Network Communications Manual
Networking Alpha® Signs
For the most recent update of this manual, go to:
http://www.adaptivedisplays.com/support/network
This manual applies to these signs
This manual does NOT apply to these signs:
200 series
AlphaTicker™
(see the AlphaTicker™ LED Sign Installation Instructions manual, pn 9711-2401)
300 series
AlphaEclipse™
(see the AlphaEclipse™ 3500 Series Sign Installation and Service Manual, pn 9711-6009)
400 series
Alpha® Solar
(see the Alpha® Solar Operation and Installation Manual, pn 9705-1002)
Big Dot®
AlphaVision™ InfoTracker™
(see the AlphaVision™ InfoTracker™ LED Sign Installation Instructions, pn 9711-2202)
Personal Priority Display®
4000 series
7000 series
AlphaPremiere™ 9000 series
Director™
AlphaVision™
Serial Clock
This manual ships automatically with the following:
•
•
•
•
•
Converter Box III—see “Converter Box III (pn 1088-1111)” on page 18.
Alpha® Ethernet Adapter—see “Alpha® Ethernet Adapter” on page 22.
MSS100 Micro Serial Server—see “Lantronix MSS100 (pn 1088-4113A)” on page 24.
MSS485 Micro serial Server—see “Lantronix MSS485 (pn 1088-4112A)” on page 25.
AlphaPremiere™ 9000 series signs
Revision date: 3/1/2002
9700-0112
i
NOTE: Due to continuing product innovation, specifications in this manual are subject to change
without notice.
© Copyright 1998–2002 Adaptive Micro Systems, Inc. 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
The following are trademarks of Adaptive Micro Systems: Adaptive, Alpha, AlphaNET, ActiveX,
AlphaEclipse, AlphaPremiere, AlphaTicker, AlphaVision, AlphaVision InfoTracker, Automode, Director,
Serial Clock, Big Dot, PPD, Smart Alec, and Solar.
The distinctive trade dress of this product is a trademark claimed by Adaptive Micro Systems, Inc.
ii
Contents
Network overview..................................................................................................1
Wired network—serial................................................................................................................................1
Wired network—LAN .................................................................................................................................1
Wireless network—transceiver...................................................................................................................2
Modem network .........................................................................................................................................3
Mixed network............................................................................................................................................3
Detailed information ...................................................................................................................................4
Wired networks .....................................................................................................5
Serial—preliminary information .................................................................................................................5
RS232—single sign ...................................................................................................................................7
RS485—single sign ...................................................................................................................................7
RS485—multiple signs ..............................................................................................................................8
LAN—preliminary information ...................................................................................................................9
LAN—single sign .....................................................................................................................................10
LAN—multiple signs ................................................................................................................................11
Modem networks ................................................................................................13
Modem—preliminary information ............................................................................................................13
Modem—single sign (RS232)..................................................................................................................14
Modem—multiple signs (RS485).............................................................................................................15
Mixed networks...................................................................................................16
Network interfaces ..............................................................................................17
Converter Box III ......................................................................................................................................18
Xircom USB Adapter.................................................................................................................................20
Alpha® Ethernet Adapter..........................................................................................................................22
Lantronix MSS100....................................................................................................................................24
Lantronix MSS485....................................................................................................................................25
Network cables and adapters ..............................................................................27
Overview...................................................................................................................................................27
25-foot RS232 cable (pn 1036-9010).......................................................................................................28
3-foot 6-conductor cable (pn 1088-8621) ................................................................................................29
8-foot RS485 cable (pn 1088-8624).........................................................................................................30
25-foot RS232 cable (pn 1088-8625).......................................................................................................31
8-foot RS485 back-to-back cable (pn 1088-8626) ...................................................................................32
50-foot RS232 cable (pn 1088-8627).......................................................................................................33
10-foot computer-to-Converter Box III Type A9 RS232 cable (pn 1088-8634) ........................................34
10-foot modem-to-Converter Box III Type B9 RS232 cable (pn 1088-8635) ...........................................35
1-foot RS485 cable (pn 1088-8636).........................................................................................................36
