Local sign codes will dictate the size and type of sign that can be installed on your premises. It is important to research your code requirements first. A city’s sign code can be obtained from your local planning or zoning department.
Sign size will usually be determined by the code requirement that is placed on the associated property. For example: if the code states that you are limited to 24 square feet, allowing you to place a 3’ X 8’ or 4’ X 6’ sign.
Consider taking pictures of the proposed site to get a good view of the angle and if you need to lower or raise the height of the sign or remove obstacles. Keep in mind that raising the sign could increase your viewing distance.
By determining the content of your advertising you can decide which sign will best meet your needs. If the sign content is mostly made up of text, then a monochrome sign can be considered. If you intend to show graphics, logos and or video, a full color Electronic Message Center should be used. Again, sign codes should be evaluated here as well.
Resolution is defined by the pitch of the sign. Pitch equals the distance in millimeters between each pixel and a pixel is made up by a group of LED’s. Usually one red LED, one green LED and one blue LED are used to make up a pixel. The closer the pixels are to each other, the more detailed your sign will be in resolution. In choosing a full color sign, this is probably the most important option to determine. Formetco uses what they call Visual Pixel Technology. This technology utilizes 4 LED’s per pixel (two red, one blue, one green). By having an additional red LED making up the F4X pixel and because Formetco’s software runs each LED individually, they are able to share the red LED’s with the adjacent blue and green LED’s both horizontally and vertically. This visual pixel technology enhances an image and creates a higher resolution sign. Formetco offers EMC full colored signs in pixel pitches of 12.5 mm, 16 mm and 20 mm. Generally a 16mm sign should be read from a starting distance of 25 feet, while a 20mm sign is best viewed at 50 feet or further. A 12.5mm sign is most typically used when viewing distances are close.
Will this be a new structure or will you be utilizing an existing one? If you are using an existing structure, you will need to determine if the current structure is strong enough to support additional weight, and wind load. Also you will want to make sure that the sign is installed in a manner to allow access for maintenance of the sign. All of Formetco’s EMC signs are manufactured with front entry access, allowing an easy approach to the components of the sign.
Do you currently have power running to the location of the sign? If so, sign power requirements need to be evaluated before installation. All Formetco EMC signs run on 120 volts. It is recommended that each sign face have an independent breaker located either at the sign or in the breaker panel. Amps per sign face will be located on the Formetco quote page. Consultation with a licensed electrician is recommended for installation.
Formetco offers 4 options that will allow communications from your PC to operate the content of your sign.
A fiber optic cable is ran from the sign structure to the programming PC. Fiber optic cable is more reliable than standard CAT 5 cable and can be run up to 6500 feet. You will need an internet connection at your PC.
A wireless connection will transmit information back and forth between your sign and your PC. This is done by installing a wireless bridge box on the side of the sign which is connected to the computer that is located within your sign. This wireless bridge box communicates with another wireless bridge box, which is located outside your building. This box can be located up to 300 feet away from the operators PC and will be hardwired back to your computer. The wireless communication is effective up to ½ mile line of sight (3 football fields) between your PC and the Sign. You will need an internet connection at your PC.
This wireless connection is used at locations that have an existing internal network and running additional dedicated cabling is not an option. This wireless connection is identical to the wireless bridge connection above, but instead of running CAT 5 cable from the bridge box on your building to your PC, you will run the CAT 5 cable from the bridge box on your building into a connection point on your internal network. Formetco will need the IP address of your network to make this function.
A wireless Router is placed internally in the sign which will communicate wirelessly with a laptop. This connection is most often used when one of the three options above will not work. This is usually created by challenges with physical obstructions that would interfere with the wireless bridge or the distance between the sign and the place of business is farther than the wireless reception capability. The individual downloading the sign content from the laptop will need to have this laptop in close proximity to the sign when updating.
Formetco has designed software specifically for the use on their EMC signs. PrimeVue 2 software offers you the ability to customize and manage your sign utilizing the same easy to use features you find in Power Point. The message manager gives you the ability to make multiple slide messages with eye catching transitions and variable message hold times. You’ll have the ability to import graphic files, video files and live text Time, Temp, and Date into message frames. The schedule manager gives you the ability to schedule multiple messages to be displayed by date range, time of day, and day of the week. This software is compatible with Windows Vista, Windows 7 and Windows 8.
After PrimeVue 2 Software has been installed on your computer Formetco will work with you and your Sign Company to make sure that you’re up and running. Technicians are on hand to answer both installation and software questions and Formetco will make available generic graphics and animations that you can use or we can support you with custom graphics if needed. Formetco and your sign company are only a phone call away.