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Is LED better than neon?

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Kevin2017

New Member
Hi,

I am running a restaurant here and I am planning to renovate it. I always try everything which would help to grow my business. One year back, I came to know about the neon system signs which helps in catching the eyes of the customers and I implemented the system in my restaurant. It was a right decision and it worked well.


Now, some of my friends told me that an LED sign use only around 10 watts of power, and it is around 80% less energy than neon systems. This lower power requirement results in less strain on the environment, and makes a significant reduction in the lighting costs. Also, I came to read that, unlike neon and fluorescent lights, LEDs don’t have any toxic gases like mercury or argon.


So, I wish to place LED signboard for my shop, after renovation. For a service, I searched a lot on the internet and came across some of the companies [advertising removed!]. I am planning to approach them soon. What is your opinion regarding this? Are LED signs better than neon in attracting people? Do you have any suggestion regarding the signboard and the company offering such services. Please share your suggestions. Thank you.
 
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Pommie

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
I thought neon signs were pretty efficient so I don't think you'll save much, if any, money on power.
Neon is an inert gas (as is Argon) and cannot damage the environment and neon tubes don't contain Mercury. I think someone is thinking of florescent tubes.

As to whether they attract more customers - no idea.

So I would say, if it looks better do it. If your happy with neon, keep it.

Mike.
 

JLNY

Active Member
Actually, some neon signs do contain mercury, depending on the color. If I read the Wikipedia article correctly, most reds and oranges primarily use neon gas, but most blues and greens use argon and require some mercury. Other types also rely on phosphor coatings like fluorescent tubes and also require mercury. That said, mercury vapor is only an risk if the tube gets broken, so it's up to you to decide whether that's an issue or not.

As for energy efficiency, neon signs aren't as efficient as, say, fluorescent lights, so a typical neon sign might run, say, 50-250 watts depending on the size. LED signs will be more energy efficient, but I imagine the running cost of one or two neon signs will be pretty negligible compared to the lighting for the rest of the building and/or the kitchen appliances in a restaurant. The cost of running your neon sign is likely only a few bucks a month, especially if it is only being run in the evening, but you can run the numbers for your particular electricity prices and wattages.

Really, I think it comes down to whatever you think looks better. I'm probably a bit biased, but I tend to prefer the somewhat softer pastel colors of a neon sign over the very bright colors of an LED sign aesthetically, but as Pommie stated, whether that makes one more or less likely to eat somewhere, I have no clue.
 

ci139

Active Member
as a computer person - i tend to use 80 to 100W incandescent/halogen for reading/writing/working light
- the FLB is good but it is a bit dim and has mild flicker -- gets you tired at office
the LED madness has set so high costs prices on LED sets and supplies -- that each time i think when they actually want this thing sold ???
-- especially considering the LED-s having a half life and require good cooling (to live longer)
-- e.g. you should run your leds at lower the nominal.continuous power then as the aging of leds causes the light flux to fade you add power keeping the starting/initial scene brightness e.g. the power demand increases with service time with your LEDs
-- -- that feature is not implemented off the shelf sets -- which also have unreasonable price

it might be that you manage to save some $ using LED-s -- and your customers don't care
it's also possible to design/build a mood light (with spec. gamma and color temperature other than typical ,monocromatic/Lazer, for LED) -- you already loose your savings here i guess
 

dr pepper

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Led burn time can be longer than neon depending on the quality of the Leds, the thing with Led's is the drivers being reasonably complex can fail with time, however on a well made sign these can be replaced, this is the same deal with neon as the transformers/power converters are subject to the same thing.
Led signs in a window can be safer if Led, no glass, no very high voltages (1000s for neon), no easily accessible toxins.
Leds also can be sequenced or flashed easily, and colour change is easy too.
 

Tony Stewart

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
- considering the toxic water of gallium and arsenic making LEDs, Gallium Arenside and Gallium Nitride, let's say eco-wise it's a "wash" with small mercury disposal issues.

T8 white tubes with tri-phosphor can compete with LED's with better white light, 88 or more net lumens per watt and ultra low use of amalgam (Hg composite) which is different yet similar to that used in tooth repairs, which is not toxic to humans.

Neons have much higher spectral purity than LED's meaning the colours are more intense. and to me clever choice of colours and pattern will attract more customers.

Although I had once sold over 1million LEDs for a NZ client to use in their road, tunnel and sidewalk illumination with precise CCT specifications, to me LEDs are an eye sore due to glare in direct light but amazing when indirect light. So if you can choose a design with diffused indirect LED design, great, unless you want to look like Times Square or Las Vegas, I understand. Nice to visit, but wouldn't want to live there from the glare.

If you need advice on luminaire design , just ask. It's not rocket science , which I understand, but custom to the specific needs for ergonomics, intrigue, and beauty.
 

