LED display on BT Tower will count down to London Olympics

Nov. 2, 2009
An LED message board positioned 167 m above street level on London’s BT Tower contains more than half a million LEDs.
BT, the UK-based telecommunications company, has installed a giant LED information band at the top of the iconic BT Tower in London. The 360 degree LED array – which is believed to be the highest of its kind in Europe and the Americas – was switched on for the first time on October 31st with a pyrotechnic display and a message to celebrate 1000 days to go to the London 2012 Olympic Games.

The information band is made up of 177 separate panels and consists of 177,000 pixels and 529,750 LEDs. The LEDs are in vertical tubes, with space in between.

The display covers over 280 square metres – the equivalent to half the length of a football pitch, and has a circumference of 59 metres, which is the same as seven London buses end-to-end.

The 360 degree LED screen is made up of LC Plus Series™ LED panels from Martin Professional - see press release.

The information band is wrapped around the Tower’s 36 and 37th floors, at a height of 167 meters above street level. At this height it has to endure harsh weather conditions, including hurricane force winds.

It has been fully tested at the Jules Verne climatic wind tunnel in Nantes, France, for combined climatic effects including wind speeds of up to 190km per hour as well as rain, snow and high temperatures.

Sir Michael Rake, BT Chairman, said: “As one of the most iconic and well-known landmarks in London, it’s only fitting that the BT Tower is used to generate pride and excitement amongst Londoners today – 1000 days to the start of the London 2012 Olympic Games. We’re extremely proud that the Tower will be playing such an essential role in informing and engaging people across the capital.”

The installation of the 3.6 tonne information band at the top of the Tower has been an extremely challenging construction and engineering task – and was delivered in only 11 weeks. It has involved:

  • 2,700 separate trips in the lift to transport materials to the top of the Tower
  • Designing the scaffolding by computer and erecting over 7 miles of scaffolding components
  • Installing nearly 2.5 miles of power, lighting and electrical cable
  • 11,000 scaffold components
  • Making nearly 1500 wind checks, as no installation work could take place in winds more than 15kts
  • 114 construction workers and engineers
  • A total of 30,600 man hours to complete the work