So, what should you do about a flickering sign? The safest answer is to unplug it and call a qualified service person. It may not pose a threat, but let the experts determine this. A service person will check power supplies, connections, and the sign’s condition, as well as determining how the sign is lit.
LED Lit Flickering Signs
An LED lit sign that flickers is usually due to a weak power source. If the sign has been installed for several months and suddenly begins to flicker, it may indicate a compromised power source. In that case, transformers and mains should be checked. When an LED flickers intermittently — for example, a customer informs you at 8 pm your sign is flashing on and off, but at 10 pm it’s fine — it’s also most likely a power supply problem.
It takes more power to start LED lights than it takes to keep them lit. It may be that at 8 pm, the weak power source doesn’t have enough juice to start and maintain the LED’s. They cycle for a while by starting, turning off, and re-starting, until they’re warmed up enough to stay on.
Neon Flickering Sign
Neon takes much more power than modern LED lamps, which may compound the problem. The more power needed to run the sign, the more chance of power supply concerns. It’s possible for older neon signs to arc, which is a fire hazard. When working with older neon signs, it’s best to have them inspected before use. Expansion and contraction, weather, and poor design can adversely affect the performance of neon. Corrosion to power supplies and infestations of bugs, birds, and bees may affect LED, but these issues can be critical in neon signs. Every exterior sign and channel letter should have a protective sealed back.
Has it Been Approved?
UL (Underwriters Laboratories) has tested, certified, and inspected all things electrical since 1894. We’re so accustomed to seeing the UL trademark on electrical appliances and products, I think we’d only notice it if it was missing.
UL has offered sign certification for over 50 years, but many signs aren’t certified, and their UL tags are missing. The UL sign certification process isn’t easy or quick. First, product samples are submitted to a UL facility. A UL engineer conducts an evaluation followed by a field representative visiting the shop. Next, at least one employee must take and pass UL’s 48 requirement online testing. We’re thrilled that our sign fabricators at TKO Signs have taken and passed the test. After certification, four facility audits are conducted every year, checking equipment and certifying calibrations.
Why is This Important?
Safety – there’s no need to take chances with electricity; too much can go wrong. UL ensures uniformity across the nation and around the world. Not only are sign makers certified, but they must use certified components and approved equipment.
Who is UL?
“UL is a global independent safety science company with more than a century of expertise innovating safety solutions from the public adoption of electricity to new breakthroughs in sustainability, renewable energy and nanotechnology. Dedicated to promoting safe living and working environments, UL helps safeguard people, products and places in important ways, facilitating trade and providing peace of mind.”
Seek Professional Help
If your sign is flickering, don’t continue using it and hope for the best. Not only does a flickering sign look unprofessional — it may be hazardous. Why take the chance? Unless you’re certified and skilled in sign maintenance, we’d recommend letting the professionals inspect and repair your sign. TKO Signs is a full-service sign shop, if you have a sign problem or need service, we can help you. We’d be happy to put our steady hand on your flickering sign. You may contact us here.