a faithful lighting option for the sign industry for over a hundred years. There's no doubt that the change over to LED for sign lighting will eventually happen, however, The Sign Studio is on the leading edge of this exciting technology right now.

Installation Examples of LED vs. NEON:

L.E.D. CHANNEL LETTERS

LED Installation
 
NEON CHANNEL LETTERS

Neon Installation

If you have any questions or would like further information, please give us a call at (818) 843-9200 or send us an e-mail at thesignstudio@sbcglobal.net.

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Topics: Channel Letters, LED Illuminated Signs, Neon, LED Retrofit

Burbank Signs | What Size Sign Letters Do I Need?

Posted by Julie and Chris Ramirez on Thu, Jan 20, 2011 @ 08:01 AM

HOW BIG SHOULD I MAKE MY SIGN LETTERS 

Lettering size is an important part of sign making because you will need to be sure that your clients can read your message from a distance. Whether it’s storefront window graphics, a banner, or vehicle graphics, make sure that you can read the lettering and logo contained in your message. To maximize readability the standard is that each inch of letter height represents 10 feet of readable distance, meaning that for a sign to be readable from a 30 foot distance the letters should be at least 3 inches tall.

Interior signs that are being read by customers in a retail store environment need only be an inch or two tall, while an overhead exterior banner being read from a nearby street or highway would need much larger letters in order to be seen from a distance. Also, font selection will play an important role as some fonts are thin and script like, while bolder fonts and capitalization (with appropriate spacing) can improve readability. Trying to skimp or economize by using a smaller lettering size is definitely not a wise decision. See The Sign Studio’s Legibility/Readability chart below for an example assuming Helvetica upper case black lettering on a white background.
 
READABILITY/LEGIBILITY CHART

Readability/Legibility Chart

 

 

 

 

 

 

If you have any further questions or need any signage information, please give us a call at (818) 843-9200 or send us an e-mail at thesignstudio@sbcglobal.net.

Need a Quote from The Sign Studio?

 

Topics: metal letters, Sign Letters, Channel Letters, Dimensional Sign Letters, Readability and Legibility Chart

Burbank Signs | Channel Letter Glossary

Posted by Julie and Chris Ramirez on Mon, Dec 27, 2010 @ 07:12 AM

Channel Letter Glossary - Need a quick channel letter term definition? Here are a few common ones:

Acrylic: Translucent plastic used as a channel letter face material. Acrylic is available in a wide of colors, and its thickness is typically 1/8" or 3/16".

Channel Back: Aluminum that is routed in the shape of a letter to form its backing.

Cut-off switch: Electrical switch placed on the outside of the building, usually above, below or on a channel letter signs raceway.

Drain holes: Small holes placed at the bottom of a channel letter. Drain holes permit rain and condensation to drain out of a letter's interior.

Electrode: The terminal at the end of a neon tube that connects to a GTO wire. Neon tube fabricators attach electrodes to glass tubes by melting the glass to form an airtight weld.

GTO cable: Insulated electrical wire designed for high-voltage current. GTO cables connect neon tubes.

Electrode boot: A rubber boot designed to be installed on the double back or electrode of a neon tube to protect against electrical shocks or arcing.

LED: An electronic light source for channel letters. LED stands for Light Emitting Diode, and this type of lighting is illuminated by the movement of electrons in a semiconductor material. LED Channel letters are becoming more and more popular.

Neon: Another illumination option for channel letters, neon is a luminous glass tube filled with inert gas. High voltage electricity from a transformer excites the gas to produce light. Tubes may be bent to form various shapes and letters.

Permit: A legal document required by a municipal building department that allows the installation of a specific sign at a designated location. It is illegal to erect a new sign without first obtaining the appropriate permit.

Polycarbonate back: A protective plastic insert cut to the same shape as a reverse channel letter and attached to seal the letter's back. This prevents rainwater entry and also keeps animals from nesting inside the letter. Polycarbonate backs also provide mounting surfaces for neon tube supports.

Raceway: An enclosed aluminum channel (typically 8" by 8") that spans the entire length of the letters. Channel letters are pre-installed on the raceway in the shop, thus simplifying installation in the field.

Return: The side of a channel letter. Returns are commonly constructed of aluminum, and are typically 5" deep.

Tie wire: Thin copper wire that attaches a neon tube to a tube support.

Transformer: A channel letter's high-voltage power supply. Transformers are available in various current outputs, typically ranging from 7500V to 15,000V.

Trim cap: The flexible plastic edging that surrounds a channel letter's face. Trim caps are chemically welded to the face, and are available in a variety of colors.

Tube support: A glass standoff that typically is fastened to a channel letter back to hold neon tubing in place.

UL-approved: Underwriter's Laboratories (UL) is an independent product safety certification organization. UL approval means that all sign components meet UL standards for electrical safety.

If you have any questions, please give us a call at (818) 843-9200 or send us an e-mail at thesignstudio@sbcglobal.net

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Topics: Channel Letters, Channel Letters, burbank ca signs, Channel Letter Signs, Illuminated Channel Letters, ul approved, trim cap, transformer, sign raceway

Los Angeles Signs | What Channel Letter is best for you?

Posted by Julie and Chris Ramirez on Tue, Nov 30, 2010 @ 00:11 AM

What style channel letter are you looking for?  Here are some examples of the most common channel letters for your information. 

If you have any questions or need any further information, please give us a call at (818) 843-9200 or email us at thesignstudio@sbcglobal.net

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Channel Letter Blog Picture resized 600

Topics: Channel Letters, signs la, LED Signs, Signs Los Angeles, Neon Signs, Sign Design