We built a new sign with very bright strobe lights at the end of each tine. These three lights blinked one at a time over a three-second cycle. It was dusk when we first turned on the sign, and it looked fantastic. But within 45 minutes, the Highway Patrol asked us to turn the sign off – there had been two accidents on Highway 17. Both drivers reported that a flashing bright light "coming out of nowhere" had distracted them.
We turned it off. The sign, as originally designed, was not to be.
We did come up with a fix – the sign company installed a half inch colored piece of plastic over the front of each light: one red, one blue and one green. They had tested this and determined this would cut the brightness of the blinking lights in half. This worked fine, cycling through blinking red, blue, and green.... We actually liked this better than the original design.
Well... this was not to be either.
When we closed the store that first evening, we noticed that the three strobe lights were not blinking at all. The next morning the sign company came out and replaced all three bulbs. Again, at closing, the lights were dark and not blinking.
The problem: the lights were burning out because they overheated with a cover over them. We tested different types of covers, but nothing remedied the problem. We now had a beautiful sign, but without blinking lights.
In 1989, the Loma Prieta earthquake shook off two of the three colored light canisters. We dismantled the remaining one, as it was hanging by just a thin wire.