Adaptive Micro Systems AlphaPremiere 9000 Series Specifications

Adaptive Micro Systems AlphaPremiere 9000 Series Specifications
Networking Alpha Signs
http://www.adaptivedisplays.com/support/network
This manual applies to these signs
This manual does not apply to these signs
200 series
AlphaTicker
300 series
AlphaEclipse
400 series
Alpha Solar
Big Dot
AlphaVision InfoTracker
Personal Priority Display
4000 series
7000 series
AlphaPremiere 9000 series
For networking information on these signs, refer to http://www.ams-i.com.
Director
AlphaVision
Serial Clock
This manual is included with the following Adaptive products:
•
Converter Box III—see “Converter Box III (pn 1088-1111)” on page 21.
•
Alpha Ethernet Adapter—see “Alpha Ethernet Adapter” on page 25.
•
Alpha Ethernet Adapter—see “Alpha Ethernet Adapter II” on page 26.
•
MSS100 Micro Serial Server—see “Lantronix MSS100 (pn 1088-4113A)” on page 28.
•
MSS485 Micro serial Server—see “Lantronix MSS485 (pn 1088-4112A)” on page 29.
•
AlphaPremiere 9000 series signs
© Copyright 1998–2003 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
Trademarked names appear throughout this document. Rather than list the names and entities that own the trademarks or insert a trademark symbol with each mention of the trademarked
name, the publisher states that it is using names for editorial purposes and to the benefit of the trademark owner with no intention of improperly using the trademark.
The following are trademarks of Adaptive Micro Systems: ActiveX, Adaptive, Alpha, AlphaLert, AlphaNET, AlphaNet plus, AlphaEclipse, AlphaPremiere, AlphaTicker, AlphaVision,
AlphaVision InfoTracker, Automode, BetaBrite, BetaBrite Director, BetaBrite Messaging Software, Big Dot, Director, EZ KEY II, EZ95, PagerNET, PPD, PrintPak, Serial Clock, Smart Alec,
Solar, TimeNet.
The distinctive trade dress of this product is a trademark claimed by Adaptive Micro Systems, LLC.
Due to continuing product innovation, specifications in this manual are subject to change without notice.
October 8, 2003
9700-0112C
October 8, 2003
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
Contents
Network overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 4
Wired network—serial . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
Wired network—LAN. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .4
Wireless network—transceiver . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .5
Modem network. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
Mixed network . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .6
Detailed information. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7
Wired networks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 8
Serial—preliminary information. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .8
RS232—single sign. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10
RS485—single sign. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .10
RS485—multiple signs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .11
LAN—preliminary information. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .12
LAN—single sign. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .13
LAN—multiple signs . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .14
Modem networks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 16
Modem—preliminary information . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .16
Modem—single sign (RS232) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .17
Modem—multiple signs (RS485) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .18
Mixed networks . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 19
Network interfaces . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 20
Converter Box III . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .21
USB-to-DB9 Serial Adapter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .23
Alpha Ethernet Adapter . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .25
Alpha Ethernet Adapter II . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .26
Lantronix MSS100 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .28
Lantronix MSS485 . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .29
Network cables and adapters . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 31
Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .31
25-foot RS232 cable (pn 1036-9010) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .32
3-foot 6-conductor cable (pn 1088-8621) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .33
8-foot RS485 cable (pn 1088-8624) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .34
25-foot RS232 cable (pn 1088-8625) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .35
8-foot RS485 back-to-back cable (pn 1088-8626). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .36
50-foot RS232 cable (pn 1088-8627) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .37
2
Contents
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
October 8, 2003
10-foot computer-to-Converter Box III Type A9 RS232 cable (pn 1088-8634) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .38
10-foot modem-to-Converter Box III Type B9 RS232 cable (pn 1088-8635). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .39
1-foot RS485 cable (pn 1088-8636) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .40
End-of-Line (EOL) terminator (pn 1088-9107) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .41
RJ12-to-DB9 adapter (pn 1088-9108) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .42
8-inch Ethernet cable (pn 1088-9317) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .43
Modular Network Adapter (pn 4331-0602) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .44
RS232 cable connector (pn 4331-0603) . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .45
RJ12-to-DB25 adapter (pn 4370-0001C). . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .46
Network messaging software. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 47
Overview . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47
Alpha Messaging Software . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47
AlphaNET Software . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .47
Smart Alec Software . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .48
Alpha Marquee ActiveX Control . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .48
Appendix . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 49
Appendix A—Related documentation . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .49
Appendix B—End-of-line termination . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .50
Appendix C—RS485 Echo . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .52
Appendix D—Setting the RS232/RS485 jumper . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .53
Appendix E—Serial and power connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .55
Appendix F—Alternate sign connections . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .56
Appendix G—Modular Network Adapter to Converter Box III wiring . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .61
Appendix H—Assigning an IP address to a serial server . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .62
Appendix I—Setting up messaging software for TCP/IP networking . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .64
Glossary. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 65
Contents
3
October 8, 2003
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
Network overview
Alpha signs can be networked together in the following ways:
•
Wired—a network in which there is a physical connection, such as with cables and servers, between a PC
and one or more signs. A wired network is either serial or LAN.
•
Wireless—a network in which there is no physical connection between a PC and one or more signs. A
wireless network uses transceivers.
•
Modem—a network in which there is a telephone line connection between a PC and one or more signs. A
modem network uses modems.
•
Mixed—a combination of a wired, wireless, and modem network.
Wired network—serial
This configuration is a simple serial connection, which means that a sign connects directly to the serial port on
a PC through a cable.
RS232
Alpha sign
Wired network—LAN
There are several ways to connect an Alpha sign to a TCP/IP network. However, in the configuration below,
signs connect to an Ethernet LAN using an Alpha Ethernet Adapter, which helps a PC communicate with the signs
attached to that network. On some signs, this adapter is internal. On other signs, such as the AlphaPremiere, an
internal Ethernet adapter is used.
Signs can also connect to an Ethernet LAN using MSS100 or MSS485 micro serial servers. These configurations
are documented later in this manual.
Ethernet
Alpha sign
4
Alpha sign
Alpha sign
Network overview
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
October 8, 2003
Wireless network—transceiver
A wireless network is an effective choice when:
•
the cost of a wired connection is too expensive,
•
the sign is at a greater distance than is recommended,
•
you cannot physically run wiring to the sign’s location, or
•
the signs may frequently change location.
Wireless networks allow you to transfer data between PCs and signs that are not physically connected. A PC
communicates with one or more signs through a transceiver (transmitter/receiver). One transceiver at the PC (the
master transceiver) transmits messages to a second transceiver (the remote transceiver) in or attached to a sign
located elsewhere.
There are two types of wireless networks:
•
LAWN (Local Area Wireless Network)
•
WAWN (Wide Area Wireless Network)
Adaptive Micro Systems does not provide wireless messaging hardware or technical communication services
for most Alpha indoor signs. If you are interested in this type of network, we recommend you visit the following
Web sites for more information:
•
WaveWare Technologies (http://www.wirelessmessaging.com)
•
Reach Wireless (http://www.reachwireless.com)
•
Metrocall/DirectView (http://www.metrocall.com/directview)
•
Ticker Communications (http://www.tickercom.com)
Alpha sign
Alpha sign
Alpha sign
Network overview
5
October 8, 2003
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
Modem network
This configuration connects signs to a PC through a modem. It is used when the signs and the PCs are a great
distance from each other.
Alpha sign
Mixed network
A mixed network involves a combination of two or more network types. In the configuration below, a PC
connects to one sign by a modem and additional signs through a serial cable:
Alpha sign
RS232
RS485
Alpha sign
RS485
Alpha sign
In this configuration, a PC on a LAN is connected to an outdoor sign through a wireless network:
Alpha sign
LAN
6
Network overview
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
October 8, 2003
Detailed information
To go directly to the type of network you want, use the following:
Network type
Wired networks
Go to page
8
Serial—preliminary information*
8
Serial RS232 (single sign)
10
Serial RS485 (single sign)
10
Serial RS485 (multiple signs)
11
LAN—preliminary information*
12
LAN (single sign)
13
LAN (multiple signs)
14
Modem networks
Modem—preliminary information*
16
16
Modem (single sign)
17
Modem (multiple signs)
18
Mixed networks
Wireless networks—transceiver
19
http://www.wirelessmessaging.com
or
http://www.reachwireless.com
or
http://www.metrocall.com/directview
or
http://www.tickercom.com
*Contains information you need to know prior to setting up that type of network.
Network overview
7
October 8, 2003
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
Wired networks
Serial—preliminary information
With serial connections, either RS232 or RS485 cable is used. Selecting which cable to use depends on the
distance from the PC to the sign:
Distance from PC to sign
Recommended cable
Less than 50 feet
RS232 cable
Greater than 50 feet but less than 4000
RS485 cable*
*Additional hardware is needed to accommodate the longer distance.
All cables should be kept as short as possible to reduce interference and quicken the process of sending the
data. See your sign’s installation manual for maximum serial speed.
NOTE: Because it will not create toxic fumes, plenum cable (pn 1088-8002 and pn 7122-0283) should be used
anytime there is either a potential for fire or where cabling is run near common ventilation, such as in
the ceiling, near cold air returns, or as local electrical codes require. Do not use standard RS485 cable
(pn 1088-8624 and pn 1088-8636) in these cases — use only plenum cable.
On some signs, an internal jumper must be set to either RS232 or RS485 depending on the cabling the sign is
using (see “Appendix D—Setting the RS232/RS485 jumper” on page 53 for additional information). Also, some
signs may need to be terminated depending upon which type of network and the number of signs you are using
(see “Appendix B—End-of-line termination” on page 50 for additional information).
Maximum drops
In an RS485 network, the maximum number of connections (or “taps”) to a network is 32. Taps are also called
network drops and they can include PCs, signs, servers, and so on. If more than 32 taps are required, use an RS485
repeater box, which boosts the electrical signal. Note that the repeater box itself counts as a tap.
NOTE: Star networks, in which a converter box is central to all signs on a network in a star pattern, are not
recommended.
Cable length
In an RS485 network, signs should connect to Modular Network Adapters, similar to phone jacks, with a
recommended adapter-to-cable length of 1 foot. This length provides optimum hardware operation and data
transmission integrity. However, the 8-foot length will work for most installations and can still be used.
Alpha sign
Alpha sign
Alpha sign
8-foot maximum
(1-foot recommended)
RS485
Drop 1
Drop 2
Drop 3
Drop 4
Drop 5
32 drops maximum
8
Wired networks
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
October 8, 2003
Converter Box III wiring
When using a Converter Box III, which converts RS232 signal to RS485, a maximum of two sign cables can
connect to the back. Therefore, only two “strings” of signs can attach. For more information on the Converter Box
III, see“Converter Box III (pn 1088-1111)” on page 21.
E
Alpha sign
Alpha sign
Alpha sign
C
A
D
B
RS232
RS485
Sign cable 1
F
(String 1)
(String 2)
(See NOTE 1 below)
F
To Converter
Box III
E
RS485
D
C
C
Sign cable 2
Alpha sign
Item
Part #
A
1088-8634
B
1088-1111
Alpha sign
Description
Type A9 RS232 cable (connects Converter Box III to PC RS232 port)
Converter Box III, set to Terminated for a single sign cable or Unterminated for two sign cables.
Used with a Converter Box III AC Adapter:
pn 4011-1201 (120 volt)
pn 4011-4201 (230 volt)
1088-8624
8-foot RS485 cable
C
1088-8636
1-foot RS485 cable
D 4331-0602
Modular Network Adapter
E
1088-9107
End-of-line (EOL) terminator
F
1088-8002
1000-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
NOTE 1: The information below the dotted line is the hardware to be added when you want to connect a second sign cable for
additional signs. In this situation, the Converter Box III must be set to Unterminated.
NOTE 2: Part number 1088-8002, a 1000-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable, can replace pn 1088-8624 or pn 1088-8636.
Wired networks
9
October 8, 2003
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
RS232—single sign
Use this setup when you want a simple serial (RS232) connection to a PC (one sign to one PC, at a distance of
less than 50 feet):
50 feet or less
A
B
C
Alpha sign
To sign’s RS232
port
Item
To PC’s RS232 or
TTL port
Part #
PC running
messaging
software
Description
A
—
Ferrite (ferrite end toward sign)
1088-8625
25-foot RS232 cable
B
1088-8627
50-foot RS232 cable
4370-0001C
RJ11-to-DB25 adapter (for a PC with a 25-pin RS232 port)
C
1088-9108
RJ11-to-DB9 adapter (for a PC with a 9-pin RS232 port)
Note: Part number 1036-9010, a 6-connector RS232 cable, can replace pn 1088-8625 and pn 1088-9108.
RS485—single sign
Use this setup when you want a simple serial (RS485) connection to a PC (one sign to one PC, at a distance of
greater than 50 feet):
Up to 4000 feet. If more,
a repeater box is
necessary.
A
B
C
50 feet or less
D
E
F
G
Alpha sign
To sign’s
RS485-only
port
Item
A
B
10
Part #
—
1088-8624
1088-8636
C
4331-0602
D
1088-8002
7122-0283
7122-0284
E
1088-1111
F
G
1088-8634
—
To PC’s RS232
port
PC running
messaging
software
Description
Ferrite (ferrite end toward sign)
8-foot RS485 cable
1-foot RS485 cable (recommended)
Modular Network Adapter (See “Appendix G—Modular Network Adapter to Converter Box
III wiring” on page 61 for specific wiring information.)
1000-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
100-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
100-foot RS485 outdoor-rated shielded plenum cable
Converter Box III with a Converter Box III AC Adapter:
pn 4011-1201 (120 volt)
pn 4011-4201 (230 volt)
Type A9 RS232 cable (connects Converter Box III to PC RS232 port)
DB9-to-DB25 adapter (if PC has a 25-pin RS232 port)
Wired networks
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
October 8, 2003
RS485—multiple signs
Use this setup when you want to connect a PC to more than one sign (two or more signs to one PC):
A
To sign’s
RS485 port
C
B
D
To PC’s
RS232 port
Alpha sign
B
To sign’s
RS485 port
Alpha sign
To sign’s B
RS485 port
E
D
C
PC running messaging
software
Set switch to
Terminated.
