Evolving LED Technology has Rendered the LCD Obsolete

Digital Panel Meter (DPM) users have always had a difficult choice to make when it comes to their display. While having options available to the industry is necessary, it also creates a complex decision making process. One of the most difficult choices a user would have to make would perhaps be between a Liquid Crystal Display (LCD) or Light Emitting Diode (LED) display.


For applications requiring extremely low power consumption, LCD displays seem to be the obvious choice. This also applies to portable instruments/applications and battery-powered designs requiring continuous operation. However, this type of display comes with some downfalls.  LCD displays have much more restricted viewing angles. They are also fragile, making it unsuitable for harsh environments. One of the most common issues is the slowing response time as temperatures drop. This effect is referred to as “ghosting.” Segments of an old display value, although slightly faded, remain visible while a new value is being displayed.


There are many users who favor an LED display for several reasons, the main reasons being the ability to read the display from virtually any angle and an increased viewing distance.  In addition, an LED display is durable and reliable, making it suitable for harsh environments. Nevertheless, this display has its own downfalls as well. Even the latest in super-bright high-intensity LEDs become washed out when being viewed in direct sunlight. LED displays have low light intensities and relatively high current drain.


OTEK now offers a series of low-powered LED bargraph meters. New Technology Meters (NTMs) are LED meters that will eliminate the need for an LCD display. Since the NTM series requires less than 60mW of power to operate, it is available in loop, signal or external power. This also allows the NTM to be a suitable instrument for portable applications.  The series is ideal for harsh environments allowing us to offer it in industrial, military and nuclear grades. Our NTM meters include intensity control, which improves visibility in direct sunlight. Yet the best way to remove a washed out appearance is to add a lip/rim (like an awning) to the top of the display to provide shading. Doing so makes the LEDs easily visible.


LEDs just simply outperform LCD displays for the vast majority of applications. For this reason, OTEK has discontinued their line of LCD products due to changing technologies and the limitations of LCD displays. Replacements are available in the (currently available) NTM series and the (soon to be available) UPM series. For more information, contact us at 520-748-7900.