Adaptive Micro Systems Sign User manual

Adaptive Micro Systems Sign User manual
AlphaNET™
version 3.0
Compatible with
Windows 95, 98, NT, ME, 2000, XP, Vista
& Macintosh PowerPCs!
User Manual
© 1996 - 2007 Adaptive Micro Systems, Inc.
Form No. 97088081 rev.H
Revision date: October 15, 2007
Manual Map
Connecting your PC to a sign
This chapter explains the basics of
connecting your personal computer to a
sign.
Installing AlphaNET™ 3.0
and setting up sites
This chapter shows you how to
install the AlphaNET™ 3.0 software on
your personal computer.
Also, a step-by-step tutorial explains
the basics of creating sites using Site
Manager.
2
Creating and sending messages
This chapter explains how to create
and send messages with Message
Editor, as well as how to include
graphics and animation in your
messages.
3
Reference
This chapter contains quick
reference summaries of Message
Editor, Site Manager, Communications
Manager, and Diagnostics in the
AlphaNET™ 3.0 software.
© Copyright 2007 Adaptive Micro Systems LLC. All rights reserved.
Adaptive Micro Systems
7840 North 86th Street
Milwaukee, WI 53224 USA
414-357-2020
414-357-2029 (fax)
http://www.adaptivedisplays.com
Adaptive is a registered trademark of Adaptive Micro Systems. AlphaNET is a trademark of Adaptive Micro
Systems. All other brand and product names are trademarks or registered trademarks of their respective
companies.
4
What’s new in AlphaNET™ version 3.0 software
Password protection
Site Manager and Message Editor can now be password-protected. Select Set Password from the
Edit drop-down menu:
Type a new password in the New
Password line, then press Tab.
Type the same password in the Verify
box and click OK.
When changing the password, you must
first type the password to be changed in
the Old Password line.
Menu customization
You can customize the options appearing in the drop-down menus in Message Editor by selecting
Edit>Customize:
The type of sign selected
determines the options
available in your drop-down
menus.
Select how you want the icons
in your messages to appear,
as pictures or as text.
Type the number of spaces to
insert for a tab setting.
Color selection
A new color selection box is available for the AlphaEclipse™ Purecolor™ 3600 series sign (full
color, not monochrome). In Message Editor, see Characters>Color>RGB.
This color selection box also
appears when you select
Characters>Shadow in
Message Editor to allow you
to pick the shadow color of
the characters.
5
New modes
Two new modes are available with this version of AlphaNET™, Clock mode and Explode mode.
Clock mode is a wipe mode that updates information as if a second hand were sweeping around the
sign. Explode mode is a roll mode that moves information from the center of the sign and outward
in all four directions at once. Both modes are available in Message Editor under the Modes dropdown menu.
New line positions
Two new line positions are available in Message Editor, Left and Right, which left- or right-justify
your message.
These line positions are only available with the
AlphaEclipse™ PureColor™ 3600 series sign.
Tooltips
Tooltips are now available in all components of AlphaNET 3.0.
A Tooltip appears
when you place the
mouse over an icon in
any component of
AlphaNET.
6
Contents
Manual Map ................................................................................................... 2
What’s new in AlphaNET™ version 3.0 software ........................................................ 5
Password protection..........................................................................................................................................5
Menu customization ..........................................................................................................................................5
Color selection...................................................................................................................................................5
New modes........................................................................................................................................................6
New line positions .............................................................................................................................................6
Tooltips..............................................................................................................................................................6
Connecting your PC to a sign ........................................................................... 9
PC hardware and software requirements .........................................................................................................10
Minimum hardware and software requirements .......................................................................................10
Other hardware requirements...................................................................................................................10
Macintosh® hardware and software requirements..........................................................................................10
Related documentation ....................................................................................................................................10
Types of sign connections ...............................................................................................................................11
Cable network...........................................................................................................................................11
Modem network .......................................................................................................................................11
Wireless network......................................................................................................................................12
Local Area Network (LAN) ........................................................................................................................12
Installing AlphaNET™ 3.0 software and setting up sites........................................13
How to install AlphaNET™ 3.0 software...........................................................................................................14
How to change a sign’s serial address.............................................................................................................15
What is a serial address?..........................................................................................................................15
Changing a sign’s serial address ..............................................................................................................16
Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection devices, sites, and groups .......................................................17
What are sites and groups........................................................................................................................17
Overview of the tutorial.............................................................................................................................17
Step 1: Creating or changing the connection devices ...............................................................................19
Setting up a modem (remote) connection.........................................................................................20
Setting up a cable (local) connection ................................................................................................23
Setting up a wireless transmitter connection ....................................................................................25
Setting up a Local Area Network (LAN) connection...........................................................................27
Step 2: Creating or changing the sites......................................................................................................29
Creating the R & D Site — a modem example ..................................................................................29
Creating the Sales Site — a LAN example.........................................................................................33
Creating the Lobby, Engineering, and Manufacturing sites — a wired example ................................36
Creating the Shipping site — a wireless example..............................................................................40
Step 3: Creating or changing the groups ..................................................................................................43
7
Creating and sending messages....................................................................47
Basic message editing .....................................................................................................................................48
Using Message Editor to create your message.........................................................................................48
Using modes to change the look of a message ........................................................................................51
Using characters to change the look of a message...................................................................................54
Using international characters ..................................................................................................................59
How to send a message to a sign ....................................................................................................................62
What happens when messages are sent to a sign? ..................................................................................62
Sending messages from Message Editor..................................................................................................63
Sending messages from Site Manager .....................................................................................................64
The difference between all messages and common messages..........................................................65
How to use graphics in messages ...................................................................................................................66
Creating a graphic ....................................................................................................................................66
Creating a flick..........................................................................................................................................71
Another way to create a flick .............................................................................................................76
Creating a GIF...........................................................................................................................................77
How to edit a counter file.................................................................................................................................81
What is a counter file?..............................................................................................................................81
Three examples of how to use counter files .............................................................................................82
Example 1 — Using a counter in a message .....................................................................................83
Example 2 — Using a counter in a message and displaying a target file message............................90
Example 3 — Using a counter to display just a target message........................................................99
How to use real-time data in a message ........................................................................................................103
String Variables + ActiveX® = real-time data .........................................................................................103
Real-time data example ..........................................................................................................................103
Create sign memory configurations using Site Manager .................................................................103
Create a message with a string variable using Message Editor .......................................................104
Update the sting variable using the ActiveX® control .....................................................................105
How to create and use a custom Automode sequence...................................................................................107
Creating or editing an Automode sequence ............................................................................................107
Using a custom Automode sequence .....................................................................................................108
Reference............................................................................................. 111
Message Editor ..............................................................................................................................................112
Site Manager..................................................................................................................................................120
Communications Manager.............................................................................................................................126
Diagnostics....................................................................................................................................................128
Appendices ........................................................................................... 135
Appendix A — Macintosh® computer setup .................................................................................................136
Appendix B — Modes available on signs.......................................................................................................137
Appendix C — Character fonts and colors available on signs........................................................................139
Appendix D — Display Options available on signs ........................................................................................140
Appendix E — Understanding message line positions (Top, Middle, Bottom, Fill) ........................................141
Appendix F — How text and graphics are displayed on signs .......................................................................147
8
Connecting your PC to a sign
1 — Connecting your PC to a sign
9
PC hardware and software requirements
PC hardware and software requirements
Minimum hardware and software requirements
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Windows® 95, 98, NT Workstation, ME, 2000, XP, or Vista software
Processor requirements appropriate to selected operating system
16 MB RAM
10 MB of hard disk space
CD drive
RS232 (serial port) or LAN access
Works with Alpha® displays
Other hardware requirements
Additional hardware, such as connectors and cabling, is also required and depends on the type
of sign and connection you will be using.
Macintosh® hardware and software requirements
See “Appendix A — Macintosh® computer setup” on page 136 for details.
Related documentation
The following documentation may be useful with this manual:
Part #
10
Document name
Description
97000112
Networking Alpha Signs
Explains the various types of sign networking
options available.
97088061
Alpha® Sign Communications Protocol
Explains the native protocol used to send text
and graphics to Alpha® signs.
97088099
How to Install AlphaNET™ 3.0 Software
Describes how to install the AlphaNET™ 3.0
software and use the Site Wizard.
1179610601
Quick Start: Geetting started with AlphaNET
Explains how to quickly connect your sign,
install AlphaNET and send messages.
1 — Connecting your PC to a sign
Types of sign connections
Types of sign connections
An overview of the methods of connecting signs is presented on the following pages.
For more detailed information, see the Networking Alpha Signs manual (pn 97000112).
Cable network
In this type of network, one or more signs are connected with RS485 cabling to a PC running
AlphaNET™ software:
Modular network adapter
ALPHA sign
ALPHA sign
RS485
RS232
Converter Box
PC with AlphaNET™
software
Modem network
In this configuration, modems are used to connect one or more signs to a PC running
AlphaNET™ software:
Modular network adapter
ALPHA sign
Converter box
ALPHA sign
Modem
PC with AlphaNET™
software
1 — Connecting your PC to a sign
Modem
11
Types of sign connections
Wireless network
AlphaNET™ 3.0 software can send messages to Alpha® signs on wireless networks. For
recommended wireless solutions contact Adaptive Micro Systems at 1-800-719-2838.
Receiver
Receiver
ALPHA sign
ALPHA sign
Receiver
Transmitter
ALPHA sign
PC with AlphaNET™
software
Local Area Network (LAN)
In this configuration, one or more signs are connected to an Ethernet network:
PC with AlphaNET™
software
Ethernet - TCP/IP
ALPHA sign
ALPHA sign
ALPHA sign
Modular network adapters
12
1 — Connecting your PC to a sign
Installing AlphaNET™ 3.0 software
and setting up sites
2 — Installing AlphaNET™ 3.0 software and setting up sites
13
How to install AlphaNET™ 3.0 software
How to install AlphaNET™ 3.0 software
HINT
Before starting the software
installation, check to see if there
is a README file.
1. Start Microsoft Windows® software and be sure to have all other
applications closed.
2. Insert the AlphaNET™ 3.0 software CD-ROM into your CD drive.
The installation process will start automatically.
Look at this file before installing
the software because it may
contain late-breaking
information.
If installation does not start automatically, you can either:
•
Select Start>Run. Next, type d:\setup using the correct letter for
your CD drive if not d. Finally, select OK.
•
Or, using Windows® Explorer, double-click Setup.exe in your
CD-ROM drive folder.
About the Installation
You will be able to choose to
install Adobe Acrobat Reader.
Simply click the appropriate yes
or no response when the prompt
to do so appears.
You will also be able to choose
whether you want to install the
AlphaNET™ computer based
training. If so, it will appear in
your Start>Programs menu.
A Site Wizard will be available to
you to help you set up your first
site. It will not appear until you
have restarted your computer
after the installation. Simply click
the appropriate response when
the prompt to do so appears. For
more information on the Site
Wizard or on installing
AlphaNET™ 3.0, see How to
install AlphaNET™ 3.0 software
(pn 9708-8099).
3. Follow the instructions when the installation program prompts you
for a response.
™ appears
4. When the installation program is complete, AlphaNET
™
in your Start menu. If you select the AlphaNET bar, you will
have access to Message Editor, Site Manager, and Communications
Manager at the click of a button.
Note: If you chose the appropriate box in the installation process,
the AlphaNET™ bar will appear automatically when you
log into your PC.
HINT
Right-click anywhere in this area
of the AlphaNET™ bar and select
Change Skin to choose a
different color for the bar.
14
2 — Installing AlphaNET™ 3.0 software and setting up sites
How to change a sign’s serial address
How to change a sign’s serial address
What is a serial address?
About Address 00
If more than one sign will be
connected to a connection
device (modem, wireless, or
local connection), then give
each sign a unique address,
such as 01, 02, 03, and so on.
Otherwise, sending a
message to the sign with
address 00 will also send the
message to all other
connected signs.
An Alpha® sign has a feature which allows a unique number or serial
address (address, for short) to be assigned to the sign. This address
permits you to send messages to an individual sign on a network.
All Alpha® signs leave the factory with a default address of 00.
However, another address—such as 01, 02, 03, and so on—can be given
to a sign. Addresses for signs should be assigned using either a remote
control or through the Diagnostics component of the AlphaNET™
software. Addresses should also be assigned before setting up connection
devices, sites, and groups so that messages go to the correct signs.
For example, at the company used in the next sections’s tutorial,
several signs are connected to a network (below), and each of these signs
is given a unique address so a message can be sent to a particular sign:
Engineering
03
Engineering
04
Engineering
05
These three signs all have
unique addresses (03, 04, and
05) so a message can be sent
to only one of them.
2 — Installing AlphaNET™ 3.0 software and setting up sites
15
How to change a sign’s serial address
Changing a sign’s serial address
1. To change the address of a particular sign, first make sure that sign
NOTE
For some signs, like the 9000
series, AlphaVision™,
AlphaPremiere™, and
AlphaEclipse™ displays, internal
DIP switches must be set to
change the serial address.
is connected to a power supply and is functioning.
2. Point the front of the remote control at the sign’s infrared receiver
window as shown below:
Point the front of the remote control at the
sign’s infrared receiver window.
SOUND
ON - OFF
PROGRAM
RUN
APPEND CURSOR SPECIAL FONT
ROLL
WIPE
SCROLL FLASH
1
2
3
4
AUTO
SPEED
TIME
DOT
7
8
9
0
B
A
¢
#
%
N
:
;
T
S
?
6
*
K
+
P
V
L
-
R
Q
.
,
’
U
F
E
J
/
O
”
ROTATE
5
&
I
=
>
M
COLOR
HOLD
SELECT
D
C
$
H
G
<
WIDTH
W
X
!
Y
Z
INSERT
RETURN
SPACE
SHIFT
CAPS
BACK
SHIFT
ADV
DELETE
Remote control
(front and top views).
3. Press the
PROGRAM
The person using the remote control should be from
5 to 30 feet from the front of the sign.
button on the remote control.
PROG TEXT FILE A will appear on the sign.
4. Next, press the
button until SET ADDRESS appears.
BACK
5. Press the
button until ADDRESS = 00 appears. (The sign
ADV
Address Note
Normally, a sign’s address is a
decimal number from 00 to 99.
However, if you need more
addresses, a hexadecimal
number from 00 to FF (0 to 255)
can be used as an address. For
example, hexadecimal 1F =
decimal 31.
16
may have an address other than 00.)
6. Set the sign’s address by pressing any of the number keys. For
example, to enter an address of 15, press the
the
5
1
button and then
button.
7. Finally, press the
RUN
button two times to set the sign’s new
address.
2 — Installing AlphaNET™ 3.0 software and setting up sites
Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection devices, sites, and groups
Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection devices, sites, and groups
What are sites and groups?
Sites and groups are terms used by AlphaNET™ 3.0 software to
describe how messages are sent to signs. You create sites and groups to
make sending messages to multiple signs flexible and easy.
A site in AlphaNET™ 3.0 software is a collection of one or more
signs, and a group is made up of one or more sites.
To help you better understand, a tutorial is presented below. In this
tutorial, a complex example is created in a series of easy-to-understand
steps.
Overview of the tutorial
In this tutorial, we’ll set up sites and groups for an imaginary
company pictured below. The table shows how signs are assigned in this
company:
Table 1: Overview of the tutorial company
Group
Production
Administration
Site
1Connection
# signs
Manufacturing
2
• local
Shipping
1
• wireless
Engineering
3
• local
Sales
2
• LAN
Lobby
2
• local
R&D
2
• modem
1A
Device
AlphaNET™
sign is connected to a PC running
3.0 software by a direct cable (local)
connection, by a modem (remote) connection, or by a wireless transmitter.
