In the advertising world, a brand with strong advertisement campaign is that brand that will survive. In order to come up with an effective ad campaign, the use of technology along with creative content is necessary. Investing in digital signage can be costly as LEDs are expensive to come. However, they offer endless benefits and generate amazing foot traffic. According to studies, brands that invest in digital campaign tend to see an increase of 70 percent in their business. Outdoor LEDs are cost-effective in terms of the maintenance cost, however, an LED is a machine in the end and it might have problems at some point. If you are searching for a way to repair an outdoor LED display on your own, you have come to the right place.
The main objective of our blog is to provide you with the required information. We plan to become a resource for you in terms of repairing your outdoor LED display. To keep it with the spirit, we are going to shed light on the basic LED troubleshooting principles in order to help people new to the LED world. This article will also aid people who are currently facing the issue of a broken sign or a manufacturer who are difficult to work it.
An important thing to remember here is that different LED manufacturers have different quality and design approaches. However, they do follow some general concept of the outdoor LED system. For instance, in most cases, the basic operating components working together system is the same.
Before we get down to troubleshooting LED problem, understanding of its basic components is imperative. After all, you cannot solve something without understanding it first.
Embedded Controllers are present in systems that are geared for images and text and they look like a circuit board. Despite the fact that they come with limited storage space and frame rate, yet most of them have the capability to play videos and animation. However, the animations and videos cannot be of very high resolution.
To understand the importance of the controller, we can call it the brain of LED signage. The controller usually acts as a junction point for the video output, video input, temperature sensors, light sensors and communication for the entire sign.
There are different types of controllers available. Some of the video based, PC based or logic board. Most of these controllers have the same capabilities with slight function variations.
For a seamless functionality of LEDs, manufacturers usually have internal and in some cases external industrialized computers running a secure OS. As the computers have better storage space, enhanced hardware, and more power, thus they provide LED with more flexibility in terms of customization, troubleshooting, and video display.
Video board is responsible for converting the controller’s video signals into a format that is readable for the sign’s hardware. Sometimes the board comes with the combination of an embedded controller, but mostly it is a separate entity on the IPC based systems. The terminologies include Sender card and DVI Board.
LED modules are the backbone of an LED. They are the actual panels that are responsible for generating the entire sign. LED modules come in different sizes ranging from 8x8 pixels to 16x16 pixels. The size depends on the pixel pitch. If you are wondering what a pixel pitch is, it is the distance between one-pixel’s center to its neighboring pixel center. In other words, how close the pixels are to each other. The data connectors and the power connectors are usually present at the rear of the module. Terminologies include LED panels, tiles and Driver Boards
They are responsible for providing power to the internal hardware of the LED signs. The rule of thumb is that they take AC voltage as input and generate DC voltage as output to the components. The power supplies generally have the ability to power more than just one LED module or component.
Temperature probe has been part of LED displays from the very start. LED owners use a temperature probe in order to display the outside temperature on the display. However, the trend is changing as people are focusing more on the content instead of additional and irrelevant information. You can find a simple metal probe or with a white finned apparatus.
Several LED signs use secured Wireless devices in order to communicate. These wireless communication devices are very effective; however, there are still several cable tied LEDs as well. For instance, the hardwired Cat5/6 Ethernet cable or the fiber converters.
Now that we have a clear idea of the basic components of LED signs, it is time to focus on troubleshooting common LED issues. Below we have come up with some effective ways to repair outdoor LED signs.
Start with ruling out the causes of the problems by closely looking at the symptoms. Make sure that you find a logical place to rule the irrelevant causes. For instance, you will not test the communication devices if the module of the sign is out. A good place to start to identify LED issues is to look at the hardware of the sign, for instance, the Data cables, the LED modules, etc.
It is important that you either make the issue move or fix it especially when you are physically troubleshooting the components. It would be easy for you to replace or fix the issue if you isolate it by moving it. Once you isolate the affected component, you then can easily resolve its problem.
Yes, you heard us right. Re-boot is a universal fix for almost every technology. Sometimes the electronics devices are locked, thus they need a reboot in order to get back online. However, do remember that cycling power to the digital sign might not always fix the issues, but sometimes it does help. In addition, you should not be rebooting regularly. In case you are doing precisely that, you need to dig a little deeper and find the real cause that is forcing you to reboot periodically.
To repair an outdoor LED display, you need to learn about the specific LED issues. These are the common issues and sometimes require the technical experience.
It is important to ensure that the sign is powered within the specs. In addition, you need to change the side and see if you are having the same issue on the other side. In case, the other side is working perfectly fine, it means that either the issue is with the communication module or it is with the power supply between the black side and the functioning side.
You also need to check your content scheduling, provided you are using the content scheduling feature. A common cause of a black LED sign is an expired schedule. Often, a user forgets about this aspect and thus it leads to blacking of the digital sign.
Try communicating to the display; if you are able to do so, it implies that the communication controller is working fine. Thus, other components of the LED screens are causing trouble.
To verify seamless functioning of a PC controller, you need to login and check if the player is running. In case of embedded systems, you will be able to see if the controller is physically playing the data via the diagnostic feature.
Another important aspect to analyze is the Video board. Make sure that it is getting power. Also, check the data cables and ensure that the Video Board is getting signals form the PC and it is sending them to other components.
Checking the Logic board is also very important as it can lead to a data chain. A bad Logic Board is bound to cause the sign to go blank due to the beginning of the data chain.
First thing first, you need to ensure that the first section not working has a proper power supply. After that, you will have to check the hardware including the Logic Board, the DVI Board, etc. Generally, this hardware is responsible for the first sections in the chain, thus if they are not working properly, they will cause issues. Make sure to check the power supplies in the same section.
The rule of thumb is the start with the first module in the chain that is causing the problem or is not performing. Ensure that the module is not only getting the data, but also the power from the previous data sources such as the Logic Board or the LED Module.
After clearing the first module, you should focus on the next working module. Sometimes the data cables between the modules are causing the trouble or the output data is bad. You can isolate the issue by swapping these modules. Most of the time, this trick does help to identify the troublemaker.
You should check the cables and the data ports provided the module is getting data from the logic board. When you swap the cables, you will be able to understand whether it is a bad cable, or a LED Module or even a Logic Board that is causing the main issue.
Files are often the reason causing errors in the LED display; therefore, it is imperative that you double-check the content in order to ensure that the file does not have errors.
Next, check the board that is responsible for the whole columns and rows of the LED Modules i.e. is the Logic Board.
Checking the first LED module is important as it might be sending a bad single to the rest of rows and columns. This is more common especially on a smaller signs in comparison to bigger signs.
The last tip to repair an outdoor LED display is to check for display and errors issues with the entire signs. To do so, start with double-checking the content, as the content files are often the troublemakers.
Then, go ahead and check the Video board. As we mentioned above, the Video board is responsible for the entire videos signals of the entire sign. Therefore, it needs to have a good supply of DC power from the power supply along with good data from the controller.
Often a loose cable is a reason behind LED’s bad performance, therefore, you need to check the controllers’ Video output.
We understand that issues can be complicated or complex, however, if you take a linear approach, you will be able to find the right solution. A linear approach helps you keep things simple and allows you to troubleshoot problems step by step.
The step-by-step approach allows you to identify and isolate the problem relatively quickly. Despite, how good an LED sign is, it is might have issues every now and then. Nonetheless, it is imperative to use a manufacturer that offers the quality of design, and hardware. These manufacturers have the highest quality check, thus ensuring that an LED causes as little trouble as possible.
To repair an outdoor LED display, you just need to pay close heed to the points we mentioned and act accordingly