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How to install LED light bars in lightbox signage

Posted on December 07 2017

Light boxes are everywhere. You've seen them at malls, at airports, and at conventions. The bright, high contrast signage is a great way to get your message across to potential customers. HitLights' lighting experts will show you the best way to light up your lightboxes while avoiding some common problems.

The project : A 3 x 6 foot light box provided by our friends at Nimlok.

Nimlok's light boxes can be set up either single or double sided, depending on if you need your graphics to been from the front only, or from both sides. Our display is set up double sided, but the instructions for setting it up single sided are similar - we'll note a few differences as we go along.



The light source : HitLights LED light bars.

Our LED light bars are a plug and play light source for any light boxes. The come in a nine inch and a fourteen inch version (we used both in this installation), and have adjustable beam angles for maximum flexibility. They run on low voltage 24V DC power, so they're safe an easy to install - no electrical expertise required.



The light box :

Here's our light box. We installed the first graphic panel, which is made from a stretchable fabric that stays tight and flat, and left the second panel off while we installed our light.



On the inside of the light box frame, you can see that there are a couple of different options on where to install your light source. They key here, somewhat counter-intuitively, is to install the light source as far from the graphic panel as possible. This minimizes 'spotting', or the visibility of the individual LEDs.



Because our light box is double sided, we're installing our light bars in the middle of the frame. If it was single sided, we'd install it at the far side of the frame, away from the printed graphic panel. The second panel, which would be purely reflective, would diffuse the light for a more even glow.



Next up, planning. We have eighteen square feet of fabric to light up, and we'd like to get somewhere between four hundred and six hundred lumens per square foot of fabric for optimal brightness. That's 7,200 to 10,800 lumens total. Our nine inch and fourteen inch light bars put out 650 and 1,100 lumens respectively, so we decide to go with four of the nine inch, and six of the fourteen inch. That'll give us 9,200 lumens.



Last step before installation - optimizing beam angles. Our light bars feature an adjustable beam angle, either fifteen degrees or forty-five degrees. The fifteen degree option casts the light narrower and further, while the forty-five degree option spreads it out more. The lenses pop out with a screwdriver, and a simple ninety degree turn switches between the two options. 

In our case, we left most of our bars at forty-five degrees, but the top and the bottom we switched to fifteen degrees to help that light make it further towards the middle of the light box. It didn't make much of a difference because of the large amount of light coming from the left and the right, but it's a good practice to follow that ensures you get the best results.



Installation was simple. We used some foam tape to attach the bars to the light box frame, and routed most of the wiring in the channel underneath the bars to keep those out of the way. A pre-cut hole in the side of the frame allowed us to pop out wires to connect to our 24V power supply. Finally, before we installed the second graphic panel, we secured any loose wires to the frame with zip ties.



The result? A gorgeous, eye catching light box, assembled and ready to go in less than an hour!

Item Checklist :

LED Light Bar : Click here
24V Power Supply : Click here
Mounting Tape : Click here
DC Extension : Click here
DC Splitter : Click here

For assistance with project design, ordering, or wholesale pricing options, contact our sales team at customerservice@hitlights.com or at 1-855-768-4135.

About HitLights

HitLights delivers LED lighting solutions for event exhibits, displays, signs, theater and film productions, and manufacturing. CEO Bin Yu formed the company through the Louisiana State University Business Incubator Program in 2010. Since then HitLights has grown to become a major player the LED industry. Customers come to HitLights for quality products, helpful customer service and creative solutions.

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