How to Eliminate Voltage Drop in Your Illuminated Signs
We understand how voltage drop can make illuminated sign fabrication difficult. To alleviate those difficulties, we figured out the recipe for overcoming voltage drop!
3 Simple Rules to Eliminate Voltage Drop:
Rule #1: Use Constant Current Modules
Example of light degradation caused by voltage drop. Notice how the modules on the left side of the sign appear much brighter than the LEDs on the right.
Consider using a Constant Current module such as the HanleyLED PhoenixNRG Series. Constant current modules help boost the current in your LED chain as the voltage drops. In addition to helping keep your current consistent, Constant Current modules help you prevent and eliminate mistakes because of their versatility. They are more forgiving because longer cascade runs decrease the possibility of your production team overlooking a wiring spec that would cause your sign not to perform as expected.
Rule #2: Use 24 Volt Modules
Myth: 24volt systems allow you to run more modules on a power supply.
Fact: 24 volt systems carry the current a greater distance before getting line loss or voltage drop.
If all specs are equal, moving from a 12v to a 24v does not allow you to run more modules on a power supply. 24volt systems allow the same number of LEDs as a 12v, but the 24v can cascade more LEDs in a series off the end. So when you have a long run/series of LEDs or when your power supply is far away from your first module, using HanleyLED’s 24-volt solutions can carry the current further. Additionally, this eliminates the need for you to spend more money on thicker gauge wire or more time jumping runs of modules together. For example, you can daisy chain 40 12v HanleyLED PhoenixNRG II modules in a series before experiencing current-drop, but you can daisy chain 80 of the 24v HanleyLED PhoenixNRG II without current-drop.
For more details on 12 vs. 24 Volt, check out this article 12 vs. 24 Volt LEDs: Which are Better?
Rule #3: Follow Wire Gauge MAX Length Recommendations
Most LEDs can operate with a little less than their specified voltage, but they won't produce the overall brightness they are spec'd for. Sometimes using the thickest of wire gauges still won’t carry your voltage far enough. Therefore, using Gauge Use Length guidelines is important while trying to avoid voltage drop. Using a 24-volt system like HanleyLED enables you to remote mount your power supplies further away from the sign without upgrading to a thicker gauge wire, which saves you time and money. If you follow the basic guidelines below, voltage drop will be a thing of the past!
Want to learn more? Watch this video on How Voltage Drop Can Affect Your Led Signs!