If you’re like the rest of about 5 billion people in the world who hate to pay ‘professionals’ for things you could do yourself after a 10-minute DIY YouTube video, tap in!
LED screen walls – and just about everything that has electrical wires – are not exactly a walk in the park for the average Joe. We promise you, however, that setting these screens up is not half as difficult as it would seem. Not when we’re walking you through every step of the way.
Let’s help you save some money by showing you how to correctly set up your new LED screen wall yourself; and just maybe even better than a tech guy would. Sit tight, you’re in for a ride!
How Does LED Screen Walls Work?
Before we get into the meat of the discussion, we figured it might interest you to know how LED walls work, and why they’re way up there as far as crispy visual displays go. No physics jargon, not to worry. We’ll explain like you’re 5.
A video wall is made up of individual screens that work together synergistically to display content. If you’ve ever seen a huge electronic billboard that caught your eye without even trying, there’s a 99.9% chance that it was an LED video wall. Do you know why it was so alluring when you saw it? It’s because probably 100 individual screen tiles were working together to produce the media like they were all part of a single screen. Are you getting the hang of it already?
It’s almost impossible to tell where each tile merges with the other because they have ultra-thin bezels that minimize the gap between display areas.
Now, why LED? If the basic idea is to get smaller screens to work together as one, why are LED screens the go-to? The answer lies in the full meaning of the acronym: Light-Emitting Diode. Unlike other screen technologies that rely on backlit images, the secret to the high-resolution LEDs boast of their ability to generate their own bright images with the best refresh rates any video wall technology has ever seen.
How To Build A DIY LED Video Wall
Without further ado, let’s get right into it!
Purpose & Budget – Laying the Groundwork
In our books, these come first.
What do you need the video wall for? How wide do you need the display to be? Is the intended location indoors or outdoors? Is it for a one-time use? By informing your decisions, these basic, non-technical questions form the framework for a successful DIY venture. You might not have a map of your final destination yet, but at least you’re not totally clueless.
From buying/renting the right LED screen for the occasion to choose the right processor and everything else in-between, budget influences your purchases in the setup process. Have a budget, and stick to it.
Preparing the installation site for your homemade LED display
Now that you’ve made up your mind about where you want the video wall to be, let’s get it ready.
Is it dust-free? Is it an even surface? Is it strong enough to support the weight of the video wall? Is it aesthetic enough? Is it in the range of most intended viewers? Is the line to viewership obstruction free? If any of these questions are answered in anything but the affirmative, you might have some extra work cut out for you.
The installation site preparation may also include creating a wiring diagram. While this is not compulsory [especially since it requires some technical know-how], it guarantees seamless wire connections.
To mount an LED video wall on an unfavorable site is to work in futility.
Mounting the Screen Frame
No, you don’t affix the screen tiles directly on the installation surface. It goes on something called a screen frame instead. It helps to think of the frame as a kind of guard for the video wall, protecting it from any outside forces. With your installation site optimized, you can go ahead to mount this frame.
In sequence, here are the things to do:
Mark the dimensions on the wall
Using a measuring tape, a level, and a marker, outline the dimensions of the video screen wall on the installation surface.
Assemble the frame
Using the manufacturer’s guide, assemble the parts of the frame. If you’re really lucky, it may come pre-assembled.
Mount the frame
Hang the assembled frame on the wall and attach it with the necessary bolts and anchors. If you deem it necessary because of the size and weight of your LED tiles, you can reinforce the frame with crossbars and brackets.
Test the frame
Here’s where you confirm that you’ve dotted your I’s and crossed your T’s. Attempt to drag the frame around on the wall and load it up with anything you feel is heavy enough. Don’t proceed to the next step until you can pinky swear that the frame is rock solid.
Arranging the LED Tiles
Here’s the fun part, we promise.
Arranging screen tiles almost feels like doing a life-sized jigsaw. Before you start, however, declutter your workspace, ensure good lighting, and check for the completeness of all required tools.
Now that that’s out of the way, let’s build!
Assemble the LED tiles
LED tiles come in separate modules. Tile by tile, you assemble them into a larger display using the manufacturer’s manual.
Mount the tiles onto the frame
Remember the screen frame from before? Now is the time you put them to use. Per manufacturer design, most manuals describe – and in detail – exactly how to mount the assembled tiles on the screen frame.