End-of-Line (EOL) terminator (pn 1088-9107) .........................................................................................37
RJ12-to-DB9 adapter (pn 1088-9108)......................................................................................................38
8-inch Ethernet cable (pn 1088-9317)......................................................................................................39
Modular Network Adapter (pn 4331-0602)...............................................................................................40
iii
RS232 cable connector (pn 4331-0603) ..................................................................................................41
RJ12-to-DB25 adapter (pn 4370-0001C) .................................................................................................42
Network messaging software ..............................................................................43
Overview...................................................................................................................................................43
Alpha® Messaging Software....................................................................................................................43
AlphaNET™ Software................................................................................................................................43
Smart Alec® Software..............................................................................................................................44
Alpha® Marquee ActiveX® Control..........................................................................................................44
Appendix .............................................................................................................45
Appendix A—Related documentation .......................................................................................................45
Appendix B—End-of-line termination .......................................................................................................46
Appendix C—RS485 Echo........................................................................................................................48
Appendix D—Setting the RS232/RS485 jumper ......................................................................................49
Appendix E—Serial and power connections.............................................................................................51
Appendix F—Alternate sign connections..................................................................................................52
Appendix G—Modular Network Adapter to Converter Box III wiring ........................................................57
Appendix H—Assigning an IP address to a serial server..........................................................................58
Appendix I—Setting up messaging software for TCP/IP networking........................................................70
Glossary ..............................................................................................................79
iv
Networking Alpha® Signs
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 called a CoBox 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
Network overview
Alpha sign
Alpha sign
1
Networking Alpha® Signs
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)
Alpha sign
Alpha sign
Alpha sign
2
Network overview
Networking Alpha® Signs
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
Network overview
3
Networking Alpha® Signs
Detailed information
To go directly to the type of network you want, use the following:
Network type
Go to page
Wired networks
5
Serial—preliminary information*
5
Serial RS232 (single sign)
7
Serial RS485 (single sign)
7
Serial RS485 (multiple signs)
8
LAN—preliminary information*
9
LAN (single sign)
10
LAN (multiple signs)
11
Modem networks
13
Modem—preliminary information*
13
Modem (single sign)
14
Modem (multiple signs)
15
Mixed networks
Wireless networks—transceiver
16
http://www.wirelessmessaging.com
or
http://www.reachwireless.com
or
http://www.metrocall.com/directview
*Contains information you need to know prior to setting up that type of network.
4
Network overview
Networking Alpha® Signs
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.
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 cable in these cases (pn 1088-8624 and pn 1088-8636)—RS485 connections
only use 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 49 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 46 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: Star networks, in which a PC 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
1-foot maximum
recommended
RS485
Drop 1
Drop 2
Drop 3
Drop 4
Drop 5
32 drops maximum
Wired networks
5
Networking Alpha® Signs
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 of it. 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 18.
E
Alpha sign
Alpha sign
A
Alpha sign
D
B
RS232
RS485
Sign cable 1
(See NOTE 1 below)
C
C
To Converter
Box III
E
RS485
D
Sign cable 2
Alpha sign
Item
A
Part #
1088-8634
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.
B
C
1088-1111
Used with a Converter Box III AC Adapter:
pn 4011-1201 (120 volt)
pn 4011-4201 (230 volt)
1088-8624
8-foot RS485 cable
1088-8636
1-foot RS485 cable
D
4331-0602
Modular Network Adapter
E
1088-9107
End-of-line (EOL) terminator
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.
6
Wired networks
Networking Alpha® Signs
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
A
B
C
To PC’s RS232 or
TTL port
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)
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 (RS232) 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
port
Item
A
Part #
—
To PC’s RS232
port
PC running
messaging
software
Description
Ferrite (ferrite end toward sign)
1088-8624
8-foot RS485 cable
1088-8636
1-foot RS485 cable (recommended)
C
4331-0602
Modular Network Adapter (See “Appendix G—Modular Network Adapter to Converter Box III wiring”
on page 57 for specific wiring information.)
D
1088-8002
1000-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
1088-1111
Converter Box III with a Converter Box III AC Adapter:
pn 4011-1201 (120 volt)
pn 4011-4201 (230 volt)
B
E
F
1088-8634
Type A9 RS232 cable (connects Converter Box III to PC RS232 port)
G
—
DB9-to-DB25 adapter (if PC has a 25-pin RS232 port)
Wired networks
7
Networking Alpha® Signs
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
D
C
B
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
D
C
E
Alpha sign
Item
Part #
Description
A
1088-9107
End-of-line (EOL) terminator
B
—
Ferrite (ferrite end towards sign)
1088-8624
8-foot RS485 cable
C
To RS485
connector on
Converter Box III
(Set switch to
Unterminated.)
