Automatic Brightness Control

A Sunburst Displays™ electronic message center automatically adjusts its display brightness for the current lighting conditions.

Besides making the display more effective for advertising this feature reduces total electrical consumption and increases component life.

A good LED display that is bright enough to draw attention during the day is too bright at night without Automatic Brightness Control.  It’s like staring into a flashlight; nothing is readable!

Display Brightness

LEDs are affected by voltage.  For instance, an LED will burn nearly 100% brighter if you double the power feeding it.  The LED will last about 1/6 as long, however, making this alternative quite expensive in total cost.

LEDs dim as they age.  At some point (subjective) they will need to be replaced because they are too dim.  Feeding them less voltage extends their useful life.

Sunburst Displays’ engineering goal was to balance brightness and longevity.

If only brightness is important a monochrome display that does not include a grayscale feature, or automatic brightness adjustment, will be the brightest, at least initially, because all LEDs will always be fully-powered.  The LEDs can also be more closely packed because only one color of LED is used; room does not have to be dedicated to other-colored (RGB) LEDs.

Colors in motion, though dimmer than monochrome, have proven to be a better attention-getter, and the displays last longer.

Viewing Angles

As an automobile driver drives toward an electronic message center which is installed on a 20’ tall pole the vertical viewing angle increases from near 0° to almost 90° as the driver passes under the sign.  As the viewing angle increases the intensity of the display decreases.  The vertical viewing angle of the LEDs used in the display plays an important role in the usefulness of the display.  (For more information on this see “Glare Shields or Louvers” below.)

As a driver drives toward an electronic message center installed on the side of a road the horizontal viewing angle increases from near 0° to 90° as the driver passes beside the sign.  As the viewing angle increases the intensity of the display decreases in this direction also.  The horizontal viewing angle of the LEDs used in the display also plays an important role in the usefulness of the display.

It is important to understand the vertical and the horizontal angle that the display will be viewed from.

LED lights are directional, and Glare Shields or Louvers can block visibility.  High quality LEDs can be viewed by as much as 90° horizontally and vertically and still observe over 70% of the lumen potential.

Some LEDs lose virtually all of their light at angles over 45°.  Less-expensive signs must therefore be viewed nearly straight-on to be legible.

Sunburst Displays™ are effective at radical angles.

Viewing Distances

The minimum Best Viewing Range is the point at which the display loses significant graininess or color breakdown.  Distances can vary depending on the message being displayed.

The maximum viewing distance is the point at which the smallest character which will be generated on the display becomes unreadable.  A potential solution is to generate larger characters, but this may increase the minimum viewing distance.

Reading Time

The length of time letters are readable when moving towards them.

These times are only achievable when viewing signs made with LEDs with wide viewing angles, and a tight Pixel Density.

Many signs reading times are much shorter for the same sized letter.

Besides the computer that is used to program the sign (see below) there is a processor (a controller) or a computer inside the sign in most systems.

The Operating System, and the Internal Controls in a Display

We don’t have a “computer” in our signs.  The processor (controller) in our signs is a “mother-board” with a non-volatile memory and its sole purpose is to store and control using the commands you send it from the programming computer.  This vastly superior system also uses less energy.

The processor stores up to 64 GB of text, images, and video.  Enough memory to change the image on the sign every second for 723 days!  The memory is permanent and non-volatile, no reprogramming after a power failure as is common in some competitive units.

Poorly engineered signs are programmed and controlled by a single computer that is hard-wired to the sign and must be left “on” at all times.  Or, in other cheap signs a second “personal computer” is actually installed inside the sign.

The problem with either of these systems is that the sign is running on “Windows®” using a CD or hard-drive and is additionally subject to all the viruses, freezes, lock-ups and reboot problems that a personal computer faces.  (As an example of the problems faced with a personal computer in the sign, who climbs the pole of a free-standing pole sign to reboot the computer after a power outage or computer lock-up?  Service call.)

Plus, with all the moving parts in hard drives, disk drives, and other humidity and temperature sensitive components, a PC is a poor way to run a sign from inside the sign.  They fail often enough when they are used in the controlled environment of a building.

