Top Tips for Outdoor Digital Signage Thermal Management
Every outdoor digital signage project is different, there is no ‘one size fits all’ solution. However, every outdoor screen installation does have one thing in common… thermal management. Getting temperature control right IS the difference between a long-lasting solution and a screen network that fails...
A typical list of things to think about when installing an outdoor digital signage network can include:
- Number of screens
- Type of electronics (media player etc…)
- The operating temperature of electronics
- Daily solar load
- Screen brightness
- Portrait or landscape configuration
- Installation location
- Mounting configuration
- Screen enclosure construction
This list is not exhaustive, and each of these factors can affect the lifespan of an outdoor digital signage system. However, temperature control is the most critical thing to consider when planning the deployment of LCD screens, outdoors...
The Importance of Thermal Management for Outdoor Digital Signage
...Why? Imagine getting into a stationary car after it has been in the sun all day, or sat idle in freezing cold temperatures during winter… When you get into a vehicle that’s been in the sun for a few hours, without moving, the internal temperature is generally hotter than the external temperature.
Equally, when you get into a car that’s been stationary for hours during a cold spell, the internal temperature tends to be much lower than the external temperature. In both instances, what’s missing is airflow.
In hot weather, you would turn on your car’s air conditioning or fans and set them to the coldest temperature. You might even open the windows when travelling to get some fresh air circulating. In cold weather, you’d crank up the heat while keeping your windows firmly shut.
In the same way that your car requires thermal management, outdoor digital signage requires temperature control to keep your screens and other electronic equipment, operational.
To get the outdoor digital signage specification that your project requires, it’s likely that you will need a custom solution, equipped with the proper heating and cooling elements that have been expertly designed by an engineer to suit your requirements.
It’s unlikely that any digital signage manufacturer has a ready-made, off-the-shelf system that’s designed to accommodate all screen sizes and incorporates the exact thermal management technology you need...
LCD Outdoor Digital Signage Enclosures
...With that in mind, you need a solution that gives you the flexibility to incorporate the temperature control technology you need to suit the climate and thermal management challenges associated with your installation.
Custom-made, LCD outdoor digital signage enclosures represent the best solution, capable of keeping screens operational in temperatures as low as -30°C (-22°F) and as high as +55°C (131°F) depending on the type of thermal management technology used.
However, there is a science to configuring the right LCD enclosure to suit any environment, so don’t rush your project. It’s better to work with a longer lead time to cover all your bases rather than rushing your project, resulting in outdoor digital signage system failure, leading to replacement or premature repairs.
When sourcing an LCD enclosure solution, consider what will happen to your electronics should the internal temperature exceed the operating temperature of your screens and media players etc...
Scientific studies  have proven that for every 10°C (50oF) increase above the recommended operating temperature of electronics, the life of that electornic equipment is halved!
On a clear, hot day – similar to the car situation earlier – the internal temperature of an outdoor digital signage enclosure will rise. If your screens and media players are exposed to excessive heat for a sustained period of time, they will cease to work – potentially making any warranties, void.
Equally, in cold and wet conditions, poor thermal management can result in condensation build-up and freezing electrical components. The outcome is the same - your outdoor digital signage system will fail.
However, working with an experienced and reputable LCD enclosure designer and manufacturer will ensure that your solution is equipped with the right temperature control technology needed to keep your outdoor digital signage operating.
Types of Thermal Management for LCD Outdoor Digital Signage Enclosures
1. In temperatures ranging from -5°C (23°F) ~ +35°C (95°F) – an LCD enclosure equipped with filter fans, an air curtain, plus an internal heating system will suffice for thermal control. The combination of filter fans and an air curtain ensure that heat is adequately dissipated and cool air is circulated throughout the enclosure.
Meanwhile, incorporating an internal heating system ensures that temperature levels are adequate enough for electronic components to operate in colder weather.
2. A combination of filter fans, an air curtain, plenum chambers, an internal heating system and foam insulation equip LCD enclosures for use in temperatures ranging from -30 oC (-22°F) ~ +35°C (95°F).
The addition of foam insulation prevents heat loss from within the enclosure, giving LCD enclosures an extra layer of thermal management in sub-zero climates. Meanwhile, incorporating plenum chambers ensures that enclosures have an even air distribution.
3. Enclosures can be equipped with air conditioning technology to keep screens operable in temperatures as high as +55oC (131oF), while incorporating filter fans, an air curtain, an internal heating system and foam insulation to provide complete thermal management control inside an outdoor digital signage enclosure.
Armagard’s Environmentally Controlled LCD Outdoor Digital Signage Enclosures
Armagard’s outdoor screen enclosure systems are equipped with the thermal management control technology you need to suit any environment. Our comprehensive environmental control technology includes a microprocessor controller board.
However, for DOOH to reign in Rio, it needed to be able to survive Brazil’s scorching summer temperatures. Cue the need for outdoor digital signage protection. Protection comes in many forms, but for the purposes of flexibility, an outdoor LCD screen enclosure represented a sound option.
The controller board is an innovative feature found on all Armagard enclosures, managing the on-off commands for airflow and environmental control. You can also upgrade to receive online status reports, to remotely monitor your display. It will notify you if advertising is not displaying so you can take action should a problem occur.
To discuss thermal management enclosure solutions for your outdoor digital signage project, call +44 (0)121 608 7226 or email email@example.com.
Sources:  Electronics Cooling.
This post was written by Daniel Waldron
A dedicated writer for 15 years, Daniel joined Armagard in 2013. Daniel assists in the production of web copy, articles, blogs, press releases and white papers, for use by Armagard's marketing team. Daniel Waldron