Basically advantage of LED digital display screen rests on its versatile dynamism and long term usability. Durability, however, largely depend on post-installation care. Whether Indoor or outdoor, LED display screen is a delicate product. As such it is a complex combination of electrical, electronics, and mechanical engineering work. Inside a LED display screen we have printed circuits joining several small LEDs. But outside it has many accessories and bigger peripherals. The whole assembly is usually mounted on strong structures. From very small, sensitive and delicate electronics components to sturdy metallic frames and fixtures, all contribute towards working and stability of screen.
Life of outdoor LED display is an important consideration which varies. Apart from many other factors that one has to take into account, two major challenges affect the stability of the digital screen most. These are ‘humidity’ and ‘water’ (penetrating into the screen). Gradually affecting but permanent damaging to the whole product can occur easily due to these two issues. Effect of moisture is equally the same whether the screen is indoor or outdoor. Controlling and reducing moisture is easy to handle in case of indoor LED displays. Proper ventilation can help reduce vapors from the surface of the screen.
However, in humid weather ventilation will bring-in more vapors. In that case, some absorbent can help minimize moisture inside a covered area or hall. Some suitable desiccant may also be helpful in controlling the level of humidity. Air conditioning system can also help dry the inside atmosphere. But for the outdoor LED screen a single drop of rain may destroy a non-weatherproofed assembly.
Rainwater. To maintain up to the mark performance and to ensure the stability of outdoor LED display screens, is a difficult task. Because outdoor LED screens are vulnerable to water showers for being exposed to heavy rains. Direct showers of rains have penetration power as well. Accordingly, rainwater usually reaches into the following elements of the whole assembly:
Winds and thunderstorms although may put pressure on the whole installation. That may disturb the performance to some degree. But the stability of digital display screen may become questionable under repeated spells. Heavy rains, however, may uproot the overall supporting physical structure of billboards. Unless taken care in advance such thunderstorms and rains may be big threats to digital displays.
Humidity. In coastal areas, it is a kind of a permanent problem. The atmosphere is generally humid all the time. Outdoor screens remain exposed to a greater percentage of humidity. Humidity and resulting moisture in all assemblies which are all packed effect working substantially.
In open areas where outdoor LED screens are installed, you cannot reduce humidity by techniques applicable in indoors. Whereas the humidity affects severely in rainy seasons. Humidity disturbs performance quietly. Parts or components affected are hard to determine. Kind of hide-and-seek game for the experts to rectify the faults results in adding to unserviceability hours. Which of course is undesirable.
let us see how humidity and rainwater problems may be arrested. We can take several measures to minimize the effects and give more life to LED display screens. Although some steps which we may take are applicable to some specific situations only but here we are discussing the essential steps for all outdoor installations.
High-level sealing. As the outdoor environment for LED displays is a complex situation. Anti-humidity techniques and high level sealing for waterproofing are essential. It can avoid the risk of flooding rains. Already out there are product manufacturers who ensure water-tight cabinets such as shown below:
Conformal Coating. As discussed above, high degree humidity and moist air can cause damage to PCB, power supply and other electrical/electronic components. At manufacturing, time protection of PCBs is possible by some conformal coating. What does conformal coating do? It provides a protective layer or barrier to contamination and moisture. It is a good way for electrical insulation. Reasonably good mechanisms for automatic conformal coating ensure anti-dust, anti-humidity, and anti-corrosion.
Frequent LED Signage. LEDs generate heat. Therefore frequent signage and that too for comparatively longer time spells can also help minimize effects of humidity. This is especially true for very cold locations where temperature generally remains below freezing point.
Humidity monitoring. Instead of waiting for the damage to take place it is advisable to go for preventive maintenance. “A stitch in time can save nine”, which mean that a bit of watchfulness can help safe from disaster. In coastal areas, and during rainy season anywhere it is better to monitor humidity. For this purpose digital hydrometer is an excellent device. On the basis of data collection through this device, appropriate measures can help reduce possible harm. This device is equipped with temperature gauge also, accordingly cooling arrangements can be activated to meet temperature limitations for working of LED display screens.