Tremendous cooling is required when there is an “Intel® Inside” but many of these poorly engineered units don’t even have cooling fans for the LED displays, much less the computer’s processor chip.

Proprietary is BAD, not good.

To make you even more comfortable with our LED Signs, our processor’s design doesn’t lock-out other operating systems, forcing you to use only ours.  Many competitors and virtually all Chinese signs do this.  If they go out of business, and you have a problem with their processor or computer, the sign is trash.

If, heaven forbid, we go out of business and our processor fails, you can also replace it with several brands of generic processors (controllers) and operate your sign.  (It won’t be as efficient, versatile, and friendly as our system, but it will work.)

Both programmers (or controllers) are showing the same image on the same sign, for a “head-to-head” comparison.

FREE Computer with Purchase

With your Sunburst Displays™ LED Sign purchase, for a limited time only, we will offer you a Dell Inspiron 15 model 3542 laptop computer (or equivalent) as a gift.

FREE Programming

We will program one computer with programming software for free as a part of our Turn-Key™ installation.

The sign runs on its own internal processor so the programming computer only needs to be “on” when you are changing the program.

Programming Software

More than any other part of the sign the programming software determines the usability of the system.

Most sellers of LED Display signs, whether they manufacture their signs or import them from China, brag about their “Proprietary” software used to operate their signs.

We don’t.

Even though our key personnel are very comfortable writing computer programs in several programming languages, we realize that we will never be smarter than the thousands of Microsoft® engineers who worked together to create PowerPoint®.

Because of this, we created our open-architecture programming software designed to use PowerPoint® to create your animation and messaging; or CorelDRAW®, or Photoshop®, or any graphics software you are familiar with.

You already know how to program the sign because there’s no new proprietary programming system to learn.  However, tutorials are a part of our programming.

Proprietary is BAD, not good.  Our system uses the ingenuity and creativity of thousands of software engineers, not just a small handful of programmers.

In the worst of all signs, the software to program the computer inside the sign is not even in the sign owner’s possession.  It is not on the programming computer, it is “on the cloud” (aka: OneDrive® or Google Drive®.)  The sign’s computer must have high-speed internet access, and be “on” 24/7.

What if the sign manufacturer does not actually own the software, he uses a third-party system, and they notify you that in order to keep your sign operating you will now have to pay them $2,000 per month to continue access to the programming software.  This happens all the time with other “free” software.  Or, he controls the software “on the cloud” but goes out of business so your sign cannot be programmed by anyone.

Our programming is quick and easy, and “automatically” brings you more and more customers, without ANY increase in expenses!

Standard features of our programming software include:

o   Encryption so that no one else can operate the sign.

o   The programming computer’s screen displays exactly what the sign will look like.

o   Our software, in the programming computer and not on the “cloud”, automatically enlarges your graphics and videos to fit the screen, with no additional steps required.

o   Displays can be programmed using PowerPoint®, CorelDRAW®, Photoshop®, or any graphics software.

o   “Pixel Text” can be directly entered.

o   You can add multiple images at once, speeding set-up time.

o   The computer communicates with the sign via Wi-Fi, or Cat 5 cable, and only needs to be “on” when changing the program.  The sign runs on its own internal processor.  You can create a program at home, and download it to your sign when you get to your business, if you desire.

o   One click updates the sign.

o   The sign is capable of being connected to the internet, so that you can program your sign from home!

o   Our system allows for the use of Text, Graphics, Animation, Slideshow, Video, Scheduling, Time, Temperature, and Automatic Brightness Control as described individually below.

Do you know that a .jpg image file automatically adjusts pixel locations as the image is scaled larger or smaller, to continuously create an image with smooth edges – not the choppy “building block” look of older image files (and older LED displays.)

Sunburst’s programming software does this also, to display the best image possible.

Street-Smart Marketing Programs Available

In response to some of our customer’s needs, we have created subscription marketing programs to offer continual marketing (content creation,) programming, software maintenance, and hardware services.

Now, your employees do not need to be marketing savvy, or creative, or even attentive to the sign, because we are.

We’re a different kind of sign company; we offer expertise that is hard to come by.  Our backgrounds include University-trained graphic arts, business, marketing, and psychology professionals.  Our founder was previously employed (repeatedly) to create successful corporations.  We’ve been involved in creating the initial marketing displays (content) for hundreds-and-hundreds of LED Signs.