2 — Installing AlphaNET™ 3.0 software and setting up sites
17
Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection devices, sites, and groups
Table 2: Schematic of the tutorial company
Groups
Sites
Production
Administration
R&D
Sales
Lobby
LAN
Connection
Devices
Engineering
Manufacturing
Direct cable connection
(Local)
Shipping
Wireless
transmitter
Transmitting
modem
Wireless
receiver
Converter Box III
Shipping
Receiving modem
Signs
(The
number on
the right of
each sign is
its
address.)
Sales
01
Converter Box III
Sales
Engineering
01
Engineering
02
Engineering
03
Lobby
04
Lobby
05
Manufacturing
06
Manufacturing
07
02
R&D
R&D
18
Alpha® Ethernet
Adapters
01
02
00
Address 00 should be used with
care because sending a
message to a sign with address
00 can also send the message
to all the signs on a given
device.
For example, if a sign with an
address of 12 was also
connected to a wireless
receiver, then whenever a
message was sent to sign 00,
sign 12 would also receive it.
Rule of Thumb: If you have
more than one sign on a device
(such as modem, local, or
wireless), then assign each sign
a unique address. To change a
sign’s address, see “Changing a
sign’s serial address” on
page 16.
2 — Installing AlphaNET™ 3.0 software and setting up sites
Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection devices, sites, and groups
Step 1: Creating or changing the connection devices
A connection device is a way to connect a sign to a PC that is running
AlphaNET™ 3.0 software.
See chapter 1 for instructions on how to connect signs.
For more detailed information on networking signs, see the
Networking Alpha Signs manual (pn 9700-0112).
The basic devices or types of networks are:
•
Cable (local) connection — This method uses cables/RS485 to
connect signs to a network, and messages one or all sign are sent over
this cabling. A local connection works best when all the signs are in
one building.
•
Modem (remote) connection — Typically, this method is used when
the signs you want to send messages to are not in the same building
(or city) as your PC. In this type of connection, a modem is attached
to your PC and another modem is attached to one or more signs at the
other location. At the times you specify, messages are transmitted to
the signs when the PC modem calls the sign’s modem.
•
Wireless connection (indoor signs) — In this setup, a transmitter is
attached to the PC running AlphaNET™ 3.0 software, and each sign
is equipped with a wireless receiver. This allows text and graphics to
be sent wirelessly to the signs. Note that AlphaEclipse™ signs use a
pair of transceivers for 2-way communication. Setup in AlphaNET™
uses a “wired” connection device.
•
Local Area Network (LAN) connection — This option allows you
to connect one or more signs to a LAN using Alpha® Ethernet
Adapters. There is no maximum to the number of Alpha® Ethernet
Adapters that can be used with AlphaNET™ 3.0 software.
2 — Installing AlphaNET™ 3.0 software and setting up sites
19
Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection devices, sites, and groups
Setting up a modem (remote) connection
In our imaginary company, the following signs are connected by
modem:
Transmitting modem — the
steps below show you how to
program this modem.
Converter Box III
R&D
01
R&D
02
1. To create a modem connection device, open Site Manager by™
selecting either the Site Manager button from the AlphaNET bar
or Programs>AlphaNET>Site Manager from the Start menu:
20
2 — Installing AlphaNET™ 3.0 software and setting up sites
Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection devices, sites, and groups
2. Select Edit > Connection Device:
3. When the Connection Device Editor window appears, select Add.
Then select Modem on Com 1 from the list, followed by OK. (If you
have a modem on a different communications port, choose the
modem on that port.)
These default devices make your job
easier because they are the most
common methods of connecting
signs to your PC.
2 — Installing AlphaNET™ 3.0 software and setting up sites
21
Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection devices, sites, and groups
4. Once you select OK, the following window appears:
NOTE
To finish setting up a modem
connection, you have to create a
modem site using Site Manager.
To see an example of this, see
“Creating the R & D site — a
modem example” on page 29.
5. If you want to change any of the modem settings, make sure
Modem on Com 1 is highlighted as above and then select Edit. Use
the following window to change the settings and then select OK:
Table 3: Modem setup
A
B
C
D
E
F
Item
BAUD RATE LIMITS
A Converter Box III with a serial
number greater than
AF00004525 (for example,
AF00004526, AF00004527, and
so on) has a minimum baud rate
of 2400. Baud rates of 300 or
1200 will not be accepted, even
though these rates are shown in
Connection Device Editor.
22
Name
Directions
A
Modem
Check this box.
B
COM Port
Select the port on your PC that connects to your modem.
C
Data Format
Use 7E2 for 7 data bits, even parity, 2 stop bits.
Use 8N1 for 8 data bits, no parity, 1 stop bit.
(The 7E2 setting is compatible with most signs, but 8N1
must be used with an AlphaEclipse™ 3500 sign.)
D
Baud Rate
Alpha® signs can receive at baud rates between 1200 and
9600 baud. Only AlphaPremiere™ signs can use the
38400 baud setting.
E
Dialing
Prefix
If you must dial a number (such as 9) for your modem to
reach an outside phone line, enter the number here. Leave
blank with an AlphaEclipse™ 3500 sign.
F
Modem Init
String
Consult your modem documentation. Leave blank with an
AlphaEclipse™ 3500 sign.
2 — Installing AlphaNET™ 3.0 software and setting up sites
Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection devices, sites, and groups
Setting up a cable (local) connection
In our imaginary company, the following signs are connected by a
local connection:
Direct cable connection (local)
Converter Box III
Lobby
04
Engineering
01
Engineering
02
Lobby
05
Engineering
03
Manufacturing
06
Manufacturing
07
6. Continuing from the previous step, select Add from the
Connection Device Editor window. Then select Local Wired Com 2
from the list, followed by OK:
2 — Installing AlphaNET™ 3.0 software and setting up sites
23
Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection devices, sites, and groups
7. Once you select OK, the following window appears:
NOTE
To finish setting up a local
connection, you have to create a
local site using Site Manager.
To see an example of this, see
“Creating the Lobby,
Engineering, and Manufacturing
sites — a wired example” on
page 36.
8. If you want to change any of the local settings, make sure Local
Wired Com 2 is highlighted as above and then select Edit. Use the
following window to change the settings and then select OK:
Table 4: Local setup
A
B
C
Item
BAUD RATE LIMIT
A Converter Box III with a serial
number greater than
AF00004525 (for example,
AF00004526, AF00004527, and
so on) has a minimum baud rate
of 2400. Baud rates of 300 or
1200 will not be accepted, even
though these rates are shown in
Connection Device Editor.
24
A
Name
Directions
COM Port
Select the port on your PC that is cabled to your sign(s).
B
Data Format
Use 7E2 for 7 data bits, even parity, 2 stop bits.
Use 8N1 for 8 data bits, no parity, 1 stop bit.
(The 7E2 setting is compatible with most signs, but 8N1
must be used with an AlphaEclipse™ 3500 Series A sign.)
C
Baud Rate
Alpha® signs can receive at baud rates between 1200 and
9600 baud. Only AlphaPremiere™ and AlphaEclipse™ signs
can use the 38400 baud setting.
2 — Installing AlphaNET™ 3.0 software and setting up sites
Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection devices, sites, and groups
Setting up a wireless transmitter connection
About Address 00
If you have multiple signs
networked together, it’s a good
idea to give each sign a unique
address, like 01, 02, 03, and so
on. This allows you to send
messages to individual signs.
In our imaginary company, there is just one sign that uses a wireless
connection. In this example, messages are sent to the sign using a wireless
transmitter which is attached to a PC:
However, when you send a
message to serial address 00,
the message is broadcast to all
signs on your network, even if
each sign has a unique serial
address.
To change a sign’s address, see
“Changing a sign’s serial
address” on page 16.
Receiver
Shipping
00
9. Continuing from the previous step, select Add from the
Connection Device Editor window. Select WaveWare Pager
Wireless Com 1 from the list, followed by OK:
NOTE
Why can we choose Wireless on
COM1 when we already set up a
Modem on COM1?
Site Manager assumes that you
might have an AB switch
attached to both a modem and a
wireless transmitter. Or perhaps
you unplug one device and plug
in the other based on your
needs.
10. Once you select OK, the following window appears:
NOTE
To finish establishing a wireless
connection, you have to create a
wireless site using Site Manager.
To see an example of this, see
“Creating the Shipping site — a
wireless example” on page 40.
2 — Installing AlphaNET™ 3.0 software and setting up sites
25
Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection devices, sites, and groups
11. If you want to change any of the wireless settings, make sure
Waveware Pager Wireless Com 1 is highlighted as above and then
select Edit. Use the following window to change the settings and
then select OK.
Table 5: Wireless setup
A
B
E
C
F
D
G
H
Item
A Converter Box III with a serial
number greater than
AF00004525 (for example,
AF00004526, AF00004527, and
so on.) has a minimum baud rate
of 2400. Baud rates of 300 or
1200 will not be accepted, even
though these rates are shown in
Connection Device Editor.
26
Directions
Modem
Do not check for a wireless connection.
Wireless
Check Wireless if you are sending messages to signs
using a transmitter attached to your PC.
B
COM Port
Select the port on your PC that connects to your modem
or transmitter.
C
Data Format
Use 7E2 for 7 data bits, even parity, 2 stop bits.
Use 8N1 for 8 data bits, no parity, 1 stop bit.
(The 7E2 setting is compatible with most signs.)
D
Baud Rate
Alpha® signs can receive at baud rates between 1200
and 9600 baud. Only AlphaPremiere™ signs can use the
38400 baud setting.
E
Pager Header
F
Pager Trailer
G
Packet Size
H
Packet Delay
A
BAUD RATE LIMIT
Name
Use these for your specific transmitter.
Consult your transmitter documentation for details.
2 — Installing AlphaNET™ 3.0 software and setting up sites
Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection devices, sites, and groups
Setting up a Local Area Network (LAN) connection
NOTE
For more detailed information,
see the Networking Alpha Signs
manual (pn 97000112).
In our imaginary company, there are two signs that use a LAN
connection. In this example, messages are sent to these signs using an
Alpha® Ethernet Adapter, which is connected to a LAN:
LAN
Alpha® Ethernet Adapters
Sales
01
Sales
02
The number to the right
of each sign is its serial
address.
12. Continuing from the previous step, select Add from the
Connection Device Editor window. Then select Ethernet Adapter
from the list, followed by OK:
2 — Installing AlphaNET™ 3.0 software and setting up sites
27
Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection devices, sites, and groups
13. Once you select OK, the following window appears:
NOTE
To finish setting up an Alpha®
Ethernet Adapter connection,
create a site using Site Manager.
To see an example of this, see
“Creating the Sales site — a LAN
example” on page 33.
14. If you want to change any of the Alpha® Ethernet Adapter settings,
make sure Ethernet Adapter is highlighted as above and then select
Edit. Use the following window to change the settings, and then
select OK:
Table 6: Alpha® Ethernet Adapter setup
A
B
Item
Name
Directions
A
TCP/IP
This must be checked.
B
IP Port
The default setting is 3001 for Alpha® Ethernet Adapters.
15. Finally, choose one of the devices as a default and then select
Make Default. Select Yes at the prompt. Then, since we are finished
adding devices in this example, select OK.
Before selecting
OK, choose one of
these devices and
then select Make
Default.
28
2 — Installing AlphaNET™ 3.0 software and setting up sites
Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection devices, sites, and groups
Step 2: Creating or changing the sites
Before creating the sites, there must be a device for each site. Since
we did this is step 1, we can continue.
These are the sites we have to make for our imaginary company.
Notice that many of them are just departments within the company. Sites/
signs typically are named by location:
R&D
Sales
Lobby
Engineering
Manufacturing
Shipping
Creating the R & D site — a modem example
1. There are two signs in the R & D site (see “Schematic of the
tutorial company” on page 18). One of these signs must be given an
address of 01 and the other sign an address of 02 (see “How to
change a sign’s serial address” on page 15).
2. To create the R & D site, open Site Manager if it is not already
opened:
3. Select File>New Site:
2 — Installing AlphaNET™ 3.0 software and setting up sites
29
Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection devices, sites, and groups
4. After selecting New Site, the Site Editor window appears:
Table 7: R & D setup (1 of 4): Site Editor (Site Info) window
A
B
D
C
E
F
G
Item
Name
A
Site Name
Type R & D.
B
Full Color
[RGB}
Capable
Check this box when using an AlphaEclipse™ PureColor™
3600 Series display sign (full color, not monochrome).
Also, select Alpha 3.0 under Compatibility.
NOTE
Be careful when you check Use
as an Editor transmit site for
more than one site.
Whenever you transmit To
Selected Sites in Message Editor,
the message will go to all sites
designated as a transmit site.
C
Use as an
Editor
transmit site
This means you may have
messages going to signs you did
not intend to use.
Also, if a site includes signs
which use different protocols,
some of the AlphaNET™ 3.0
software features may not work.
Different sites should be created
for signs with different
protocols.
30
When this is checked, the signs in the current site (in this
case, the two R & D signs) receive messages sent from
Message Editor. For example, if a message is sent from
Message Editor with Selected Sites chosen (see below),
then both the R & D signs receive that message.
Select this in
Message
Editor.
This option is useful when you are testing to see what a
message looks like before sending it to many signs.
D
Compatibility
• Alpha 1.0 (EZ95) — If all of your signs use the EZ95
protocol.
• EZ KEY II — For the EZII protocol or Infrared Loader.
• Incandescent — If all the signs on this site are either a
790i, 430i, 440i, or 460i.
• Alpha 2.0 — Includes features for the AlphaPremiere™
and AlphaEclipse™ series signs.
• Alpha 3.0 — Includes features for the AlphaEclipse™
PureColor™ 3600 Series sign.
E
Connection
Device
Because both R & D signs are connected by a modem,
select Modem on Com 1.
F
Phone
Number
Enter the phone number the PC modem should dial.
Include ‘9’ to dial out, if necessary.
F
Enable error
checking
Check for the software to verify that a sign received
messages sent to it. When this option is on, errors will be
recorded in the error log of Communications Manager.
NOTE
If you have signs networked
together that use both the Alpha
1.0 and Alpha 2.0 protocols,
select Alpha 2.0.
Directions
2 — Installing AlphaNET™ 3.0 software and setting up sites
Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection devices, sites, and groups
5. Next, enter information on the Sign Info tab:
Table 8: R & D setup (2 of 4): Site Editor (Sign Info) window
A
B
C
F
D
G
E
H
Item
A
Name
Tone on
Receipt
For example, the address list:
5,6,7,8,9 could also be entered
as 5–9.
• Select Single Beep, Three Beeps, or Custom Tone (create
your own tone) if you want the signs in the address list to
beep each time these signs receive a new message.
• Select Tune File if you want the signs in the address list to
play a short melody each time these signs receive a new
message. Only available on an AlphaPremiere™ 9000
sign.
The addresses of all the signs in this particular site (in this
case, 01 and 02 for the R & D site):
HINT
A long sequence of sign
addresses can be entered using a
comma.
Directions
B
C
D
Address List
Counter
File...
Automode
File...
R&D
01
R&D
02
Addresses of
R & D signs
(See NOTE at the end of
this example.)
See “How to edit a counter file” on page 81.
Choose an automode table, if desired. (Compatibility on the
Site Info tab must be Alpha 2.0 or Alpha 3.0 for Automode
Table… to be available.)
See “How to create and use a custom automode sequence”
on page 107 for more information.
E
Tune File
Signs in the address list can play a tune file each time they
receive a message. To do this, select Tone on Receipt
>Tune File. Then browse and select one of the preprogrammed tune files. Only available on an
AlphaPremiere™ 9000 sign.
F
Duration
In seconds, the length of time each beep will sound.
G
Repeat
The number of times the beep (or series of beeps) will
sound.
H
Extended
Memory
Used for large file transmissions, such as when sending
graphics to a display sign. Must be selected when sending
to an AlphaPremiere™ 9000 or AlphaEclipse™ sign.
