So Much For Mission-Critical Displays …

August 9, 2022 by Dave Haynes

This is the drive-thru screen set-up at a McDonalds in the US midwest – seemingly beat up and suffering from the heat and UV damage of the sun. Yikes!

The reader who sent me the photo says it has been like this for about a month – which seems a little nutty, given the mission-critical nature of ordering/menu screens. Then again, supply chains might be shaky and the owner-operator is waiting and waiting …

I dunno if this is heat damage, dirt inside that causes the black circles to start and grow, or physical damage. The vertical lines suggest the latter on the right hand side.

Whatever the case, it’s not good, given the percentage of transactions that go through a typical drive-thru (like 65% or higher). Hard to sell stuff when the motorists can’t read it.

Stuff happens, for sure, but this a powerful example of why vendors encourage customers to buy spares. Yes, they want the additional sales. But they also want problems like this solved quickly.

  1. Christopher F Quirin says:

    Mission critical? How oblivious does a store operator need to be? YIKES

  2. Bryan Crotaz says:

    I’ve seen even the best NEC screens have growing black circles on them when they overheat. It was in a clear plastic marquee on a summer’s day at an NEC sales event, and all the screens facing the sun showed similar effects. I understand that it’s the LCD crystals denaturing. Interestingly when they cooled down the image was perfect again.

    In this case I guess the vendor didn’t think enough about cooling.

  3. Wes Dixon says:

    If McD’s can’t avoid these kinds of issues, no one can.

    1. Robert Heise says:

      That’s not true. Some of the outdoor displays that have been chosen by the large brands were not designed for longer term (> 2-3 years) in direct sunlight conditions. There are outdoor displays (more expensive) that are designed to avoid these kind of issues. Look at the original Starbucks outdoor at 4000+ stores – they have a 10-15 year life and are still running.

      1. Troy says:

        Not true. I’ve seen plenty of Starbucks with black spots from isotonic. Difference is these examples are using the “high temp” LCD that supposedly doesn’t have the heat issues that standard temp LCDs have. But there’s a dirty little secret that you aren’t being told. Yes they don’t go black alright, but that’s the only benefit as you can see from what else you can get from high temp LCDs. Spares are useless here. I’ve got hundreds of pictures like these.

  4. craig Allen keefner says:

    Not sure if this is isotropic damage or not. McD has a history of poorly ventilated screens that periodically “die” or go splotchy. The Samsung OH55s are a fine display. Coates seems to be under-engineering these units or miscalculation SoCal temperatures and blazing sun.

    1. craig Allen keefner says:

      Here is a technical review. Coates or Stratocache I think.

      1. Aaron says:

        It is sad. But MRI was walked out of the room when they started suing everyone in the RFP for McDonalds. Let’s not keep them at the top in this industry folks. Please don’t use them as the experts just because their product is over priced.

      2. Troy says:

        That review on a few levels after a quick read through also is incorrect. MRI for instance. They say going isotropic doesn’t cause the problems like those pictured here. However while unlikely one episode of going black will cause this issue or two or three or four wouldn’t, but over time going isotropic does cause the exact same issue.

    2. Aaron mayerle says:

      Coates followed Samsungs guidelines for airflow. Not their fault. I think the blame should be directly on the edge lit Samsung display. Face it, Samsung out out a product quickly and sold 60,000+ in a time frame that nobody could of matched. Failures will happen but, the biggest thing is, MCD has made strides in order accuracy and displaying order confirmation on screen in real-time will break all RIOs.

  5. Ben Fisher says:

    The frustrating thing is this problem is so easily avoided for less than $150 per display. Solved the isotropic issue over 10 years ago

    1. Aaron says:

      Hmm. Love to hear that $150 solution. Lol

    2. Troy says:

      Not sure of the cost. But I solved it almost 20 years ago. Yet I’ve worked at companies that wouldn’t listen or follow the proven design. Too many cowboys out there. 😂

  6. Nick says:

    It’s a combination of a lot of variables. The coats design was a rip off of the attached but done poorly. The fans I side the tower are low pressure AC. The inside of the tower is jam packed with equipment. This usually has no operational effect if a good fan is used. In the design, approved by Samsung Korea, cfd shows it massively over heating. Now the screen is put in front of covers that wrap the lcd but also perf over the fan that only has a 58% opening. To me I’ve never been cooled off by sticking my head in an oven but others might. It was only a matter of time that this happened. The orange you’re seeing is the polarizer adhesive going beyond its capabilities. The black is a constant iso. It’s gone through so many cycles it broken the chemistry of the tft. Better hold on because this already happened with earlier units place anywhere USA. This was prior McDonald’s and just hanging portrait on a building. On its own it will fail over time.

  7. Christopher Mertens says:

    This is NOT possible!!!

    The OH55 is a battled tested product with over 250K units deployed globally used by the QSR industry for drive thru solutions. You can imagine the robust environments where the product is utilized. With our normal failure rate for this product is sub 1%.

    Christopher Mertens
    VP Sales Samsung

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