1088-8636
1-foot RS485 cable
D
4331-0602
Modular Network Adapter
E
1088-8002
1000-foot RS485 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)
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.
8
Wired networks
Networking Alpha® Signs
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” starting on page 17.
NOTE: Some signs have an internal Alpha® Ethernet Adapter. Other signs, such as the
AlphaPremiere™, have an internal Ethernet adapter called a CoBox.
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 58.
2.
Set up the networking hardware using one of the configurations on the following pages.
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 70.
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 49 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 46.
Wired networks
9
Networking Alpha® Signs
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
A
B
10
Part #
Description
—
The PC must be connected to the Ethernet LAN with a network card.
1088-9120
Alpha® Ethernet Adapter kit
1088-4113A
MSS100 Micro Serial Server
1088-4112A
MSS485 Micro Serial Server
Wired networks
Networking Alpha® Signs
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
A
B
C
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)
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 connect to it. Total length of the
RS485 network is limited to 4,000 feet at 9600 baud or 9,000 feet at 2400 baud, except if 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
Item
Wired networks
D
Part #
F
D
Alpha sign
Alpha sign
Description
A
—
B
1088-4112A
MSS485 Micro Serial Server
C
4331-0602
Modular Network Adapter
1088-8624
8-foot RS485 cable
D
C
C
The PC must be connected to the Ethernet LAN with a network card.
1088-8636
1-foot RS485 cable
E
1088-8002
1000-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
F
1088-9107
End-of-line (EOL) terminator
11
Networking Alpha® Signs
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
Description
—
This PC must be connected to the Ethernet LAN with a network card.
B
—
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
C
1088-8002
1000-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
D
1088-4112A
MSS485 Micro Serial Server (set as local host server)
E
1088-4113A
MSS100 Micro Serial Server (set as remote server)
F
1088-4112A
MSS485 Micro Serial Server (set as remote server)
G
4331-0602
Modular Network Adapter
1088-8636
1-foot RS485 cable
1088-8624
8-foot RS232 cable
1088-9120
Alpha® Ethernet Adapter kit
H
I
12
Part #
A
Wired networks
Networking Alpha® Signs
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
This special “AT”
command must be set
on the receiving
modem
Disables
flow
control
Modem
ignores
RTS
Loads
Writes this
Profile Ø
current
into
Connection
setup to
Fixed serial
NVRAM
speed =
Profile Ø in
port rate
when
9600 baud
nonvolatile
modem is
memory
powered
(NVRAM)
on.
Refer to TechMemo 01-0011, Modem Setup for Alpha® signs, for additional information on
configuring your modem. 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 49. 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 46 for additional information.
Modem networks
13
Networking Alpha® Signs
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
C
—
D
US Robotics® 56K Faxmodem
Receiving modem
E
—
Telephone lines
F
14
US
Visit Pacesetter Communications, Inc. at [email protected]
for more information on their part number 2370-0002.
Robotics®
56K Faxmodem
Transmitting modem
Modem networks
Networking Alpha® Signs
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
C
D
E
F
G
H
Part #
H
I
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
US Robotics® 56K Faxmodem
Receiving modem
H
—
Telephone line
I
US Robotics® 56K Faxmodem
Transmitting modem
J
Belkin F2L088-06
6-foot Belkin Pro Series AT Serial Modem cable, DB9-to-DB25
Modem networks
PC running
messaging
software
15
Networking Alpha® Signs
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
PC running
messaging
software
F
Item
A
B
C
Part #
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
—
E
US Robotics® 56K Faxmodem
Receiving modem
F
—
Telephone lines
G
Available from Pacesetter Communications, Inc. at [email protected]
for more information on their part number 2370-0002.
®
US Robotics 56K Faxmodem
Transmitting modem
NOTE: Part number 1036-9010, a 6-connector RS232 cable, can replace pn 1088-8625 and pn 1088-9108.
16
Mixed networks
Networking Alpha® Signs
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.
•
Xircom 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:
•
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
17
Networking Alpha® Signs
Converter Box III (pn 1088-1111)
Description
RS485 pinout
RS232 pinout
1 23 456
5 43 21
A
C
B
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
S
S
S
C=Converter Box
S=Sign
T=E-O-L terminator
E
Set to Unterminated if the Converter Box is in the middle of a string of signs.
