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What do I do if it breaks down?

Large digital billboards are not one single sign, they are made up of individual bits. Most faults in any electrical item are the result of one bit playing up, and we just need to know which bit is faulty to fix it (sounds easy).

LED displays (digital signs that are not single TV units) have surprisingly few parts inside so (all things being equal) repair is usually quite straight forward (though access might not be ha!).

Let’s get the parts named:

  • Module – tiles that clip together on the front that have all the LEDs on them.
  • Cabinets – picture frames or boxes that the modules fit into to hold them in the sign shape.
  • Power supply – the thing inside that takes the 230VAC mains power and changes it to the 5vdc the LEDs want).
  • Video Sending Card – there is an electronic control system in each sign that takes a single picture, and breaks it down into parts, so one part is shown on each module, to combine together to make the whole picture.
  • Receiving Card – this is the bit that takes the part of the picture for each module. The Sending Card converts the HDMI picture to parts, and the Receiving Card shows just that bit on those modules plugged into it.


LED signs really only have 3 faults:

  1. The Power Supply is dead. It is just unhappy and stopped working. Spend the $100.00 and take the time to go up there and change it. Voila – done 😊.
  2. The Sending/Receiving Card configuration is bad or playing up. Okay, this one takes a little more experience to fix, but the good news is it does not happen often.
  3. The LEDs themselves on a module play up (very rare in a quality product). Out of 100 modules you would not expect to see even 2 have this fault over 8 years (they tend to fade out as they wear rather than fail).

Does anybody own a screwdriver and want a job fixing these things? (joking – if they don’t break down much, they don’t need a lot of fixing).

Dave Jaques
Digital Signs

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