F
Alpha sign
To RS485
connector
G
H
(See NOTE below)
To sign’s
RS485 port
Alpha sign
To sign’s
RS485 port
A
B
C
D
E
Alpha sign
Item
A
B
Part #
To RS485
connector on
Converter Box III
(Set switch to
Unterminated.)
Description
End-of-line (EOL) terminator
Ferrite (ferrite end towards sign)
8-foot RS485 cable
C
1-foot RS485 cable
D
Modular Network Adapter
1000-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
E
100-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
100-foot RS485 outdoor-rated shielded plenum cable
Converter Box III with a Converter Box III AC Adapter:
F
1088-1111
pn 4011-1201 (120 volt)
pn 4011-4201 (230 volt)
G 1088-8634
Type A9 RS232 cable (connects Converter Box III to PC RS232 port)
H —
DB25-to-DB9 adapter (if PC has a 9-pin RS232 port)
NOTE:The information below the dotted line is the hardware to be added when you want the Converter
Box III in the middle of the network. In this situation, the Converter Box III must be set to Unterminated.
Wired networks
1088-9107
—
1088-8624
1088-8636
4331-0602
1088-8002
7122-0283
7122-0284
11
October 8, 2003
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
LAN—Preliminary information
The Alpha Ethernet Adapter, Lantronix MSS100, and Lantronix MSS485 serial servers are used to connect
Alpha signs to an existing TCP/IP network. Serial servers convert data from TCP/IP to serial format and allow
you to communicate with Alpha signs across the room or around the world.
An Alpha Ethernet Adapter can be mounted on the back of a sign. They draw their power from the sign itself
and no separate power supply is needed. The Alpha Ethernet Adapter and the MSS485 serial server work on a
10BASE-T TCP/IP network and the MSS100 works on a 10BASE-T or a 100BASE-T network. For additional
information on serial servers, see Network interfaces.
NOTE: Some signs use an external Alpha Ethernet Adapter. Other signs, such as the AlphaPremiere, have an
internal Ethernet adapter.
There are three steps to networking Alpha signs on a TCP/IP network:
1.
A unique IP address must be assigned to each serial server prior to setting up the network hardware in
order for messages to be sent to a specific sign on the network. See “Appendix H—Assigning an IP
address to a serial server” on page 62.
2.
Set up the networking hardware using one of the configurations in “LAN—single sign” on page 13 and
“LAN—multiple signs” on page 14.
3.
Tasks specific to the messaging software you are using need to be performed once the network hardware
has been set up. See “Appendix I—Setting up messaging software for TCP/IP networking” on page 64.
On some signs, an internal jumper must be set to either RS232 or RS485 depending on the cabling the sign is
using. See “Appendix D—Setting the RS232/RS485 jumper” on page 53 for more information. Also, some signs
may need to be terminated depending upon which type of network and the number of signs you are using.
See“Appendix B—End-of-line termination” on page 50.
12
Wired networks
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
October 8, 2003
LAN—single sign
Use this setup when one sign needs to connect to a LAN:
PC running
messaging software
Ethernet LAN using TCP/IP protocol
10BASE-T using Alpha Ethernet Adapter or MSS100 or MS485
100BASE-T using MSS100
A
B
Alpha sign
Item
Part #
Description
A
—
1088-9120
1088-4113A
1088-4112A
The PC must be connected to the Ethernet LAN with a network card.
Alpha Ethernet Adapter kit
MSS100 Micro Serial Server
MSS485 Micro Serial Server
B
Wired networks
13
October 8, 2003
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
LAN—multiple signs
TCP/IP network
Use this configuration when connecting signs to a TCP/IP network using unique IP addresses. The number of
signs on this network is limited by the number of available IP addresses, but the potential length of the network is
unlimited:
PC running
messaging
software
A
Ethernet LAN using TCP/IP protocol
10BASE-T using Alpha Ethernet Adapter or MSS100 or MS485
100BASE-T using MSS100
B
B
B
C
Alpha sign
Item
Alpha sign
Alpha sign
Part #
Description
This PC must be connected to the TCP/IP network with a network
card.
1088-9120
Alpha Ethernet Adapter
1088-4113A MSS100 Micro Serial Server
1088-4112A MSS485 Micro Serial Server
1088-9107
End-of-line (EOL) terminator (if MSS485 is used)
A
—
B
C
TCP/IP and RS485 network
Use this configuration when connecting multiple signs to a TCP/IP network using only one IP address. One
MSS485 Micro Serial Server is used and up to 32 signs can be connected. Total length of the RS485 network is
limited to 4,000 feet at 9600 baud or 9000 feet at 2400 baud, unless a repeater box is used.
Only one IP address is needed, but each sign on the RS485 network can have its own serial address so it can be
sent messages different from other signs:
PC running
messaging software
A
Ethernet LAN (10BASE-T) using TCP/IP protocol
MSS485-T
B
E
LANTRONIX
RS485
C
D
Alpha sign
D
F
D
Alpha sign
Alpha sign
Item
Part #
Description
A
B
C
—
1088-4112A
4331-0602
1088-8624
1088-8636
1088-8002
1088-9107
The PC must be connected to the Ethernet LAN with a network card.
MSS485 Micro Serial Server
Modular Network Adapter
8-foot RS485 cable
1-foot RS485 cable
1000-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
End-of-line (EOL) terminator
D
E
F
14
C
C
Wired networks
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
October 8, 2003
Gateway network
Use this configuration when connecting one or more signs to a Gateway network:
PC running
messaging software
A
B
C
MSS485-T
D
LANTRONIX
Ethernet LAN (10BASE-T) using TCP/IP protocol
E
I
MSS485-T
MSS485-T
F
LANTRONIX
LANTRONIX
Alpha sign
Alpha sign
Alpha sign
G
Alpha sign
H
Item
—
B
—
C
D
E
F
G
H
I
Wired networks
Part #
A
1088-8002
7122-0283
7122-0284
1088-4112A
1088-4113A
1088-4112A
4331-0602
1088-8636
1088-8624
1088-9120
Description
This PC must be connected to the Ethernet LAN with a network card.
Alpha Gateway II interface (varies according to the specific industrial network)
Input: 9600 baud, 8 bits, No parity, 1 stop bit, Flow Control=None
Output: 9600 baud, 7 bits, Even parity, 2 stop bits, Flow Control=None
1000-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
100-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
100-foot RS485 outdoor-rated shielded plenum cable
MSS485 Micro Serial Server (set as local host server)
MSS100 Micro Serial Server (set as remote server)
MSS485 Micro Serial Server (set as remote server)
Modular Network Adapter
1-foot RS485 cable
8-foot RS232 cable
Alpha Ethernet Adapter kit
15
October 8, 2003
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
Modem networks
Modem—Preliminary information
In a modem network, messages are sent from the PC to a modem, called the transmitting modem, over
telephone wires to another modem, called the receiving modem, and then to a sign. A US Robotics 56K modem is
used for the receiving modem and must be configured before it can be used to send data to a sign. The transmitting
modem is the responsibility of the sign owner (the same brand is recommended).
If you are using a US Robotics 56K modem for the receiving or transmitting modem, or both, the dip switches
on them should be set as follows:
Receiving modem
ON
Transmitting modem
ON
12345678
12345678
2, 4, 5, 6, 7 = ON
1, 3, 8 = OFF
3, 5, 8 = ON
1, 2, 4, 6, 7 = OFF
You will need to send commands to the receiving modem from either the modem’s software (here, it is US
Robotics Control Center software) or Microsoft’s HyperTerminal software.
AT&HØ&R1&B1&N6&YØ&WØ
Disables
flow
control
Modem
ignores
RTS
Loads
Profile Ø
into
Connection
Fixed serial
NVRAM
speed =
port rate
when
9600 baud
modem is
powered
on.
Writes this
current
setup to
Profile Ø in
nonvolatile
memory
(NVRAM)
Refer to TechMemo 01-0011, Modem Setup for Alpha signs, for additional information on configuring your
modem. (This TechMemo is available at http://www.adaptivedisplays.com.) Also, since the commands necessary
to change the modem’s settings vary between modems, the modem’s operations manual should always be
consulted.
On some signs, an internal jumper must be set to either RS232 or RS485 depending on the cabling the sign is
using. See “Appendix D—Setting the RS232/RS485 jumper” on page 53. Also, some signs may need to be
terminated depending upon which type of network and the number of signs you are using. See “Appendix B—
End-of-line termination” on page 50 for additional information.
16
Modem networks
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
October 8, 2003
Modem—single sign (RS232)
Use this setup when you want to connect a single sign to a modem network:
Alpha sign
To sign’s
RS232 port
A
B
C
F
D
E
Item
A
B
Part #
PC running
messaging
software
Description
—
Ferrite (ferrite end toward sign)
1088-8625
25-foot RS232 cable
1088-8627
50-foot RS232 cable
25 pin sub-D/to 6 pos. RJ11 modem adapter
Modem networks
C
—
D
Modem
Receiving modem
E
—
Telephone lines
F
Modem
Transmitting modem
Visit Pacesetter Communications, Inc. at [email protected]
for more information on their part number 2370-0002.
17
October 8, 2003
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
Modem—multiple signs (RS485)
Use this setup when you want to connect multiple signs to a modem network:
To next sign
A
B
Alpha sign
Alpha sign
J
To sign’s
RS485 port
Item
18
C
D
E
F
G
H
Part #
H
I
PC running
messaging
software
Description
A
1088-9107
End-of-line (EOL) terminator
B
1086-8636
1-foot RS485 cable
C
4331-0602
Modular Network Adapter
D
7122-0283
100-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
E
1088-1111
Converter Box III with a Converter Box III AC Adapter:
pn 4011-1201 (120 volt)
pn 4011-4201 (230 volt)
F
1088-8635
10-foot Modem-to-Converter Box cable, DB9 to DB25
G
Modem
Receiving modem
H
—
Telephone line
I
Modem
Transmitting modem
J
Belkin F2L088-06
6-foot Belkin Pro Series AT Serial Modem cable, DB9-to-DB25
Modem networks
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
October 8, 2003
Mixed networks
A mixed network is an appropriate choice in many situations. A typical configuration, in which a PC with two
COM ports connects to one sign by a modem and additional signs through a serial cable, appears below:
To PC’s RS232 or
TTL port
Alpha sign
A
B
C
Alpha sign
To sign’s RS232
port
D
G
E
F
Item
A
B
C
Part #
PC running
messaging
software
Description
—
Ferrite (ferrite end toward sign)
1088-8625
25-foot RS232 cable
1088-8627
50-foot RS232 cable
4370-0001C
RJ11-to-DB25 adapter (for a PC with a 25-pin RS232 port)
1088-9108
RJ11-to-DB9 adapter (for a PC with a 9-pin RS232 port)
25 pin sub-D/to 6 pos. RJ11 modem adapter
D
—
Available from Pacesetter Communications, Inc. at [email protected]
for more information on their part number 2370-0002.
E
Modem
Receiving modem
F
—
Telephone lines
G
Modem
Transmitting modem
NOTE: Part number 1036-9010, a 6-connector RS232 cable, can replace pn 1088-8625 and pn 1088-9108.
Mixed networks
19
October 8, 2003
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
Network interfaces
A network interface is used to connect two different types of networks. For example, the Converter Box III is
used to join an RS232 and RS485 network. There are two types of network interfaces, PC-to-sign and sign-to-sign.
PC-to-sign interfaces connect a PC to one or more signs. PC-to-sign interfaces include:
•
Converter Box III, which connects a PC’s RS232 port to an RS485 network.
•
USB Adapter, which connects a PC’s USB port to an RS232 or RS485 network.
Sign-to-sign interfaces connect a sign to a serial or Ethernet (LAN) network. Sign-to-network interfaces
include:
20
•
Alpha Ethernet Adapter, which connects a sign’s RS232 port to a 10BASE-T Ethernet network.
•
Lantronix MSS100, which connects a sign’s RS232 port to a 10BASE-T or 100BASE-T Ethernet network.
•
Lantronix MSS485, which connects a sign’s RS485 port to a 10BASE-T Ethernet network.
Network interfaces
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
October 8, 2003
Converter Box III (pn 1088-1111)
Description
RS485 pinout
RS232 pinout
1 23 456
5 43 21
A
B
C
9 87 6
1 = DCD
2 = RXD
3 = TXD
4 = DTR
5 = Signal GND
6 = DSR
7 = RTS
8 = CTS
9 = not connected
Front
D
1 = not connected
2 = RS485(+)
3 = SHIELD
4 = not connected
5 = RS485(-)
H
Back
E
G
F
Item
Description
A
RS232 TXD indicator. When lit, indicates that the unit is transmitting data through the
RS232 plug and receiving data through one of the RS485 connections.
B
RS232 RXD indicator. When lit, indicates that the unit is receiving data through the
RS232 plug and transmitting data through one of the RS485 connections.
C
Power indicator. When lit, indicates that the unit has power.
D
RS485 jack. Connects a single Alpha sign to the unit. For multiple sign networking, use
the RS485 connector block.
Termination selector.
Set to Terminated if the Converter Box is at one end of a string of signs.
T
C
E
S
S
S
C=Converter Box
S=Sign
T=E-O-L terminator
Set to Unterminated if the Converter Box is in the middle of a string of signs.
T
T
S
S
C
S
C=Converter Box
S=Sign
T=E-O-L terminator
See “Appendix B—End-of-line termination” on page 50 for more information on
terminating signs.
Network interfaces
F
RS485 connector block. Connects multiple Alpha signs to a network.
G
RS232 plug. Connects to a PC’s RS232 port.
H
Power plug. Supplies 9 VAC to the unit.