2 — Installing AlphaNET™ 3.0 software and setting up sites
31
Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection devices, sites, and groups
6. In this example, nothing needs to be changed on the Group Info
tab:
7. In this example, nothing needs to be changed on the Advanced tab:
8. Select OK and the following appears:
Sites like the new R&D site
you just created will appear in
this part of the window.
32
2 — Installing AlphaNET™ 3.0 software and setting up sites
Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection devices, sites, and groups
Creating the Sales site — a LAN example
9. After making the R & D site, we’ll create the Sales site, which
consists of two signs (see “Schematic of the tutorial company” on
page 18). First, select File>New Site:
10. After selecting New Site, the Site Editor window appears:
Table 9: Sales setup (1 of 4): Site Editor (Site Info) window
A
B
C
D
E
F
G
Item
Name
Directions
A
Site Name
Type Sales.
B
Full Color
[RGB]
Capable
Check this box when using an AlphaEclipse™
PureColor™ 3600 Series display sign (full color, not
monochrome.) Also, select Alpha 3.0 under
Compatibility.
C
Use as an
Editor
transmit site
D
Compatibility
E
Connection
Device
Because the Sales sign is connected by an Alpha®
Ethernet Adapter, select Ethernet Adapter.
F
IP Address
Specify the 4-node Internet Protocol address for this
sign. See your network administrator if you do not know
this address. See the Networking Alpha® Signs manual
(pn 97000112) for information about assigning an
address to an ethernet adapter.
G
Enable error
checking
Check this if you want the software to verify that a sign
received messages sent to it. When this option is on,
errors will be recorded in the error log of
Communications Manager.
2 — Installing AlphaNET™ 3.0 software and setting up sites
See “R & D setup (1 of 4): Site Editor (Site Info)
window” on page 30.
33
Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection devices, sites, and groups
11. Next, enter information on the Sign Info tab:
Table 10: Sales setup (2 of 4): Site Editor (Sign Info) window
A
B
C
D
F
G
E
H
Item
A
Name
Tone on
Receipt
Directions
See “R & D setup (2 of 4): Site Editor (Sign Info)
window” on page 31.
The addresses of the Sales signs are01 and 02:
HINT
A long sequence of sign
addresses can be entered using a
hyphen.
B
For example, the address list:
5,6,7,8,9 could also be entered
as 5–9.
C
D
Sales
01
Sales
02
Address List
Counter File...
Automode
File…
Addresses of the Sales
signs
(See NOTE at the end of
this example.)
See “How to edit a counter file” on page 81.
Choose an automode table, if desired. (Compatibility on
the Site Info tab must be Alpha 2.0 or Alpha 3.0 for
Automode Table… to be available.)
See “How to create and use a custom automode
sequence” on page 107 for more information.
34
E
Tune File
Signs in the address list can play a tune file each time
they receive a message. To do this, select Tone on
Receipt >Tune File. Then browse and select one of the
pre-programmed tune files. Only available on an
AlphaPremiere™ 9000 sign.
F
Duration
In seconds, the length of time each beep will sound.
G
Repeat
The number of times the beep (or series of beeps) will
sound.
H
Extended
Memory
Used for large file transmissions, such as when sending
graphics to a display sign. Must be selected when
sending to an AlphaPremiere™ 9000 or AlphaEclipse™
sign.
2 — Installing AlphaNET™ 3.0 software and setting up sites
Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection devices, sites, and groups
12. In this example, nothing needs to be changed on the Group Info
tab:
13. In this example, nothing needs to be changed on the Advanced tab:
14. Select OK and the following appears:
The new Sales site will appear in this
part of the window along with the
R & D site.
2 — Installing AlphaNET™ 3.0 software and setting up sites
35
Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection devices, sites, and groups
Creating the Lobby, Engineering, and Manufacturing sites — a wired example
15. After creating the Sales site, we’ll create the Local sites. First,
we’ll create the two lobby signs. Select File>New Site:
16. After selecting New Site, the Site Editor window appears:
Table 11: Lobby setup (1 of 4): Site Editor (Site Info) window
A
B
D
C
E
F
Item
36
Name
Directions
A
Site Name
Type Lobby.
B
Full Color [RGB]
Capable
Check this box when using an AlphaEclipse™
PureColor™ 3600 Series display sign (full color, not
monochrome). Also, select Alpha 3.0 under
Compatibility.
C
Use as an Editor
transmit site
D
Compatibility
E
Connection
Device
F
Enable error
checking
See “Sales setup (1 of 4): Site Editor (Site Info)
window” on page 33.
2 — Installing AlphaNET™ 3.0 software and setting up sites
Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection devices, sites, and groups
17. Next, enter information on the Sign Info tab:
Table 12: Lobby setup (2 of 4): Site Editor (Sign Info) window
A
B
C
D
F
G
E
H
Item
A
Name
Tone on
Receipt
Directions
See “Sales setup (2 of 4): Site Editor (Sign Info)
window” on page 34.
Change the addresses of the Lobby signs to 04 and 05:
HINT
Lobby
A long sequence of sign
addresses can be entered using a
hyphen.
B
For example, the address list:
5,6,7,8,9 could also be entered
as 5–9.
C
Lobby
D
04
Address List
Counter File...
Automode
File...
05
Addresses of Lobby signs
(See NOTE at the end of
this example.)
See “How to edit a counter file” on page 81.
Choose an automode table, if desired. (Compatibility on
the Site Info tab must be Alpha 2.0 or Alpha 3.0 for
Automode Table… to be available.)
See “How to create and use a custom automode
sequence” on page 107 for more information.
E
Tune File
Signs in the address list can play a tune file each time
they receive a message. To do this, select Tone on
Receipt >Tune File. Then browse and select one of the
pre-programmed tune files. Only available on an
AlphaPremiere™ 9000 sign.
F
Duration
In seconds, the length of time each beep will sound.
G
Repeat
The number of times the beep (or series of beeps) will
sound.
H
Extended
Memory
Used for large file transmissions, such as when sending
graphics to a display sign. Must be selected when
sending to an AlphaPremiere™ 9000 or AlphaEclipse™
signs.
2 — Installing AlphaNET™ 3.0 software and setting up sites
37
Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection devices, sites, and groups
18. In this example, nothing needs to be changed on the Group Info
tab:
19. In this example, nothing needs to be changed on the Advanced tab:
20. Select OK and the following appears:
The new Lobby site will appear in this
part of the window along with the
other sites you created.
38
2 — Installing AlphaNET™ 3.0 software and setting up sites
Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection devices, sites, and groups
21. The Engineering and Manufacturing sites are created just like the
Lobby site. However, make sure that addresses of the Engineering
and Manufacturing signs are set as follows:
Engineering
01
Engineering
02
Engineering
03
Manufacturing
06
Addresses of Engineering signs
Addresses of Manufacturing signs
Manufacturing
07
Note:To set the address of a sign see “How to change a sign’s serial
address” on page 15.
2 — Installing AlphaNET™ 3.0 software and setting up sites
39
Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection devices, sites, and groups
Creating the Shipping site — a wireless example
22. The last site we have to create is Shipping, which is a wireless site.
Select File>New Site:
23. After selecting New Site, the Site Editor window appears:
Table 13: Shipping setup (1 of 4): Site Editor (Site Info) window
A
B
C
D
E
F
Item
40
Name
Directions
A
Site Name
Type Shipping.
B
Full Color [RGB]
Capability
Check this box when using an AlphaEclipse™
PureColor™ 3600 Series display sign (full color, not
monochrome). Also, select Alpha 3.0 under
Compatibility.
C
Use as an Editor
transmit site
D
Compatibility
E
Connection
Device
Select WaveWare Pager Wireless Com 1. Note that
with a wireless connection to an AlphaEclipse™
configured with transceivers, use a Local Wired
connection device.
F
Cap Code
Complete this according to your specific pager/
receiver. Consult your pager/receiver documentation
for details.
See “Sales setup (1 of 4): Site Editor (Site Info)
window” on page 33.
2 — Installing AlphaNET™ 3.0 software and setting up sites
Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection devices, sites, and groups
24. Next, enter information on the Sign Info tab:
Table 14: Shipping setup (2 of 4): Site Editor (Sign Info) window
A
B
C
F
D
G
E
H
Item
A
B
Name
Tone on
Receipt
Address List
Directions
See “Sales setup (2 of 4): Site Editor (Sign Info) window”
on page 34.
The address of the Shipping sign can be left at its factory
default value of 00:
Shipping
C
D
Counter File...
Automode
File…
00
See “How to edit a counter file” on page 81.
Choose an automode table, if desired. (Compatibility on
the Site Info tab must be Alpha 2.0 or Alpha 3.0 for
Automode Table… to be available.)
See “How to create and use a custom automode
sequence” on page 107 for more information.
E
Tune File
Signs in the address list can play a tune file each time
they receive a message. To do this, select Tone on
Receipt >Tune File. Then browse and select one of the
pre-programmed tune files. Only available on an
AlphaPremiere™ 9000 sign.
F
Duration
In seconds, the length of time each beep will sound.
G
Repeat
The number of times the beep (or series of beeps) will
sound.
H
Extended
Memory
Used for large file transmissions, such as when sending
graphics to a display sign. Must be selected when
sending to an AlphaPremiere™ 9000 or AlphaEclipse™
sign.
2 — Installing AlphaNET™ 3.0 software and setting up sites
41
Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection devices, sites, and groups
25. In this example, nothing needs to be changed on the Group Info
tab:
26. In this example, nothing needs to be changed on the Advanced tab:
27. Select OK and the following appears:
The new Shipping site will appear in
this part of the window.
42
2 — Installing AlphaNET™ 3.0 software and setting up sites
Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection devices, sites, and groups
Step 3: Creating or changing the groups
A group is a collection of one or more sites. In our imaginary
company, there are two groups, Administration and Production.
Groups are a convenient method of organizing sites into categories so
that messages can easily be sent to multiple sites.
For example, in our imaginary company, we might have a message
intended for just the R &D site or just the Sales and Lobby sites.
However, many times we will want a message to go to the R & D and the
Sales and the Lobby sites. This is where groups come in. A group is a
method of sending messages to several sites.
Groups
Production
Administration
Sites
R&D
Sales
Lobby
Engineering
Manufacturing
Shipping
1. To create the Administration group, open Site Manager if it is not
already opened:
These are the sites
created in the
previous examples.
2 — Installing AlphaNET™ 3.0 software and setting up sites
43
Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection devices, sites, and groups
2. Select File>New Group. The following appears:
3. For Group Name, type Administration. Next, click R & D and then
Include Site to add the R & D site to the Administration group.
(You can also double-click the sites to include them.) Add the Sales
and Lobby sites to the Administration group in the same way:
HINT
Use the Ctrl key to select multiple
sites.
Also, you can double-click a site
to include it. However, to exclude
a site, you must select it in the
right column and then click
Remove Site.
4. When you are finished adding the Sales and Lobby sites, select
OK and the following appears:
Groups, like Administration,
will appear in this area.
44
2 — Installing AlphaNET™ 3.0 software and setting up sites
Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection devices, sites, and groups
5. To see the sites that belong to a single group, just click on that
group. The folder for the group will open and only the sites in that
group will be listed:
NOTE
To return to seeing all sites, hold
down the Ctrl key while clicking
once on the name of the group
you just chose in this step. The
folder icon for that group will
close and all other sites will be
listed.
When you
select a group,
the sites in the
group appear.
6. The Production group is created almost exactly like the
Administration group. However, the Production group is made up
of the Engineering, Manufacturing, and Shipping sites. After
adding the Production group, this window appears:
2 — Installing AlphaNET™ 3.0 software and setting up sites
45
Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection devices, sites, and groups
THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY BLANK
46
2 — Installing AlphaNET™ 3.0 software and setting up sites
Creating and sending messages
3 — Creating and sending messages
47
Basic message editing
Basic message editing
Because AlphaNET™ 3.0 software allows you an infinite number of
ways to create a message for a sign, it is not possible to show every one.
In the following pages, however, examples of basic and advanced
message editing are presented.
First, the basics.
Using Message Editor to create your message
1. After installing the AlphaNET
™
3.0 software on your PC, open
Message Editor. Then open a window for a new message:
Select Start>Programs>AlphaNET >Message Editor
or click the Message Editor button on the AlphaNET™
bar.
Then click
to create a new
message window.
48
3 — Creating and sending messages
Basic message editing
2. Type The first message in the window:
3. Use File>Simulate to view what the message will look like on a
sign, or click the Simulate button on the toolbar:
Click here to view what
your message will look
like on a sign.
HINT
Right-click on the
simulator and click Change
Display to choose a
different sign to emulate.
The type of display you
select appears on the title
bar.
Note:The type of sign on which your message is being simulated
appears on the title bar of the window (in this case, an Alpha®
7120C). To change it, right-click anywhere on the simulated
message and select Change Display.
3 — Creating and sending messages
49
Basic message editing
4. Add the current date to your message. First, close the window in
which your message is being simulated. Then select Options>Date
in Message Editor:
In the Insert Date
window, select OK and
a date icon will appear
at the end of the
message.
5. Then view your message again using the Simulate button:
50
3 — Creating and sending messages
Basic message editing
Using modes to change the look of a message
Modes are special effects that change the way a message appears on a
sign. For example, the Rotate mode moves a message from right to left
across a sign. In this example, you will create a message that displays
employee birthdays.
NOTE:
Some modes are not available on some signs. For a list of
what modes are available, see “Appendix B — Modes
available on signs” on page 137.
Example 1: How to display employee birthdays.
In this example, the Hold and Rotate modes are used to display employee birthdays.
This setup has a variety of uses, such as announcements and anniversaries.
In the Hold mode, the
top line remains fixed
while the names go
by.
In the Rotate mode,
the names move from
right to left on the
bottom line.
See “Appendix E — Understanding
message line positions (Top, Middle,
Bottom, Fill)” on page 141.
6. To create Example 1, close the previous message but don’t save it.
Next, open a new message. Then select Modes>Hold:
HINT
Place the cursor over an
icon and click the right
mouse button to see a
short description of the
icon at the bottom of the
Message Editor window.
For example:
Click the right mouse button
7. When the following window appears, select Top and then OK:
You can also switch
between using pictures
and using text
descriptions for the icons
by selecting Edit
>Customize and changing
the icon style
3 — Creating and sending messages
Line Position is where a
message appears on a sign.
See “Appendix E —
Understanding message line
positions (Top, Middle,
Bottom, Fill)” on page 141 for
more details.
51
Basic message editing
8. The icon for Hold will appear in the message window:
This little marker indicates
that the text following this
icon will appear on the top
line of a display.
9. Type Birthdays. Then select Modes>Rotate>Standard>Bottom.
Click OK and then type: Tom White, Patty Smith, Bob Evan.
Select Rotate>Standard
...and the Bottom line position.
52
3 — Creating and sending messages
Basic message editing
10. Next, click
to view your message:
HINT
View (simulate) your message to see
exactly how it will appear on a sign.
You can see how fonts, colors, and
graphics will appear on a sign and
also how much text will appear on a
line. (If text appears in white, this
means it is too long to fit on the
display. If possible, break the text
into smaller segments.)
For example, these pictures show
how the message you just created
would appear on a one-line Alpha®
215C sign.
11. Save this message by selecting File>Save and then clicking OK:
Make sure the file is saved
to this folder.
Name the Example 1 message Alpha1.msw.
3 — Creating and sending messages
53
Basic message editing
Using characters to change the look of a message
Characters are options that change the appearance of text in a
message. For example, normal-sized text (called Seven Row Normal) is
seven rows of LEDs high, but some signs allow you to create text 15 or 16
rows high with the 15/16 Row Normal option. In this example, we will
create a message that displays airline fares.
