Reports in the national press suggest that the end of this month could see a heatwave across Britain, lasting for two weeks and making it the hottest May in several centuries. Of course, such weather predictions can often be inaccurate or just plain wrong, but if proved right, excessive temperatures could have an effect on many outdoor digital signage screens.
While all outdoor screens need protection from the weather; with rainfall and other elements able to instantly disable an unprotected screen, but temperature too can be just as disabling and often many outdoor screens are unprepared for weather that is beyond the normal scope for the location.
Digital signage screens produce heat. This is an inevitable by-product of running an electrical product. Plasmas tend to generate more heat than LCDs especially modern LED back-lit LCDs, which produce lower amounts of heat than other screens.
Regardless of the screen type, all outdoor digital signage displays need some form of heat transfer to remove this generated thermal build up, which is why cooling fans and vents are installed in outdoor digital signage enclosures; however, ambient temperatures can play havoc with outdoor digital signage especially when it gets too high.
When a screen gets too hot, overheating can lead to permanent failure of the screen and while installing additional fans can aid the problem, in the event of extreme hot weather, such as a heat wave, this may not be enough.
Air conditioning is expensive and cumbersome, and often not worth the investment just to cope with a freak heatwave, but other simpler solutions can help. Using a thermostatic cut off switch, which turns the screen off when temperatures get dangerously high, may be of inconvenience, but it will save the screen from needing replacing during a heat wave.
Not all heat generated outdoors is ambient, though. In bright sunshine, if a screen is facing the path of the sun, the direct bearing down of the sun’s rays can cause the screen face to burn; this can not only lead to overheating, but also can cause permanent scorching o the screen face.
Of course, positioning the screen away from the sun will alleviate this, but this is not always practical or possible. Another solution is to provide a flow of cool air across the front of the screen to transfer away the heat is a solution employed by some outdoor digital signage enclosures.