21
October 8, 2003
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
Typical use
Used to connect a PC’s RS232 port to an RS485 network:
A
To next sign
Alpha sign
B
C
D
E
Alpha sign
G
F
PC running
messaging software
Item
Description
A
1088-9107
End-of-line (EOL) terminator
B
—
Ferrite (ferrite end toward sign)
1088-8624
8-foot RS485 cable
1086-8636
1-foot RS485 cable
4331-0602
Modular Network Adapter
1088-8002
1000-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
7122-0283
100-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
7122-0284
100-foot RS485 outdoor-rated shielded plenum cable
F
1088-1111
Converter Box III with a Converter Box III AC Adapter:
pn 4011-1201 (120 volt)
pn 4011-4201 (230 volt)
G
1088-8634
Type A9 RS232 cable (connects Converter Box III to PC RS232 port)
C
D
E
22
Part #
Network interfaces
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
October 8, 2003
USB-to-DB9 Serial Adapter
Typical use
Used to connect a PC’s USB port to an RS232 or RS485 network:
Single sign connection
A
B
C
D
Alpha sign
To PC’s
USB port
To sign’s
RS232 port
PC running
messaging software
NOTE: RS232 cable connection can
not exceed 50 feet in total
length.
Item
A
Part
Description
—
Ferrite (ferrite end toward sign)
1088-8625
25-foot RS232 cable
1088-8627
50-foot RS232 cable
C
1088-9108
RJ11-to-DB9 adapter
D
—
USB-to-DB9 serial adapter
B
NOTE: Part number 1036-9010, a 6-connector RS232 cable, can replace pn 1088-8625 and
pn 1088-9108.
Network interfaces
23
October 8, 2003
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
Multiple sign connection
A
To sign’s
RS485 port
D
C
B
Alpha sign
Set switch to
Terminated.
To sign’s
RS485 port
Alpha sign
To sign’s B
RS485 port
E
D
C
G
F
Alpha sign
To RS485
connector
PC running messaging
software
(See NOTE 1 below)
To sign’s
RS485 port
Alpha sign
To sign’s
RS485 port
A
B
C
D
E
Alpha sign
Item
Part #
To RS485
connector on
Converter Box III.
(Set switch to
Unterminated.)
Description
End-of-line (EOL) terminator (must be plugged into the RS232 or TTL plug on last
sign)
B —
Ferrite (ferrite end towards sign)
1088-8624
8-foot RS485 cable
C
1088-8636
1-foot RS485 cable
D 4331-0602
Modular Network Adapter
1088-8002
1000-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
E
7122-0283
100-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
7122-0284
100-foot RS485 outdoor-rated shielded plenum cable
Converter Box III with a Converter Box III AC Adapter:
F
1088-1111
pn 4011-1201 (120 volt)
pn 4011-4201 (230 volt)
G —
Xircom PortGear USB-to-DB9 serial adapter
NOTE 1:The information below the dotted line is the hardware to be added when you want the Converter
Box III in the middle of the network. In this situation, the Converter Box III must be set to Unterminated.
NOTE 2:The internal jumper in some Alpha signs must be set to RS485. See “Appendix D—Setting the
RS232/RS485 jumper” on page 53.
A
24
1088-9107
Network interfaces
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
October 8, 2003
Alpha Ethernet Adapter
Description
A
D
1
2
3
B
C
Item
A
B
C
D
Description
DB25 serial port
RJ45 TCP/IP port
Reset button
LED diagnostic lights
1 = ACT (activity)
2 = LNK (network line/connection)
3 = PWR (power)
Typical use
Used to connect a sign’s RS232 port to a 10BASE-T Ethernet network:
Ethernet
C
B
Alpha sign
Alpha sign
Alpha sign
A
A
(Detail)
B
C
Item
A
B
C
Network interfaces
Part #
1088-9317
1088-9120
—
Description
8-inch Ethernet cable, RJ11-to-DB25 (female)
Alpha Ethernet Adapter Kit
TCP/IP cable (10BASE-T only)
25
October 8, 2003
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
Alpha Ethernet Adapter II
Description
A
C
(MAC address label)
Right LED (D2)
Left LED (D1)
RJ45 Ethernet port (front)
B
Item
A
B
C
Description
RJ45 Ethernet port
RJ11 Serial port
When the left LED
(D1) is...
Off
Off
Off
Off
Off
Solid amber
Blinking amber
Solid green
Blinking green
...and the right LED
(D2) is...
Off
Solid amber
Blinking amber
Solid green
Blinking green
Off
Off
Off
Off
...it means...
No connection
100BASE-T connection/one-way communication
100BASE-T activity/one-way communication
100BASE-T connection/two-way communication
100BASE-T activity/two-way communication
10BASE-T connection/one-way communication
10BASE-T activity/one-way communication
10BASE-T connection/two-way communication
10BASE-T activity/two-way communication
Typical use
Used to connect a sign’s RS232/RS485 port to a 10/100BASE-T Ethernet network:
Ethernet
B
C
Alpha sign
Alpha sign
Alpha sign
A
(Detail)
A
Item
A
B
C
26
Part #
1088-8621
1088-1114
—
B
C
Description
3-foot serial cable, RJ11-to-RJ11
Alpha Ethernet Adapter Kit
TCP/IP cable (10/100BASE-T)
Network interfaces
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
October 8, 2003
Pinouts
RJ45 Ethernet port
RJ11 Serial port
8
Some Alpha products have 5 volt
jumpers for RJ11 power. Refer to
your sign’s installation manual for
more information.
1
1 = TX+
2 = TX3 = RX+
4 = RX5 = not connected
6 = not connected
7 = not connected
8 = not connected
Shield = Chassis ground
6
1
1 = 5V
2 = RS485 (-)
3 = RXD
4 = TXD
5 = RS485 (+)
6 = GND
Additional information
The Alpha Ethernet Adapters works with the
following signs
The Alpha Ethernet Adapters do not work with the following signs
215C, 215R
210C
220C
(shipped after February 1, 2000)
220C
(all shipped prior to February 1, 2000)
300C series
420
4000C, 4000R series
(using RS232 jumper and jack)
790i
7000C series
(using RS232 jumper and jack)
AlphaEclipse
Alpha Big Dot
AlphaPremiere
AlphaVision FS
AlphaVision CM, FM, 1.4”, 2.1”
BetaBrite one-line displays
(P1026, P1036 and P1040), including 213C
and BetaBrite Window Display
AlphaVision InfoTracker (IT)
(works with MSS485 only)
BetaBrite Director
(all shipped after July 1, 2000)
AlphaTicker
(works with MSS485 only)
Personal Priority Display (PPD)
BetaBrite Director
(all shipped before July 1, 2000)
Alpha Serial Clock
Solar
Network interfaces
27
October 8, 2003
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
Lantronix MSS100 (pn 1088-4113A)
Description
C
10/100
reset
5VDC
A
power
link
100
B
D
MSS-100
ok
serial
LANTRONIX
E
serial
Item
A
B
C
D
E
Description
Power connection (5 volt only)
Reset button
RJ45 TCP/IP port
LED diagnostic lights
1. Power
2. Link (network link/connection)
3. 100
4. OK
5. Serial
DB25 serial port (for RS232 connections)
Typical use
Used to connect a sign’s RS232 port to a 10BASE-T or 100BASE-T Ethernet network:
Ethernet
E
C
A
Alpha sign
Alpha sign
Alpha sign
(Detail)
D
C
28
power
link
100
B
C
D
E
ok
serial
A
Part #
1088-8625
1088-8627
4370-0001C
1088-4113A
––
––
LANTRONIX
serial
Item
E
10/100
B
reset
5VDC
MSS-100
A
Description
25-foot RS232 cable
50-foot RS232 cable
DB25-to-RJ11 adapter
MSS100 Micro Serial Server
Power cable (connects to the power, 5 volt only)
TCP/IP cable (connects to 10BASE-T or 100BASE-T TCP/IP)
Network interfaces
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
October 8, 2003
Lantronix MSS485 (pn 1088-4112A)
Description
MSS485-T
C
reset
shld
txa
txb
rxb
rxa
shld
10BASE-T
console
LANTRONIX
serial
D
power
link
ok
serial
Item
A
B
C
D
B
6vdc
A
E
Description
Wiring terminal block
Power connection (6 volt only)
Reset button
RJ45 TCP/IP port
LED diagnostic lights
1 = Power
2 = Link (network link/connection)
3 = OK
5 = Serial
E
Typical use
Used to connect to multiple signs using one serial server.
Ethernet
serial
console
shld
txa
txb
rxb
rxa
shld
MSS485-T
LANTRONIX
E
The sign’s serial
address will allow
you to talk to one
sign at a time instead
of broadcasting to all
signs at once.
serial
ok
link
power
C
10BASE-T
reset
RS485
6vdc
B
A
(Detail)
Alpha sign
Alpha sign
Alpha sign
D
A
B
C
E
6vdc
MSS485-T
reset
shld
txa
txb
rxb
rxa
shld
10BASE-T
console
LANTRONIX
serial
F
C
D
E
F
Network interfaces
power
B
link
A
Part #
1088-8624
1088-8636
4331-0602
1088-8002
7122-0283
1088-4112A
—
—
ok
serial
Item
Description
8-foot RS485 cable
1-foot RS485 cable
Modular Network Adapter
1000-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
100-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
MSS485 Micro Serial Server
Power cable (6 volt only)
TCP/IP cable (10BASE-T only)
29
October 8, 2003
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
DIP switch information
Revision C13/B or later is needed.
Earlier versions may not work correctly.
If you experience difficulty, contact your
Customer Account Specialist.
DIP switches with RS485 termination
On
Off
1
Switch(es)
1, 2, 3
4, 5
6, 7
8
2
3
4
5
6
Setting
On / On / On
On/Off
On / On
Off
7
8
Meaning
2-wire RS485
2-wire RS485 termination
RX biasing
Float shield
Wiring information
METHOD 2 — SERIAL PORT connection:
METHOD 1 — SERIAL I/O terminal block connection:
RS485 +
reset
RS485 -
MSS485-T
6vdc
SHLD
TXA
TXB
SHIELD
10BASE-T
console
power
SHIELD
RS485 + (Black)
link
SERIAL PORT (on Controller board)
ok
serial
6
7
LANTRONIX
serial
2
3
4
SERIAL I/O
terminal block
There are two methods of wiring an Ethernet Serial Server to a sign:
RS485 - (Red)
RS232 TXD (Green)
METHOD 1: If a sign has a SERIAL I/O terminal block, then wire the
Ethernet Serial Server to this block (above).
RS232 RXD (Orange)
GND (Blue)
30
6
7
SERIAL PORT (on Controller board)
RS485 + (Black)
RS485 - (Red)
SHIELD
}
From
Ethernet
Serial
Server
METHOD 2: Otherwise, wire the Ethernet Serial Server directly to the
SERIAL PORT on the sign's Controller board (right).
Network interfaces
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
October 8, 2003
Network cables and adapters
Overview
Networking hardware is not possible without cables and adapters. Cables, or wires, connect pieces of a
network together. Adapters convert one format to another:
•
physical (type of plug)
•
electrical (configuration of wiring)
•
electronic (computer/monitor interface)
The following information describes the typical use and pinouts of the most commonly used networking
cables and adapters.
Network cables and adapters
31
October 8, 2003
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
25-foot RS232 cable (pn 1036-9010)
Description
Right plug
DB9 (female)
Left jack
RJ12 (male)
Typical use
Used as part of an RS232 connection between a PC with a DB9 (9-pin) COM port and a sign so that messages
can be sent to the sign from the PC:
Alpha sign
To sign’s
RS232
port
To PC’s
RS232
port
6-connector RS232 cable
(pn 1036-9010)
PC running messaging
software
This cable can replace
pn 1088-8625 and pn 1088-9108.
Pinouts
RJ12
(male)
6
DB9
(female)
1
5 4 3 2 1
RJ12
(male)
RXD PIN 3
TXD PIN 4
Pin
1
2
3
4
5
6
32
DB9
(female)
Green
Red
Signal
Signal GND
not connected
RXD
TXD
not connected
not connected
GND PIN 1
Blue
PIN 3
PIN 2
PIN 7
PIN 8
PIN 5
PIN 6
PIN 1
PIN 4
TXD
RXD
RTS
CTS
GND
DSR
DCD
DTR
9 8 7 6
Pin
Signal
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
DCD
RXD
TXD
DTR
Signal GND
DSR
RTS
CTS
not connected
Network cables and adapters
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
October 8, 2003
3-foot 6-conductor cable (pn 1088-8621)
Description
Left jack
RJ12 (male)
Right jack
RJ12 (male)
Typical use
Used to connect an IR Message Loader to a sign or to a PC:
DATA VALID
DATA
1 2 3
MEMORY LOCATION
B
BAT.LOW
MESSAGE
LOADER
TRANSMIT
A
Alpha sign
To
sign’s
RS485
port
Signs that have internal RS232/RS485
switches (or jumpers) must be set to RS485.
See “Appendix D—Setting the RS232/RS485
jumper” on page 53.
IR Message Loader to PC
DATA VALID
DATA
1 2 3
MEMORY LOCATION
B
BAT.LOW
C
MESSAGE
LOADER
TRANSMIT
A
To PC’s
RS232 port
Item
Part #
PC running messaging
software
Description
A
1071-1113
IR Message Loader
B
1088-8624
8-foot RS485 cable
C
1088-9108
RJ11-to-DB9 connector
Pinouts
RJ12
(male)
6
1
RJ12
(to IR Message Loader)
GND
RS485(+)
RXD
TXD
RS485(-)
+5V
PIN 1
PIN 2
PIN 3
PIN 4
PIN 5
PIN 6
RJ12
(to Alpha sign or computer)
White
Black
Red
Green
Yellow
Blue
PIN 1
PIN 2
PIN 3
PIN 4
PIN 5
PIN 6
GND
RS485(+)
RXD
TXD
RS485(-)
+5V
RJ12
(male)
6
1
Refer to your sign’s installation manual for maximum
current that can be drawn on.
