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Adaptive Display's Digital Signage Blog

What is the National Electrical Code for Outdoor LED Signs?

Posted by Chad Bogan on Wed, May 20, 2015

The National Electric Code (NEC) Section 600 requires for all Electronic Message Centers to be inspected and approved by nationally Recognized Testing Laboratories such as the Underwriters Laboratory (UL). 

outdoor led sign

What is the National Electric Code Article 600?  

Article 600 covers the installation of conductors, equipment, and field wiring for electric signs and outline lighting, including neon tubing for signs, decorative elements, skeleton tubing, or art forms [600.1]. 

This is the document which most electrical inspectors use to control and inspect sign and outline electric lighting installations across the nation and beyond. While not considered as a U.S. law, this regulation is commonly mandated by federal, state or local law. 

False claims by sign companies and LED Manufactures 

As the code inspector approves the installation, a NRTL (National Electric Code) certification listing label number is provided. Without this certification, the local code enforcement body can ask that the outdoor LED sign be removed. 

There are sign companies that convince inspectors and make false claims that their outdoor LED sign conform to the NEC regulations. 

Because of this, the intent of the NEC gets neglected and the sign company faces the liability if damage, injury or death as a result of a faulty outdoor LED sign. 

Claim to be NRTL approved 

Some overseas manufacturers claims to be NRTL certified. They display NRTL certification label in their website to ensure people that their total outdoor LED sign is UL certified. However, only their subcomponents are UL certified. This non-compliance of the certification requirement can cause the outdoor LED sign to be removed. 

Certification and Compliance 

To insure that outdoor led signs are constructed for safe use, NEC requires all electric sign to be certified by qualified electrical testing laboratory. This ensures compliance with designated safety standard. A testing laboratory verifies this certification by placing the sign manufacturer on a public list. The use of the unique label for the outdoor LED sign is also authorized.

Some reasons why the National Electrical Code Compliance is important are:

  • It is ensures that the signage is of high quality
  • It is easier to install approved digital signage
  • It minimizes the risk and likelihood that safety problems will arise 

As a sign dealer, it is your responsibility to guarantee that the signage manufacturer’s product meets the standards and is in compliance with that of the National Electrical Code. Make sure that you deal with manufacturers that sell products that meet safety standards.