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CAN FIBER OPTICS REPLACE NEON FOR SOFTER EFFECT?

ANGELO'S RESTAURANT WINDOW ENHANCEMENT PROJECT

 

 

This lighting project was designed by SR+  graphics and signage design consultants

as accent window lighting for Angelo's gourmet restaurant in TallahasseeFlorida.   The

design proposal below was provided to the client in addition to pictures of the restaurant at

night with and without accent lighting that were enhanced with computer design software.

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Sign Professionals design proposal for LLG™ window trim.

 

Interior Project: Angelo’s Restaurant

 

A Luxura Light Guide (LLG™) fiber optic lighting system  was chosen for window treatment at Angelo’s gourmet restaurant over neon for two reasons:  First, the directionality of the fiber optic rods would radiate light outward toward the general public outside of the storefront and not into the interior of the restaurant where neon lighting might be garish and overly bright. Second, it alleviated inherent safety concerns of window

lighting installation in an area readily accessible to the public.  High Voltage neon glass unit lighting might be broken or cause a serious risk of shock .  LLG™ will not break, is low voltage and gives off virtually no heat.

 

The top of the window frame was done with blue LED modules on the ends of the light guides.  The vertical units on the sides employ a blue LED module on the top of the rod and a green LED module at the bottom to create a pleasant light blend through the grape leaf motif painted on glass.  A color blend within a neon unit is not possible unless two different colors of glass are welded together in fabrication and even when this is done there is a sharp differential between the two colors where the glass is welded together.  LLG™ with 90° light output was chosen for maximum viewing angle from outside of the restaurant and this color blending capability.

 

 

 

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(NEON WITH BUGS)

 

Example of dirt and bug accumulation around neon after about one year of operation at another business.

 

Cleanliness is important in restaurants and LLG™ can be easily cleaned without concern for breakage.  If neon had been used it would have become a maintenance issue to remove Lexan™ lenses and clean the neon and each protective safety lens.  These windows also had Venetian blinds which could break the neon when raised and lowered.

 

 

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LLG™ creates a soft yet rich outline around the front of this exclusive restaurant. The vertical light units on either side of the windows blend from green to blue from bottom to top inside each unit.

 

 

Fiber Optics provide a softer glow than neon for better ambience at this high end restaurant.  There are aesthetic and luminescence differences between LLG™ and neon.  LLG™ produces a richer hue than neon, particularly for blue and green, but neon has considerably higher luminous output. 

 

From an installation perspective, the merits of LLG™ are most appreciated when the sign designer wants to add a “neon like” design touch but safety and fabrication costs are concerns.  An installer can stock the 6ft lengths of LLG™ and cut them, even at the work site, attach the appropriate color LED module and wire the system in minutes, all without concern for breakage. 

 

LLG™ eliminates the need for home runs or surrounding the windows with double tubing as well as the unsightly wire jumps required with the use of GFI transformers.  The owner did not want transformers in the windows or wires running up the wall to a remote location.  A plastic wire chase raceway, normally used for computer network wiring, was used to secure the LLG™ to the window frames. The wire chase was attached to the mullions with self-tapping screws although double stick tape could have been used.  The chase hides the wires and gives a clean look to the installation; the low voltage wires were snaked through the window mullions from chase to chase so no wire is visible.  Install time for this job was two and one half hours with two men (total of 5 man hours). 

 

The nod went to LLG for lower material cost, but the need for a certified electrician as required in this municipality to install a new dedicated ground fault protected circuit  for the neon option would have added more expense to its slightly higher installed cost.

 

 

 

FIBER OPTIC LIGHTING ALTERNATIVE TO NEON FOR SIGNS

 

This identification signage project was designed by SR+  graphics and signage design consultants for Hera Hair Salon.  

 

 

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The design proposal above was given to the clients.  Additionally, pictures of the proposed sign as it would appear at night and during the day with and without accent lighting, enhanced with computer design software, were also provided.

 

 

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Overall aesthetics was the most important considerations for this job as well as the safety and regulatory issues involved in placing exposed neon so close to the ground in a School Zone. Neon in this location would have required a protective clear Lexan™ cover since the tubes are five feet above grade and within public reach.  Some codes require exposed neon to be ten foot above grade, unless enclosed or covered.  A clear plastic lens would have detracted from the appearance of this sign and collected bugs.  Even if the sign was taller, if left uncovered, vandals could and would easily break the neon making for constant maintenance and safety nightmares.

 

LLG™ is installed with self-threading nuts on posts incorporated into the LED modules and a bead of silicon adhesive in the center of the rod to keep it from  sagging. There are no standoffs, like this required for neon with doubleback electrodes and a protective cover is not required.  It was easier to drill twenty-four 7/32” holes for the LED modules through the 1/8” structural aluminum tube that supports the sign and secure with nuts than to drill eight large holes for neon PK housings, install and stretch springs, attach GTO and wire them to the transformers and then install the tube supports and neon. Fear that breaking a tube will delay installation and bring on the wrath of the glass blower and the boss was also eliminated. 

 

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Above is a comparison of light and hue intensity between a single 15 mm "Bromo Blue" neon in the center bordered by two fiber optic rods lit with blue LED light engines at their ends.

 

Comparing Luxura Light Guides to neon in some ways is like comparing apples to oranges.  both emit light but there are aesthetic differences between the two beyond the sometimes greater luminescence of neon.  For neon, clear glass pumped with argon and mercury added or "Bromo Blue" were alternative choices for the soft look for this sign.  The overall brightness and back glow of the neon still would have overpowered the sign.  SIGN professionals chose the fiber optic rods to highlight and add interest to the support structure of the monument sign.  These provided a soft blue light of intense hue to create a sophisticated and luxurious look.  The narrow reflector type rod was chosen for uniform light output over the tubes 6 foot rod length.  As with Angelo's Window lighting the fiber optic tubes illuminate in one direction and backlighting problems were reduced.  As an added feature the two tubes per side could be "aimed" directionally so that each would provide optimum brightness at different distances from the sign as traffic approached and the sign came into view.   

 

 

New sign owners Kevin Hamilton and John Troll wrote this short thank you note to SR+ consultants: "We love our new sign.  It gives a fresh take on the sign industry.  The blue fiber optic rods give an exclusive alternative to mainstream professional sign making and neon.  Thanks again for your attention to detail!" 

 

Sign Professionals’ only complaint is the limited number of LED colors available.  We anxiously await a wider color pallet to satisfy all our customers who wish to implement Luxura™ Light Guide technology into their architectural and signage projects.

 

Contact:

Steven D. Philbrick, Sign Professionals & SR+ consulting, info@srplus.com , tel: 850-222-2555

 

Feedback, submissions, ideas or questions just email us at info@srplus.com

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