Saturday, February 8, 2014

Review: Full-color LED Sign by MEGA LED Technology




I received this LED sign as a sample from my cousin, who works for MEGA LED Technology. When I first found out my cousin worked for MEGA LED, I was very intrigued and asked for a sample to review. All I asked for was a small module, maybe a power supply or a grid of LEDs, but to my surprise I was sent a Full sized Full-color LED sign



MEGA LED is known for making indoor/outdoor signs for businesses (Gallery Link).

Teardown & Servicing: 



 Servicing the sign is very easy, there are only three Phillips screws on the back. By sliding one of the aluminum panels, you can open either half and immediately get access to the power supply and the control modules. 







One of the twelve control modules

What I really like about this whole sign is that it comprises of 12 grids of LEDs with a controller board for each grid. The three red wires are the +voltages for the RGB LEDs and the two black lines are ground








The control modules are coupled via ribbon cables

This means you do not have to buy a new sign when a section fails. The system is completely modular so doing it yourself is a breeze. If a control module fails, just order a new one and swap it out.




The same goes with the power supply, which appears to be an off the shelf power supply, that you can get easily from an online electronics distributor.







At first glance there are two positive voltage rails and ground connection points with an earth terminal. I measured the voltage rails and I got a reading of +5 volts. 







Programming:



Included in the package are video tutorials that explain how to program the sign. I think they were pretty easy to follow and they do a great job of getting you up and running quickly.



I thought it was a bit strange that the signs are programmed via RS-232 serial cable, which does come with a USB. There are also options for bluetooth and other forms of wireless connectivity for programming.




As long as you stay with the step by step instructions that came with the sign, you should have no trouble getting started and up and running within a day.
The programming software is fairly easy to use and there a plenty of cool effects that you can program the sign to do. In the three CDs that come with the package, there are detailed videos on how to program the signs.

Conclusion:

This is probably the most unique item that I have reviewed and if you ever do get your hands on one, there is a possibility that you can program this without the software that comes with the sign. I could easily see an Arduino and/or Raspberry Pi hooked up to one of these signs to do some cool visual projects. I think for businesses, this is the best way to attract customers. For hardware hackers, if you ever have a chance of getting one for a good deal, I would definitely pick one up and start hooking up my Arduino and/or Raspberry Pi.

Once again, I would like to thank my Cousin and MEGA LED Technologies for giving me the opportunity to experiment and review this awesome LED sign!


3 comments:

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