Network cables and adapters
33
October 8, 2003
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
8-foot RS485 cable (pn 1088-8624)
Description
Right side
RJ11 (male)
Left side
RJ11 (male)
Typical use
Used to connect a sign to a Modular Network Adapter as part of an RS485 network:
To next sign
A
E
Alpha sign
B
C
D
Alpha sign
PC running messaging
software
Item
Part #
A
B
C
D
E
Description
1088-1111
Converter Box III with a Converter Box III AC Adapter:
pn 4011-1201 (120 volt)
pn 4011-4201 (230 volt)
1088-8624
8-foot RS485 cable
1086-8636
1-foot RS485 cable
4331-0602
Modular Network Adapter
1088-8002
1000-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
7122-0283
100-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
7122-0284
100-foot RS485 outdoor shielded plenum cable
1088-8634
Type A9 RS232 cable (connects Converter Box III to PC RS232 port)
Pinouts
RJ11
(male)
4
1
RJ11
(to sign)
RS485(+) PIN 1
PIN 2
PIN 3
RS485(-) PIN 4
RJ11
(to Modular Network Adapter)
Black*
Red*
Green*
Yellow*
PIN 1 RS485(+)
PIN 2 SHIELD
PIN 3
PIN 4 RS485(-)
RJ11
(male)
4
1
*These are also the wire colors in the Modular Network Adapter.
34
Network cables and adapters
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
October 8, 2003
25-foot RS232 cable (pn 1088-8625)
Description
Left jack
RJ12 (male)
Right jack
RJ12 (male)
Typical use
Used as part of an RS232 connection between a PC with a DB25 (25-pin) or DB9 (9-pin) COM port and a sign so
that messages can be sent to the sign from the PC:
Alpha sign
To sign’s
RS232
port
6-connector RS232
cable
(pn 1088-8625)
RJ12-to-DB9
connector
(pn 1088-9108)
or
RJ12-to-DB25
connector
(pn 4370-0001C)
To PC’s
RS232
port
PC running messaging
software
Pinouts
RJ12
(male)
6
1
RJ12
(from sign)
GND
RS485(+)
RXD
TXD
RS485(-)
+5V
PIN 1
PIN 2
PIN 3
PIN 4
PIN 5
PIN 6
RJ12
(to computer)
Blue
Yellow
Green
Red
Black
White
PIN 1
PIN 2
PIN 3
PIN 4
PIN 5
PIN 6
GND
RS485(+)
RXD
TXD
RS485(-)
+5V
RJ12
(male)
6
1
Refer to your sign’s installation manual for maximum
current that can be drawn on.
Network cables and adapters
35
October 8, 2003
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
8-foot RS485 back-to-back cable (pn 1088-8626)
Description
Right jack
RJ11 (male)
Left jack
RJ11 (male)
Typical use
Used to connect two signs together into an RS485 network:
Alpha 4000/7000 signs
(RS485 ports on sign’s back)
AlphaPremiere 9000 signs
(RS485 ports on sign’s side)
RS-485 OUT
OR
RS-485 IN
Alpha sign
RS232/Aux
RS485
WARNING-NOT A
TELEPHONE
CONNECTION.
RS-485 IN
OR
RS-232 IN
Alpha sign
RS-485 OUT
OR
RS-485 IN
RS232/Aux
RS485
WARNING-NOT A
TELEPHONE
CONNECTION.
RS-485 IN
OR
RS-232 IN
Pinouts
RJ11
(male)
RJ11
(male)
RJ11
4
36
1
RS485(+) PIN 1
PIN 2
PIN 3
RS485(-) PIN 4
RJ11
Black
Red
Green
Yellow
PIN 1 RS485(+)
PIN 2
PIN 3
PIN 4 RS485(-)
4
1
Network cables and adapters
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
October 8, 2003
50-foot RS232 cable (pn 1088-8627)
Description
Left jack
RJ12 (male)
Right jack
RJ12 (male)
Typical use
Used as part of an RS232 connection between a PC with a DB25 (25-pin) or DB9 (9-pin) COM port and a sign so
that messages can be sent to the sign from the computer:
Alpha sign
To sign’s
RS232
port
6-connector RS232
cable
(pn 1088-8627)
RJ12-to-DB9
connector
(pn 1088-9108)
or
RJ12-to-DB25
connector
(pn 4370-0001C)
To PC’s
RS232
port
PC running messaging
software
Pinouts
RJ12
(male)
6
1
RJ12
(from sign)
GND
RS485(+)
RXD
TXD
RS485(-)
+5V
PIN
PIN
PIN
PIN
PIN
PIN
1
2
3
4
5
6
RJ12
(to computer)
Blue
Yellow
Green
Red
Black
White
PIN
PIN
PIN
PIN
PIN
PIN
1
2
3
4
5
6
GND
RS485(+)
RXD
TXD
RS485(-)
+5V
RJ12
(male)
6
1
Refer to your sign’s installation manual for maximum
current that can be drawn on.
Network cables and adapters
37
October 8, 2003
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
10-foot computer-to-Converter Box III Type A9 RS232 cable (pn 1088-8634)
Description
Left side
DB9 (male)
Right side
DB9 (female)
Typical use
Used to connect a computer to a Converter Box III as part of an RS485 network:
To next sign
A
E
Alpha sign
B
C
D
Alpha sign
Item
A
B
C
D
E
PC running messaging
software
Part #
Description
1088-1111
Converter Box III with a Converter Box III AC Adapter:
pn 4011-1201 (120 volt)
pn 4011-4201 (230 volt)
1088-8624
8-foot RS485 cable
1086-8636
1-foot RS485 cable
4331-0602
Modular Network Adapter
1088-8002
1000-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
7122-0283
100-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
7122-0284
100-foot RS485 outdoor-rated shielded plenum cable
1088-8634
Type A9 RS232 cable (connects Converter Box III to PC RS232 port)
Pinouts
DB9
(male)
1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9
38
DB9
(male - to Converter Box III)
DCD
RXD
TXD
DTR
GND
DSR
RTS
CTS
RI
PIN
PIN
PIN
PIN
PIN
PIN
PIN
PIN
PIN
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
DB9
(female - to computer)
PIN
PIN
PIN
PIN
PIN
PIN
PIN
PIN
PIN
1
2
3
4
5
6
7
8
9
DCD
RXD
TXD
DTR
GND
DSR
RTS
CTS
RI
DB9
(female)
5 4 3 2 1
9 8 7 6
Network cables and adapters
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
October 8, 2003
10-foot modem-to-Converter Box III Type B9 RS232 cable (pn 1088-8635)
Description
Right side
DB25 (male)
Left side
DB9 (male)
Typical use
Used to connect a sign to a Modular Network Adapter as part of an RS485 network:
E
F
To next sign
Alpha sign
To PC’s
RS232 port
A
B
D
C
PC running messaging
software
Item
Part #
Description
A
—
B
—
Receiving modem
C
1088-8635
10-foot Modem-to-Converter Box RS232 cable, DB9 to DB25
D
1088-1111
Converter Box III with a Converter Box III AC Adapter:
pn 4011-1201 (120 volt)
pn 4011-4201 (230 volt)
E
4331-0602
Modular Network Adapter
1088-8624
8-foot RS485 cable
1086-8636
1-foot RS485 cable
F
Transmitting modem
Pinouts
DB9
(male)
1 2 3 4 5
6 7 8 9
Network cables and adapters
DB9
(male - to Converter Box III)
DCD
RXD
TXD
DTR
GND
DSR
RTS
CTS
PIN 1
PIN 2
PIN 3
PIN 4
PIN 5
PIN 6
PIN 7
PIN 8
PIN 9
DB25
(male - to modem)
PIN 8
PIN 2
PIN 3
PIN 20
PIN 7
not connected
not connected
not connected
not connected
DCD
RXD
TXD
DTR
GND
DB25
(male)
1
2 3 4 5 6 7 8
9 10 11 12 13
14 15 16 17 18 19 20 21 22 23 24 25
39
October 8, 2003
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
1-foot RS485 cable (pn 1088-8636)
Description
Right side
RJ11 (male)
Left side
RJ11 (male)
Typical use
Used to connect a sign to a Modular Network Adapter as part of an RS485 network:
To next sign
A
E
Alpha sign
B
C
D
Alpha sign
Item
A
B
PC running messaging
software
Part #
Description
1088-1111
Converter Box III with a Converter Box III AC Adapter:
pn 4011-1201 (120 volt)
pn 4011-4201 (230 volt)
1088-8624
8-foot RS485 cable
1086-8636
1-foot RS485 cable
4331-0602
Modular Network Adapter
1088-8002
1000-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
D
7122-0283
100-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
7122-0284
100-foot RS485 outdoor-rated shielded plenum cable
E
1088-8634
Type A9 RS232 cable (connects Converter Box III to PC RS232 port)
C
Pinouts
RJ11
(male)
RJ11
(to sign)
4
1
RS485(+) PIN 1
PIN 2
PIN 3
RS485(-) PIN 4
RJ11
(to Modular Network Adapter)
Black*
Red*
Green*
Yellow*
PIN 1 RS485(+)
PIN 2 SHIELD
PIN 3
PIN 4 RS485(-)
RJ11
(male)
4
1
*These are also the wire colors in Modular Network Adapter.
40
Network cables and adapters
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
October 8, 2003
End-of-Line (EOL) terminator (pn 1088-9107)
Description
RJ12 jack (male)
Typical use
Connects to the RS232 (or TTL) plug of the first or last sign on an RS485 network:
A
D
F
Alpha sign
B
C
E
Alpha sign
PC running messaging
software
Item
A
Part #
Description
1088-9107
End-of-Line (EOL) terminator
1088-8624
8-foot RS485 cable
1086-8636
1-foot RS485 cable
C
4331-0602
Modular Network Adapter
D
1088-1111
Converter Box III with a Converter Box III AC Adapter:
pn 4011-1201 (120 volt)
pn 4011-4201 (230 volt)
1088-8002
1000-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
7122-0283
100-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
7122-0284
100-foot RS485 outdoor-rated shielded plenum cable
1088-8634
Type A9 RS232 cable (connects Converter Box III to PC RS232 port)
B
E
F
Pinouts
PCB
RJ12
(male)
6
1
PIN 6 (5V)
RJ12
PIN 1
PIN 2
PIN 3
PIN 4
PIN 5
PIN 6
PCB
Blue
Yellow
Green
Red
Black
White
R3 = 680 ohms
PIN 6
PIN 5
PIN 4
PIN 3
PIN 2
PIN 1
PIN 2 (RS485+)
R1 = 120 ohms
PIN 5 (RS485-)
R2 = 680 ohms
PIN 1 (GND)
PINS 3, 4 (not connected)
Network cables and adapters
41
October 8, 2003
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
RJ12-to-DB9 adapter (pn 1088-9108)
Description
Left side
RJ12 (female)
Right side
DB9 (female)
Top
Typical use
Used as part of an RS232 connection between a computer with a DB9 (9-pin) COM port and a sign so that
messages can be sent to the sign from the PC:
Alpha sign
To sign’s
RS232
port
6-connector RS232
cable
(pn 1088-8625
or
1088-8627)
RJ12-to-DB9
connector
(pn 1088-9108)
To PC’s
RS232
port
PC running messaging
software
Pinouts
RJ12
(female)
1
6
RJ12
(female)
RXD PIN 3
TXD PIN 4
GND PIN 1
42
DB9
(female)
PIN 3
PIN 2
PIN 7
PIN 8
PIN 5
PIN 6
PIN 1
PIN 4
DB9
(female)
TXD
RXD
RTS
CTS
GND
DSR
DCD
DTR
5 4 3 2 1
9 8 7 6
Network cables and adapters
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
October 8, 2003
8-inch Ethernet cable (pn 1088-9317)
Description
Left side
RJ11 (male)
Right side
DB25 (female)
Typical use
Used to connect a sign to an Alpha Ethernet Adapter on an Ethernet LAN using TCP/IP protocol:
PC running
messaging software
Ethernet LAN using TCP/IP protocol
10BASE-T using Alpha Ethernet Adapter
A
A
Alpha sign
C
Item
A
B
C
B
Part #
—
1088-9120
1088-9317
Description
The PC must be connected to the Ethernet LAN with a network card.
Alpha Ethernet Adapter kit
8-inch Ethernet cable
Pinouts
RJ11
(male)
RJ11
(male)
6
PIN 3
PIN 4
PIN 6
PIN 1
1
DB25
(female)
Red
Green
Blue
White
PIN 2
PIN 3
PIN11
PIN10
DB25
(female)
13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6
5 4 3 2 1
25 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14
Network cables and adapters
43
October 8, 2003
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
Modular Network Adapter (pn 4331-0602)
Description
Left side
RJ11 (female)
Right side
Top
Typical use
Used to connect a PC to a Converter Box III as part of an RS485 network:
A
E
Alpha sign
B
C
D
Alpha sign
PC running messaging
software
Item
A
B
C
D
E
Part #
Description
1088-1111
Converter Box III with a Converter Box III AC Adapter:
pn 4011-1201 (120 volt)
pn 4011-4201 (230 volt)
1088-8624
8-foot RS485 cable
1086-8636
1-foot RS485 cable
4331-0602
Modular Network Adapter
1088-8002
1000-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
7122-0283
100-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
7122-0284
100-foot RS485 outdoor-rated shielded plenum cable
1088-8634
Type A9 RS232 cable (connects Converter Box III to PC RS232 port)
Pinouts
RJ11
(female)
1
4
(Black terminal) RS485 +
(Red terminal) SHIELD
44
Pin
Signal
1
2
3
4
RS485 +
SHIELD
Not connected (Green terminal)
RS485 –
RS485 – (Yellow terminal)
Green terminal
NOTE: Connecting the SHIELD depends on the sign to which you are connecting. If your
sign has only one RJ11 jack (a combined RS232 and RS485), the shield wire
should not be connected to the red terminal of the modular network adapter.