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atferrari

Well-Known Member
Besides cost, consumption and eventual eco-friendly features I think that any common LED sign of a certain size has more chances to be poorly designed vis a vis of a neon equivalent. I find them too bright or even dazzling if you want them really visible.

They hardly could compete with the natural glow of neon.

Maybe you had different experiences but try to recall how many beautiful LED signs have you seen in the last months. All what I recall seemed designed by a 12 yo kid.

Amongst my unusual experiences I worked for few months in preventive maintenance in fast ferries crossing the River Plate. Their free shop areas were decorated in many cases with LED strips (no signs). A bad taste case for me. Strips did excel only in profiling stairs' steps.

Carried away myself? Yes, maybe, but neon, no LEDs.

BTW, Google EL wires. Highly prone to bad taste designs but, who knows...
 

hyedenny

Active Member
Ditto the replies regarding the (non)toxicity of Argon, the manufacture of heavy metal-containing LEDs, and the negligible savings on power. Please don't fall into the unscientific and unproven theories of climate and environment alarmists and lose sight of the big picture!
That said, before you even consider neon signage, I would check to see if it's even allowed in your city! Many cities disallow neon signs these days.
Also, the cost of having a custom neon sign made is VERY high.
 

MrAl

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Hi,

I am running a restaurant here and I am planning to renovate it. I always try everything which would help to grow my business. One year back, I came to know about the neon system signs which helps in catching the eyes of the customers and I implemented the system in my restaurant. It was a right decision and it worked well.


Now, some of my friends told me that an LED sign use only around 10 watts of power, and it is around 80% less energy than neon systems. This lower power requirement results in less strain on the environment, and makes a significant reduction in the lighting costs. Also, I came to read that, unlike neon and fluorescent lights, LEDs don’t have any toxic gases like mercury or argon.


So, I wish to place LED signboard for my shop, after renovation. For a service, I searched a lot on the internet and came across some of the companies [advertising removed!]. I am planning to approach them soon. What is your opinion regarding this? Are LED signs better than neon in attracting people? Do you have any suggestion regarding the signboard and the company offering such services. Please share your suggestions. Thank you.
Hello there,

It is not possible to compare an LED sign to a NEON sign without seeing the actual designs of both. Neon signs can be nice or not so nice, LED signs can be nice or not so nice. It depends a lot on who made them and how artistic they are. That said, without seeing them we can only compare the basic technology.

LED's are reliable, and they also can be quite versatile these days because they come in multi colors like red, green and blue, all ion the same package so the sign can be multi colored and even change color on the fly whereas it's hard to get neon to do that.

Neon has a smooth continuous envelope so the sign looks 'real' while certain LED signs can look like a bad example of an old line printer text line. It depends who designs it though. A diffused LED sign can look very nice.

So after all is said and done, the best bet is to go looking and see what you can find. When i say go looking i mean you have to actually look at some of the designs in order to make a decision. It's impossible to tell without doing that because there are variations on each design technique. You may have to visit shops or look online to find ideas of what is out there and what can be made and for what cost. It's not that easy because there are so many variations, but after you look at some you'll get an idea what you want.

I would not worry too much about anything other than appearance because that is what brings the customers in.

You also have to think about the location too. Do other shops next door have signs and if so, what do they looks like, and you probably dont want the same thing as they have.
 

Tony Stewart

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
IMG_5236.JPG IMG_5235.JPG An LED stripleds design must be diffused which reduces the efficacy and still does not have the spectral purity of Neon, which is just a custom inert gas in a vacuumed tube with excitation voltage like modern T8 tube invertors, not old fashioned oil filled transformers,

good LED luminaire design is possible, but rare.

get neon

but worry amount China's toxic water and spread to environment from high tech toxic processes and contaminants getting into other goods. Toxic waste is real, even if you don't think the conversion of a trillion barrels of oil into pollution has no effect on climate.
 
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MrAl

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
View attachment 106134 View attachment 106133 An LED stripleds design must be diffused which reduces the efficacy and still does not have the spectral purity of Neon, which is just a custom inert gas in a vacuumed tube with excitation voltage like modern T8 tube invertors, not old fashioned oil filled transformers,

good LED luminaire design is possible, but rare.

get neon

but worry amount China's toxic water and spread to environment from high tech toxic processes and contaminants getting into other goods. Toxic waste is real, even if you don't think the conversion of a trillion barrels of oil into pollution has no effect on climate.
Hi,

Yes but there are other considerations. LED's can provide for more complex designs still at reasonable cost. Look at California's massive display for example where one whole tunnel is covered in LEDs creating a massive display, for one extreme example (although higher cost of course). That's why i believe we have to see designs on both sides of the debate.
 

atferrari

Well-Known Member
Google EL wires

EL wire has a very short life. I used to sell it.
And works more or less OK in semidark or dark areas only. And cannot be exposed to sunlight.
 
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