NOTE:
Some characters are not available on some signs. For a
list of what is available, see “Appendix C — Character
fonts and colors available on signs” on page 139.
Example 2: How to display airline fares.
In this example, the Roll mode, 15/16 Row Normal text, and the New Line option are
used to display airline prices for several cities. Just like Example 1, this setup has a
variety of uses, such as announcements and anniversaries.
A single message will
be used to create
large text on two-line
signs and normal text
on one-line signs.
12. Select File>New to open a new message.
13. Then select Modes>Roll>In:
OOPS!
By selecting Top, we have
made an error that will
show up later.
14. When the following window appears, select Top and then OK:
The purpose of this is to
demonstrate a common
mistake and how to correct
it.
54
3 — Creating and sending messages
Basic message editing
15. Because we want large text, select Characters>15/16 Row
Normal. Then type Las Vegas $85, Chicago $199, New York $235:
15/16 Row
Normal icon
16. Let’s see how the message looks so far. First, let’s try a one-line
sign. Simulate your message and change the sign to a 215C. (If you
do not remember how to do this, see step 3.) The message should
look like this:
Since a one-line sign like the 215C
cannot display the 15/16 Row
Normal characters, the sign
displays Seven Row Normal
instead. But this is what we wanted.
17. Change the sign to a 4120C, a two-line sign. (If you do not
remember how to do this, see step 3.) This is how it should look:
Why doesn’t the large text appear on the two-line 4120C sign like
we wanted? Because in a previous step we selected the Top instead
of the Middle or Fill line position:
To make the large 15/16 Row
Normal text appear correctly,
the line position must be
changed to Middle.
3 — Creating and sending messages
55
Basic message editing
18. To make the large 15/16 Row characters appear correctly on a twoline sign, start by deleting the Roll>In icon from the message:
To delete the Roll In icon, place the cursor to
the right of the icon and press the
BackSpace key on your keyboard.
19. Next, without moving the cursor in the message, select Modes>
Roll>In as you did before. When the following window appears,
select the Middle line position:
20. Simulate the message using a two-line sign like the 4120C. (If you
do not remember how to do this, see step 3.) The 15/16 Row
Normal text should now appear correctly:
Your message text should look like this:
Notice that this marker on the
Roll>In icon has changed to
the middle, indicating the new
line position.
56
3 — Creating and sending messages
Basic message editing
21. Save your message and name it Alpha2.msw. However, keep using
the message for the following steps.
OOPS!
22. Now we will try displaying a city name and dollar amount on a
sign at the same time.
Using a carriage return
might seem like the logical
way to format lines of text
in a message, but it does
not work.
Try deleting the comma and space between each city and amount
pair. Then place a carriage return after each, like this:
We will correct this later
with the New Line option.
A carriage return has been placed
after each line of text.
23. Next, simulate the message to see how carriage returns affect the
message format. This is what you should see:
Carriage returns do not
break text into separate
lines.
The New Line option must
be used instead.
3 — Creating and sending messages
57
Basic message editing
24. To format the text so that Las Vegas $85 and Chicago $199 and
New York $235 all appear on separate lines, add the New Line
option after each city and amount pair. To do this, use the Options
menu:
These are New Line icons.
25. Simulate the message to see how New Lines affect the message
format. This is what you should see:
The New Line option
formats the text correctly.
58
3 — Creating and sending messages
Basic message editing
Using international characters
International characters—such as the é in résumé—are available in
French, German, Italian, Spanish, and Croatian.
Additional characters are also available. Check the Character Map
accessory to see if contains the character you want.
NOTE:
These instructions are for a Windows® 95 operating
system; menu selections and screens may be different in
other versions of Windows®.
Follow this procedure to use international characters:
Step
Procedure
From the Windows® Start menu, select Find and then Files or Folders:
1
Use Find to locate the editor.ini file and then double-click it to open:
2
Double-click the file to open it.
3 — Creating and sending messages
59
Basic message editing
Step
Procedure
The editor.ini file will look something like this:
3
Type the following line exactly as shown:
DefaultFont=Terminal
4
Then save the change and exit this window:
5
Next, open Message Editor. Select File>New. Type This is a test:
6
From the Windows® Start menu, select Programs>Accessories>Character
Map (or Program>Accessories>System Tools>Character Map):
7
60
3 — Creating and sending messages
Basic message editing
Step
Procedure
Imagine you want to add the letter ä to your message:
First, set Font to Terminal.
Second, click the letter ä.
8
Third, note the keystroke. You must hold Alt and type
0132 to create the international character ä.
Return to Message Editor. Add the ä character to the message by typing 0132
while holding down the Alt key on your keyboard:
9
Finally, to make sure you have actually created the character you want,
simulate the message:
10
NOTE: You cannot use characters created by holding down the Ctrl key and
typing the combination. For example, you will not be able to use the Ç
character because it is created by using Ctrl and 2.
Also, you can only use Alt with numbers less than 0169 to create
characters.
For example, you can use Alt and 0168 to create the letter ¿, but Alt
and 0169, Alt and 0170, and so on, will not create the correct
characters and should, therefore, not be used.
3 — Creating and sending messages
61
How to send a message to a sign
How to send a message to a sign
What happens when messages are sent to a sign?
Messages are sent to signs using either Message Editor or Site
Manager. One message at a time is sent from Message Editor, and it
erases all other messages in the sign’s memory. This one message, then,
plays over and over.
More than one message at a time can be sent from Site Manager, and
they erase all other messages in the sign’s memory. These new messages
are then displayed one after the other.
When a single message is sent with Message Editor:
After creating a message in Message Editor,
select
to send the message to one or more sites.
Each message packet
sent includes the date
and time from the
sending PC. The clock
inside the sign will be
updated, even if the
message doesn’t
include the date or
time.
When more than one message is sent with Site Manager:
After creating messages in Message Editor and then saving them,
open Site Manager. Select the sites to which you want to add
messages, then click
.
Then select
to send the messages.
3 messages repeated
1 message repeated
ANNIV1.MSW
ANNIV1.MSW
BIRTH1.MSW
CUSTOM.MSW
62
3 — Creating and sending messages
How to send a message to a sign
Sending messages from Message Editor
HINT
1. Before sending a message, you must create at least one site using
Site Manager. (See Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection
devices, sites, and groups in Chapter 2.)
Generally, only send
messages from Message
Editor when:
• testing to see how a
message looks, or
• there is only one sign.
2. Next, create your message in Message Editor. When you are
finished, send it to one or more sites:
Click
to transmit the message:
• To All Sites — every site you have created in Site
Manager or
• To Selected Sites — only those Site Manager sites
that have been specially selected as Use as an
Editor transmit site. (See “R & D setup (1 of 4): Site
Editor (Site Info) window” on page 30 in Chapter
2.)
3 — Creating and sending messages
63
How to send a message to a sign
Sending messages from Site Manager
HINT
To select more than one
site, first hold down the
Ctrl key on your keyboard,
then click the sites:
1. Before sending a message, you must create at least one site using
Site Manager. (See Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection
devices, sites, and groups in Chapter 2.)
2. If you have not already done so, add your message to the site (or
sites) to which you want the message sent:
Select to add a message
to the Sales site.
3. Next, select the message. The message can be edited, scheduled by
day, date, and time, or transmitted immediately:
Select
to set the day, date, and time when
the message will start and stop on the Sales signs,
or
select
to edit the message in Message Editor
before sending it, or
select
to transmit the message immediately
to all the signs in the Sales site.
64
3 — Creating and sending messages
How to send a message to a sign
The difference between all messages and common messages
When you select a single site, all the messages attached (added) to the
site will appear in the Site Manager window. However, when you select
more than one site, only the messages that are common to both will
appear.
When the
Engineering site is
selected, all the
messages attached
to the site appear.
Also, when the
Manufacturing site is
selected, all the
messages attached
to the site appear.
However, when both
sites are selected,
then only the
messages that are
common to both
sites will appear.
3 — Creating and sending messages
65
How to use graphics in messages
How to use graphics in messages
HINT
Example graphic files are
included with AlphaNET™
3.0 software.
Look in the Samples folder
installed on your
computer.
The Animation, Graphic, Flick, and Gif options allow you to include
small pictures in messages. Use the Graphic option to display single
bitmapped images, and the Animation, Flick, or Gif option to display
multiple images—like a movie. Note that not all signs display animations.
For the Graphic, Flick, and Gif options, you can create the images
yourself, use the animations provided (such as Running Animal, which
shows a horse running across the sign), use the gif files provided, or pull
an image from another source, such as the Internet.
Animation, Graphic, Flick, and Gif are in the Options menu:
Creating a graphic
Before you actually start drawing, make sure you understand how a
bitmapped image is displayed on a sign. See “Graphics must be
bitmapped to a sign’s columns and rows” on page 149.
You will need a program to create and edit bitmapped images. Image
editing software examples in this manual illustrate version 5.03 of Paint
Shop Pro (the steps are similar for newer versions of Paint Shop Pro).
Any image editing program can be used (See “Paint Shop Pro — an
image editor” on page 150.)
Example 3: How to use a graphic in a message
In this example, arrow bitmap images are created to demonstrate the Graphic option.
The two arrow bitmaps
we will make are 7 rows
(or pixels) high. This
means the arrows can
be used on one-line as
well as two-line signs.
66
3 — Creating and sending messages
How to use graphics in messages
1. Select Start>Programs>Paint Shop Pro to open Paint Shop Pro:
HINT
Most image editing
programs create images
similar to Paint Shop Pro.
However, if you are not
using Paint Shop Pro,
consider using software
that has a zoom feature so
you can increase the size
of the bitmap for ease of
editing.
2. Next, select File>New. When the New Image window appears,
make the width and height of the new bitmap 16 x 7:
NOTE:
Width and Height define the size of the bitmap in
pixels—16 pixels wide x 7 pixels tall. These numbers
also correspond to a sign’s columns and rows—16
columns wide x 7 rows tall.
HINT
Because a maximum of 8
colors can be used on
signs, select 16 colors
instead of 256 in your
image editing program.
3 — Creating and sending messages
We are using 7 because
this is the height of a
single line of normal text
on a sign.
67
How to use graphics in messages
3. A very small window will appear. Use the zoom tool to click in the
window to increase its size to 16:1:
HINT
Use the zoom feature to
increase the size of the
small window until the
window says 16:1.
At 16:1, editing the
graphic is much easier.
4. Select a color for your graphic from the blended palette on the
right-hand side of your screen. You can also double-click the
foreground or background rectangle underneath the blended palette
to choose a color from a sectioned palette.
HINT
Depending on the model of
the sign some colors do
not effectively appear on
the sign display.
For more information see
“A graphic may be the
wrong color for some
signs” on page 149.
The sectioned
palette
68
3 — Creating and sending messages
How to use graphics in messages
5. Then draw the right arrow and save it as a BMP bitmap named
rarrow.bmp:
Name the graphic rarrow.bmp.
6. Create the other arrow (shown below) using steps 2 through 4 and
save it as larrow.bmp:
7. Next, open Message Editor. Then select File>New:
3 — Creating and sending messages
69
How to use graphics in messages
8. Select Modes>Hold, using the Middle line position. Then select
Options>Graphic. When the Select Graphic window appears,
choose the rarrow.bmp (right arrow) file you just created:
NOTE
For graphics, any mode
can be used. For flicks, the
Hold mode must be used.
For either graphics or
flicks, the mode selected
must use the Middle line
position.
9. An icon representing the graphic will appear. Type News after it.
Put a space before and after News. Finally, put the left arrow bitmap
(larrow.bmp) after News. This is what you should now see:
Hold mode (middle)
Right arrow graphic icon
Left arrow graphic icon
10. Simulate your message to see what it looks like:
This is how the message looks on the
two-line Alpha® 4120C sign.
This is how the message looks on the
one-line Alpha® 215C sign.
Note:Graphics that are 24 rows high should be displayed and
simulated on 3-line signs (or greater) and not on one- or two-line
signs where the graphics will appear garbled.
70
3 — Creating and sending messages
How to use graphics in messages
Creating a flick
NOTE:
The Flick option only works with AlphaVision™ and
Series 7000 signs. However, see “Another way to create
a flick” on page 76 to create an animation on another
type of sign.
A flick is a series of bitmap images that are shown one after the other,
which gives the illusion of movement on a sign. The Flick option is used
to put a movie in a message, and is made up of individual bitmapped
images that you must create.
You will need a program to create and edit bitmapped images. Image
editing software examples in this manual illustrate version 5.03 of Paint
Shop Pro (the steps are similar for newer versions of Paint Shop Pro).
Any image editing program can be used (See “Paint Shop Pro — an
image editor” on page 150.)
Example 4: How to use a flick in a message
In this example, we will create a ship that sails across an Alpha® 7120C sign.
A flick is made up of many bitmap files that are played one after the other.
Each bitmap file in a flick must fill the total display area of the sign it is displayed on.
This means that a flick is usually designed for one sign.
In this example, each bitmap is 120 x 24 pixels because we are playing the flick on a
7120C sign whose total display area is 120 columns x 24 rows.
3 — Creating and sending messages
71
How to use graphics in messages
1. Select Start>Programs>Paint Shop Pro to open Paint Shop Pro:
HINT
Most image editing
programs create images
similar to Paint Shop Pro.
However, if you are not
using Paint Shop Pro,
consider using software
that has a zoom feature so
you can increase the size
of the bitmap for ease of
editing.
2. Next, select File>New. When the New Image window appears,
make the width and height of the bitmap 120 x24 pixels.
Each graphic in the flick for the Alpha® 7120C sign must be this
size.
NOTE:
HINT
Because a maximum of 8
colors can be used on
signs, select 16 colors
instead of 256 in your
image editing program.
72
Width and Height define the size of the bitmap in
pixels—120 pixels wide x 24 pixels high. These numbers
correspond to the 7120C’s columns and rows—120
columns wide x 24 rows tall.
We’re using 120 x 24 for
width and height because
this is the total display area
of an Alpha® 7120C sign.
3 — Creating and sending messages
How to use graphics in messages
3. A very small window will appear. Use the zoom tool to click in the
window to increase its size:
Use the zoom feature to increase
the size of the small window to
make editing the graphic much
easier.
4. Select a color for your graphic from the blended palette on the
right-hand side of your screen. You can also double-click the
foreground or background rectangle underneath the blended palette
to choose a color from a sectioned palette.
HINT
Depending on the model of
the sign some colors do
not effectively appear on
the sign display.
For more information see
“A graphic may be the
wrong color for some
signs” on page 149.
The sectioned
palette
3 — Creating and sending messages
73
How to use graphics in messages
5. Then draw the first bitmap image:
The first bitmap in this flick will
show a ship entering from the left
side of the sign.
6. After you are finished drawing the first bitmap, save it—and all
the other flick bitmaps—in a folder named ship.
Name this first bitmap ship00.bmp and save it as a BMP file:
HINT
Even though up to 100
bitmaps can be in a flick,
keep in mind that a sign’s
memory capacity is
limited.
So experiment first with
small flicks on a sign.
74
NOTE:
The name of each bitmap in a flick is important. The first
bitmap’s name must end with 00, such as ship00.bmp.
The second bitmaps’s name must end with 01, such as
ship01.bmp. The third bitmap’s name must end with 02,
such as ship02.bmp, and so on. Up to 100 bitmaps can be
in a flick and must be numbered 00 to 99, such as
ship00.bmp through ship99.bmp.
Save all the flick bitmaps in the
special folder you created.
3 — Creating and sending messages
How to use graphics in messages
7. Create the other bitmaps in the flick. Each bitmap file must end
with a consecutive number—00, 01, 02, and so on—and each
bitmap must be saved as a BMP file in a special folder for the flick
(ship, in this case).
The completed flick of 11 bitmaps shows a ship crossing the screen.
