Modern Day Gold Rush:  Don’t Be LED Astray

While the actual individual LED on an LED wall may last 10-20 years, based on the 100,000-hour maximum — when looking at all the parts, and not just the LEDs — some panels can be expected to have failures much sooner.

Modern Day Gold Rush:  Don’t Be LED Astray
An image of a view of an LED wall comprised of THOR: 3.9mm LED panels.

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Modern Day Gold Rush:  Don’t Be LED Astray

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How is this relevant to LED video panels?

Let’s cover a few basics relating to the construction of a LED panel, and talk about the costs a bit in order for you to understand the context.

When you look at a LED panel from a cost and assembly standpoint, there are a few major subsets of components – that being the LEDs themselves, the circuit boards and ICs, the chassis, power supply and receiving card. In a 500mm by 500mm LED panel that is a 3.9mm model (one of the more common pixel pitches today) there are no less than 16,384 LEDs. In addition, that single panel has an average of six to nine circuit boards with a handful of ICs, one chassis, one power supply and a host of other parts to make it all come together.

Which subset of parts do you think drives the overall cost of the LED panel? As you might have guessed, it’s the LEDs. They make up around 65 percent of the cost of the LED panel.

Why is this important?

This is where we have to shift gears, to answer that.

It is gold vs. copper…

This is where the real gold vs. fool’s gold comes into play, as there are similarities in the metals.

One of the metals has a propensity to corrode, the other does not. Have you ever seen a rusty piece of real gold jewelry? How about a corroded penny or copper pipe? What does corrosion lead to? In the electrical sense – it loses conductivity and makes the part that is connected stop working.

Now which of these metals – copper or gold – is more expensive?

OK, so to make it all make sense, I need to dive into the details on what this is all about.

The LED itself in the video wall is made up of three individual LEDs: red, green and blue, encapsulated into one plastic housing. These three Light Emitting Diodes are all internally wired from the actual silicone diode wafer, to the outside of the plastic housing and then that is soldered into the circuit board.

Lower cost LEDs use copper wire from the diode to the circuit board. The better LEDs use wires made with gold to connect from the diode to the circuit board. One of the most interesting things I found during my research, was that the halides that are present in the plastic encapsulation process of the LEDs actually can accelerate the corroding of copper.

Why does that matter?


More About Stefan Svard
Stefan Svard has been involved with the A/V world for virtually all of his life. His first experience dates back to when he was 13 years old, and fast forward to the present. He now has the opportunity to serve a much larger base of people through his company, Audio Video Electronics, a Minneapolis-based AVL systems integrator, which specializes in sound systems, acoustic design, sound transmission isolation, video systems and lighting systems.
Get in Touch: ssvard@audiovideoelectronics.com    More by Stefan Svard

Latest Resource

Worship Facilities Magazine, March-April 2018
The March-April 2018 issue of Worship Facilities Magazine offers articles about how to prepare, prevent and respond to church violence, a look into what church management software can do for your church community, and a piece on how a once popular nightclub venue was transitioned to become Shoreline Church's new home.


Article Topics

Media · Slideshows · Technology · Video · Video Displays · Projection · Team Management · Budgeting · Engineers · Gold · Hours · Installation · LED Video Walls · Lifespan · All Topics

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