However, if your sign has two RJ11 jacks, the shield wire should be connected to
the red terminal. Additionally, in the case of a sign with two RJ11 jacks, always
connect the 4-conductor RS485 cable to the RS485-only jack.
Network cables and adapters
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
October 8, 2003
RS232 cable connector (pn 4331-0603)
Description
Right jack
RJ12 (female)
Left jack
RJ12 (female)
Top
Typical use
Used as part of an RS232 sign network to connect two lengths of 25-foot RS232 cable:
This distance should not exceed 50 feet.
Alpha sign
To
sign’s
RS232
port
25-foot RS232
cable
(pn 1088-8625)
RS232
cable
connector
(pn 43310603)
25-foot RS232
cable
(pn 1088-8625)
RJ12-to-DB9 To PC’s
PC running
RS232 messaging software
connector
(pn 1088-9108) port
or
RJ12-to-DB25
connector
(pn 43700001C)
Pinouts
RJ12
(female)
1
Network cables and adapters
6
RJ12
(female)
RJ12
(female)
PIN 1
PIN 2
PIN 3
PIN 4
PIN 5
PIN 6
PIN 1
PIN 2
PIN 3
PIN 4
PIN 5
PIN 6
45
October 8, 2003
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
RJ12-to-DB25 adapter (pn 4370-0001C)
Description
Left side
RJ12 (female)
Right side
DB25 (female)
Top
Typical use
Used as part of an RS232 connection between a PC with a DB25 (25-pin) COM port and a sign so that messages
can be sent to the sign from the PC:
Alpha sign
To
sign’s
RS232
port
6-connector
RS232
data cable
(pn 1088-8625 or
pn 1088-8627)
RJ12-to-DB25
connector
(pn 4370-0001C)
To PC’s
RS232
port
PC running
messaging software
Pinouts
RJ12
(female)
1
6
RXD
TXD
RJ12
(female)
DB25
(female)
PIN 3
PIN 4
PIN 2
PIN 3
PIN 4
PIN 5
PIN 7
PIN 6
PIN 8
PIN 20
GND PIN 1
46
DB25
(female)
TXD
RXD
RTS
CTS
GND
DSR
DCD
DTR
13 12 11 10 9 8 7 6
5 4 3 2 1
25 24 23 22 21 20 19 18 17 16 15 14
Network cables and adapters
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
October 8, 2003
Network messaging software
Overview
Messaging software is used to create messages on your PC and then send them to Alpha signs. Depending on
the software and sign you use, different features and functions are available to help you personalize your
messages:
•
Text color
•
Fonts
•
Modes (flashing or rotating text, for example)
•
Time and date insertion
•
Graphics
•
Animation
•
Message simulation
Alpha Messaging Software
Alpha Messaging Software is a software program that controls text on standard Alpha signs. The software
includes a Configuration Utility, as well as allows you to preview the text of your message on a sign. You can also
specify message attributes, such as presentation styles and idle time, insert the time and date into a message, and
select from available display animations.
Alpha Messaging Software works with serial networks and can send messages to a single Alpha sign.
AlphaNET Software
AlphaNET is a full-featured software program that controls text and graphics on standard Alpha signs. The
software includes a Message Editor and a Site Editor, and full message simulation allows you to preview a
message as it will appear on a sign prior to sending it. Image editing software is also included with AlphaNET to
help you create and edit graphics and animations.
AlphaNET software works with serial, modem, and LAN networks and can send messages to any individual
sign or group of signs.
Network messaging software
47
October 8, 2003
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
Smart Alec Software
Smart Alec is an extensive software system which can acquire real-time data from manufacturing,
warehousing, or other data collection software systems, as well as manual input. Smart Alec prioritizes, schedules,
and delivers this information to Alpha signs, E-mail systems, and alphanumeric pagers. The program includes a
Message Manager, Command Manager, Variable Rule Manager, and other system managers, as well as various
start-up and advanced utilities.
Smart Alec works with all types of networks and runs in TCP/IP network environments on PCs with either a
Windows 95, Windows 98, or Windows NT operating system. Multiple signs can be connected to the PC or LAN,
and Smart Alec can send messages to any individual sign or groups of signs.
Alpha Marquee ActiveX Control
The Alpha Marquee ActiveX Control is a development tool that allows programmers to rapidly interface
Alpha signs to any application that supports the use of ActiveX controls. The control comes complete with
everything needed to trigger alarms, string messages, and display real-time information on a static display. It
communicates to any Alpha sign through a serial or LAN connection.
48
Network messaging software
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
October 8, 2003
Appendix
Appendix A—Related documentation
The following documentation may be useful with this manual and can be found on Adaptive’s Web site at
http://www.ams-i.com/Pages/techdoc.htm.
Part #
Appendix
Document name
Description
9701-0202
Messaging Software User Manual
Provides step-by-step examples of how to use messaging
software.
9702-2005
Alpha Director Sign User Manual
Explains how to set up the aluminum Director and includes
instructions for basic operating procedures and messaging
with the Remote Control.
9704-0002
Alpha Remote Control Programming
Explains how to use the Remote Control to create and send
messages to display signs.
9705-1002C
Alpha Solar Series Installation Manual
Describes how to mount the sign, set up the electrical
connection, and connect the sign to a PC. Also discusses
the basic operation of the sign.
9707-1003
IR Message Loader Instructions
Explains how to use the infrared message loader to transfer
messages between display signs and PCs.
9707-7004
Alpha NEMA Series Sign Installation Instructions
Explains how to install Alpha NEMA series signs.
9708-8081
AlphaNET User Manual
Explains how to install and use the AlphaNET (formerly
called AlphaNet plus for Windows). In-depth examples show
how to set up and send messages to a network of signs.
9709-2030
Smart Alec Version 3.0 User Manual
Describes how to use the Smart Alec version 3.0 software.
Includes basic background, plus setting up and managing
the system, as well as advanced functions.
9711-2401
AlphaTicker Installation Instructions
Describes how to install and network AlphaTicker signs.
9711-4201
AlphaPremiere 9000 Series Installation Manual
Explains how to install Series 9000 signs.
9711-6009
AlphaEclipse 3500 Series Installation and Service Manual
Provides comprehensive setup, installation,
troubleshooting, and field repair for AlphaEclipse 3500
series outdoor signs.
9711-6501
AlphaEclipse 1500 Series Installation Manual
Explains how to install, set up, and wire the sign and
temperature probe. Also provides routine service and
technical specifications.
TechMemo
00-0005A
Preventing Electrostatic Discharge (ESD) Damage
Describes the dangers associated with electrostatic
discharge damage, as well as how to prevent them from
happening.
TechMemo
01-0003
Installing a USB-to-DB9 adapter to connect a sign to a PC
Describes how to network signs to a PC with a USB port
using the Xircom USB adapter.
TechMemo
01-0011
Modem setup for Alpha signs
Describes how to set up the transmitting and receiving
modems to Alpha signs.
TechMemo
02-0005
RS232/RS485 Selection Jumper
Describes how to determine whether the correct serial port
is automatically sensed in your sign.
49
October 8, 2003
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
Appendix B—End-of-line termination
When an Alpha sign is at the end of an RS485 network, a special end-of-line (EOL) terminator is required for
the first and last sign. The EOL terminator plugs into the sign’s RS232/RS485 port and stops the flow of
communication.
On an RS485 network, the PC that sends messages to the networked signs is wired directly to one of the signs
using a Converter Box III, which converts the computer’s RS232 signals to RS485 signals. In this case, the Converter
Box III must be terminated instead of the first sign in the network. To terminate a Converter Box III, set the switch
on the back of the unit to Terminated:
RS232
RS485
First sign
Middle sign(s)
RS485 Termination OFF
RS485 Termination OFF
Converter Box III
(pn 1088-1111)
RS485 Termination ON
End-of-line (EOL)
terminator required on this
sign if it is the only sign.
Last sign
RS485 Termination ON
End-of-line (EOL)
terminal or required
Sometimes, the PC that sends messages to the networked signs is not directly connected to any of the signs.
Instead, the PC sends messages to a modem or wireless transceiver attached to the signs. The messages are then
relayed to the other signs in the network):
RS232
Modem
Wireless transceiver
50
RS485
First sign
Middle sign(s)
Last sign
RS485 Termination ON
RS485 Termination OFF
RS485 Termination ON
End-of-line (EOL)
terminator required on this
sign if it is the only sign.
Termination by
dipswitch required.
Appendix
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
October 8, 2003
Stand-alone Personal Priority Display
Detailed use of the EOL terminator can be found throughout this manual. However, its use with a Personal
Priority Display is documented here because a special duplex adapter is needed to accommodate both the EOL
termination and networking functions. Adaptive Micro Systems does not carry this adapter. To obtain one, contact
Adaptive for a referral or visit your local Radio Shack.
A
Personal Priority DIsplay
Item
A
B
C
D
E
F
To sign’s
RS232/RS485
port
Part #
B
C
D
F
E
Description
—
1088-9107
1088-8624
1088-8636
4331-0602
—
1088-8002
Duplex adapter
End-of-line (EOL) terminator
8-foot RS485 cable
1-foot RS485 cable
Modular Network Adapter
Ferrite (ferrite end towards sign)
1000-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
Wall-mounted Personal Priority Display
A
D
C
B
Personal Priority DIsplay
F
E
Item
A
B
C
D
E
F
Appendix
Part #
—
1088-8624
—
4331-0602
1088-9107
1088-8002
Description
Ferrite (ferrite end towards sign)
3-foot RS232 cable
Duplex adapter
Modular Network Adapter
End-of-line (EOL) terminator
1000-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
51
October 8, 2003
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
Appendix C—RS485 echo
When RS485 echo is on, data coming into a sign via RS232 is sent back out the sign controller board’s RS485
terminals. This allows information coming into one sign to be forwarded to other signs. The echo travels in one
direction only. In other words, from RS232 to RS485 only.
RS485 echo is best used for modem or wireless applications when the RS232 data source is inside the sign.
However, a typical configuration is as follows:
RS232
RS485
First sign
Middle sign(s)
Last sign
RS485 echo OFF
RS485 echo OFF
RS485 echo ON
This sign is set up to echo
the incoming RS232 signal
to the other signs via RS485.
NOTE: RS485 echo is currently available on the AlphaPremiere 9000 series and aluminum Director signs.
52
Appendix
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
October 8, 2003
Appendix D—Setting the RS232/RS485 jumper
Typically, if only one sign will be connected to a PC, the sign’s jumper is set to RS232. When connecting
multiple signs, each sign’s jumper should be set to RS485. Some Alpha signs have an RS232/RS485 auto-sensing
port that sets the jumper automatically, and not all signs have jumpers. See“Appendix E—Serial and power
connections” on page 55 for more information.
NOTE: Make sure the power to the sign is off before changing the position of the jumper.
WARNING
Hazardous voltage.
Contact with high voltage
may cause death or serious
injury.
Always disconnect power to
unit prior to servicing. SM1000A
485
232
485
232
485
232
Series 4000 and 7000 signs
RS232
jumper
position
RS485
jumper
position
Director sign
Remove the plastic lens
from the front of the sign
by pulling it up. Then set
the RS232/RS485 jumper.
Lift the cap off.
Remove the sign’s cap by
removing these two screws.
Appendix
485
When the jumper is on
the left two pins, the
sign is set to RS232.
When the jumper is
on the right two pins,
the sign is set to
RS485.
232
NOTE: This information applies to
the wood Director only. You do
not have to set the jumper in the
aluminum Director as it is set
automatically.
53
October 8, 2003
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
Signs with a terminal block
A terminal block is a group of one or more individual terminals consisting of electrical connectors. Many
functions can be wired to the terminal block, such as power distribution or grounding. On some Alpha signs, serial
connections are directly wired to a terminal block as either RS232 or RS485, so there is no jumper to be set. Each
sign’s installation manual provides detailed instructions.
“Appendix E—Serial and power connections” on page 55 provides information on which signs have terminal
blocks.
Terminals
54
To make a connection, insert a wire under the
appropriate screw and then tighten the screw.
Appendix
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
October 8, 2003
Appendix E—Serial and power connections
The table below indicates the communication ports available with each Alpha sign, where the sign should be
terminated, whether the sign has a jumper or terminal block, and where the power connection is located. Detailed
information can be found in the manual for each sign type on Adaptive’s Web site at http://www.ams-i.com/
Pages/techdoc.htm:
Serial communication port
Sign
215 Series
220
300 Series
400 Series
215C or R
RS232/RS485
RS485
X
X
220C
RS232/RS485
autosensing
Jumper
Terminal block
Back of sign
X
320C
X
X
330C
X
X
420C or R
Power
Back of sign
Back of sign
Back of sign
X
X
Inside sign
4080C
X
X
X (C)
X (R)
Back of sign
4120C or R
X
X (C)
X (R)
Back of sign
4160C or R
X
X (C)
X (R)
Back of sign
4200C or R
X
X (C)
X (R)
Back of sign
4240C or R
X
X
X
X
X
X (C)
X (R)
Back of sign
7080C
X
X
X
Back of sign
7120C
X
Back of sign
X
X
Back of sign
7200C
X
X
X
X
X
7160C
9080C
See note 2 below
X
Back of sign
9120C
AlphaPremiere 9000
9160C
Series
9200C
See note 2 below
Back of sign
See note 2 below
X
X
X
9240C
See note 2 below
X
Back of sign
4000 Series
7000 Series
See note 2 below
X
Back of sign
Back of sign
Back of sign
Big Dot
X
X
Back of sign
Serial Clock
X
X
Back of sign
AlphaVision
X
X
Back of sign
X
Underneath bottom
back panel
Wood
Director
Aluminum
PPD
X
X
X
X
Back of sign
X
Back of sign
NOTE 1: The shaded areas above indicate where the end-of-line (EOL) termination should be.