When the ship is about mid-screen, a submarine periscope appears
in front of the ship. The periscope disappears as the ship passes
above it, but pops up again behind the ship, looks around, then goes
under water.
ship00.bmp
.
.
.
ship01.bmp
.
.
.
ship02.bmp
.
.
.
ship03.bmp
.
.
.
ship04.bmp
.
.
.
ship05.bmp
.
.
.
ship06.bmp
.
.
.
ship07.bmp
.
.
.
ship08.bmp
.
.
.
ship09.bmp
.
.
.
ship10.bmp
3 — Creating and sending messages
75
How to use graphics in messages
Another way to create a flick
Though the Flick option will only work with AlphaVision™ and
Series 7000 signs, there is another way to create the illusion of motion on
a sign.
The Graphic option can be used to place one graphic after another in
a message:
Use the Hold mode
(with the Middle line
position) and Speed
(No Hold) option in
front of the graphics.
This is necessary in
order to turn off the
Automode feature so
that the graphics will
display correctly.
ship00.bmp through ship05.bmp
76
3 — Creating and sending messages
How to use graphics in messages
Creating a GIF
NOTE:
HINT
Most image editing
programs can create GIF
images similar to Paint
Shop Pro Animation.
However, if you are not
using Paint Shop Pro
Animation, consider using
software that has a zoom
feature so you can
increase the size of the
bitmap for ease of editing.
The GIF option will only work with the 7000 series, 9000
series, AlphaVision™ (full matrix), and AlphaEclipse™
signs. If a different sign is used, Extended Memory must
be checked on the Sign Info tab of Site Editor in order for
this feature to work.
A GIF contains multiple images in one file that simulate animation,
such as a hummingbird hovering above a flower. The GIF option is used
to put moving animation in messages, and you can use the GIF files
provided or create your own (see the example below). Note that GIF files
are available on Adaptive’s Web site at http://www.ams-i.com/Pages/
gif.htm, free and formatted.
You will need a program to create and edit your GIF images. Image
editing software examples in this manual illustrate version 5.03 of Paint
Shop Pro (the steps are similar for newer versions of Paint Shop Pro).
Any image editing program can be used (See “Paint Shop Pro — an
image editor” on page 150.)
The following instructions explain how to create a GIF using Paint
Shop Pro Animation.
1. Using your Internet browser, log onto the Adaptive Micro Systems
Web site at http://www.adaptivedisplays.com/sample.htm.
2. In the upper right-hand corner of Adaptive’s main page, right-click
on the Tell a Friend graphic and select Save Picture As.
Right-click on this graphic and
select Save Picture As.
3. Save the file as a GIF file to your C:\Program Files\Adaptive
Micro Systems\AlphaNET directory.
4. Select Start>Programs>Paint Shop Pro>Animation Shop, or open
the image editing program you are using.
HINT
Depending on the model of
the sign some colors do
not effectively appear on
the sign display.
5. Select File>Open and select your GIF file. Then click Open.
6. Change any colors in the GIF file if they are incompatible with
For more information see
“A graphic may be the
wrong color for some
signs” on page 149.
3 — Creating and sending messages
your sign.
Note:If black or white is used in a GIF or BMP file, the sign thinks
you want it to turn off those particular LEDs. Try using a different
color.
77
How to use graphics in messages
7. Select Edit>Resize Animation and resize the file to your sign’s
specifications. Make sure the Maintain aspect ratio box is checked,
and then click OK:
8. Select File>Save. Then click the Customize button on the
Animation Quality Versus Output Size window that appears.
NOTE:
This window appears when you save a file for the first time
and then when changes are made to it. However, the settings
you enter will become the default settings until you close
Paint Shop Pro Animation.
9. On the Colors tab, make sure the settings are as follows:
78
3 — Creating and sending messages
How to use graphics in messages
10. On the Optimizations tab, uncheck all the boxes and click OK.
11. Click the Next button to cycle through the remaining windows.
12. Select File>Close to close your GIF file.
13. Next, open Message Editor and create a new message.
14. Select Modes>Hold, using the Fill line position.
3 — Creating and sending messages
79
How to use graphics in messages
15. Select Option>Gif. Then select your GIF file and click OK. An
icon representing the Hold mode and one representing the GIF will
appear in your message.
16. Simulate your message to see what it looks like:
80
3 — Creating and sending messages
How to edit a counter file
How to edit a counter file
What is a counter file?
A counter file sets up from 1 to 5 numerical counters (counter 1
through counter 5), which can be used for either or both of the following:
Display information in minutes, hours, or days on a sign.
A counter can be placed inside a message.
(This one is counting down from 60 minutes.)
Display special messages (target files) on a sign after a set amount of time has
passed.
After 50 days, the counter included in the top message (which counts up from 0
to 50) is set up to display the target message below:
NOTE:
SOUND
ON - OFF
PROGRAM
RUN
APPEND CURSOR SPECIAL FONT
SCROLL FLASH
ROLL
WIPE
1
2
3
4
AUTO
SPEED
TIME
DOT
7
8
9
0
B
A
¢
#
N
:
T
S
*
K
+
P
’
U
F
E
&
/
O
”
6
SELECT
J
=
>
M
;
I
H
G
<
?
%
COLOR
ROTATE
5
D
C
$
WIDTH
HOLD
L
-
R
Q
.
,
V
The software necessary to use a counter file is included in
the standard Alpha® firmware for signs and allows you
to program a counter file from your computer. However,
the standard Alpha® firmware does not allow you to
program a counter file using an infrared remote control
(left).
W
X
!
Y
Z
SHIFT
INSERT
RETURN
SPACE
CAPS
BACK
SHIFT
ADV
3 — Creating and sending messages
DELETE
81
How to edit a counter file
Three examples of how to use counter files
In these examples, we discuss three basic ways of using counters on
signs:
Addresses
of signs
Manufacturing
Manufacturing
Manufacturing
82
Shipping
Engineering
06
07
Shipping
00
Engineering
03
Engineering
04
Engineering
05
•
Example 1 — Using a counter in a message on the Shipping sign.
Counter 1 will be used to show a message that counts down hours.
•
Example 2 — Using a counter in a message and displaying a target
file message on the Manufacturing signs. Counter 2 will be used to
show a message that counts up days and display a target message
when it reaches 50.
•
Example 3 — Using a counter to display a target message on the
Engineering signs. Counter 2 will be used from Example 2.
3 — Creating and sending messages
How to edit a counter file
Example 1 — Using a counter in a message
In this example, we will end up with a message on the Shipping sign
that counts down from 60 minutes over and over again:
NOTE:
The Shipping sign can still display other messages.
1. Open Message Editor and create a new message:
2. Add a counter to the message by selecting Options>Counter and
then Counter 1. Then, after the counter icon, type a space followed
by minutes before next shipment:
3 — Creating and sending messages
83
How to edit a counter file
3. Save this counter message as countshp.msw:
4. After saving the message, close Message Editor. Open Site
Manager and select Edit>Counter File:
5. Next, either open an existing counter file (like the default file
shown below) or type a new file name (such as shipping.ctw):
84
3 — Creating and sending messages
How to edit a counter file
6. When the Counter Setup window appears, select the Counter 1
tab. Then type in the values as shown below:
Table 15: Counter Example 1 — Counter 1 setup
A
B
C
D
Item
A
Name
Counter 1–5
Select Counter 1 tab.
Target Files
This is where a message is assigned to a target
file. One to five messages can be displayed on a
sign when counter 1 reaches its target value. (No
target files are used in this example.)
Counter On
Make sure this box is checked for this example.
Increment Decrement
In this example, select Decrement because we
want counter 1 to count down, not up.
Minutes
Hours
Days
Select Minutes because we want counter 1 to
count in units of minutes.
B
Start
Enter 60 because we want counter 1 to start at 60
minutes and then count down to 0.
Target
Enter 0.
Dec
Enter 1 because we want counter 1 to count down
1 minute at a time—60, 59, 58, and so on.
Target
Files
One–Five
This is where you would select which target file
messages to display when counter 1 reaches its
target value. (No target files are used in this
example, so none are checked.)
Counter
Run Time
Start TIme
Stop Time
In this example, Always is selected because we
want counter 1 running continuously. Since
Always is selected, Stop Time is not available.
Counter
Values
C
On Weekends
Since we do not need our counter running on
weekends, this is unchecked.
Auto Reload
This box is checked because we want our counter
to count down continuously. If this box was not
checked, counter 1 would count down from 60 to
0 just once.
D
3 — Creating and sending messages
Directions
85
How to edit a counter file
7. Select OK after entering the setup information. Double-click the
Shipping site to open the Site Editor window:
Double-click
Shipping.
86
3 — Creating and sending messages
How to edit a counter file
8. Next, select the Sign Info tab and attach the counter file you just
created to the Shipping site:
Deleting a counter file
If you want to delete a counter
file from a sign, click Counter
File, click None, and then click
OK.
After clicking Counter File, select the
counter file you just edited (in this case,
shipping.ctw). Then select OK.
Select OK.
3 — Creating and sending messages
87
How to edit a counter file
9. Add the message that contains counter 1 to the Shipping site:
Select Shipping. Then click
:
Select the message
that contains counter
1 (countshp.msw).
Click OK.
The message you added appears here, after any
previously selected messages. The order in which the
messages appear is the order in which they are sent to
a sign.
NOTE: If you want the new message at the start of the
list, select the top existing message and then click
(Insert Message) instead of
(add
message).
88
3 — Creating and sending messages
How to edit a counter file
10. Finally, in order to display the message you just added to the
Shipping sign, the message must be transmitted. To do this, select
the Shipping site and then the transmit icon:
Select Shipping because this is the only site
to which we want messages sent.
Click the Transmit icon.
Resetting a counter
If you are prompted to reset a
sign counter, select Yes to
reset the counter to its start
value.
Click Selected Sites
and then OK.
Otherwise, select No to leave
the sign’s current value intact.
All the messages
will be sent to the
Shipping site sign.
3 — Creating and sending messages
89
How to edit a counter file
Example 2 — Using a counter in a message and displaying a target file message
In this example, we will end up with a message on the Manufacturing
signs that keeps track of the number of days without an accident.
Also, when 50 days is reached, a message appears on the
Manufacturing signs that reads Another 50 days without an accident! (this
is called a target message.)
NOTE:
The Manufacturing signs can still display other
messages.
After 50 days, the counter included in the top
message (which counts up from 0 to 50) is set up to
display the target message below:
1. Open Message Editor and create a new message:
90
3 — Creating and sending messages
How to edit a counter file
2. In the message window, type Days without an accident: and a
space. Then add a counter to the message by selecting
Options>Counter>Counter 2:
3. Save this counter message as countman.msw and close the
message:
3 — Creating and sending messages
91
How to edit a counter file
4. Next, create the target message — the message that will appear
when counter 2 reaches 50 days. Then save this message as
target1.msw:
Save the target message as target1.msw.
5. Close Message Editor. Open Site Manager and select
Edit>Counter File:
92
3 — Creating and sending messages
How to edit a counter file
6. Next, either open an existing counter file or type a new file name
(such as target.ctw) and click Open:
7. When the Counter Setup window appears, select the Counter 2 tab
and enter the values shown below:
Table 16: Counter Example 2 — Counter 2 setup
A
B
C
D
Item
Name
Counter 1–5
A
Target Files
Directions
Select the Counter 2 tab.
This is where a message is assigned to a target
file. One to five messages can be displayed on a
sign when counter 2 reaches its target value.
The largest file runs indefinitely. Send a new
message to delete it.
B
3 — Creating and sending messages
Counter On
Make sure this box is checked for this example.
Increment
Decrement
In this example select Increment because we want
counter 2 to count up, not down.
Minutes
Hours
Days
Select Days because we want counter 2 to count
in units of days.
93
How to edit a counter file
Table 16: Counter Example 2 — Counter 2 setup
Start
Enter 0 because we want counter 2 to start at 0
days and then count up to 50.
Target
Enter 50.
Inc
Enter 1 because we want counter 2 to count up 1
day at a time — 1, 2, 3, and so on.
Target
Files
One–Five
Check One. This means that one message will
appear on the sign after counter 2 has reached its
target value.
Counter
Run
Time
Start
Time
Stop
Time
In this example, Always is selected because we
want counter 2 running continuously.
Counter
Values
C
On Weekends
Since we do not need our counter running on
weekends, leave this unchecked.
Auto Reload
This box is checked because we want our counter
to count continuously. If this box was not
checked, counter 2 would count up to 50 just
once.
D
8. Next, select the Target Files tab and for Target File 1, select
Browse and then the file you created (target1.msw):
94
3 — Creating and sending messages
How to edit a counter file
9. After selecting the target file, click Open, and then OK to close the
Counter Setup window. Then double-click the Manufacturing site
to access the Site Editor window:
Double-click Manufacturing.
3 — Creating and sending messages
95
How to edit a counter file
10. Next, select the Sign Info tab and attach the counter file you just
created to the Manufacturing site:
Deleting a counter file
If you want to delete a counter
file from a sign, click Counter
File, click None, and then click
OK.
After clicking Counter File, select the counter file you just
edited (in this case, target.ctw.) Then select OK.
Select OK.
96
3 — Creating and sending messages
How to edit a counter file
11. Add the message that contains counter 2 to the Manufacturing site:
Select Manufacturing. Then select
:
Select the message
that contains
counter 2
(countman.msw).
Click Open.
The message you added appears here, after any
previously selected messages. The order in which the
messages appear is the order in which they are sent to
a sign.
NOTE: If you want the new message at the start of the
list, select the top existing message and then click
(Insert Message) instead of
(add
message).
3 — Creating and sending messages
97
How to edit a counter file
12. Finally, in order to display the message you just added, it must be
transmitted to the Manufacturing signs. To do this, select the
Manufacturing site and then the Transmit icon:
Select Manufacturing because this is the
only site to which we want messages sent.
Click the Transmit icon.
Click Selected Sites
and then OK.
Resetting a counter
If you are prompted to reset a
sign counter, select Yes to reset
the counter to its start value.
Otherwise, select No to leave the
sign’s current value intact.
All the messages
will be sent to the
Manufacturing site
signs.
After 50 days, the counter included in the top message (which counts
up from 0 to 50) will display the target message below:
98
3 — Creating and sending messages
How to edit a counter file
Example 3 — Using a counter to display just a target message
HINT
This example is nearly identical
to Example 2.
In Example 2, the counter was
displayed as well as a target
message.
In this example, we will use one of the five counters (in this case,
counter 3) to display the message Another 100 hours of safe operation!
When counter 3 reaches 100 hours, the message will appear on all the
signs in the Engineering site. (This site was created in the previous
section “How to change a sign’s serial address” on page 15.)
NOTE:
The Engineering signs can still display other messages.
In Example 3, only the target
message will be displayed. The
counter will just count.
1. Open Message Editor and create a new message:
2. Next, create the target message — the message that will appear
when counter 3 reaches 100 hours. Then save this message as
target2.msw:
Save the target
message as
target2.msw.
3. After saving the target message, close Message Editor. Open Site
Manager and select Edit>Counter File:
3 — Creating and sending messages
99
How to edit a counter file
4. Next, either open an existing counter file (like the default file
shown below) or type a new file name (like engineer.ctw):
5. When the Counter Setup window appears, select the Counter 3 tab
and enter the values shown below:
Table 17: Counter Example 3 — Counter 3 setup
A
B
C
D
Item
Name
Counter 1–5
A
Target Files
Directions
Select the Counter 3 tab.
This is where a message is assigned to a target
file. One to five messages can be displayed on a
sign when counter 3 reaches its target value.
The largest file runs indefinitely. Send a new
message to delete it.
B
100
Counter On
Make sure this box is checked for this example.
Increment
Decrement
In this example, select Increment because we
want counter 3 to count up, not down.
