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  1. #16

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    Re: Carsland Neon Signage - Is It Real or is it...?

    Time for me to chime in.

    I work with the Museum of Neon Art (MONA) MONA / The Museum of Neon Art perhaps the most pro-neon entity in the West. For years, the museum has been watching the progress of LED signs as a cheaper alternative to the art and craft of bending glass tubes filled with noble gases and phosphors. The technology for such LED signs hasn't yet caught up with its promises.

    The lifespan of an LED sign can be measured in hours while a neon tube can burn for generations. Recently, a pair of neon tubes were discovered behind a wall in downtown LA. They were bent in the late 1930s, sealed up behind a wall in 1946 and have been burning brightly ever since. At this stage in the game, an modern LED sign cannot match the performance of a neon tube produced in the late 1930s (!).
    http://www.ktla.com/videogallery/701...Mecham-reports
    Clifton Cafeteria: Neon light left on for 77 years discovered during Los Angeles restaurant renovation | Mail Online

    LED colors fade with time and die completely in hot or cold weather. Examples keep popping up across the nation of LED signs that appear to save expenses initially, but then cost more in the long run with constant replacement as LEDs dim and die with the weather. Imagine leaving your iphone on a hot, tin roof for a year; it wouldn't work so well either. Neon, on the other hand, perseveres in hot and cold; it can even handle a freeze.

    Also, the brightness of an LED sign is generally less than that of a neon sign, depending on the shade. Color options are also poor in comparison.

    In terms of neon as an artform, it remains unmatched:


    Museum of Neon Art, Michael Flechtner by jericl cat, on Flickr


    Museum of Neon Art exhibit by jericl cat, on Flickr


    MONA_Flechtner by jericl cat, on Flickr


    Earl Carroll Theater, neon sculpture by jericl cat, on Flickr


    Museum of Contemporary Art by jericl cat, on Flickr


    It's A Gas exhibit by jericl cat, on Flickr

  2. #17

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    Re: Carsland Neon Signage - Is It Real or is it...?

    The neon in Cars Land is real neon, and it looks utterly fantastic.

    Trying to replace the neon in Cars Land with some fake LED replacement would look horrible, and send the fans into fits of rage over Disney cheaping out. Fake LED neon might work for a Value Motel in Disney World, as the tourists out in the swamp likely won't notice or care when they shlep back in the dripping heat to collapse into their Value beds for the night.

    But for Cars Land, a project infused with love and care and brilliance and a lot of money from beginning to end, only real neon crafted by neon artisans will work right.

    And has been noted, the neon of Cars Land will last for decades and decades with proper care and feeding. LED fake neon has a much shorter lifespan, in addition to not looking like the real stuff.

  3. #18

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    Re: Carsland Neon Signage - Is It Real or is it...?

    There's definitely a misconception out there regarding traditional bulbs due to the decreasing quality in manufacturing processes. There are some bulbs out there that have lasted 100 years because they were made with care and high quality materials, neon is exactly the same. I'm sure the company that created these custom signs for Carsland used a high quality process.

  4. #19

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    Re: Carsland Neon Signage - Is It Real or is it...?

    LED Neon can be very durable as well... but like most electronics built for consumer use... they have a reasonable operating range that if exceeded will shorten the life of the product. The LEDs aren't the weak point.. it's power circuitry. The LEDs themselves are very durable and won't really alter much in color/intensity for a very very long time.

    They also do not require the lethal high voltage power supplies that Neon use.. use less power.. and run cooler.. and silent. All very positive things.

    Neon has the same weakness in power supplies when using modern switching power supplies vs the very basic transformers used in the past. But the old transformers were very large, loud, and unpractical for a lot of situations. But Neon is simpler in that the only components are the transformer, wiring, and tubes. LEDs still have other electrical components besides the actual powersupply. Those are potential fail points and don't age as gracefully as simple wires and insulation.

    When used properly.. LEDs are great for signs! Physically more durable, smaller, less power, quieter, etc. But in the context of CarsLand... we aren't trying to make the best signs. We are trying to replicate a specific atmosphere... one that includes all the flaws of neon.. the flowing light.. the buzz... the warm glow.. etc.