Vapors condensation. Another common problem is the condensation of vapors inside the LED display screen. LED signage certainly suffer a big disadvantage as vapors condensation makes images blurred. At the same time, vapors mess are injurious to LEDs. Now once the display screen is packed water-tight, no external mechanism will reduce the concentration of vapors. Every time air temperature going down will spread a hazy look inside the screen. The operational life of LEDs will also remain under threat. To prevent it happen, compress the screen perfectly. It is part of protective maintenance. This is primarily the job of the manufacturer. Tightly packed display panel must not have air inside it.
Shades and Inclination. Damages due to rains are more when the water remains on the body of display for some time. Water flowing over the surface is less harmful. Even a thin layer of water present on its surface will most probable to seep in. A smart way to make it flow away immediately is to keep suitable shades over it. If the display doesn’t look clumsy it will be good protection from water damages. However, if putting a shade over the LED display is not a suitable solution, then the angle of inclination of the display may be so adjusted that water slips way abruptly from its surface.
Anti-Corrosion. Corrosion outside the screen and inside the display panel does come in with the passage of time. As part of preventive maintenance, strict measures can considerably reduce corrosion. Even the mounting stand and nuts and bolts require attention for anti-corrosion methods. Simple as oiling and greasing, and the use of weather-resistant paints can easily protect mechanical corrosion.
Air circulation system. Some other ways and means to reduce the risk of rains water include ‘air circulation system’. When water seeps into the LED enclosure, this system isolates the display enclosure. Thereby it protects the display from contamination intrusion and moisture.
IP rating. Ingress Protection rating is a measure of water resistance and protection. For your LED screen outdoor installation, better go for high IP rating for safety against inclement weather.
Appropriate Hardware. For certain climatic conditions, specific displays suit more than others. In areas of harsh weather conditions, humid or hot, selection of appropriate full outdoor-rated LED display is the ultimate solution. Weather conditions specific outdoor screen is available out there. For optimal use, these displays have a temperature range mentioned. One can choose hardware according to the demand of climatic conditions. Screen protectors to save from water effects are also available for added safety.
Combat overheating. Overheating internally can enhance humidity and related problems. The LED display may turn into faded colors or missing pixels. To shield the outdoor LED screen from such issues a comprehensive HVAC (Humidity Ventilation Air Conditioning) system can significantly regulate internal temperature.
Backing Plate and Sealant Glue. In quick installations, people generally don’t realize the importance of backing plate. Overlooking it one has to pay later. Rainwater initially may not enter in display screen’s sensitive areas. But after some time water can enter somehow through small orifices or narrow entrances. For seamless performance extended over a long time, the backing plate is good to achieve waterproofing. Use of sealant glue makes the backing plate tightly held for a longer duration.
Leaking water hole. Despite the provision of the backing plate a hole beneath it has to be there. This will allow the water accumulated inside due to any reason, to flow out.
Use of wires. Using wires slightly bigger than calculated wattage is always good. Due to damping, electromagnetic effects may disturb the performance of LED digital display.
maintenance. All said and done, the necessity of continuous monitoring cannot be ruled out. A team of technical experts should carry out regular inspection. Wear and tear start hitting performance as well as durability of the outdoor display screen from day one. Weather adds more to degrade operation and life of LED displays. Although LEDs have a very long life. But the other components can only go along if safety against weather and environmental effects is alive. Therefor nothing but routine maintenance is essentially required for your investment to payback.
Outdoor digital LED signage is available with world-class companies. Manufacturers are making efforts for improvements every day. All problems about performance and durability are being removed in the best possible way. The outdoor display screen has specific issues due to weather and humidity. But every manufacturer comes with one or the other acceptable solution to combat these challenges. Reason being that LED display need flawless performance for long operation time over months and years.
Users or customers are obviously concerned about quality and durability for better deals. As a result, now a day all display screens made are waterproof, anti-humidity coped, and able to withstand environmental/accidental damages to an appreciable extent.
Outdoor LED screens are obviously difficult to have effective control over flooding water and humidity. Best possible waterproof products can also get badly affected by storms and heavy rain. Similarly, no guaranteed product can withstand effects due to moisture and humidity forever. Therefore all the precautionary measures discussed above should be considered, as ‘prevention is better than cure’.