Minutes
Hours
Days
Select Hours because we want counter 3 to
count in units of hours.
3 — Creating and sending messages
How to edit a counter file
Table 17: Counter Example 3 — Counter 3 setup
Start
Enter 0 because we want counter 3 to start at 0
hours and then count up to 100.
Target
Enter 100.
Inc
Enter 1 because we want counter 3 to count up 1
hour at a time—1, 2, 3, and so on.
Target
Files
One–Five
Check Two. This means that one message will
appear on the sign after counter 3 has reached
its target value.
Counter
Run Time
Start
Time
Stop
Time
In this example, Always is selected because we
want counter 3 running continuously.
Counter
Values
C
On Weekends
Since we do not need our counter running on
weekends, leave this unchecked.
Auto Reload
This box is checked because we want our
counter to count down continuously. If this box
was not checked, counter 3 would count up to
100 just once.
D
6.
Next, select Target Files. For Target File 1, select Browse and then
select the file you created called target2.msw:
7. After selecting the target file, click OK. Then double-click the
Engineering site to access the Site Editor window:
Double-click
Engineering.
3 — Creating and sending messages
101
How to edit a counter file
8. Next, select Sign Info and attach the counter file you just created to
the Engineering site:
Deleting a counter file
If you want to delete a counter
file from a sign, click Counter
File, click None, and then click
OK.
After clicking Counter File, select the counter file you
just edited (in this case, engineer.ctw). Then select OK.
Select OK.
102
3 — Creating and sending messages
How to use real-time data in a message
How to use real-time data in a message
String Variables + ActiveX® = real-time data
Data from external sources (for example, Microsoft® Excel, Access,
and Visual Basic® software) can be displayed on Alpha® signs by using
two features included in AlphaNET™ 3.0 software:
•
•
HINT
The AlphaNET™ 3.0
software CD ROM contains
examples on using the
Alpha® String Update
Control.
String variables
Alpha® String Update Control (an ActiveX® component)
A variable in the AlphaNET™ 3.0 software represents real-time data
that can change (for example, temperature or production rates, date, or
time). Variables can be put into messages.
The value of a variable can be changed using the Alpha® String
Update Control. Because this is an ActiveX® control, it can be used with
a variety of ActiveX®-compatible applications, such as Microsoft®
Excel, Access, and Visual Basic® software.
NOTE:
Besides using the Alpha® String Update Control, you
can also write your own application to update variables.
For more information, see the Alpha® Sign
Communications Protocol manual.
Real-time data example
Create sign memory configurations using Site Manager
1. In Site Manager, double-click the site for the sign which will use
string variables. Then click the Advanced tab.
3 — Creating and sending messages
103
How to use real-time data in a message
2. Create a sign memory configuration by checking either:
•
Assign Fixed Memory Partitions — Check this to assign your
own sign memory configuration in the Configuration box. (For
detailed information, see the Memory Configuration examples
in “Appendix G: Protocol Examples” of the Alpha® Sign
Communications Protocol manual.)
•
Strings “A” - “Z”, Strings “a” - “z”, Strings “1” - “9” —
Check one, two, or all three of these to create a sign memory
configuration in the Configuration box. For example, checking
Strings “A” - “Z” would set up 26 string files names “A”
through “Z”. These files could then be used by the Alpha®
String Update Control. (Checking Strings “a” - “z” would set
up an additional 26 strings, and checking Strings “1” - “9”
would add another 9 strings.)
Check Assign Fixed Memory Partitions
or
Check one, two, or all of these
Create a message with a string variable using Message Editor
3. In Message Editor, create a new message by selecting File>New:
4. Type Today’s sales total:
104
3 — Creating and sending messages
How to use real-time data in a message
5. Select Options>String to insert a string variable into the message:
The string label value is determined by
what you selected in step 2. For
example, if you selected Strings “1” “9”, then type a number from 1 to 9.
The string
variable icon.
Update the string variable using the ActiveX® control
6. Use the Alpha® String Update Control (the ActiveX® component
of AlphaNET™ 3.0 software) to update the message’s string
variable.
Following is a description of the available methods and properties
of this ActiveX® control:
3 — Creating and sending messages
105
How to use real-time data in a message
Table 18: Alpha® String Update Control Methods & Properties
METHODS
Syntax:
AlphaStringUpdateCtrl.Initialize
Parameters:
none
Remarks:
Method must be called prior to calling any
other method of this control. This method
opens a COM port or creates a socket
connection to the display.
Syntax:
AlphaStringUpdateCtrl.UpdateString(“String
Label”, Value, Color, Flash)
Parameters:
• String Label — String. One character only.
(In the previous example, the String Label is
1.)
• Value — String. This is the value to be
passed and displayed.
• Color — Integer. 1 = Red, 2 = Green, 3 =
Amber.
• Flash — Byte. 0 = off, 1 = on.
Remarks:
This method will pass any value to the
designated string. The Color parameter will
override any color definition set by the
message itself. The Flash parameter will only
work in the Hold mode.
Initialize
UpdateString
PROPERTIES
ConnectMode
NetworkAddress
NetworkPort
SerialBaudRate
SerialComPort
SerialDataBits
SerialParity:
SerialStopBits
Serial Address
106
Type:
Byte
Values:
0 = Serial connection, 1 = TCP/IP connection
Type:
String
Values:
TCP/IP address of the network adapter. (Only
applicable to a TCP/IP connection.)
Type:
Integer
Values:
3001 (default)
Type:
Integer
Values:
110, 300, 600, 1200, 4800, 9600, 14400,
19200, 28800, 38400, 56000, 115200,
128000, 256000
Type:
Byte
Values:
1 through 16
Type:
Byte
Values:
4 through 8
Type:
String
Values:
None, Even, Odd, Mark, Space
Type:
Byte
Values:
1 or 2
Type:
Integer (use 2 digits)
Values:
00 (default)
3 — Creating and sending messages
How to create and use a custom automode sequence
How to create and use a custom automode sequence
The message mode called Automode is the default mode used if no
other mode is selected in a message. It displays the message with all the
other modes provided with AlphaNET™ 3.0 software. (For descriptions
of the modes, see “Appendix B — Modes available on signs” on
page 137.)
A custom automode sequence can be created for each sign site.
You can set what modes automode will use by doing the following:
Creating or editing an Automode sequence
1. In Site Manager, choose Edit>Automode File:
2. Accept the name of default.aut for the file, choose an existing file
if there is one, or type in a different name for a new file to use. Then
click Open.
3. Click Add. Then select the Interlock > OK to add the Interlock
mode to our custom automode sequence:
3 — Creating and sending messages
107
How to create and use a custom automode sequence
4. To add another mode to our custom automode sequence, click Add
again. Then select another mode and click OK.
NOTE:
The order of the modes can be changed using Move. Modes
can also be added or deleted using Add and Delete.
Using a custom Automode sequence
1. Using Site Editor, double-click the site that is to have the custom
automode. Select the Site Info tab and choose Alpha 2.0 for
Compatibility.
108
3 — Creating and sending messages
How to create and use a custom automode sequence
2. Select the Sign Info tab. Then click Automode File and select a
custom automode file:
NOTE
To revert back to the
default automode setting,
click Automode File, click
None, and then click OK.
Messages sent to this
site will now use this
custom automode.
Select OK.
3 — Creating and sending messages
109
How to create and use a custom automode sequence
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110
3 — Creating and sending messages
Reference
4 — Reference
111
Message Editor
Message Editor
Message Editor is used to create messages for signs. Text, graphics,
and animations (or flicks) can be used in messages. See Chapter 3 for
detailed instructions on using Message Editor.
File
Edit
Modes
Toolbar
Status Bar
Characters
112
Options
Snippet
View
Window
4 — Reference
Message Editor
Table 19: Message Editor
Menu Item
Description
New
Opens a new message window.
Open...
Opens an existing message file.
Close
Closes the message window.
Save
Saves a message.
Save As...
Saves the current message under a different name.
Print...
Prints a message.
Print Preview
Previews a message (in print form).
Print Setup...
Change printers, page size, and so on.
Simulate
Previews a message (in display form).
Sends a message to either every site or some sites:
This sends a message to every site.
File
Transmit...
This sends a message to only those sites that have been specified in
Message Editor. See “R & D setup (1 of 4): Site Editor (Site Info)
window” on page 30.
Edit
1 File name 1
2 File name 2
3 File name 3
4 File name 4
A list of recent message file names which can be selected and opened.
Exit
Quits Message Editor.
Undo
If highlighted, reverses the last action performed.
Cut
Deletes selected text or graphics from a message and places it on the clipboard.
Copy
Copies selected text or graphics from a message and places it on the clipboard.
Paste
Places text or graphics on the clipboard at the current cursor position in a
message.
Find...
Find Again Down...
Locates a word or phrase in a message.
Find Again Up...
4 — Reference
Replace...
Replaces text in a message with text of your choice.
Spell Check
Verifies the text in a message is spelled correctly.
113
Message Editor
Table 19: Message Editor
Menu Item
Description
Sets the availability of Message Editor drop-down menu options, whether text or
pictures will appear for modes, characters, and options, and the number of
space to insert for a tab setting.
Customize...
The type of sign
selected here
dictates the
options available
in the drop-down
menus.
Edit
(continued)
Allows you to password-protect Message Editor.
Type a password in the New
Password and Verify lines, then
click OK.
Set Password...
You will be prompted for this
password the next time you open
Message Editor.
Modes
(For more
information, see
“Using modes to
change the look of
a message” on
page 51.)
NOTE: Some
modes may not be
available on a sign.
See “Appendix B —
Modes available on
signs” on
page 137.
114
Automode
The default mode. If no other mode is selected, a message will appear in
automode. Automode cycles through a list of all other modes. The list of modes
and their sequence in the automode cycle can be customized as needed.
Flash
Flashes message.
Hold
Holds message for several seconds.
Interlock
Alternating rows of dots enter from each end of a sign and interlock a message
into the center of the sign.
Roll
Rolls the previous message off the sign while rolling the new message on.
Rotate
Rotates a message from the right to the left horizontally across a sign.
Scroll
Moves a message up one line at a time. The previous message is pushed up.
Slide
A message moves onto the sign from right to left, one character at a time.
Snow
The new message snows over and erases the current message.
Sparkle
The new message sparkles onto the sign over the current message.
Spray
A message sprays across the sign from right to left, one character at a time.
Starburst
Random starbursts explode a message onto a sign.
Switch
Alternating characters of a message slide off a sign in different directions (first
character slides up, the next down, and so on). New characters appear in the
same manner.
Twinkle
A message appears with a twinkling effect.
Wipe
The new message is wiped over the current message.
4 — Reference
Message Editor
Table 19: Message Editor
Menu Item
Description
Cycle Color
Cascades colors through the message from the bottom up.
Clock
Wipes information on and off the sign as if a second hand were sweeping
around it.
Explode
Rolls information from the center of the sign and out in all four directions at
once.
15/16 Row Normal
15/16 Row Fancy
Ten Row
The height of text in rows. For example, Seven Row Normal (or Fancy) text is 7
rows tall on a sign.
Seven Row Normal
Characters
Seven Row Fancy
See “Text comes in four basic sizes” on page 148.
Five Row
(For more
information, see
“Using characters
to change the look
of a message” on
page 54.)
NOTE: Some
characters may not
be available on a
sign. See
“Appendix C —
Character fonts and
colors available on
signs” on
page 139.
4 — Reference
Condensed
Allows selection of 15/16 Row, Ten Row, Seven Row, or Five Row in a
condensed format.
Custom
Allows selection of 15/16 Row, Ten Row, Seven Row, or Five Row in a
customized format. Custom fonts must be installed in the sign’s memory
outside of AlphaNET™ 3.0 software.
Color
Allows selection of multiple colors if you have a multicolor sign. If no color is
selected, then autocolor is set. In this case, the available colors are randomly
displayed.
Normal
The default setting for characters.
Wide
Text is displayed in bold characters.
Double Wide
Text is displayed in very bold characters.
Flashing
Allows individual or many characters to flash on and off.
Double High
Doubles the selected character height
True Descenders
When checked, the lower (or descender) part of letters such as j, g, and q are
displayed on a sign.
Fixed Width
When checked, each character takes up a fixed width like typewriter text.
Otherwise, text is displayed proportionally with varying widths.
Shadow
Allows selection of the shadow color for the message characters.
115
Message Editor
Table 19: Message Editor
Menu Item
Description
Inserts the time into a message.
Time
NOTE:
The time is based on the time stored in your computer. If your
computer’s clock is incorrect, then the time displayed on a sign will
also be incorrect.
Inserts the date into a message. A number of formats are available:
Date...
Options
Some options may
not be available on
a sign. See
“Appendix D —
Display Options
available on signs”
on page 140.
Inserts the current temperature in either Fahrenheit or Celsius into a message.
Temperature
NOTE:
This option is only available on the 790i, Solar™, and AlphaEclipse™
outdoor signs.
The Speed menu item displays 5 speeds and a No Hold option. Each speed
determines how fast messages are displayed on a sign and then replaced by the
next message.
Speed
Speed 1 is the slowest and Speed 5 is the fastest.
Use No Hold if you want your messages displayed as quickly as possible.
116
New Line
Forces a line break. Use New Line in place of a carriage return when you want
text to appear on a new line.
New Page
Acts as a page break.
Animation
Preset animations that can be displayed on most signs. For example, selecting
Cherry Bomb displays a firecracker with a burning fuse. When the fuse burns
down, the bomb explodes.
String...
Inserts a text string in a message. See “How to use real-time data in a message”
on page 103.
Ticker Symbol...
Inserts stock market symbols into a message. Future use.
4 — Reference
Message Editor
Table 19: Message Editor
Menu Item
Description
A variable does not stand for anything specific until a message is transmitted.
For example, if you run a food shop which features a daily special, then a
variable is an easy way to change your special:
First, a variable called Today’s special is placed at the start of a message:
Next, a second variable called Special price is placed at the end of the message:
The message looks like this:
Options
(continued)
Variable...
NOTE: Some
options may not be
available on a sign.
See “Appendix D —
Display Options
available on signs”
on page 140.
4 — Reference
Finally, each time the message is transmitted, you will be prompted to enter text
for both variables:
Counter
Inserts a minute, hour, or day counter in a message. For more information, see
“How to edit a counter file” on page 81.
Graphic...
Inserts bitmapped (BMP format) images into a message. For more information,
see “Creating a graphic” on page 66.
Gif...
Inserts images into a message in GIF format. For more information, see
“Creating a GIF” on page 77.
Flick...
Displays a number of bitmapped image files on a sign which gives the illusion of
movement. For more information, see “Creating a flick” on page 71.
Message...
Inserts an entire message into the current message you are editing.
117
Message Editor
Table 19: Message Editor
Menu Item
Description
Capture...
Snippet 1
Snippet
Snippet 2
Snippet 3
Snippet 4
After highlighting some text in a message, select Capture to store the text in one
of 5 snippets. This is a handy way to avoid retyping commonly-used text. When
you need to use that text, simply place the cursor in the message where you
want it to appear and then click the snippet that holds that text to paste it.
Snippet 5
Checking Toolbar displays these icons.
Toolbar
Status Bar
Checking Status Bar displays informative text on this line.
View
When Codes is checked,
the modes, characters,
and options icons will
appear in a message.
Codes
118
When Codes is not
checked, only text will
appear in a message.
4 — Reference
Message Editor
Table 19: Message Editor
Menu Item
Description
Cascade
Tile
Window
Arrange Icons
1 Alpha 1
4 — Reference
These are standard Windows® software methods of arranging windows and
icons on the screen.
These are the names of the message windows you have opened. Select a
window to make it the current window.
119
Site Manager
Site Manager
Site Manager is used to set up devices, sites, and groups. Devices
are methods of communicating with signs. For example, a modem is a
device because it talks to a sign through signals sent over a telephone line.
