It’s no mystery that the coolest looking custom-built electronic signs get all the awards and attention. But in reality, none of the glitz is possible without the proper wiring.
Proper wiring is directly tied to improved safety and better efficiency. And any sign that’s wired has to have an Underwriter’s Laboratory (UL) label on it or it doesn’t get installed. Whether it’s a giant 16’ x 16’ exterior building sign or a simple neon sign for a convenience store, your electronic sign has to follow the UL code. And it’s not just outdoor signs; it covers indoor signs as well.
WE TAKE WIRING VERY SERIOUSLY
Wiring is a process we take very seriously because sub-par electrical work puts customers at risk. Fortunately for everyone in the industry, UL requirements have become more in-depth and comprehensive over the decades. UL restrictions and requirements cover everything in electronic signage such as the spacing between power supplies in a box (transformers), wiring thickness, drain hole locations, strain relief on cords, etc. We operate under UL 48, the section specifically relating to electrical signs.
Before we can put a UL label on any illuminated sign, we complete a Master Compliance Record (MCR) that lists the illumination source and all of the critical components contained within that sign. And each component is UL listed, classified for use with signs. UL publishes a sign components manual that contains 1000’s of parts that have been individually tested. Their process is a well-scrutinized one, everything is accounted for.
Many of our new sign installations are at sites that are either newly constructed or undergoing renovations. In this case, our customer has contracted with an electrician. Our electronic signs are built so well, they can be confident they won’t run into any issues.
VISITS FROM THE UL INSPECTOR
A UL inspector comes here unannounced 4 times per year. The inspector visits with one of the four employees trained on UL requirements. He’ll review our UL log book and then go on the shop floor to see what we’re building, talk with the guys on the shop floor and compare what he sees and hears with our records.
To a certain degree, wiring has become less complicated than it used to be because of the popularity of LED’s. They’re class 2 wiring so there are fewer potential safety issues. To illustrate this point, think about the power draw of Neon versus LED. Neon signs require up to 10,000 volts. LED’s run on 12V.
LED’s greatly reduce the electrical draw and energy costs. You can illuminate your sign 24/7 at reduced energy costs. Some clients even choose to light their sign all day because the extra cost is so minimal.
It’s rare but bad things can happen from poor wiring in electronic signs. A member of our management team heard not that long ago about a strip mall that started on fire because of a sign with faulty wiring. A well-built sign that conforms to codes will keep visitors to your business safe. UL requirements are there to make sure that happens.