NOTE 2: AlphaPremiere Series 9000 signs are terminated by dipswitch settings. Additionally, they have an RS232-only port and an RS485-only port
if a standard configuration is used, and an Ethernet-only port and an RS485-only port if an Ethernet configuration is used.
NOTE 3: 4000 series, 7000 series, and Director signs may have a new controller board which automatically senses the correct serial port for communication. To determine whether your sign has this controller board, refer to TechMemo 02-0005, “RS232/RS485 Selection Jumper,” dated
May 3, 2002. (This TechMemo is available at http://www.adaptivedisplays.com.)
Appendix
55
October 8, 2003
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
Appendix F—Alternate sign connections
There are ways to connect signs other than the standard PC-to-sign and sign-to-sign configurations.
NOTE: Be aware that, on some signs, an internal jumper must be set to either RS232 or RS485 depending on
the cabling the sign is using. See “Appendix D—Setting the RS232/RS485 jumper” on page 53. Also,
some signs may need to be terminated depending upon which type of network and the number of
signs you are using. See “Appendix B—End-of-line termination” on page 50 for additional
information.
Multiple signs without a PC
Use this setup when you want to connect multiple signs without using a PC. In this situation, an infrared
Remote Control keyboard or an infrared Message Loader, instead of a PC, is used to send messages to a sign. See
“Appendix A—Related documentation” on page 49 for more information on these items.
Although this configuration is not as flexible or as powerful as using a PC to send and schedule messages, the
Remote Control or Message Loader is adequate for sending a limited number of messages to a group of signs.
A
D
B
To sign’s RS485 port
Alpha sign
C
To sign’s RS485 port
E
Alpha sign
A
B
C
D
To sign’s RS485 port
Alpha sign
F
G
SOUND
ON - OFF
DATA VALID
RUN
PROGRAM
DATA
1 2 3
APPEND CURSOR SPECIAL FONT
ROLL
WIPE
1
2
AUTO
NOTE: To use a Personal Priority Display
at the end of a network of signs,
see “Appendix B—End-of-line
termination” on page 50.
Item
Part #
T
COLOR
ROTATE
5
6
0
SELECT
D
%
I
P
’
U
*
K
+
/
O
”
F
E
&
J
=
N
:
S
WIDTH
HOLD
DOT
9
C
$
H
>
M
;
TIME
8
B
¢
G
<
4
3
SPEED
7
A
#
SCROLL FLASH
L
-
R
Q
.
,
V
W
ADV
DELETE
X
!
?
Y
Z
SHIFT
INSERT
RETURN
SPACE
CAPS
BACK
SHIFT
BAT.LOW
MESSAGE
LOADER
MEMORY LOCATION
To use a Remote Control or an IR
Message Loader, point it at a sign’s
infrared receiver window.
Information on how messages are
sent from one to sign another can be found in the
manuals for the Remote Control and IR Message
loader. See “Appendix A—Related documentation” on
page 49.
TRANSMIT
Description
End-of-line (EOL) terminator (Must be plugged into the RS232 or
TTL plug on the first and the last sign.)
B
—
Ferrite (ferrite end towards sign)
1088-8624
8-foot RS485 cable
C
1088-8636
1-foot RS485 cable
D 4331-0602
Modular Network Adapter
1088-8002
1000-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
E
7122-0283
100-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
7122-0284
100-foot RS485 outdoor-rated shielded plenum cable
F
1072-1111
Infrared Remote Control keyboard
G 1071-1113
IR Message Loader
NOTE:Be sure to verify whether a jumper needs to be set on the sign you are using. See
“Appendix D—Setting the RS232/RS485 jumper” on page 53.
A
56
1088-9107
Appendix
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
October 8, 2003
Back-to-back wiring
Back-to-back wiring is the easiest way to network two signs together:
Alpha sign
RS-485 OUT
OR
RS-485 IN
A
WARNING-NOT A
TELEPHONE
CONNECTION.
Connect each end of the cable
to the RS-485 OUT/RS-485 IN
plug on each sign.
RS-485 IN
OR
RS-232 IN
NOTE: NEVER connect each
end of the cable to the RS485
IN/RS232 IN plugs on each
sign as this may damage the
signs.
RS-485 OUT
OR
RS-485 IN
Alpha sign
WARNING-NOT A
TELEPHONE
CONNECTION.
RS-485 IN
OR
RS-232 IN
Item
A
Appendix
Part #
1088-8626
Description
8-foot RS485 back-to-back cable
57
October 8, 2003
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
Alpha Serial Clocks
The Alpha Serial Clock displays the time in either 12-hour or 24-hour mode using a 4-inch LED display. It can
be used all by itself or networked with other Alpha clocks or signs. In a network, a clock behaves like an Alpha
sign in that it is used to synchronize all other clocks. In this case, the time is synchronized instead of a message.
Also, just like an Alpha sign, a clock must be terminated when it is the last device on a network.
Used alone, an Alpha Serial Clock should be set to Master Mode. In a network composed of all Alpha Serial
Clocks, one clock should be set to Master Mode and the other clocks set to Slave Mode. In a network with a PC that
is connected to Alpha clocks and signs, all the clocks should be set to Slave Mode. For more information on using
the Alpha Serial Clock, see ALPHA Serial Clock for Networked & Synchronized Timing Applications (pn 97033006).
Network of all clocks
A
To right port
ALPHA
HOUR MINUTE
To right port
ALPHA
B
C
D
HOUR MINUTE
E
To right port
ALPHA
HOUR MINUTE
B
A
C
D
To right port
ALPHA
HOUR MINUTE
Alpha Serial Clocks
Item
A
1088-9107
B
—
1088-8624
1088-8636
4331-0602
1088-8002
7122-0283
7122-0284
C
D
E
58
Part #
Description
End-of-line (EOL) terminator (Must be plugged into the left—as you
face the back of the clock—RJ11 port.)
Ferrite (ferrite end towards clock)
8-foot RS485 cable
1-foot RS485 cable
Modular Network Adapter
1000-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
100-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
100-foot RS485 outdoor-rated shielded plenum cable
Appendix
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
October 8, 2003
Network of clocks attached to a PC
To PC’s
RS232 port
A
To right port
ALPHA
PC running
messaging
software
E
HOUR MINUTE
B
C
D
To right port
ALPHA
Set switch to
Terminated
HOUR MINUTE
F
To right port
ALPHA
B
C
G
D
H
HOUR MINUTE
To RS485
connector
Alpha Serial Clocks
(See NOTE below)
To right port
ALPHA
HOUR MINUTE
B
A
C
D
E
To right port
ALPHA
To RS485
connector on
Converter Box III
(Set switch to
Unterminated.)
HOUR MINUTE
Alpha Serial Clocks
Item
Part #
Description
End-of-line (EOL) terminator (Must be plugged into the left—as you face the back
of the clock—RJ11 port.)
B —
Ferrite (ferrite end towards clock)
1088-8624
8-foot RS485 cable
C
1088-8636
1-foot RS485 cable
D 4331-0602
Modular Network Adapter
1088-8002
1000-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
E
7122-0283
100-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
7122-0284
100-foot RS485 outdoor-rated shielded plenum cable
Converter Box III with a Converter Box III AC Adapter:
F
1088-1111
pn 4011-1201 (120 volt)
pn 4011-4201 (230 volt)
G 1088-8634
Type A9 RS232 cable (connects Converter Box III to PC RS232 port)
H —
DB25-to-DB9 adapter (if PC has a 9-pin RS232 port)
NOTE:The information below the dotted line is the hardware to be added when you want the Converter
Box III in the middle of the network. In this situation, the Converter Box III must be set to Unterminated.
A
Appendix
1088-9107
59
October 8, 2003
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
Network of clocks and signs
To PC’s
RS232 port
A
To right phone jack
ALPHA
PC running
messaging
software
E
HOUR MINUTE
Alpha Serial Clock
B
C
D
To sign’s RS485 port
Set switch to
Terminated
Alpha sign
F
To right phone jack
ALPHA
B
C
G
D
H
HOUR MINUTE
Alpha Serial Clock
To RS485
connector
Optional
(See NOTE below)
To sign’s RS485
port
Alpha sign
A
To sign’s RS485
port
B
C
D
E
Alpha sign
Item
Part #
To RS485
connector on
Converter Box III
(Set switch to
Unterminated.)
Description
End-of-line (EOL) terminator (Must be plugged into the left—as you face the back
of the clock—RJ11 phone jack.)
B —
Ferrite (ferrite end towards clock)
1088-8624
8-foot RS485 cable
C
1088-8636
1-foot RS485 cable
D 4331-0602
Modular Network Adapter
1088-8002
1000-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
E
7122-0283
100-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
7122-0284
100-foot RS485 outdoor-rated shielded plenum cable
Converter Box III with a Converter Box III AC Adapter:
F
1088-1111
pn 4011-1201 (120 volt)
pn 4011-4201 (230 volt)
G 1088-8634
Type A9 RS232 cable (connects Converter Box III to PC RS232 port)
H —
DB25-to-DB9 adapter (if PC has a 9-pin RS232 port)
NOTE:The information below the dotted line is the hardware to be added when you want the Converter
Box III in the middle of the network. In this situation, the Converter Box III must be set to Unterminated.
A
60
1088-9107
Appendix
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
October 8, 2003
Appendix G—Modular Network Adapter to Converter Box III wiring
Special wiring is needed to connect the Modular Network Adapter and the Converter Box III:
Connect RED wire from RS485 cable to YL screw.
Connect BLACK wire from RS485 cable to BK screw.
Connect SHIELD wire from RS485 cable to RD screw.
GN
BR
WH
YL
To next Modular Network Adapter
(if necessary)
NOTE: If the Modular Network Adapter is connected to a
Personal Priority Display (PPD) sign, then connect
the two SHIELD wires together from each RS485
cable. However, do NOT connect these two wires
to the SHIELD screw.
C
BLACK WIRE (+)
RED WIRE (-)
RD
SHIELD WIRE
B
A
BK
BL
OR
D
Item
A
B
C
D
E
Appendix
Part #
—
1088-8624
1088-8636
4331-0602
1088-8002
7122-0283
7122-0284
1088-1111
BLACK WIRE (+)
RED WIRE (-)
SHIELD WIRE
E
Description
Ferrite (ferrite end towards sign)
8-foot RS485 cable
1-foot RS485 cable
Modular Network Adapter
1000-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
100-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
100-foot RS485 outdoor-rated shielded plenum cable
Converter Box III with a Converter Box III AC Adapter:
pn 4011-1201 (120 volt)
pn 4011-4201 (230 volt)
61
October 8, 2003
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
Appendix H—Assigning an IP address to a serial server
For messages to be sent to a specific sign on the network, each serial server must have a unique IP address.
To assign an IP address, you will need to know two numbers:
•
The IP address to be assigned to each serial server, either the Alpha Ethernet Adapter, MSS100, or MSS485.
See your IS network administrator for the IP address.
•
The hardware address of the serial server. This is found on a label on the back of the server.
Assigning the IP address
You must first have the Alpha Ethernet Setup program loaded on your computer. This is available on the
installation CD you received with your sign.
1.
Select Start>Programs>Alpha Ethernet Setup.
2.
Type the appropriate information in the Ethernet Adapter IP Configuration window:
MAC Address
A unique hardware address located on
the sticker at the back of the sign.
IP Address
The IP address assigned by your IS
network administrator.
Pay attention to the status bar for important information
about the setup.
Note: Only three classes of Subnet Mask need to be set:
• 255.0.0.0
• 255.255.0.0
• 255.255.255.0
62
Appendix
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
3.
October 8, 2003
Click Setup. “Setup is in process...” appears in the status bar of the Ethernet Adaptor IP Configuration
window.
NOTE: With MSS adaptors, if the IP address you type in already exists, the status bar will read, “IP
address already exists.” In addition, if the adaptor already has an address assigned, the status bar
will read, “Setup IP Address failed.” Follow the steps in “Resetting a serial server” on page 63 and
run the IP Configuration again.
4.
When the setup is complete, a message window appears asking whether you want to send a test message
to the new IP address. Click Yes or No.
5.
Close the Ethernet Adaptor IP Configuration window once the status bar indicates the setup is complete.
Click here to close the
window once this
message appears in
the status bar.
Resetting a serial server
There may be times when you need to reset the serial server to its default factory settings.
1.
Remove power from the adapter, either the cable to the sign (Alpha Ethernet Adapter) or its power cable
(MSS100 or MSS485).
2.
Using the point of a pen or a similar object, press and hold the reset button on the serial server and then
reapply power to the sign. Continue to hold the reset button for 20 seconds after reapplying power.
Appendix
63
October 8, 2003
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
Appendix I—Setting up messaging software for TCP/IP networking
A serial server receives a message from one PC over a network and sends it on to a sign. This is in conjunction
with any software that can use the TCP/IP protocol. AlphaNET plus for Windows (version 1.3 or later), AlphaNET
for Windows (version 2.0 or later), and Smart Alec (version 3.0 or later) are TCP/IP-compatible.
NOTE: AlphaNET version 2.0 is documented here. If you have another version of AlphaNET, your screens
may be different.
Creating the device in the software
You must create a device that will use a serial server and TCP/IP and set the port number to 3001. The
AlphaNET 2.0 screen for TCP/IP will look like this:
This must be checked.
This must be “3001”.
For Smart Alec 3.0, the screen looks like this:
This must be “terminal server”
since Smart Alec refers to any
serial server as terminal.
Type the IP address of
the terminal server.
This must be “3001”.
After setting up a TCP/IP device and a sign using that device, you can send messages to this sign as you
normally would.
64
Appendix
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
October 8, 2003
Glossary
AC
Alternating Current. An electronic current that reverses direction in a circuit at regular intervals, usually used
for higher voltages.
ACK
Acknowledgment. An ASCII or EBCDIC code indicating that a message has been received correctly.
ActiveX
Alpha Marquee ActiveX control is a development tool designed to ease communication with an Alpha
Marquee display. Product of Adaptive.
adapter
A piece of hardware installed on a computer or electrical component connecting it to other hardware.
