Keeping Out the Cold – Outdoor Digital Signage

With the weather taking a turn for the worse, signalling the arrival of winter and the oncoming cold spell, its time to start thinking about your digital signage and whether it is adequately protected from the cold.

Many screens that function perfectly well throughout the year can often fail when the first cold spells arrive as the technology struggles to cope with the sub zero temperatures.

The cold can severely affect an LCD or plasma screen; any condensation that is inside the device can potentially freeze, this causes expansion which can result in components getting damaged.

While cold temperatures are more hazardous for outdoor digital signage screens due to their outside location – even indoor screens, in areas where there is not adequate heating, such as a concourse, can become prone to freezing.

Keeping the cold from damaging a screen, however, can be quite tricky. The problem with most LCD devices is that they produce heat, which in warmer temperatures needs to be carried away using fans or other heat transference devices. These fans are often installed inside an outdoor LCD enclosure which also keeps the devices dry and out of the elements.

Come the cold weather, however, and these fans are no longer required. Commonly, thermostatic controls are placed on the fans to turn them off when temperatures drop, with the heat generated by the LCD able to keep the inside of the LCD enclosure from getting too cold.

If temperatures still drop below the optimum manufacturer’s recommendation then the LCD enclosure can be fitted with a layer of insulation. This allows the heat generated from the LCD to keep the inside of the LCD enclosure, even in quite low temperatures, at a workable temperature.

There are, however, some locations where temperatures are so extreme that any screen that has to operate in such an area needs more than just insulation than the heat generated from the device. In such sub zero conditions then there is no option but to install heaters inside the LCD enclosure; any heater insulation can be thermostatically controlled, though ensuring the heater will turn off when temperatures rise and so preventing the screen from over-heating.

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