    The art side itself can be replicated in either medium... but just like analog vs digital music... there are elements to the living gas and glass that make many prefer the original.

    ---------- Post added 06-13-2012 at 04:33 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by Seawolf View Post
    There's definitely a misconception out there regarding traditional bulbs due to the decreasing quality in manufacturing processes. There are some bulbs out there that have lasted 100 years because they were made with care and high quality materials, neon is exactly the same. I'm sure the company that created these custom signs for Carsland used a high quality process.
    The bulbs are different because the needs have changed. More efficient, cooler, less expensive, different color temperatures, etc. We have compromised durability for more important things... not just because of cheap vs quality.

    You can make a piece of wire glow for an extremely long time... but how good of a light would it be?

    Unlike your bulb example... Neon's durability is different because it intrinsically is simpler and doesn't consume anything. The glass is highly stable. The gas is highly stable. There is no 'consumption' of anything and the power source can be made of simple wound wire transformers. There is nothing to fail really except for the wire connections to fail, wire insulation to fail, or the glass and it's connections to fail due to physical movement (vibration/impact).

    A light bulb is like a burning fire to create energy... a Neon sign is like letting something roll downhill. As long as you have your hill (input energy) the Neon is going to work. The light bulb is consuming something that ultimately needs replacing.

    While Disney did use glass neon... I highly doubt they used classic style transformers. I would be thrilled if they did, but that is something only an insider could tell us.

    ---------- Post added 06-13-2012 at 04:44 PM ----------

    Quote Originally Posted by DoctorQ9 View Post
    Flynnibus, my MiceChat colleague and friend, that photo was downloaded from the manufacturer's website and I did not alter it in any way. The manufacturer of LED Neon Flux (Green LED Lighting Solutions) would no more stoop to false advertising than would Disney. You and I both share the same passion for new technology -- why don't we contact the manufacturer and put this question to them:
    Can you produce a LED Neon Flux sign that is indistinguishable to real neon?
    That was an interesting choice in photos to select from their gallery.. that one is really 'odd' to say the least. Asking them "Can you produce a LED Neon Flux sign that is indistinguishable to real neon?" would be like asking someone 'are you qualified for the job?' - of course they will say yes.

    It serves a purpose and replaces traditional neon in so many places because the tubes are so much more durable and overall are safer. But that just means its the more 'practical' approach.
    Last edited by flynnibus; 06-13-2012 at 12:34 PM.
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  5. #20

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    Re: Carsland Neon Signage - Is It Real or is it...?

    Well, if you want I'll drag a spectrophotometer down with me when I go and settle this once and for all. I won't be going until November though.

  6. #21

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    Re: Carsland Neon Signage - Is It Real or is it...?

    This has been a great discussion thread and I have learned a LOT about neon. Here is what I did -- I shared this discussion thread with the manufacturer of LED Neon Flux. I threw down the gauntlet and asked if they could show that their LED technology could produce a sign that is indistinguishable from real neon signage. If they fail to rise to the challenge, then I promise to shut up and, during my trip to Cars Land this October, I will genuflect to the glory of real neon...

  7. #22

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    Re: Carsland Neon Signage - Is It Real or is it...?

    Quote Originally Posted by DoctorQ9 View Post
    This has been a great discussion thread and I have learned a LOT about neon. Here is what I did -- I shared this discussion thread with the manufacturer of LED Neon Flux. I threw down the gauntlet and asked if they could show that their LED technology could produce a sign that is indistinguishable from real neon signage. If they fail to rise to the challenge, then I promise to shut up and, during my trip to Cars Land this October, I will genuflect to the glory of real neon...
    A good man knows when to admit defeat. The manufacturer of LED Neon Flux failed to rise to my challenge, so I must conclude that the LED technology does not look like realistic neon signage. The latest photos posted on the Web clearly show how great the Cars Land neon looks, so use of the LED alternative would clearly have been a mistake. Case closed.

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