Converts one format to another, either physical (type of plug), electrical (configuration of wiring), or electronic
(computer/monitor interface).
address
An identifier assigned to networks, stations, and other devices so that each device can be separately designed
to receive and reply to messages. See also serial address.
administrator
The person who sets up a server, creates user login accounts and passwords, creates groups, sets security, and
maintains the server.
Alpha protocol
The proprietary internal instruction language used by Alpha, AlphaVision, BetaBrite, AlphaEclipse, and Solar
signs. Also known as “EZ95.”
AMS
Adaptive Micro Systems, LLC.
AMS(E)
Adaptive Micro Systems, Europe.
AMS(I)
Adaptive Micro Systems, International. (Refers to Milwaukee location.)
AMS(M)
Adaptive Micro Systems, Malaysia.
animation
A sequence of graphics designed to be shown together to give the illusion of motion, such as a walking shoe, a
moving boat, or a light turning off and on.
ANSI
American National Standards Institute. A nonprofit organization in the United States that defines standards in
many industries. For example, how safety symbols appear in documentation. It is supported by over 1,000 trade
Glossary
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organizations, professional societies, and companies, and affiliated with the Consultative Committee for
International Telegraphy and Telephony (CCITT) and the International Standards Organization (ISO).
apparatus
A complex device or machine consisting of the enclosure, the enclosed equipment, and the protruding
accessories, designed for a specific purpose.
AppleTalk
The Apple Computer suite of protocols that allows the hardware and software on an AppleTalk network to
interact and route data.
AppleTalk network
A collection of connected, individually controlled computers, printers, and other devices, together with the
hardware and AppleTalk software used to link them.
application
A software program with which a user can create, authorize, or change data. Can generally be accessed from a
menu or toolbar.
AR
Access Rate. Actual data access rate measured in bits per second.
ASCII
American Standard Code for Information Interchange. A set of characters using an 8-bit code for data transfer
adopted by ANSI to ensure compatibility among data devices.
back end
A device (such as a server or software program) that provides services to a front end (a software application).
See also front end.
baseband
Characteristic of a network technology where only one carrier frequency is used, like Ethernet.
battery backup
Battery-backed up memory. If a sign is turned off, unplugged, or power is inadvertently lost, the messages,
graphics, and time settings stored in the sign’s memory are not lost. When the sign is plugged in again, the
messages, graphics, and time that were in memory are still available. Some signs use a battery; some use a
capacitor.
baud
The speed at which data bits are transmitted and received, usually measured in bits per second. For example,
9600 baud is equal to 9600 bits per second.
binary
A numbering system comprised of bits, strings of ones and zeros. See also bit.
bit
Binary digit used in the binary numbering system. Can be 0 or 1.
boot
To plug in, turn on, or otherwise start a computer, sign or machine.
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boot code
Firmware used for power-up on a display sign’s controller board.
bridge
A device that connects two or more physical networks, forwarding frames between networks based on
information in the datalink header. Because a bridge operates at the datalink layer, it is transparent to the network
layer protocols.
brightness
The output intensity of an LED measured in millicandela (mcd). The higher the number, the brighter the
intensity. See also luminance and wavelength.
broadcast
A transmission method by which all devices/nodes on a network receive a copy of any message that is
designed for broadcast. For example, when a message is broadcast, each sign on that network displays the
message.
browser
A GUI-based software application used to access hypertext documents and other services on the World Wide
Web or Internet. See also GUI.
buffer
Stores chunks of data in transit until they can be processed.
byte
Made up of 8 bits. See also bit.
cable connectivity
A cable connection between the serial port of a computer and a sign. This is the simplest type of connection.
Also referred to as a wired or serial connection.
cabling
The wiring that connects pieces of a network together. RS232 and RS485 are types of cabling used with
Adaptive displays.
CE
Compliance European. The agency that sets the standards LED signs must meet if they are to be sold in
Europe. International only.
center-to-center spacing
The distance from the center of one pixel to the center of the next adjacent pixel. Useful in determining
character height. Also known as pitch.
character
Any letter, number, punctuation mark, or other symbol used in text. A typical character is 7 pixels high by 5
pixels wide, plus the spaces between characters and lines.
character height
LED character height usually expressed in pixels. For example, 7-high.
character height-to-pitch relationship
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Character height (rows) times the pitch equals the height of the characters. For example, for an Alpha 215 sign,
7 rows times 0.3 inches is equal to 2.1 inches.
characters per line
Determined by the number of pixels across the sign and by the size of the character. A normal character is 5
pixels wide with one pixel space separating characters. Thus, an 80 column sign can display 13 characters (80/6=
13.3).
NOTE: As you plan your sign requirements, write down the messages you intend to display on the sign.
Count the characters in the words that you use most often. How many words you want to see at once
determines the number of characters per line required by your application. If a word will not fit on the
line, the word displays one character at a time or it starts a new line, depending on the display mode
being used.
checksum
A numeric computation using the bits of a transmitted message, and the resulting value. The value is
transmitted with the message, and the receiving device recalculates the checksum, then compares it to the received
value to detect transmission errors.
chip
A small device found on the microboard of an LED sign. Contains a program (RAM or EPROM, for example)
that runs the sign.
circuit
Any path that can carry an electrical current.
client
Software program or node that requests services from a server.
clusters
Multiple LEDs assembled in groups that together form one bright pixel point when lit. The LEDs are
connected to a molded cup which is then filled with clear epoxy to hold the LED in place. Clusters may contain one
color LED or, in a multi-color application, a combination of different colors.
CM
Character Matrix. Displays characters only (not graphics) in discrete blocks of LEDs.
coaxial cable
A type of cable that uses two conductors: a central, solid wire core surrounded by insulation and, surrounding
that, a braided wire conductor sheath.
code
Specific firmware or software containing instructions for a computer or sign.
color
Adds interest and contrast over a monochrome, red-only sign. For simple informational signs, red is often
sufficient. The green and amber colors are considered softer colors and may be more appropriate for some
environments. Color signs can be 3 color, (red, amber, and green), 9 color, (additional shades of red, amber, and
green), 256 color (usually RGB or CMYK), 262,000, or 4,000,000 for full color displays. Some signs allow you to set
the color of the background or the foreground. In a red-only sign model, this would allow red text on a black
background or black text on a red background. In a multi color sign, you could have a variety of text colors and a
variety of background colors.
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NOTE: Certain colors and color combinations are more readable and visible than others. The elaborate
combinations generally work better at night. In bright sunlight, bright colors on a black background
are the easiest to read.
COM port
An abbreviation for communications port. A data pathway, generally referred to as a serial port, that connects
to a communication device.
controller board
The circuit board in an LED sign that controls the entire sign, such as which dots turn on. Sends information to
the driver boards. Also known as micro board or micro controller board.
converter box
Changes RS232 signals into RS485 signals.
CPU
Central Processing Unit. The brains of a computer designed to run a group of instructions, such as adding
numbers together, gathering information from memory, and so on.
CSA
Canadian Standards Association. The agency that tests LED signs, among other things, to make sure they are
safe for use. An LED sign cannot be shipped to Canada without a CSA label.
data block module
An LED mounted on a circuit board and epoxied into a block module that contains a specific number of rows
and columns of pixels.
datagram
Logical grouping of information sent as a network layer. The primary bits of information on the Internet.
data rate
The speed at which data bits are transmitted and received, usually measured in bits per second. See also baud.
date of manufacture
The month, day, and year the sign is made. Adaptive Micro Systems uses a date code of YYMM, where April
2001 would read 0104.
DC
Direct Current. A current that flows in one direction only, like that of a battery.
DDE
Dynamic Data Exchange. A form of communication in OS/2 and Windows software, not as advanced as OLE.
When two or more programs are supporting DDE and running simultaneously, they can exchange information
and commands.
density
Defined by the pixel diameter and center-to-center spacing of the character displayed. The closer the pixels are
to each other, the higher the resolution of the character. Low resolution characters are designed for distance
viewing. Also known as resolution.
destination address
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Address of a network device that is receiving data. For example, the address in a message packet identifying
which sign is to receive it.
destination node
In the Open Systems Interconnection (OSI) model, the nodes that represent the host computers at each end of a
connection. In a packet-switching network, the node attached to the device that is receiving the data.
device
Any hardware component attached to a computer system.
device driver
The software or firmware that translates operating system requests into a format that is recognizable by
specific hardware, such as an adapter.
DHCP
Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol. A method of automatically assigning a TCP/IP address to a client.
digital display
An electronic sign that combines text and graphics to convey a fixed or changeable, moving or unmoving
advertising or locational message. See also electronic display.
digital sign
An electronic sign that combines text and graphics to convey a fixed or changeable, moving or unmoving
advertising or locational message. See also electronic display.
DIP switches
Switches are housed in a rectangular box on a circuit board and control specific features to whichever device
they belong. The switches are binary, either on or off, and are often used in place of groups of jumpers.
display
An electronic sign that combines text and graphics to convey a fixed or changeable, moving or unmoving
advertising or locational message. See also electronic display.
display array
Rows and columns. The number of dots or pixels vertically and horizontally in a sign. For example, 16 x 80
means that the sign has 16 dots vertically and 80 dots horizontally, for a total of 1280. The characters and graphics
of a message are formed by turning on or activating specific patterns of pixels within the display array.
DLL
Dynamic Link Library. An OS/2 and Windows software feature that allows executable code modules to be
loaded on demand and linked to run time.
driver board
A circuit board in an LED sign that takes information from the micro board and uses it to turn an LED on or
off. Display cubes are mounted, socketed, or soldered on a driver board.
drop test
A test done on each new product to determine whether its packaging material is sufficient for shipping. ETL is
an example of a company that performs the test.
duplex adapter
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Converts a single jack into a dual jack to allow two accessories to be connected at the same time.
EEPROM
Electronic Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory. A small device usually found inside the access door of
an LED sign containing a program (firmware) that runs the sign, which can be written to over and over again.
electrical information
Input voltage, frequency, amperage, and watts.
electronic display
An electronic sign that combines text and graphics to convey a fixed or changeable, moving or unmoving
advertising or locational message. The following terms are used interchangeably: ACD display, alphanumeric
display, auditorium marquee, banner, banner board, communication center, communicator, digital display, digital
sign, directional marquee, display, display board, electronic banner, electronic display, EMC (electronic message
center), electronic sign, graphic display, hall marquee, LED display, LED sign, light board, marquee, message
board, message center, message display, moving message display, moving message sign, news ticker, price
changer, programmable sign, reader board, salescaster, scanvertiser, sign, silent radio, silent salesman, stock ticker,
ticker, ticket marquee, time-temperature display, and zipper.
electronic sign
An electronic sign that combines text and graphics to convey a fixed or changeable, moving or unmoving
advertising or locational message. See also electronic display.
EMC
Electronic Message Center. An electronic sign that combines text and graphics to convey a fixed or changeable,
moving or unmoving advertising or locational message. See also electronic display.
enclosure
A case that provides protection to someone against contact with the enclosed equipment, and to protect the
enclosed equipment from the elements. NEMA standards allow for many different types of enclosures, indoor and
outdoor.
end node
The machine or unit (node) that serves as an originator or final destination of network traffic, but does not
relay traffic originated by other nodes.
end-of-line terminator
Used to define the start and end of a network. Helps control electrical interference on the network and provide
stable communication across a network.
EPROM
Erasable Programmable Read Only Memory. A small device usually found inside the access door of an LED
sign containing a program (firmware) that runs the sign.
ERP
Enterprise Resource Planning. A billion dollar sales industry, of which Oracle is its largest company, for
systems designed to coordinate database management for sales forecasts, order management, purchasing, product
scheduling, inventory management, and other functions required to complete the manufacturing of a product.
ESD
Electrostatic Discharge. Discharge of stored static electricity that can damage electronic equipment and impair
electrical circuitry, resulting in complete or intermittent failures.
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Ethernet
Links devices (such as a group of display signs) on a network. Baseband LAN specification invented by Xerox
Corporation and developed jointly by Xerox, Intel, and Digital Equipment Corporation. Ethernet networks use
CSMA/CD and run over a variety of cable types at 10 Mbps (megabits per second). Newer versions of Ethernet,
such as Fast Ethernet and Gigabit Ethernet, support data transfer rates of 100 Mbps and 1 gigabit (1,000 megabits)
per second, respectively.
Ethernet adapter
Device used to convert TCP/IP protocol to RS232/485.
Ethernet connectivity
An ethernet connection between a computer and a company’s local area network, supported by TCP/IP.
ETL
Edison Testing Laboratories. An agency that tests and certifies conformity to both domestic and international
electrical standards. A product tested for safety by ETL has an ETL label.
FCC
Federal Communications Commission. Regulates radio frequency emissions from an interaction between
electrical and communication devices. Domestic only.
field
One item of information about something, such as a name, action, or destination for a command.
firmware
Name used to describe the program stored on a chip. May be referred to as the operating system, but the terms
are not always synonymous.
flash
A method of updating a fixed EPROM by sending the new firmware program from a PC to the EPROM.
Eliminates the need to physically replace firmware chips.
flick
Multiple bitmapped images displayed one after another to give the illusion of movement.
flush mounting
A construction that has a minimal front projection when set into a recessed opening and secured to a flat
surface.
Frame Relay
A method of communication that can go from ISDN speed to T1 speed in increments. It has a flat rate billing
instead of a per time usage. It connects by using the telephone company's network. See also ISDN and T1.
front end
A software application that requests services from a device (such as a server or software program). See also
back end.
FM
Full Matrix. Displays characters and graphics with no empty spaces between blocks of LEDs.
FUTS
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First Unit to Ship.
Gateway
Product name for an Adaptive interface from a PLC to a sign.
graphic
On a sign, a picture consisting of a pattern of pixels often displayed in one position, such as a company logo or
an identifiable product (for example, a car, light, or shoe). Displays a single bitmapped image.
Group
One or more sites in AlphaNET or Smart Alec software.