You can tell us what your goals are for your Sunburst™ LED Sign, and we will create an effective marketing program for you, and upload it to your sign.  We’ll change it until you’re happy.  (You’ll be happy because you will have many more customers.)  And, we’ll change it continually to keep the content fresh, and effective!

Ask for details.

Text, Graphics, or Both

Some competitive units only display text, some must display text as a graphic (drawing), some can display both text and graphics.  Some competitors can only display “stick” letters (one line.)

Sunburst Displays™ open architecture software can display text and graphics, and we can vary the font (letter style) and the thickness of the letters.

Many varied letter-styles (fonts) are pre-programmed in all our units.

All our units can also automatically place text over graphics pictures.

On our monochrome units (one color) text and graphics can be displayed in 1 or 4,000 shades of the one color.  Full-color units display 4+ billion separate shades and colors.

Animated Text and Graphics

All Sunburst Displays™ software can display fixed messages or graphics (drawings) or “scroll” messages or graphics (drawings) and include F/X features.  We also show a display such as a cartoon with character movement, for instance.

Monochrome displays convert colors to shades of either Red or Amber (Yellow.)

Slideshow Playback

All Sunburst Displays™ programming can display pre-programmed messages and pictures in a slideshow format, much like a screensaver slideshow showing multiple messages or images.

Video – Prerecorded Clips

All Sunburst Displays™ open architecture software can display videos of varying random lengths.

Sound Capable

All Sunburst Displays™ are ready to connect to an audio system.  Our internal processor is sound capable.  Most competitors are not.  Signs with Sound™.

Live Video or TV

Live video or television feeds are available options.


Schedule various messages, graphics or videos to automatically run at various times of day or night with Sunburst Displays™ software.

Double-Sided Display Programming Options

Most competitive units display the same message or animation on both sides of a double-sided display.

However some competitive units can only be programmed totally independent of each other.  There displays will not synchronize, so they take twice as long to program.

Sunburst Displays™ include both a synchronized display and an easy-to-use independent programming option.

Display Appearance and Size

Some displays have “retainer”, or a picture frame around the display.

Some displays are “bleed”, or the matrix goes to the edge of the face.

A bleed face gives more display space in the square footage allowed if a city has a restrictive sign ordinance.

A Sunburst Displays™ electronic message center can be manufactured in either configuration.

Superior Sign Faces and Glare Shields

We engineered impact-resistant, U. V. protected, and flame-proof sign faces and glare shields into our LED sign designs to give our customers even better, safer, longer-lasting signs.

Glare shields, also called louvers, prevent a display’s LEDs from appearing to be lighted, by sunlight, making your message unreadable.

Our careful sizing and positioning of the Glare Shields guarantee that our LED signs have maximum impact at even extreme viewing angles.

This is a very common problem with competitive displays with shields that are straight, or continuous.  Theirs are less effective and must be much larger, limiting the viewing angles of their signs.

Time and Temperature Display

All Sunburst Displays™ can have the display intermittently, or constantly, display time and temperature.  The system self-adjusts for daylight savings time.  The system is more accurate when Internet is available (below.)

Computer Link Types

Wireless.  In all Sunburst Displays™ a  wireless router in the sign communicates, using a wifi signal, with the programming computer.

The other available options are:

Internet Controlled.  Internet connection usually comes from a Cat.5 cable or wireless “bridge” that connects the sign to the existing network at the building.  We strongly recommend that the Cat.5 cable be installed and connected to your network so that our sign’s built-in Remote Self-Monitoring and Remote Reporting are available (below) as well as Street-Smart™ Marketing Programs (above.)

Cellular Control.  The unit can have a cellular modem installed so that it has internet access over the cell towers (if available).  The software connects to the sign like normal, sends the program and the sign maintains the message in its non-volatile memory so that it remembers the message even in the event of a power failure.

Group Links.  It is possible to have one computer control multiple electronic message centers (all Long John Silver’s are, for example.)  This is an available option.


