Giving big electronic sign some heat – belatedly

The in basket: I was at Parr Ford-Mazda the other day for  regular maintenance on my Mazda 3 and talking to general manager Larry Sharrett about their bright new electronic sign alongside Highway 3, with which the captive audience in the afternoon commute southbound on Highway 3 must be very familiar.

Ordinarily, I wouldn’t mention a new sign in this column, not even such a noticeable, attractive electronic one, but I had been wondering since I noticed the new one last summer if the new equipment had corrected what I found to be an annoying flaw in the old sign.

Its temperature readings, displayed along with the time among the changing information about car deals, were often wildly off, especially on warm days. I’d seen it claim a reading about 10 degrees higher than I knew to be the case.

I asked Larry if the thermometer that reads the temp had been replaced too.

The out basket: Yes, he said, though the real benefit from the new sign is energy efficiency. It takes about a third of the power of the sign it replaced, he said.

But the thermometer that controls the reading still is out where the sign is, surrounded by cars and asphalt.

I have found that this fall the temperature readings displayed now are within two degrees of what my car’s reading for ambient temperature says.

As I left the dealership, though, I noticed that when the time came up on the sign, the temperature was missing altogether. I hope I didn’t jinx it.

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