Tuesday, June 5, 2012

What's under the hood? Controllers for LED signs.

-Deacon Wardlow

End-users are growing more technically savvy and are looking for systems that deliver more power, more content management controls, more software options, reportable information from the LED Message Center, ease-of-integration in their computer networks, and advanced feature sets. As a result control systems have evolved from the simple embedded control systems to industrial-grade controllers.

ARM: Single Color/Greyscale LED Signs - Simple Direct Tasks
The ARM (Advanced RISC Machine) embedded control series has been around since the late 80s and is used in more places than you’re likely aware (smartphones, vehicle engine controls and netbooks). Early simple monochrome/greyscale LED message centers relied on ARM control systems as a means to push the message to a display simply, quickly and efficiently; the embedded control systems were great for these purposes. ARM controllers excel at managing simple direct tasks.

While ARM-based controllers for LED Message centers have evolved tremendously, the controllers are not customizable, you can’t easily add software on them to manage remote access and they are not built to handle CPU-heavy task loads. The inflexibility of customization options with ARM-based controllers is the biggest drawback.

IPC: Advanced Systems - Color Images and Video - Robust - Flexible
With greater complexity comes a greater requirement. Enter the IPC (industrial PC), a customizable high-grade industrial computer/controller solution. Advanced sign systems require advanced controls, the IPC runs more complex calculations, heavier workloads (animations, multi-tasking, video handling, etc.) all with the versatility of remote management and monitoring and the ability to deliver strong content to systems both small and large. The IPC is a more robust solution for a complex market and is used by the top manufacturers to allow for expanded software options, increased information reportables and to allow customers a more flexible product to integrate in an ever-growing complex technological environment.

The choice for manufacturers has become simple, IPCs give the end-user more power, more options, more flexibility and the overall capacity for high-end computing required in advanced RGB (and greyscale) solutions whereas ARM embedded controllers are falling by the wayside because they can’t keep up and don’t perform at the same level. When you’re sourcing a high-quality LED message center, be sure to check under the hood and make sure the engine is strong enough to give you the power you’re looking for and expect.

*Always feel free to comment here and/or email me directly with requests at deacon@vantageled.com. Vantage LED has white paper resources and more educational material on the website (http://www.vantageled.com), please check it out when you have a moment. Advertisements/promotion for your business and inappropriate comments will be deleted.. Thank you!

**Note all posts/thoughts/writings are strictly the viewpoint of me and me alone and do not reflect nor speak for Vantage LED’s beliefs, attitudes, thoughts, etc. unless specifically stated.

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