Top Four Tips for Troubleshooting an Electronic Price Sign

When an electronic price sign isn’t displaying gas prices properly, impact on business is immediate. In this scenario, sign storeowners work frantically to correct the problem as quickly as possible.

Being prepared in advance for common issues can make all the difference, smooth out the process and get your sign back up and running in no time.

So we asked PWM’s Operations Manager, Scott Honza to shared his insights about common issues and how to resolve them.

Tip #1: Check for disconnection. If a sign suddenly stops working, it’s not time to panic. “The majority of calls we receive are about bad communication between the control unit in the store and the price sign outside,” says Honza.

He recommendeds checking the physical connections. Anything from an unplugged cable to a loose wire might be the issue. These are quick fixes that most store owners can handle easily if they know where to look.

Price SignTip #2: Know how to make price changes properly. Often, customers just need guidance on how to make changes to their sign and are hesitant because they don’t want to make a mistake.

Each sign manufacturer has their own instructions, but PWM’s are easy to follow. The store owner can open the control unit, enter the first selection, change the price with up/down arrows, hit enter, and move on to the next digit. It’s as easy as changing the time on a digital clock.

“We are always happy to walk store owners through the process so they feel comfortable using the system,” says Honza.

Tip #3: Be cautious to avoid overheating. What if the whole sign goes down and then comes back online a few hours later? This is almost always an overheating issue.

The power supply has a failsafe in place to shut down the sign if temperatures rise too high. With PWM’s heat-tolerant signs, that doesn’t happen until temps reach about 175o. Obviously, this makes overheating unlikely.

But in locations like California or Nevada, the blazing sun can sometimes cause the sign to shut down. If this is a rare occurrence, it may be a tolerable nuisance. But if it is a repeated occurrence that’s impacting revenue for the gas station, it needs to be resolved.

“This problem is fixed by addressing ventilation within the sign. We have a procedure we can use to create a kind of chimney effect to release the excess heat. It’s a highly effective solution with a success rate of well over 90 percent,” says Honza.

Tip #4: Know when to call the experts. If there is one line of digits that’s showing all 8s and the rest of the screen is black, there may be something more serious wrong with the sign. According to Honza, this error usually indicates a problem with the power supply. In this case, a service call may be needed to repair, or replace the malfunctioning component.

—Wolfgang Manz

Wolfgang Manz is president & CEO of PWM Electronic Price Signs