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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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.
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Let’s look at corrosion, and a term that is commonly used in the computer industry – MTBF. The term MTBF stands for Mean Time Between Failures. It is a measure of how long a piece of equipment is expected to last, before some kind of failure is anticipated to occur, based on history of the product. This does not mean that when this happens, the equipment has completely failed – and I don’t have room in this article to go greatly in depth on the MTBF discussion. I wanted to just touch on it, and share that there is a lot of deceptive marketing happening with regard to LED panels and the raw science behind how long they are expected to last.

In my research – it has shown that copper wire LEDs have a much shorter lifespan. I have met with engineers from China who have talked about the copper wire LED panels having a lifespan measured in the 2-4 year range. To follow this up, I did some research on the spec sheets from several manufacturers, to find that while they advertise a “LED lifespan” of 50,000 or 100,000 hours, the MTBF is 5,000 to 10,000 hours.

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.

In my unscientific data collection of LED systems out in the marketplace – I have noted that some of them have very high failure rates, and others have very low.

What sets them apart? And then, how do you choose a reliable product?

In one case, there was a large 2-year old LED video wall that had been experiencing LED pixel failures at the rate of about a dozen pixels every few months. This from a panel that has a MTBF of 10,000 hours, per the OEM (Original Equipment Manufacturer, a company that produces parts and equipment often marketed by another manufacturer). By contrast, another LED wall, nearly 2-years-old, is a THOR: gold wire wall, has not had any significant LED failure, other than a few that were present upon the system installation, and that system has over 11,000 hours on it already.


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

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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.


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