Not All Flashing Signs are Equal
We often get asked what the difference is between brands of flashing signs, often referred to as blinkersigns. Not all flashing signs are equal – our response is typically the the age old adage, “you get what you pay for”. When comparing blinking signs there are factors that should be taken into consideration.
How will it be powered?
Trenching for power will be more hours and material set-up. Solar panels need to be adjusted for the amount of light expected. Properly planning for power implementation will ensure you have the correct set-up for you application.
What is the the correct application and activation type?
Application types will differ depending on the need, whether it be a blinking stop sign or crosswalk sign. Many companies offer limited options when it comes to what types of signs they provide. They also don’t offer choices when it comes to the activation method for your sign. Are push-buttons and timers available? How about radar detectors? If the blinking sign doesn’t have the right activation for your particular use, there is a chance it could not be utilized like it should be.
What is the climate like?
Are you setting yourself up for failure by buying something that just won’t work correctly. In the Pacific Northwest it’s no surprise that we lack steady sun most of the year. A flashing road sign with solar panels made for a sun-filled climate such as Arizona or even California won’t work correctly for our type of weather conditions.
We had an inquiry awhile back about a cheaper flashing sign that was available for purchase online through an ecommerce retailer. They wanted to know what the difference was between our sign and the one online. The solar panel was half the size of what was needed for this type of region on the online version. A sign isn’t going to work if it’s not designed correctly for your environment.
How is the flashing sign made? What type of components?
The initial cheaper option might not turn-out to be the “cheapest”. Factors such as how the sign was made, how it will be maintained, and cost for repairs should be considered. Cheaper LEDs can lead to malfunctions and more repairs. Some have such weak LEDs you can barely see them, defeating the sign’s purpose. Make sure you go with a reputable brand that tests and improves their products over time. It could actually save you money in the long-run.
Are replacement parts available? Are batteries available? Who will service your blinking sign?
Eventually these systems require updates, new batteries, etc. Will you be able to get what you will need for your unit? Who will be the person set to maintain the unit? Does the company you are purchasing from offer support? These factors are extremely important as a non-functioning blinkersign is no good to you.
I often think of it like getting a deal on a rare car. You may get the initial deal on the car but the cost for parts will be more than the vehicle is worth or even impossible to find. Getting a unit that has been tested and has parts, along with support readily available, will decrease downtime and costs for the unit overall.
Quality is king. Can you put a price on safety?
It’s not just about the cost, it’s about the quality. When it comes to safety a fully-functioning, working item can actually save someone’s life.
We have experienced the difference between two types of LED flashing signs almost side by side, in the field. One unit was purchased from a reputable manufacturer and the LEDs lit up from several hundred feet away. It was clear where you needed to stop for a pedestrian crosswalk, even in full daylight, when it’s typically harder to see LEDs. A unit at the next intersection definitely didn’t fare as well. The LEDs we’re extremely dim and hard to even see. In a highly-trafficked crosswalk area that could mean the difference of a pedestrian being hit or not.
Not all flashing signs are created equal. Many factors go into selecting the right type for your particular application, climate, and use. When you spend money on a flashing LED sign make sure it’s going to meet the need you are purchasing for. For more information on flashing signs please visit our BlinkerSigns