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TOPIC: led for old exit lights

led for old exit lights 05 Oct 2005 09:48 #11065

  • Mike
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We have some old exit signs with interior lighting and I am looking for a source for the led panels that screw into a regular socket size. Any suggestions?
Michael Hurley
Impresario
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Re: led for old exit lights 05 Oct 2005 10:31 #11066

  • Linda
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We got a LED retrofit for our old exit lights through a company called Maintenance Engineering out of Fargo, ND. General Office number is 800-437-4794 or 701-293-7383. If they have a web address, it's not on the card I have. They were expensive, like $30 per exit sign, but they are supposed to last for at least 20 years. We recently had one go out and they replaced it with no problem. Except for the one that went out, we had them in for about 3 years and they are still going strong.
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Re: led for old exit lights 05 Oct 2005 22:07 #11067

  • puzzlegut
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We purchased ours from [url=http://www.grainger.com.]www.grainger.com.[/url]
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Re: led for old exit lights 06 Oct 2005 01:48 #11068

  • Ken Layton
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i've heard that bulbdirect.com has them too.
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Re: led for old exit lights 06 Oct 2005 06:13 #11069

  • jimor
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Any commercial light bulb supplier can get them for you; look under Light Bulbs in the business Yellow Pages. Even Home Depot sometimes carries them.

The trick here isn't just to get the LEDs, but to get QUALITY LEDs. An LED should never 'burn out' since there is nothing to burn inside them; they work electronically by alternating in microseconds the atomic level of the atoms inside, which emits photons of light. They should therefore last forever if not damaged or overloaded and if made correctly. This last is the sticking point. In order to make the LEDs faster and cheaper and brighter, many makers take shortcuts or overload the LEDs and imperfections result in shorter lifespans.

I wish I could tell you just who makes the best, but I can only refer you to a guy's site where he sometimes tests such: www.ledmuseum.org Aside from this place, I don't know of anyone who publishes unbiased, realistic figures about them. His web site is vast, so be prepared to spend some time there, but it will be fun!
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
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Re: led for old exit lights 06 Oct 2005 14:17 #11070

  • outaframe
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I made my own about 10 years ago using a "wallwart" AC to DC voltage converter and componenent LEDs wired in series/parallel groupings and super glued to 1/8" plexiglass cut to fit my existing fixtures... The formula to calculate the numbers and voltages is available several places on line and the parts are available inexpensively through > www.partsexpress.com < ... My local code calls for green exit signs, so I used green LEDs... They cost $7-$8 per fixture to make...
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Re: led for old exit lights 07 Oct 2005 13:07 #11071

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Outaframe was most creative in designing the LEDs-onto-plexiglas relamping for his exit signs, but he probably intended to mention a few cautions involved. 1) if the "walwart" (miniature plug-in wall-mount transformers) are simply plugged into a receptacle, they will almost surely be in violation of one's local electical code, since such codes require EXIT signs to be wired "permanently" and a plug-in is not permanent, according to codes. Also, a plug in can become dislodged or make intermittant connection which can result in small electric arcing between the socket and the plug prongs, and this could eventually build up enough heat to cause a small fire --and small fires can become big fires!

The quality of "wallwart" transformers/rectifiers is not always good. Oftentimes the capacitors inside them leak moiture into themselves and are effectively shorted out, leaving a large 120hz "ripple" of AC onto the DC output, and this will stress and damage the LEDs over time. Remember that LED stands for Light Emitting Diode (standard diodes emit some unwanted heat in the process of doing their work) and a diode of this type wants only pure DC in one direction with no AC currents present. Such diodes have little tolerance for out-of-specification values, and so to keep them working a long time, they must be supplied with the proper, clean current.

Also needed with LEDs is a form of surge suppression. Those little Surge Arrestor plug strips that one buys for his electronics, work due to the Varistors inside them, and these should be provided for any project of LEDs, since even one microsecond surge of excess voltage can damage or destroy the LEDs in a microsecond, and you may come into your theatre and find all or most of the EXIT signs out, due to a momentary voltage surge that you could not predict. Also, such varistors need to be wired into a circuit with a fast fuse within the project (not just the fuse/breaker in your power cabinet) in case they are overloaded, whereupon some of them can burst with hot plastics spewing about, and this is another fire potential, aside from the fact that they could then form a dead short acorss the power line and threaten your building wiring. Check out a copy of the General Electric Co. "Varistors Manual" or that of another maker to get insight into proper use and wiring of these devices. GE may send you a copy upon request, or you could ask your local library to find such via the Inter-Library Loan arrangement. I donated such a manual to my local library.

If you are not comfortable in dealing with electronics, this is not the project to start with, even though it is simple. There is too much risk of defeating your fire insurance and violating code. The retrofit LED fixture inserts are not that expensive and if marked "UL" or "UL RECOGNIZED" you should be out from under as far as responsibility to your insurance carrier and the local authorities are concerned, provided such were installed according to code. Better safe than sorry.

[This message has been edited by jimor (edited October 07, 2005).]
Jim R. (new E-mail: This e-mail address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it ) member: www.HistoricTheatres.org
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Re: led for old exit lights 07 Oct 2005 15:18 #11072

  • outaframe
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JIM'S comments are quite appropiate and 100% correct... I just mentioned the basic concept to keep the explanation from becoming too technical for some to follow... In actuality, I broke open the encapsulated "walwarts" and used only the low voltage transformers they contain for the very same reasons he mentions: I didn't trust the quality of the rest of the components... I substituted small computer grade electrolytic capacitors (long life) and made up HD full-wave bridge rectifiers from 2.5 amp 1k volt rated axial diodes to replace the "walwart's" original components... All of this easily fits into a standard 5" octogon electrical box, and everything is hard wired and soldered, and is perfectly safe... Your existing exit lights are almost 100% guaranteed to already be attached to the forementioned 5" octogon box... Exit lights are REQUIRED to be wired on a seperate circuit (regardless of the type of light) and I had already added the Varistors he mentions, for voltage surge protection in the exit light circuit, when they first appeared on the market a number of years ago... In fact every circuit in the building with any voltage sensitive equipment attached has a Varistor in it... He's correct, it pays to be safe!...
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Re: led for old exit lights 08 Oct 2005 00:40 #11073

  • Ken Layton
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Check out this excellent price on LED exit sign retrofits at www.allelectronics.com

Just $8.50 a kit (one kit does one sign)

Just $7.00 a kit for ten kits

Their stock number for the kit is "LBR-16"

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Re: led for old exit lights 08 Oct 2005 01:07 #11074

  • outaframe
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HELLO KEN <> Those kits are an excellent buy, and cheaper than you can build 'em, but my state requires GREEN exit lights, and since I already built mine, I'm all set... However, that site also has a ton of other interesting stuff at very good prices, so I bookmarked it... Many Thanks for the Tip!...

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Re: led for old exit lights 08 Oct 2005 23:59 #11075

  • Ken Layton
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Also try www.ledexit.com
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