Connect the power and signal cables
It goes without saying that this is necessary to get the screen up and running. Connecting the power cable to a secure and reliable source is not an option if longevity is paramount to you.
Fixing an LED video wall power problem could be pretty expensive, and prevention is better than cure. The Delta LED display power supply has proven to be the best around.
The signal cable, on the other hand, is connected to the controller. More on this later.
Test the LED tiles:
Light ‘em up! Unless you were a techie in your past life, it is usually very common to notice a couple of dead pixels and odd colors upon testing the setup with your controller. A test run gives you an insight into where the problems lie and how to fix them using the manual.
Choosing the Best Processor and Configuration Software For Your Video Wall
The Processor is commonly described as the brain of the LED wall, and there is probably no better description. Everything you see on the display is a product of interpreted signals that the processor receives. You can begin to imagine how South things can go – and quickly – when the ‘brain’ is faulty, despite a good connection.
The configuration software is a control panel, manning operations like calibrating colors, adjusting brightness, setting up the display layout, and broadly managing on-screen content.
Doing your due diligence is the most important part of making the right choice with these two. This means finding out from the manufacturers before purchasing if they are compatible with your specific LED wall and its configuration. That, or you could simply check the specifications yourself. You don’t want to buy a round peg for a square hole.
Now that you’re sure they are suitable for your LED wall, can they execute the kinds of function you desire? Assess your needs in tandem with the capacity of the software, and make your choice. For instance, you may want a processor and software that offers new level color calibration and high-resolution video processing. That’s exactly what you should spend your money on.
Finally, remember to cut your coat according to your cloth. Regardless of how quality a processor might be, if it’s outside your budget, don’t break the bank for it. What is most important is in getting the best value your budget can afford.
Connecting The Installed Tiles To The Controller
Connecting your LED Screen to the controller is necessary for obvious reasons. Connecting your screen wall to your controller requires patience and keen attention to detail. Why? If, for example, you’ve set up a 100-tiled screen wall, that’s 100 different cables you’ll need to connect to the controller. Get it?
Siting your controller close to the LED screen cuts down on wire length. This not only improves the aesthetics of your setup; it also helps you save costs.
It is also important that your controller should be sited in an easily accessible location, enabling easy servicing and maintenance.
Upon complete connection, run a quick test using a test signal from the controller to confirm the proper connection. Common errors include absent connections, loose attachments, and kinking of the cables. These are evident by any kind of suboptimal display.
DIY LED Screen Wall: How to Test Your Setup
For every test professional, in all their technical genius, run on setups like these, we DIY crooners should do fifty. You get the point.
There’s no wrong way to go about testing your setup. Get creative, and go to town. Whatever you do, leave no stones unturned. Here are some common things that testing involves:
- Checking for loose wires and absent connections.
- Ensuring a functional power supply and voltage delivery to each LED strip.
- Once on, test the setup with an array of media forms from the controller: photos, videos, and texts. Test each of these using different resolutions and aspect ratios
- Test the input sources too. The controller should be able to receive signals from a computer, laptop, PlayStation, DVD player, and even phones.
- Run sound checks.
Getting the Most From Your LED Screen
Now that you have your LED wall radiating in all its goodness, you want to keep it that way. As said earlier, LED problems might be costly to fix. Here’s how to take good care of your LED Screen.
Once you start noticing a reduced brightness that you didn’t effect from the configuration software yourself, it’s an indication to get your screen cleaned out. Dust can be a menace, you see. With less than 5 minutes of cleaning with a soft cloth, your display quality is as good as new. It goes without saying that you should avoid cleaning with water, soap, or any abrasive chemicals.
Following the natural course of wear and tear, some parts of your LED wall might simply stop being as functional as they used to be. A good preventive maintenance culture demands prompt replacement of these parts before they lead to bigger problems that will cost you more than you bargained for.
Updating the Software and Firmware
As you would your phone’s OS, it is necessary to keep your LED’s processor soft/firmware up to date at all times. Whatever problems you may be experiencing just may be bugs that have been fixed on the most recent update.
Regular Diagnostic Screenings
If your LED wall keeps blacking out even after following all manufacturer instructions, we recommend that you invite a professional to check it out. While he’s around, pay close attention to what he does to fix the problem so you never have to call him again.
Been a ride, hasn’t it? Shoot us an email with a photo of your DIY screen wall setup once complete. We’d love to see it. And of course, beyond LED Screen Walls, you can do whatever it is you set your mind to.