Sites and groups are terms used to describe how messages are sent
to signs. You create sites and groups to make sending messages to
multiple signs flexible and easy.
For more information, see “Step-by-step tutorial in setting up
connection devices, sites, and groups” on page 17.
File
Edit
Messages
View
Toolbar
Status Bar
120
4 — Reference
Site Manager
Table 20: Site Manager
Menu item
Description
Creates a new site using four tabs of setup information:
• Site Info (see “Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection devices, sites,
and groups” on page 17):
File
New Site
• Sign Info (see “Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection devices, sites,
and groups” on page 17):
Automode File and Tune File are available only if
Compatibility on the Site Info tab is set to Alpha
2.0.
4 — Reference
121
Site Manager
Table 20: Site Manager
Menu item
Description
• Group Info (see “Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection devices, sites,
and groups” on page 17):
This shows that the Manufacturing
site is part of the Production group
• Advanced (see “Step-by-step tutorial in setting up connection devices, sites,
and groups” on page 17):
File
New Site
(continued)
Offsets allows you to
correct for time zone and
temperature differences.
For example, if you are
sending messages from
the Central Standard
Time zone to a sign
located in the Eastern
Time zone (which is 1
hour ahead), you would
enter an offset of +01:00.
Delayed Send Options
permits you to delay
transmitting
messages to a sign.
This is useful if you
are using a modem to
send messages late at
night to take
advantage of lower
phone rates.
Dimming Options
allows you to dim a
sign’s LEDs by a
specified percentage at
a specific time. (This
option can only be used
with AlphaEclipse™ and
Solar™ outdoor signs.
However, the
brightness percentage
cannot be used with a
Solar™ sign.)
Memory Configuration (see “How to use real-time data in a
message” on page 103).
122
4 — Reference
Site Manager
Table 20: Site Manager
Menu item
Description
Open Site
Opens an existing site.
New Group
Creates a new group. For more information, see “Step 3: Creating or changing
the groups” on page 43.
Open Group
Opens an existing group.
Remove...
Deletes selected sites, groups, or messages.
Sends messages to one or more sites:
Transmits all
messages to
every site.
Transmits all the
messages to the
sites that are
highlighted.
File
Transmit...
Transmits all the
messages to only
the sites listed
here.
Exit
4 — Reference
Quits Site Manager.
123
Site Manager
Table 20: Site Manager
Menu item
Connection Device...
Description
Ways to connect a sign to a PC that is running AlphaNET™ 3.0 software. There
are four types of connection devices: direct cable (local), modem (remote),
wireless, and Local Area Network (LAN).
For more information, see “Step 1: Creating or changing the connection
devices” on page 19.
Sets up from 1 to 5 numerical counters which can be used in messages or to
trigger the display of other messages.
Counter File...
The counter in this message counts up to
50 days then restarts from 0.
For more information, see “How to edit a counter file” on page 81.
One or more files can be created so that a message can cycle through a
customized list of selected modes.
Automode File…
Edit
Select All
If you have a message selected from the message list, then all messages in the
list are selected. The same applies to sites and groups.
Deselect All
The opposite of Select All.
There are three panes in the Site Manager window (see below). Selecting Switch
Pane moves from the current pane to another pane.
Message pane
Switch Pane
Site pane
Group pane
124
Preferences
Allows you to save run times for recently added messages.
Set Password
Allows you to password-protect Site Manager.
4 — Reference
Site Manager
Table 20: Site Manager
Menu item
Description
Add...
Adds a message to the end of the current message list.
Insert...
Inserts a message above the message that is currently selected.
Replace...
Replaces the message currently selected with another message of your choice.
Sets the times when a message appears on a sign:
Messages
Schedule...
In this example,
the message
will display
every Monday
from 10:50 a.m.
to 12:00 p.m.
Note: Sites that have Compatibility on the Site Info tab set to Alpha 2.0 can
schedule messages using dates. Select Date for the start day to activate a
calendar.
Edit
Opens the selected message in Message Editor.
Checking Toolbar
displays these icons.
Toolbar
View
Status Bar
Checking Status Bar
displays informative
text on this line.
4 — Reference
125
Communications Manager
Communications Manager
Communications Manager keeps track of messages you send to
signs and reports on transmission errors. When a message is transmitted,
it goes through Communications Manager before going to a sign.
File
126
4 — Reference
Communications Manager
Table 21: Communications Manager
Menu item
Description
Allows you to see the status of messages being transmitted to a site:
View
Remove
Removes selected messages from the job list. When this is done, the removed
messages do not appear.
View Log
Shows all items sent each day and creates a log file for each day’s items.
Shows the message error log which is a list of failed message transmissions. Use
Resubmit to resend a failed transmission, Details to see the details of a particular
transmission, and Delete to remove a job.
File
Error Log
Use to enable or disable saving the log file. You can also set how many days of
log files will be saved. This is useful is you have limited disk space. Also, a 24hour time format (00:00 to 23:59 instead of using AM or PM) can be set for all
signs.
Set Options
Exit
4 — Reference
When this is checked, all
signs will display the time in
24-hour format (for example,
13:00 instead of 1:00 PM).
Quits Communications Manager.
127
Diagnostics
Diagnostics
Diagnostics allows you to test the functions of a single Alpha® sign
or a network of Alpha® signs. Diagnostics can:
•
•
transmit messages or beeps to a sign.
receive specific information (serial address, firmware version, time,
temperature, and so on) from a sign.
• set specific information (date, time, temperature, and so on) on a sign.
• reset a sign.
• clear a sign’s memory.
Diagnostics can only be launched through the Start menu
(Start>Programs>AlphaNET>Diagnostics). Any changes you make
within the Diagnostics application will be saved and appear the next time
you open it.
For the best diagnostic result, perform one Diagnostics function at a
time. A log file, which contains a record of each function Diagnostics is
asked to perform, is automatically created and stored in the same
directory as the software itself.
Allows you to
change the settings
of a specific
communication
method. Settings
windows appear
for the chosen
communication
method when this
button is clicked,
or when a specific
Communications
method is clicked.
Allows you to
change the
settings of the
action selected.
Reads “Connected” when you are
connected to the modem. Otherwise
reads “Disconnected.”
128
Closes the
Diagnostics
application.
Allows you to view
Cancels an action.
Diagnostics logs.
4 — Reference
Diagnostics
Each action in Diagnostics requires that you select the address of
the signs on which you want information. To do this, click the Select
Address button when it appears:
It is generally better and
much faster to retrieve
information when you
specify the address of a
particular sign or signs
rather than choosing all
addresses.
Select Selected Addresses
and then use the Address to
Add to List drop-down
menus to specify the
address of the sign on which
you want information. Then
click Add. Repeat for each
sign address.
Note that the addresses
must be added in
hexadecimal.
Click OK
when done.
4 — Reference
129
Diagnostics
Table 22: Diagnostics
Menu item
Description
Use the drop-down menus to set the COM port, baud rate, and data format for a serial
or wireless connection:
Serial/Wireless
Click here if you
want AlphaNET™
to determine this
information for
you.
Complete the information for the transmitting modem for a modem connection:
Communications
Modem
Fill in the IP Address and Port information for a TCP/IP connection:
TCP/IP
Actions
130
Connect to Modem
Connects Diagnostics to the receiving modem in your sign.
Disconnect Modem
Disconnects Diagnostics from the receiving modem in your sign.
4 — Reference
Diagnostics
Menu item
Description
Displays the information you can request from a sign.
Read Information
from Sign
Select the information you want Diagnostics to retrieve by clicking the appropriate
boxes, and then select the sign addresses. When finished, click Send.
Allows you to set specific information on a sign.
Actions
Configure Sign
Complete the appropriate information and then select the sign addresses. When
finished, click Send. Use the Status area to view a log of the connection.
Click Stop when you want to stop the transmission before its completion.
4 — Reference
131
Diagnostics
Menu item
Description
Allows you to set additional specific information on a sign.
Configure Sign
(Advanced)
Actions
Complete the information you want Diagnostics to set, and then select the sign
addresses. When finished, click Send.
Allows you to continually check a sign’s internal or external temperature.
Continuous Read
Temperature
Select which temperature Diagnostics should check, then use the drop-down menu to
choose how often. Finally, select the sign addresses. When finished, click Start. Use
the Results area to view a log of the temperatures.
Click Stop when you want to stop the transmission.
132
4 — Reference
Diagnostics
Menu item
Description
Allows you to send a message to one or more signs, or to continually send a series of
messages to one or more signs.
Broadcast Message
Set up the broadcast message and then the transmission settings, and then select the
sign addresses. When finished, click Send.
Clear Memory
Deletes all text and DOTS files from a sign. Choose the sign addresses in the Select
Addresses window that appears and click OK.
Reset Sign
Restarts a sign. Choose the sign addresses in the Select Addresses window that
appears and click OK.
Actions
Identifies a sign.
Network Query
Choose whether you want to check all addresses or up to the highest address, and
then click OK.
Beep
Sends three short beeps to a sign. Choose the sign addresses in the Select Addresses
window that appears and click OK.
Indicates whether any LEDs have burned out in a sign.
Lamp Test
Set the appropriate information and then select the sign addresses. When finished,
click Send.
Results
4 — Reference
Information about an action Diagnostics performs is logged here.
133
Diagnostics
THIS PAGE INTENTIONALLY BLANK
134
4 — Reference
Appendix
5 — Appendix
135
Appendix A — Macintosh® computer setup
Appendix A — Macintosh® computer setup
The following instructions describe how to use a Macintosh®
computer running Virtual PC1 with AlphaNET™ 3.0 software.
Required software and hardware
Table 23: Required software
Qty
Part #
1
—
Macintosh® G4 computer
1
—
Virtual PC1 for Macintosh® (This emulates Windows® 98, ME, and 2000 software.)
1
Description
Available from MacWarehouse (800-255-6227).
Single sign connection
Table 24: Single sign connection
A
C
B
To the
sign’s
RS232 or
TTL port
D
To the DIN8
modem
port
Macintosh® G4
running Virtual PC
and AlphaNET™
software
Item
Part #
Description
A
—
This can be either an: Alpha® 200, 300, 4000, or 7000 series, AlphaVision™,
Big Dot®, BetaBrite®, Director™, Solar™, or PPD™ (Personal Priority Display)
sign.
10888625
25-foot 6-conductor RS232 data cable
10888627
50-foot 6-conductor RS232 data cable
C
43700001C
25 pin sub-D/to 6 pos. RJ11 adapter
D
—
B
DB25-to-DIN8 hardware handshake modem cable (Supra Corporation, 800-7278772, part # 33-2025-PL).
Multiple sign connection
Since there are a number of ways to network signs, see the
Networking Alpha Signs manual (pn 97000112).
136
5 — Appendix
Appendix B — Modes available on signs
Appendix B — Modes available on signs
Modes are special effects used to change the way a message
appears on a sign and are used in Message Editor:
Open Message Editor and click
the Modes drop-down menu.
Available only on the AlphaEclipse™
PureColor™ 3600 Series sign.
200 Series
220C
300 Series
420C
● ● ● ● ● ●
● ● ● ● ●
● ● ● ● ●
● ● ● ●
● ● ● ● ●
1
● ● 1
●
● ● ●
● ● ●
●
● ●
● ● ● ● ●
● ● ●
7000 Series
● ● ● ● ● ●
●
● ●
● ● ● ● ●
● ● ●
Big Dot®
● ● ● ● ● ●
● ● ● ●
● ● ● ● ●
● ● ●
AlphaVision™
(Full Matrix)
AlphaVision™
(Char Matrix)
790i,
430i, 440i, 460i
● ● ● ● ● ●
●
● ●
● ● ●
● ● ● ● ● ●
●
● ●
● ● ● ● ●
● ● ●
Solar™
● ● ● ● ● ●
●
● ●
● ● ● ● ●
● ● ●
BetaBrite®
● ● ● ● ●
Director™
● ● ●
PPD™
●
● ● ● ● ● ●
Explode
Clock
●
● ● ●
● ● ● ● ● ●
● ● ●
Cycle Color
● ● ●
4000 Series
●
In/Out (vertical)
In /Out (horizontal)
Up/Down/Left/Right
Twinkle
Wipe
Switch
1
Switch half the display
Starburst
Switch
Spray
Snow
● ● ● ● ●
● ● ● ●
● ● ● ● 1
Sparkle
Slide
Slide
● ● ● ●
● ● ● ● 1
● ● ● ● ● ●
Slide -> Cycle Color
Scroll
Condensed
Standard
In/Out (vertical)
In/Out (horizontal)
Interlock
Up/Down/Left/Right
Hold
Flash
Sign
Automode
Roll
Rotate
Modes
●
● ●
● ● ● ●
● ● ● ● ●
● ● ●
●
● ●
●
● ●
● ● ● ● ●
● ● ●
● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●
AlphaEclipse™
● ● ● ● ●
● ●
● ●
AlphaPremiere™
● ● ● ● ●
● ●
● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ● ●
1
If the Slide mode is selected for either the 220C or 420C sign, the Cycle Color mode will be used instead. The same applies to the Spray mode for the 420C
sign only.
5 — Appendix
137
Appendix B — Modes available on signs
Table 25: Mode descriptions
Mode
138
Function
Automode
This is the default mode, which actually consists of using all other modes available
to each sign. If no other mode is selected, the message will appear in automode.
Flash
All characters flash off and on from the point of Flash mode until the point where
another mode is selected, if any.
Hold
Holds the message or specified text in a fixed place for several seconds.
Interlock
Alternating rows of dots enter from each direction on a sign and interlock to form
the message in the center of the sign.
Roll
Rolls the characters in the message in their entirety onto the sign in the desired
direction. You can choose to roll up, down, left, right, in, or out.
Rotate
Rotates a message from right to left across the sign without stopping. For certain
signs, text can be condensed or standard.
Scroll
Moves the message one line at a time from the bottom to top of the sign. The
previous line is pushed off the sign.
Slide
The message moves onto the sign from one direction to the other, one character at
a time.
Snow
The dots of each character in the message fall randomly onto the sign as if it is
snowing.
Sparkle
The message sparkles onto the sign by randomly filling the letters of the message
(at the start of the message display only).
Spray
The message is sprayed onto and across the sign, left to right, column by column,
and character by character.
Starburst
Random starbursts explode over and around letters of the message on the sign.
Switch
Alternating characters of the message slide onto the sign from different directions.
In other words, the first character slides up, the next down, and so on. For some
signs, instead of alternating characters switching, one half of the message on the
sign slides up while the other half of the message slides down.
Twinkle
The message appears in its entirety in a twinkling effect with lights flickering off
and on for the duration of the message display.
Wipe
The message is wiped onto the sign in the direction specified, filling in each of the
characters row by row or column by column. It looks as if it is washing over the
old message. You can choose to roll up, down, left, right, in, or out.
Cycle Color
Colors cascade through the message from the bottom up.
Clock
The message is wiped off and then on the display as if a second hand were
sweeping around it.
Explode
The message rolls from the center of a display outward in all four directions at
once.
5 — Appendix
Appendix C — Character fonts and colors available on signs
Appendix C — Character fonts and colors available on signs
AlphaNET™ 3.0 software allows you to change the character
shapes and colors that are used in messages. The Characters option and
colors are used in Message Editor:
Open Message Editor and click the
Characters drop-down menu.
The Condensed and Custom characters
allow selection of 15/16 Row, Ten Row,
Seven Row, or Five row in condensed or
customized format. To use them, custom
fonts must be installed in the sign’s
memory outside of the AlphaNET™ 3.0
software.
Available only on the AlphaEclipse™
PureColor™ 3600 Series sign.