Heat is the enemy of LEDs.  Sunburst Displays™ electronic message centers have multiple inflow and outflow ventilation fans.  Additionally, every heat-producing component has its own temperature-controlled internal cooling fan.  Larger units incorporate air conditioners into their design.  Excessive heat can shorten LED life by up to 80%.

Our Classic Series displays have LED panels that are specifically designed to transfer heat out the FACE of the sign, collecting almost no heat on the inside of the cabinet! This unique design allows our signs to operate fan-free. However, we still add fans to our signs as an added level of protection.

In poorly engineered signs with little (passive) or no cooling, decreasing the pitch, increasing the size of pixels, or over-driving LEDs with higher-than-required voltage to increase their brightness, increases heat, shortening the life of the unit.

So-called “Modular Designs” and virtually all Chinese manufactured LED signs have NO ventilation!  Very bad in Texas.


Front access via a hinged display face.

To speed trouble-shooting we’ve also incorporated our LEDs into our circuit boards as a diagnostic aid.  Few manufacturers of LED signs have taken this logical step.

Reparability – Adjustability

LEDs dim and change color as they get older.  If you replace an old LED with a new one, the new one is brighter, and a slightly different color.

So what happens to your sign’s appearance when LEDs fail?  Even if it is a repairable brand it probably won’t look good; unless it is a Sunburst LED Display (or possibly a very few other’s – see below.)

We have very sophisticated equipment we use to balance both the light and color outputs of every LED in our signs.  We do this when the sign is new, and we can do it in the field to balance the appearance of new and old LEDs in our signs.  (Our equipment won’t work on competitor’s signs.)

Only the actual manufacturer, with proprietary programming knowledge of their software, can make these adjustments, if their sign design will even allow it to be done.  Therefore the cost of properly repairing a Chinese, or an American sign made by someone else, is relatively exorbitant; if for no other reason than the travel costs for the factory personnel and equipment.  We ARE the only local manufacturer.

However, actually, only a couple other manufacturers even have adjustable signs.  The alternative is to continually replace EVERY LED in the entire sign face if you don’t want to detract from the appearance of your business as a sign ages.  Remember that, according to the US Small Business Administration (SBA) poorly maintained signs harm rather than help the image of a business, reducing sales.

This is one more critical reason to purchase a Sunburst LED Display; made in Texas, for Texans, by us.™

The Savings Advantage of a “Listed” Sign

Listed Signs Save You Money.

Sunburst Displays™ Video Displays and Electronic Message Centers, because they are Listed, are approved to operate with approximately 40% of the power supply requirements of unlisted signs.

This is a huge savings in installation costs, as only 1/3 of the comparable electrical service needs to be provided.

And since the National Electrical Code limits the branch circuits serving signs to 20 amps maximum, this equates to many fewer circuits.

For safety, an untested sign (not Listed) must be supplied with enough electricity to meet the total “continuous” needs of each internal components rating.  (Each components rating x 125%)

A Listed sign has been tested as a whole, and the amount of energy actually used has been determined.  The sign is approved for use when supplied with this amount of electricity, regardless of the ratings of the individual components.

This is always much less than the rating of each internal component taken individually, so the cost of installing electricity to the sign will be significantly less.

Electromagnetic Interference

Radio Frequency (RF) interference from an electronic sign can cause the sign to interfere with radios, cell phones, radar, TV signals, automatic door openers, hospital equipment, etc.

Radio frequency interference can also cause radios, cell phones, radar, automatic door openers, TV signals, hospital equipment, etc. to interfere with an electronic sign.

Although not required in the United States, Sunburst Displays™ had our electronic signs tested for Electromagnetic Compatibility (EMC) and Electromagnetic Interference (EMI), even testing beyond the rigorous European standards.   (IEC/EN 61000-4-1 thru 6-4)

Our non-intrusive circuitry even protects itself, rebooting the sign automatically if an extreme circumstance interferes with our sign.

This assures you of an even-more-trouble-free sign when you purchase from Sunburst LED Signs™.


Our guy who did all the programming for the sign doesn't work here anymore and we can't get into the software to change the message. It has a password and we don't know what it is. I tried calling the company that built it but they're no longer in business!
Mary ChriswellAdams Valley Farms