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How does SpellBrite stack up against neon and LED “Dot” signs?

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  • SpellBrite LED
  • Glass Neon
  • Fixed "Dot" LED
  • Brightness
    • Ultra-Bright Red LEDs
    • Convex waveguide for 180 degree viewing
    • Stays bright even in direct sunlight
    • Brightness varies greatly depending upon the quality of gases, glass and electronics
    • Many will "wash-out" in direct sunlight
    • Brightness varies based upon the quality of the LEDs used
    • Many manufacturers "overdrive" their LEDs – makes them brighter initially but reduces later light level and overall lifetime
    • "Washes out" in direct sunlight
  • Interchangeability
    • Letters, numbers and special characters are fully interchangeable
    • The message can be changed anytime
    • Not interchangeable
    • Not interchangeable
  • Style & Design
    • Crisp, professional look
    • Injection molded design allows for easily readable, modern font style
    • Light path is illuminated evenly, even at ends and angles
    • Neon signs are inherently rough approximations of the intended look
    • Meaningful portions of the neon tube are often unattractively covered in black paint or tape
    • Ends and bends can be dimmer than the rest of the sign
    • Not smooth, each individual LED dot can be seen
    • Pixelated look is not perceived as attractive or professional
  • Safety
    • Can be placed within customer reach
    • Cool to the touch
    • UL listed, low voltage design (12V)
    • No glass, gasses or dangerous chemicals
    • Glass tube construction
    • 8,000 - 20,000 volts
    • Outlawed in many municipalities
    • Many "dot" signs are designed and engineered overseas
    • Typically 12-24 volt
    • Check for UL Listing
  • Repairability
    • SpellBrite is a modular system. All letters and characters are interchangeable
    • A sign with an issue can be easily fixed by replacing only the letter or character that is broken
    • Repair of a broken component often more expensive than the sign itself
    • Local neon repair shops are difficult to find
    • Shipping broken neon signs for service is often costly and risks further breakage
    • Not modular
    • Entire sign must be replaced if one section burns out
  • Durability
    • Housed in ABS plastic and impact resistant acrylic
    • Broken letters/characters can be removed and replaced
    • Entire sections of the sign will not illuminate if glass tube is cracked anywhere
    • Repair may cost more than a whole new sign
    • Durability varies by manufacturer
    • Entire sign must be replaced if one section burns out
  • Longevity
    • Long life LEDs rated for 80,000 hours
    • Average life is 20,000 - 30,000 hours
    • Low quality, high voltage transformers may need replacement frequently
    • Some manufacturers "overdrive" their LEDs, causing damage and reduced LED life
    • Many "all sales final" terms
    • Check warranty terms. Manyship from overseas locations
  • Cleaning
    & Maintenance
    • Easy to clean
    • No exposed electronics
    • No sharp edges
    • Glass tube twists and bends difficult to clean
    • Many signs are broken during cleaning
    • Face panel often made of cardboard, can't get wet
    • Some have openings around each LED
    • Danger of fluids, insects and objects getting inside of sign
  • Mounting Method
    & Structure
    • No electrician required, can install it yourself
    • Lightweight design can hang from chains, mount to a wall, or rest on a counter
    • See-through, open-frame design
    • Often installed by licensed sign shop or electrician due to weight and high voltage
    • Glass tube usually mounted to plastic board or metal cage
    • Obtrusive support structure
    • Typically mounted in a black box
    • Obtrusive support structure
  • Energy Usage
    • Low power consumption, low voltage design
    • Can be powered by a 12V battery pack or vehicle
    • Up to 22 letters uses less power than a 40W incandescent light bulb
    • High power consumption
    • Neon uses over 3X the power of a comparable SpellBrite sign
    • Low power consumption, low voltage design
    • Most don't have a battery pack / portable power option
  • Animation
    • Features 7 animation and 6 dimmer options
    • Rows can be controlled separately to highlight specific parts of the message
    • Most do not contain animation and limited to on/off flashing
    • Some contain animation
    • Most do not contain dimmer control
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