Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Silicone coating on LED modules, benefit or bane?

-Deacon Wardlow

Imagine the hot sun beating down on a dry July afternoon. The temperature is up past 95 and that’s in the shade. Now imagine grabbing a big rubber rain jacket, boots and rubber pants and putting them on. Not likely something anybody would want to do in the middle of a heatwave, right? Some people disagree and coat the back of LED module with a layer of black  silicone insulating material to “protect” the system.

It’s easy to see why someone would want to use silicone insulation:
·         Operational temperatures from -148F to 600F
·         Inherently good electrical insulation qualities
·         High level of functionality regardless of types weather (rain/snow/wind)
·         Low permeability (resistant to moisture and exposure to condensation buildup)

However, while the low permeability is great for the back of an LED module (no corrosion or exposure to the elements for the electrical connections) the low permeability causes issues. While some types of silicone are made to manage heat (thermal grease used on computer CPUs is one example), silicone used on the backing of LED tiles is an insulator material made to protect the tile components from water, chemical, ESD (electro static discharge) and other environmental hazards.

Unfortunately, insulators trap heat and will minimize the potential long-term optimal performance of the LEDs which make up the tile. LEDs do not radiate heat but rather hold the heat in and this leads to a breakdown in the material components, causing the LED to dim and lose color prematurely. To deal with this heat, manufacturers take great pains to draw heat away from the LED light fixture. In this case, the fixture is the LED panel itself.

A sign is an business’ image. The sign you sell to your clients reflects back on you and your hard earned reputation. Don’t take a chance, make sure you get all the facts up front. While it’s cool to see LED tiles functioning under water, shouldn’t the seal around the tiles keep water from getting to the back of the LED modules in the first place? Don’t let a poor coating choice get your clients hot and bothered.



* Always feel free to comment here and/or email me directly with requests at deacon@vantageled.com. Vantage 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.

1 comment:

Matthew elliott said...

"While it’s cool to see LED tiles functioning under water, shouldn’t the seal around the tiles keep water from getting to the back of the LED modules in the first place?" My thoughts exactly!

-Matt E.

Post a Comment