Double Wide
●
220C
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
300 Series
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
420C
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
4000 Series
●
●
7000 Series
●
●
●
Big Dot®
AlphaVision™
(full matrix)
●
●
AlphaVision™
(character matrix)
●
●
790i,
430i, 440i, 460i
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
BetaBrite®
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
Director™
●
●
●
●
PPD™
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
Solar™
AlphaEclipse™
●
●
AlphaPremiere™
●
●
NOTE:
5 — Appendix
●
●
●
Shadow
Wide
●
Fixed Width
Normal
●
True Descenders
Color (see NOTE)
●
Double Height
Five Row
●
Flashing
Seven Row Fancy
●
Ten Row
●
15/16 Row Fancy
200 Series
Sign
15/16 Row Normal
Seven Row Normal
Characters
●
●
●
●
●
Sign names ending in “C”, such as 4120C, have color capabilities. Sign names ending in “R”,
such as 4120R, can display in red only.
139
Appendix D — Display Options available on signs
Appendix D — Display Options available on signs
Options is a Message Editor menu composed of special features,
such as animation, and is used by AlphaNET™ 3.0 software to enhance
the way a message appears on a sign:
Open Message Editor and click
the Options drop-down menu.
Not available on an AlphaEclipse™
PureColor™ 3600 Series sign.
String
Ticker Symbol
Variable
Counter
Graphic (see NOTE)
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
220C
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
300 Series
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
420C
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
4000 Series
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
7000 Series
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
Big Dot®
●
●
●
●
AlphaVision™
(full matrix)
AlphaVision™
(character matrix)
790i,
430i, 440i, 460i
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
Solar™
●
●
BetaBrite®
●
Director™
●
●
●
●
Message
Animation
●
Flick (see NOTE)
New Line
●
Gif (see NOTE)
Speed
●
New Page
Date
●
Celsius
Time
200 Series
Fahrenheit
Sign
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
PPD™
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
AlphaEclipse™
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
AlphaPremiere™
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
NOTE:
140
Temperature
Options
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
A graphic, gif, or flick must be designed for the resolution of the sign. For example, a 4120C sign
has a resolution of 120 columns by 16 rows. Therefore, in order to fit on a 4120C, an image can be
no greater than 120 x 16 pixels in size.
5 — Appendix
Appendix E — Understanding message line positions (Top, Middle, Bottom, Fill)
Appendix E — Understanding message line positions
(Top, Middle, Bottom, Fill)
Line position refers to where a message is displayed on a sign —
the top, middle, bottom, or fill. Line position is available with most
modes, such as Hold, Snow, or Sparkle.
An example of line position follows:
Line Position: How the message appears in the Editor:
How the message appears on a 2-line sign:
Top
Middle
Bottom
Fill
If you do not select one of these four
positions, an Alpha® sign will
automatically display your message
using the Automode mode and the
Fill line position.
When you use the Fill line position, the sign
will try to fill both lines with the message.
Types of signs
Signs are categorized by number of lines of text.
•
•
•
•
5 — Appendix
Single-line (BetaBrite®, 215R & 215C, 220, 300 series, 400 series,
Big Dot®) — These signs are of varying lengths but are always 7 dots
high.
Two-line (4000 series) — These signs are of varying lengths but are
always 16 dots high.
Three-line (7000 series) and multiple-line full matrix
(AlphaVision™) — These signs are of varying heights and widths.
Multiple-line character matrix (AlphaVision™, Director™).
141
Appendix E — Understanding message line positions (Top, Middle, Bottom, Fill)
•
These signs are of varying heights and widths, but have character
blocks with spaces between.
Single-line signs (BetaBrite®, 215R & 215C, 220, 300 series, 400 series, Big
Dot®)
On a single-line sign, all characters line up at the bottom of the sign
and work their way up as many dots as the font supports. For example:
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
•
Exception conditions:
If the sign receives a font that is larger than the sign can display, it
will size it down.
7-high normal characters are substituted for any 15-high normal
characters.
7-high fancy characters are substituted for any 15-high fancy
characters, and so on.
If a graphic is received that is taller than the display can show, the top
seven rows are displayed.
If a graphic is received that is wider than the display can show, it will
show the left-most columns of the picture.
If a graphic is received that is smaller than seven dots tall, it will be
displayed from the bottom of the sign up, similar to the 5-dot
character set shown above.
If a character set is not established in the message, 7-high normal
characters are used.
If top, bottom, or fill positions are received, middle is used.
Two-line signs (4000 series)
Top position
On a double-line sign, the Top position is defined as the top 7 dots
of the sign and operates in the same manner as a one-line sign. See
exception conditions for a single-line 7-row sign.
Bottom position
The Bottom position is defined as the bottom 7 dots of the sign and
is treated as a one-line sign. See exception conditions for a for a singleline 7-row sign.
Middle position
The Middle position is treated as though it were one line of 16 dots.
Each line of text presented on that line is prescanned to determine the
largest piece of text (or graphic object) to be displayed. The line of text is
then vertically centered based on the largest object. For example, if you
have a line of text which has mostly 5-high characters, but has one
10-high character, the line is viewed as a 10-row high line, and since this
is a 16-row sign, that leaves 6 extra rows — 3 blank rows on the top and 3
142
5 — Appendix
Appendix E — Understanding message line positions (Top, Middle, Bottom, Fill)
blank rows on the bottom. All text and objects are then lined up to this
new virtual bottom (the 13th line) and treated the same as in a single-line
sign.
•
•
•
•
Exception conditions:
If the sign receives a font that is larger than the sign can display, it
will size it down. On this sign, in the middle position, the only
characters that are too large are characters using the double-high
control code. This control code is ignored.
If a graphic is received that is taller than the display can show, the top
sixteen rows are displayed.
If a graphic is received that is wider than the display can show, it will
show the left-most columns of the picture.
If a character set is not established in the message, 16-high normal
characters are used.
Fill position
On a 4000 series sign, the Fill position indicates that you want to
use no more than 7-high characters and that you want to fit as much text
on the screen as you can. When in this mode, the sign views itself as
having two lines of 7-high characters and no means of handling a
character set larger than 7-high. If a graphic is selected, at most seven
rows of that graphic will be displayed. If the last piece of text to be
displayed (towards the end of the message) is only one line of text, the
sign will place 4 blank rows of dots at the top and the bottom of the text in
order to center the last line of text vertically.
If the sign is operating on the top row, the bottom of that row is
assumed to be the 7th row of dots. All text is started from there and
worked up. (5-row characters will use rows 3 – 7, while 7-row characters
will use rows 1 – 7.)
If the sign is operating on the bottom row, it works its way up from
row 16. (5-row characters will use rows 12 – 16, while 7-row characters
will use rows 10 – 16.)
•
•
•
•
5 — Appendix
Exception conditions:
If the sign receives top, bottom, or fill modes and also a font that is
larger than 7-high, it will size it down. 7-high normal characters are
substituted for any 15-high normal characters. 7-high fancy
characters are substituted for any 15-high fancy characters received,
and so on.
If a graphic is received that is taller than 7 rows high (15-high for the
Middle position), the top 7 rows (top 15 for the Middle position) are
displayed.
If a graphic is received that is longer than the display can show, it will
show the left-most columns of the picture.
If a character set is not established in the message, 7-high normal
characters are used.
143
Appendix E — Understanding message line positions (Top, Middle, Bottom, Fill)
Triple-line (7000 series) and AlphaVision™ Full Matrix
Top/Bottom
These two positions work together. There is an imaginary line
between the top half and the bottom half of the display. We will call this
line the centerline. In the example below, the centerline is between the
Hello and the lots of text about basically. The centerline divides what is
used on the sign for top position commands from what is used for bottom.
Centerline
Establishing the position of the centerline
The centerline position is typically established by the first top
command received and the rest of the space is used for the bottom. If the
bottom command comes first, the centerline is placed at its highest
possible position, row 8, allowing for one line of 7-dot characters on the
top. If the top command comes first, and not the bottom, the centerline’s
position is determined by the amount of text following the position
command.
•
•
•
Examples:
If one 7-dot high line of text is received (following a top command),
the centerline will be fixed at row 8.
If one line of 10-dot characters is received (following a top
command), the centerline will be placed at position 11.
If two lines of 5-dot high characters are received (following a top
command), the centerline is placed at row 12 (5 for each line of text,
plus the 2 blank rows between the lines).
Two exceptions to the above rules are as follows:
The centerline is never placed higher than 8 rows from the top of the
sign.
• The centerline is never placed lower than 8 rows from the bottom of
the sign. This ensures that there is always room for one line of 7-dot
high characters on the top or bottom (including one blank row).
Once its position is established, the centerline remains fixed at that
position until a Fill or Middle position command is received. All
subsequent top or bottom position commands use the amount of space set
by the position of the centerline. You cannot change the position of the
•
144
5 — Appendix
Appendix E — Understanding message line positions (Top, Middle, Bottom, Fill)
centerline with a second top/bottom command. For example:
Message
Centerline
Middle position
The Middle position is treated as though it were one line as many
dots high as the sign is tall. Each line of text presented on that line is
prescanned to determine the largest piece of text (or graphic object) to be
displayed. The line of text is then vertically centered based on that largest
object. For example, if you have a line of text which has mostly 5-high
characters, but has one 10-high character, the line is viewed as a 10-row
high line. Assuming this is a 24-row sign, that would leave 14 extra rows
— 7 blank rows on the top and 7 blank rows on the bottom. All text and
objects are then lined up to this new virtual bottom (the 21st line) and
treated the same as in a single line sign.
•
•
•
Exception conditions:
If a graphic is received that is larger than what the display can show,
the top-most rows are displayed.
If a graphic is received that is longer than the display can show, it will
show the left most columns of the picture.
If a character set is not established in the message, 7-high normal
characters are used.
Fill position
On a 7000 series or AlphaVision™ sign, the Fill position indicates
that you wish to fit as much text on the screen as you can. On these signs,
as opposed to the 4000 series, you can select character sets larger than
7-high in the Fill position. The sign will start from the top of the screen
working down. If you select a 15-row character set, the sign will fit as
many 15-row lines of text on the screen as possible. As soon as the sign
detects that the next line will not fit, it will stop creating the current page
and display it. The next page will begin with the line that would not have
fit. If the text does not use up the entire display, the sign will center the
text vertically, splitting the blank space between the top and the bottom.
•
•
5 — Appendix
Exception conditions:
If a graphic is received that is taller than seven rows high, the top
seven rows are displayed.
If a graphic is received that is wider than the display can show, it will
show the left-most columns of the picture.
145
Appendix E — Understanding message line positions (Top, Middle, Bottom, Fill)
•
•
If a graphic is received that is smaller than seven dots tall, it will be
displayed from the bottom of the sign up, similar to the 5 dot
character set explained above.
If a character set is not established in the message, 7-high normal
characters are used.
AlphaVision™ Character Matrix sign
This sign works exactly like the three-line (7000 series) and
AlphaVision™ Full Matrix signs, with the following exceptions.
•
•
•
146
Exception conditions:
If a mode other than Wipe is received, it is replaced with Hold.
An AlphaVision™ sign ignores any of the following: graphics, any
character set command except 5- and 7-high normal wide, doublewide, double-high, true descenders, proportional spacing, and
animations.
If a character set is not established in the message, 7-high normal
characters are used.
5 — Appendix
Appendix F — How text and graphics are displayed on signs
Appendix F — How text and graphics are displayed on signs
Each sign is made up of a display area of columns and rows of LED
pixels that can be turned on and off and that can display different colors
(for color signs).
Columns and rows make up a sign
For example, a 4120C (or 4120R) sign has a total display area of
120 x 16:
Rows = 16
Columns = 120
Table 26: The number of columns and rows in signs
Display area
(col x rows)
Sign
BetaBrite®
Big Dot®
215 Series
220
300 Series
4000 Series
7000 Series
Outdoor displays
AlphaVision™
Director™
PPD™
AlphaPremiere™ Series
NOTE:
5 — Appendix
1-line sign
1-line sign
215R or C
220C
320C or R
330C or R
4080C or R
4120C or R
4160C or R
4200C or R
4240C or R
7080C
7120C
7160C
7200C
790i
80 x 7
80 x 7
90 x 7
2 lines of 120 x 7
120 x 7
180 x 7
80 x 16
120 x 16
160 x 16
200 x 16
240 x 16
80 X 24
120 x 24
160 x 24
200 x 24
90 x 7
Colors
8
1
8
3
3
1
Solar™ series
96 x 16 to 192 x 16
1
AlphaEclipse™
various
1
Display areas from 128 x 32 to 256 x 128.
3
8 lines of 16 characters
8
2 lines of 120 x 7
1
9080C or R
80 x 32
9120C or R
120 x 32
9160C or R
160 x 32
9200C or R
200 x 32
9240C or R
240 x 32
3
Sign names ending in “C”, such as 4120C, have color capabilities. Sign names
ending in “R”, such as 4120R, can display in red only.
147
Appendix F — How text and graphics are displayed on signs
Text comes in four basic sizes
The Characters menu contains a list of available text sizes, such as
15/16 Row Normal and Ten Row, and options such as Wide and Flashing:
Text sizes are selected from the
Characters menu. (The default
text size is Seven Row Normal.)
Other text options can also be
selected here.
The four basic text sizes are 15/16 Row (Normal and Fancy), Ten
Row, Seven Row (Normal and Fancy), and Five Row. These are also
available in compressed form. Customized variations can be installed into
the sign’s firmware and accessed in the software.
Below are examples of how the message Las Vegas $85, Chicago
$199 would appear on a two-line 4120C or 4120R sign in all four basic
text sizes (except Ten Row):
15/16 Row Normal
Characters are 15 or 16 rows high and about 9 columns wide:
Seven Row Normal
Characters are 7 rows high and about 6 columns wide:
Five Row
Characters are 5 rows high and about 5 columns wide:
148
5 — Appendix
Appendix F — How text and graphics are displayed on signs
Graphics must be bitmapped to a sign’s columns and rows
Before you create a bitmap image for a sign, you must first know
the display area of that sign. (See “Columns and rows make up a sign” on
page 147).
The columns and rows that make up a sign’s display area also
represent the maximum pixel size of an image that can be put on the sign.
For example, a 4120C (or 4130R) sign has a total display area of 120
columns x 16 rows. This means that the largest image a 4120C could
display would be 120 pixels long x 16 pixels high:
A graphic may be too big for some signs
Because signs vary in size, make sure the images you create can fit
on all your signs:
Though this 32 x 16 pixel
bitmap fits easily on a twoline 4120C sign, only the
top part appears on a oneline 215C sign.
A graphic may be the wrong color for some signs
Only sign names ending in “C” have color capabilities such as the
4120C. Sign names ending in “R”, like the 4120R, can only display red:
4120C
(a multi-color
sign)
Yellow
Red
Green
4120R
(a red-only
sign)
5 — Appendix
The entire graphic
appears in red.
149
Appendix F — How text and graphics are displayed on signs
Paint Shop Pro — an image editor
At a minimum, the program you use should have a zoom feature
which allows you to magnify the image you are editing because images
used on signs are typically 32 x 32 pixels or less in size. (That’s very
small!)
You will need a program to create and edit bitmapped images.
Image editing software examples in this manual illustrate version 5.03 of
Paint Shop Pro (the steps are similar for newer versions of Paint Shop
Pro).
The latest version of Paint Shop Pro is available from Corel at
www.corel.com. They typically offer a 30-day demostration version.
However, there is a number of programs designed for editing graphics.
You can search for “open source graphic program” or freeware or
shareware to get started.
While there are many great commercial programs available, you
may not need all their features—or want to pay the price for them.
Paint Shop Pro has many features, including a zoom.
Paint Shop Pro has many
functions including a zoom
feature which can magnify small
images.
Where can you get a copy of Paint Shop Pro?
•
150
World Wide Web
http://www.corel.com/
5 — Appendix
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