Sunday, September 1, 2013

Digital Signage Need to Know: Scrap Temperature Probes!

- Mike Prongue

When my wife asks “what’s the temperature?” and I wet my finger tip and hold it up then reply "84 degrees”, it annoys her to no end. What’s worse is when she then looks at the thermometer sitting in the sun and it reads “93 degrees!”

Then I am wrong and she is right. At least she wishes. Temperature is generally “air temperature” measured in the “shade”.  Then I’ll check my wet finger-tip method and compare it to what the Weather Channel says and again I’m right, plus or minus a degree or two.

Temperature readings- how, where and when, have caused chaos, arguments and hurt feeling since man began to worry about such things. This is the case with LED display temperature sensor readings too.

You know that in the early days of LED signs, time and temperature readings were the main attraction. The idea was to get people to look at the displayed time and temperature and coincidentally see the bank or the hardware store too! Technology and processor speeds had not matured to allow more complex imaging and animation. In short- that’s the way it was.

Many businesses still enjoy displaying the time and temperature. There are a variety of reasons why they think this is important, almost like a community service. If you have to display this data set, display it reliably and accurately- Please.

Many times the physical temperature probe will be installed in an incorrect location or direct sun and some of the less sophisticated devices will display an apparent erroneous reading that can vary significantly from what people expect using my wet finger methods. The result is a service call, which results in extra expense (in-warranty or otherwise), lowered productivity and an endless set of excuses to the customer.

Also, adding any extra component increases the price and also the number of failure points which can also result in a service call. The temperature probe, the data cable, or the connectors can fail. See my point? KISS- keep it simple silly. 


The best way to obtain a temperature reading for an LED display is to use the weather data available at a service like the NOAA site at Many LED displays have software which pulls this information for display. It’s fast, it’s accurate, it’s cheaper, and it improves customer service by reducing service calls. Take a look at Deacon Wardlow's blog for a review of other LED display technology Technology.

Shop around when selecting an LED display and find one with advanced software that uses the online data and cut the cord on the old temperature probe option. Step into 2013 technology as it's the best way to get accurate temperature readings without having to wet your fingertip and hold it up. That folksy way soon gets old and your finger tip gets chapped and most people have better things to do all day!

Your life will get better and your bottom line will improve when you... scrap temperature probes.

These comments belong to me, Mike Prongue, and do not reflect the views, opinions, hopes or dreams of anyone else, anywhere else and this includes Vantage LED. I appreciate your constructive opinion which may be sent to me at     

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