Jump to content





Energy Efficient Reverse Channel Letters

Posted by westco5, 26 January 2010 · 5,623 views

This job is for a bar called "Point Loma Sports Grill & Pub" located in the NTC Shopping Center, Point Loma

Sometimes having the room within a letter to house both the CCFL lamp and power source for revers channel letters is hard.

Because of the strict sign criteria for this historic center they would only allow the use of LED's for illuminating channel letters because of the small and single hole used for feeding power to each letter. Usually a 3/8" or 1/2" hole. Well, me being me I wanted to set a precedent and of course be different than everyone else, other wise why else be a "Custom Sign Shop"? I came up with a way that this historic shopping center would previously only allow the hole sizes made for LED remote power sources. This is the first individual illuminated letter sign to penetrate these historic walls where the light source is CCFL a.k.a. Neon, with using 3/8" MC and only drilling only one 1/2" hole, I was approved the process of using CCFL instead of the usual LED's for the center..

The process is no different than I normally do these jobs other than fabricating a simple bracket for the power source, and using electronic transformers.


PIC 1. Here's a pic I took of my bracketing system I used for the letters for allowing maximum lights to reflect the back wall creating no shadows from the power source.

Posted Image


PIC 2. Here's a close up of how I treated the power source ground, the ground coming from the panel and the bond for the letter face. I double nutted the ground wires because you never directly hook the feed ground to the power source ground, I fastened the feed ground to the bracket first then double nutted the power source ground on top. The bond, which is not pictured is done by tapping the letter face to the side of the bracket.

Also I planned my primary entry feeds around dodging the CCFL Lamp. I used a lot of extra Poly-carb tube supports (Not pictured) to confine all seconary GTO from laying or touching any metal which is the killer for these types of power sources.

Posted Image



PIC 4. Wall face view, what we won't be seeing.

Posted Image


PIC 5. Top view of the naked letter illuminated.

Posted Image


PIC 6. Letter illuminated in house. In this picture you can see the screw I used to bond the metal letter to the power source support bracket. (Left side of the "T" base)


Posted Image


PIC 7. Install Pic 1

Posted Image


PIC 8. Boring install Pic 2

Posted Image


PIC 9. The finished shot.

Okay let me explain something here. This sign placement of one being lower than the other is not my decision but something that was required in order to get this sign approved. WHY some may ask? I have no answer, but the approval process for this sign took 4 months!


PIC 10.

Posted Image

PIC 11. In this shot you can see that the halo light on the logo boxes is dispersed less than that of the letters. It was a concern of the review committee that both the blue and white would wash each other out. I didn't see that as I've done signs like this in the past but in order to speed up this approval process I took a suggestion that I asked here in one of the forums that actually worked out, I spaced off the logo boxes 1" instead of the 2" asking for the letters. My preference is 1.75" on most signs I do. I always use the 3/8" poly-carb tube supports, I notice a lot of sign manufacturer's using the regular 1.75" tube supports which takes the light further away from the wall and tucking the light source further into the letter creating a smaller spread on the wall. I've even seen white poly-carb used, I always use clear in 99% of my signs.

Posted Image

PIC 12.

Posted Image

The end result?

A bright sign that is both light efficient by my neon bender custom coating his BAM Blue and Tri-Phosphor White CCFL lamps, and energy efficient by use of the electronic transformers also making the CCFL lamps slightly brighter compared to that of the standard conventional magnetic transformers. Going from a conventional transformer 24-26ma to 30ma RMS electronic transformers. The total power consumption for each sign is 260 watts on 84.75 feet of glass. That's just a little over 2 and a half 100 watt lamps.

Roughly my Client is paying about $68.00 per sign, per year to light his sign.

This sign is twice as bright as any similar signs in the shopping center, in comparison to conventional CCFL illuminated signs the illumination is 30%-50% brighter and will keep it's brightness two to three times longer over time (lumen maintenance).