GUI
Graphical User Interface. A program interface that takes advantage of the computer’s graphics capabilities to
make the program easier to use.
hazardous locations
Locations that contain enough hazardous materials to create an explosion, according to National Electrical
Manufacturer’s Association (NEMA) standard.
indoor character size
2” and 4” high characters are commonly used in most interior applications. In warehouses or manufacturing
environments where signs are to be viewed from greater distances, 4" or 7" characters work best.
indoor locations
Areas protected from exposure to the elements. Viewing distances are generally shorter.
industry automation
Any type of machine process in which a controller (PLC) contains data that will be used on an EMC or
electronic display.
infrared
A form of radiation with a wavelength between 750 and 100,000 nanometers, which is above that of visible
light and below that of microwaves. Infrared sensors are used in night-vision goggles and sensors. Infrared light
can be used to send signals wirelessly back and forth between computing devices.
integrated circuit
A small device that performs various electronic tasks. Also known as a chip.
Internet
The collection of networks and gateways that use the TCP/IP suite of protocols. Written in lowercase, it is an
abbreviation for internetwork.
Internet address
A 32-bit address assigned to hosts using TCP/IP.
IP
Internet Protocol. A TCP/IP protocol that provides datagram delivery of messages.
IP address
A 32-bit address assigned to hosts using TCP/IP.
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ISA
Industry Standard Architecture. Expansion slots and the associated circuits. Transfers 16 bits of data at a time
between the add-in board plugged into the slot and the computer.
ISDN
Integrated Services Digital Network. An international communications standard for sending voice, video, and
data over digital telephone lines or normal telephone wires at 64 Kbps (64,000 bits per second) per line.
ISO
International Standards Organization. An international organization that establishes global standards for
communication and information exchange, as well as for many other fields of commercial activity.
jumper
An electrical switch consisting of a number of pins and a connector that can be attached to the pins in a variety
of ways. Different circuits are created by attaching the connector to different pins. Can also be a wire.
knockout
A portion of the wall of an enclosure that can be removed by a hammer, screwdriver, or pliers at the time of
installation in order to provide a hole for the attachment of an auxiliary device, cable, or fitting.
LAN
Local Area Network. A group of computers and other devices connected by a communications link that allows
a device to interact with any other device on that network. The devices are in close proximity, hence the word local.
LAN connectivity
A LAN connection in which one or more displays signs are linked by Alpha Ethernet Adapters or serial
servers.
LAWN
Local Area Wireless Network. A group of computers and other devices connected by a wireless
communications link that allows a device to interact with any other device on that network. A transmitter attached
to a PC broadcasts data to devices equipped with a data receiver. Transmission range is usually limited to a mile,
hence the word local.
LED
Light Emitting Diode. A tiny chip of silicon made to produce light in a variety of colors, including red, green,
yellow, and blue. A semiconductor diode that converts applied voltage to light as is used in digital displays.
LED display
An electronic sign that combines text and graphics to convey a fixed or changeable, moving or unmoving
advertising or locational message. See also electronic display.
LED sign
An electronic sign that combines text and graphics to convey a fixed or changeable, moving or unmoving
advertising or locational message. See also electronic display.
line position
Where a message appears on a sign. Includes top, bottom, middle, and fill.
loopback
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A diagnostic test in which a signal is transmitted across a medium while the sending device waits for its
return.
luminance
A measure of brightness in millicandela (mcd). See also brightness and wavelength.
marquee
An electronic sign that combines text and graphics to convey a fixed or changeable, moving or unmoving
advertising or locational message. See also electronic display.
medium
Physical environments through which transmission signals pass.
MES
Manufacturing Execution Systems. The software that sits between ERP systems and the machines on the
factory floor. It tracks and pulls together information in real time about the key areas of production: materials,
equipment, personnel, work instructions/specifications, and facility conditions. It is the software that feeds the
databases used to make decisions in the ERP systems.
message
A unique, unified set of information that can be saved or sent to a sign. Includes text, graphics, formatting,
animation, time, date, temperature, and so on.
message center
An electronic sign that combines text and graphics to convey a fixed or changeable, moving or unmoving
advertising or locational message. See also electronic display.
message display
An electronic sign that combines text and graphics to convey a fixed or changeable, moving or unmoving
advertising or locational message. See also electronic display.
micro board
The circuit board in an LED sign that controls the events in a sign, such as which dots turn on. Sends
information to the driver boards. Also known as controller board or micro controller board.
model number
Type of sign, size, and color capability.
modem
Translates digital signals to analog and back again for transmission through telephone wires, wireless
transmitters, wireless paging services, or fiber optic cables. A contraction of modulate and demodulate.
modem connectivity
A modem connection between the modem on a sending computer and a modem in or near a sign. When a
message is sent, the software automatically dials the phone number of the modem in the sign. The telephone line
can be a line provided by the phone company or an extension on an internal phone system. A modem connection
is generally used when it is easier to get a phone line to the sign location than it is to pull a serial cable. Modem
connectivity is also used when programming needs to be done remotely.
modes
Special effects that change the way text appears on a sign. For example, messages can move left or right, or the
top line remains fixed while the bottom line moves.
Glossary
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modular network adapter
Used at Adaptive to connect a sign to an RS485 network.
modules
Subassemblies produced to contain a specific number of rows and columns of pixels to simplify the assembly
of larger signs and to permit more flexibility in the design and construction of signs.
moving message display
An electronic sign that combines text and graphics to convey a fixed or changeable, moving or unmoving
advertising or locational message. See also electronic display.
moving message sign
An electronic sign that combines text and graphics to convey a fixed or changeable, moving or unmoving
advertising or locational message. See also electronic display.
multiplexing
The most common technique used in indoor displays to get the greatest range of brightness. A scheme that
allows multiple signals to be transmitted at the same time across one physical channel.
NAK
Negative Acknowledgment. An ASCII or EBCDIC code indicating that a message has not been received
correctly.
NEMA
National Electrical Manufacturing Association. Creates standards for enclosures for electrical devices.
Domestic only. For Adaptive users, NEMA standards for enclosures protect displays from dirt, dust, and oil in a
factory setting.
network
A collection of interconnected, individually controlled devices, together with the hardware and software used
to connect them.
network address
A unique network layer number that refers to a device residing on a network.
node
An addressable entity on a network. The node acquires a unique 8-bit node number dynamically when it
connects to the network. It tries that address and node number again when it next connects to the network. If the
previous number is already in use, it tries again until a unique node address is found.
node address
A number acquired dynamically by each node when it connects to a network. A device’s node address is
combined with the network number to form its unique network address.
non-ventilated
Provides no intentional circulation of external air through the enclosure.
octet
A group of 8 binary digits operated on as a unit. Also called a byte or a character.
ODBC
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Open Database Connectivity. A Microsoft standard that allows databases created by various relational and
non-relational database programs (such as dBase, Access, FoxPro, and Oracle) to be accessed by a common
interface.
oil-resistant gaskets
Gaskets made of material that is resistant to oil or oil fumes.
OLE
Object Linking and Embedding. The interface that embeds an object created by one application into a
document created by another, performs drag-and-drop transfers within or between applications, and so on. Any
changes to the original object are automatically reflected in the document where it is embedded.
outdoor locations
Areas exposed to the elements. Viewing distances are generally longer.
PCB
Printed Circuit Board. The card type material of which micro boards and driver boards are made.
PING
Packet Internet Grouper. A program used to test the reachability of destinations by sending an Internet
Control Message Protocol (ICMP) echo request and waiting for a reply.
pitch
The distance from the center of one pixel to the center of the next adjacent pixel. Also known as center-tocenter spacing.
pixel
Picture element. The smallest element or spot that a screen or sign can display.
pixel diameter
Determines the size of a pixel. A pixel can be as small as a single .1" diameter LED.
PLC
Programmable Logic Controller. Used in industrial environments to continually turn off various devices
without fail using programmed logic (for example, traffic lights).
PN
Part Number. A unique number assigned to each product, document, brochure, and so on, and to many
components.
polling
Any procedure that sequentially and periodically contacts terminals in a network.
port
a) The hardware that allows a component to communicate with a peripheral, such as a parallel port. b) The
logical point of contact between a LAN driver and a protocol that is bound to it. c) A unique server input/output
address assigned to a local area network driver in NetWare software.
programming
The process of composing messages and graphics, and specifying the display modes, fonts, colors, and
location of text and graphics on the display screen.
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protocol
A set of rules for transmitting data within a network or internetwork. Specifies the format, timing, and
sequence in which the network transmits data. Common protocols include AFP, ALAP, RTMP, NCP, IPX.
reader board
An electronic sign that combines text and graphics to convey a fixed or changeable, moving or unmoving
advertising or locational message. See also electronic display.
record
A collection of related fields, such as all the information about one display command.
repeater
Used to boost the electrical signal along very long networks.
resolution
The quality and clarity of text and graphics, defined by the pixel diameter and center-to-center spacing of the
character displayed. The closer the pixels are to each other, the higher the resolution of the character. Low
resolution characters are designed for distance viewing. Also known as density.
rev
Revision.
RF transmitter
Radio frequency transmitter. Wireless device which sends a message from a network computer and modem to
a data receiver.
routing
The transmission of a datagram from one node to another on the same or a different network. Refers to the
paths that are chosen to transmit an IP datagram from its origin to its destination, based on the IP addresses
contained in the datagram.
RS232
Uses serial communication, specifically RS232 protocol. Connects a sign directly to a computer. Limited to a
distance of 50 feet and connects only one sign to one computer.
RS232/RS485 jumper
A set of three small prongs inside some signs with a connector that covers only two of the three prongs
(jumper). Determines whether the sign is using RS232 or RS485 communication.
RS485
Uses parallel communication, specifically RS485 protocol. Connects multiple signs directly to a computer for
distance longer than 50 feet. Requires a converter box.
RTC
Real-time Clock. A memory chip that allows a sign to retain accurate time while not powered. Runs from a
battery.
serial
An RS232, RS485, or USB connection between a PC and one or more computers in a network.
serial address
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An identifier assigned to networks, stations, and other devices so that each device can be separately
designed to receive and reply to messages. See also address.
serial number
Unique identification number for each sign or other product. Usually a consecutive sequence within a given
model line.
server
A combination of controller software and mass storage devices that allows computer users to share common
files and applications on a network.
sign
An electronic sign that combines text and graphics to convey a fixed or changeable, moving or unmoving
advertising or locational message. See also electronic display.
Site
A collection of one or more signs in AlphaNET software.
Smart Alec
Intelligent messaging system that delivers messages and real-time data from a variety of information systems
to a variety of communication devices.
snippet
A block of text that is saved for repeated use in AlphaNET software.
storage capacity
Ranges from 7,000 to 1,000,000 characters and more for message storage capacity (graphics require more),
depending on the sign and the application.
string file
A sequence of data values, usually bytes, that represent variables. These variables may be updated
independently of the rest of the message without affecting the rest of what is being displayed on the sign.
surface mounting
Secured to and projected from a flat surface. Describes how components are mounted (soldered) to a PCB
(printed circuit board).
T1
A dedicated phone connection supporting data rates of 1.544 Mbps (bits per second). A T1 line actually
consists of 24 individual channels, each of which supports 64 Kbps. Each 64 Kbps channel can be configured to
carry voice or data traffic.
TCP
Transmission Control Protocol. The major transport protocol in the Internet suite of protocols, providing
reliable, connection-oriented, full duplex streams. Uses IP for delivery.
TCP/IP
Transmission Control Protocol/Internet Protocol. A set of rules originally developed by the Department of
Defense to link dissimilar computers across many kinds of networks.
Telnet
Glossary
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Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
A protocol in the TCP/IP suite that governs character-oriented terminal traffic.
Termination
Stopping the flow of communication using a special end-of-line (EOL) terminator that plugs into the sign’s
RS232/RS485 port. Used when an Alpha sign is at the end of an RS485 network.
through hole
A hole in the casing of a sign through which wiring is brought to connect a device.
ticker
An electronic sign that combines text and graphics to convey a fixed or changeable, moving or unmoving
advertising or locational message. Primarily used to display financial data. See also electronic display.
topology
The physical design or layout of network components (cables, stations, gateways, and hubs). Three basic
interconnection topologies are star, ring, and bus networks. The flow of data differs in each topology.
transparent
A description of a function that operates without being evident to the user or software application.
tri-color
Capable of red, green, and amber colors.
trigger
Cause or initiate an action.
tune file
Pre-programmed sounds file that can be attached to a message and sent to a sign equipped with speakers in
AlphaNET software.
UL
Underwriters Laboratory. Creates testing standards for safety (electrical, shock, fire hazards, and so on).
Domestic and International. A product tested for safety by UL has a UL label.
update
Change to new values.
UPS
Uninterruptible Power Supply. A device that contains a battery and some circuitry to supply a computer with
power for a limited time if there is an interruption in the outlet power.
variable
Represents real-time data that can change, such as temperature or interest rates. Variables can be embedded in
messages and refreshed when the value changes, and can also be used to trigger commands for certain events to
start or stop.
ventilated
Provides circulation of external air through the enclosure to remove excess heat, fumes, and vapors.
viewing distance
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Glossary
Networking Alpha Signs (9700-0112C)
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For 20/20 vision, 1” of character height can be read at 50 feet. For 20/40 vision, 1” of character height can be
read at 40 feet.
WAN
Wide Area Network. Computers that are networked together over a wide geographic area, sharing
information over telephone lines and radio waves.
wavelength
A measure of color saturation in nanometers. See also brightness and luminance.
WAWN
Wide Area Wireless Network. A group of computers that are connected wirelessly over a wide geographic
area. A transmitter attached to a PC broadcasts data to devices equipped with a data receiver.
wireless connectivity
A wireless connection in which a transmitter is attached to a PC, and each sign is equipped with a wireless
receiver. This allows text and graphics to be sent wirelessly to the sign.
workstation
A computer node through which a user can access a server or other nodes.
Glossary
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Glossary
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