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Thermal Management of Outdoor LED Display

Every single electronic device in the world generates excess heat. The heat generated needs to be dissipated to prevent the device from overheating. Overheating can cause failure or malfunction of the device. LED screen display is no exception. An excellent thermal management is crucial to prolong the life of an LED display.

Thermal management is not really a great concern for most indoor LED screens. There is a low possibility that the indoor display could suffer from overheating, if all essential components are operating as usual. However, the issue can get complicated when it involves the outdoor LED screen.

Outdoor LED screens are constantly exposed to sunlight and high outdoor temperature. Users might feel reluctant to invest in outdoor LED screens since they have no confidence in the thermal management of the displays. We understand that an investment in LED screen comes with a high price tag and it is totally normal that users are questioning the durability of the LED screen.

Rest assured! Allow us to explain how we can handle the heat dissipation and thus help you to achieve your business goal with an outdoor LED screen.

Outdoor LED Display

Why Do LED Screen Generate Heat?

Heat generation is a normal event that occurs in every single electronic device, including both indoor and outdoor LED screen. Excessive heat is generated due to an inefficient electricity conduction. This is because all types of metal used in electronic devices have resistance. Thus, there will be some energy losses and it is impossible to convert an incoming energy into another form of energy completely.

In terms of the outdoor LED screen, the main factor that an LED screen could overheat is the extreme weather. Malaysia is located near the equator. Making the country humid and hot throughout the year, the outdoor temperature during noon time can reach up to 36°C. Strong sunlight and high outdoor temperature could render the effectiveness of the heat dissipation system. In order to tackle the issue, some actions need to be taken.

Start with The Right Materials

The core of problem solving is to always solve the core of the problem. Material selection is crucial to an efficient heat dissipation system. Materials used in manufacturing an outdoor LED screen should have high heat conducting and heat dissipating abilities.

One of the methods is to use plastic shell that can dissipate heat faster. Generally, most plastics are known as great heat insulators. They can trap heat efficiently, and this is definitely a bad matchup. However, we can never remove plastic from LED display because it is a durable and lightweight material. In order to tackle the issue, we can use a new type of polymer which can work as a good heat conductor. This innovative plastic can dissipate heat rather than insulate heat.

Besides, we can also use the magnesium alloy panel. The material is lightweight, but it is stronger than an ordinary steel iron panel. It is good for heat dissipation and weatherproof.

Outdoor LED Content

Fan – Cheap and Effective

The most common way to improve heat dissipation is to install fan. Fan increases the flow of cool air and it can help to dissipate heat faster. Besides, the fan is considered as one of the most convenient methods as it is easier to obtain and to install.

Types of fan installation highly depend on the installation methods of the outdoor LED screen. Installation is easier for poled LED screen or high-rise digital billboard. This is because there is no obstacle on the back of the LED display. Unlike wall mounted LED display, if the space between the display and the wall is too small, fan installation might not be the best method in heat dissipation.

Air Conditioner

An air conditioner is a better and a more effective alternative to the fan. Fan is convenient and less expensive. However, the fan’s effectiveness in heat dissipation is lower when compared to the air conditioner.

Air conditioner is generally more expensive than fan, but air conditioner is still considered affordable. However, air conditioner can become an expensive method due to its power consumption. The tool itself does not cost much, but the energy consumed costs a lot. Hence, it is very important for us to pick the right air conditioner depending on the size and other factors of the outdoor LED screen.

A small air conditioner is not enough to cool down a large LED screen, while an oversized air conditioner will consume more energy and cause wastage. The first step we need to do is to determine the basic cooling capacity that we need. Generally, a large LED screen needs an air conditioner with a higher basic cooling capacity. Sometimes, we may consider using two smaller units with lower cooling capacity, instead of a large unit with higher cooling capacity. This is because an air conditioner with higher basic cooling capacity might need a larger amperage circuit.

Air Conditioner Basic Cooling Capacity
LED Screen's Size and its Basic Cooling Capacity

The second step is to apply some adjustments to the basic cooling capacity that we have determined.

  1. Subtract 10% of the basic cooling capacity, if the LED screen is shaded heavily or does not expose to direct sunlight
  2. Add 10% more to the basic cooling capacity, if the LED screen is exposed under direct sunlight or it is not shaded
  3. Add 15% more to the basic cooling capacity, if the LED screen is not properly insulated

Let’s say we have a 20m2 LED screen. We will need an air conditioner with 6,000 Btu/H before any adjustment. The LED screen is shaded heavily but it is insulated poorly. Hence, we need to use an air conditioner with at least 6,300 Btu/H. We will then need to purchase a 6,500 Btu/H air conditioner.

6,000 – (10% x 6,000) + (15% x 6,000)
= 6,000 – 600 + 900 = 6,300 Btu/H

Surface Radiation

Most outdoor LED screens have very large surfaces and these surfaces can get very hot due to the direct sunlight. When the outer surface is very hot, it will reduce the effectiveness of heat dissipation. In order to cool down the surface, we can dissipate heat via radiation.

Radiation happens when a hotter surface converts its thermal energy to electromagnetic waves. These waves are then emitted in all directions from the hot source to the cooler area. In order to increase the speed of emission, we can carry out the surface radiation treatment. We can apply the radiation paint on the shell and the heat sink.


Outdoor LED screen is constantly dealing with hot weather and direct sunlight. Besides, the high display brightness is also challenging the heat dissipation of the outdoor LED screen. However, these should not be the reasons that keep you away from utilizing LED screen in your business. A professional LED screen solution provider can always help you to improve the effectiveness of heat dissipation. Consult an expert today and give yourself a chance to explore the endless possibilities brought by the outdoor LED screen.

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