T
S
T
S
C
S
C=Converter Box
S=Sign
T=E-O-L terminator
See “Appendix B—End-of-line termination” on page 46 for more information on terminating signs.
18
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.
Network interfaces
Networking Alpha® Signs
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
Part #
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
C
D
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
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)
E
Network interfaces
19
Networking Alpha® Signs
Xircom USB Adapter
Description
C
A
B
Item
Description
A
RS232 serial DB9 male connector data out
B
USB male connector data in
LED indicator light:
• Red—Power on
C
• Green or amber—Transmitting data
• No light—No operation
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 sign’s
RS232 port
To PC’s
USB 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
B
1088-8627
50-foot RS232 cable
C
1088-9108
RJ11-to-DB9 adapter
D
—
Xircom® PortGear™ USB-to-DB9 serial adapter
NOTE: Part number 1036-9010, a 6-connector RS232 cable, can replace pn 1088-8625 and pn 10889108.
20
Network interfaces
Networking Alpha® Signs
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
D
C
E
Alpha sign
Item
Part #
Description
A
1088-9107
B
—
Ferrite (ferrite end towards sign)
1088-8624
8-foot RS485 cable
1088-8636
1-foot RS485 cable
C
To RS485
connector on
Converter Box III.
(Set switch to
Unterminated.)
End-of-line (EOL) terminator (must be plugged into the RS232 or TTL plug on last sign)
D
4331-0602
Modular Network Adapter
E
1088-8002
1000-foot RS485 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
—
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 49.
Network interfaces
21
Networking Alpha® Signs
Alpha® Ethernet Adapter
Description
A
D
1
2
3
B
C
Item
Description
A
DB25 serial port
B
RJ45 TCP/IP port
C
Reset button
D
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
22
Part #
Description
A
1088-9317
8-inch Ethernet cable, RJ11-to-DB25 (female)
B
1088-9120
Alpha® Ethernet Adapter Kit
C
—
TCP/IP cable (10BASE-T only)
Network interfaces
Networking Alpha® Signs
Additional information
The Alpha® Ethernet Adapter works with the following signs:
•
215C, 215R
•
220C (all shipped after February 1, 2000)
•
300C series
•
4000C, 4000R series (using RS232 jumper and jack)
•
7000C series (using RS232 jumper and jack)
•
Alpha® Big Dot
•
AlphaVision™ FS
•
BetaBrite® one-line displays (P1026, P1036 and P1040), including 213C and
BetaBrite® Window Display
•
BetaBrite® Director (all shipped after July 1, 2000)
•
Personal Priority Display™ (PPD™)
The Alpha® Ethernet Adapter does not work with the following signs:
•
210C
•
220C (all shipped prior to February 1, 2000)
•
420
•
790i
•
AlphaEclipse™
•
AlphaPremiere™
•
AlphaVision™ CM, FM, 1.4”, 2.1”
•
AlphaVision™ Video Screen (VS)
•
AlphaVision™ InfoTracker (IT) – works with MSS485 only
•
AlphaTicker™ – works with MSS485 only
•
BetaBrite Director® (all shipped before July 1, 2000)
•
Solar™
For the most recent update, refer to TechMemo 99-0002, Valid Adaptive signs for the ALPHA
Ethernet Adapter.
Network interfaces
23
Networking Alpha® Signs
Lantronix MSS100 (pn 1088-4113A)
Description
10/100
reset
5VDC
A
C
power
link
100
B
D
MSS-100
ok
serial
LANTRONIX
E
serial
Item
Description
A
Power connection (5 volt only)
B
Reset button
C
RJ45 TCP/IP port
D
LED diagnostic lights
1. Power
2. Link (network link/connection)
3. 100
4. OK
5. Serial
E
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
A
C
Alpha sign
Alpha sign
Alpha sign
(Detail)
C
MSS-100
10/100
power
link
100
ok
serial
Part #
E
Description
1088-8625
25-foot RS232 cable
1088-8627
50-foot RS232 cable
B
4370-0001C
DB25-to-RJ11 adapter
C
1088-4113A
MSS100 Micro Serial Server
D
––
Power cable (connects to the power, 5 volt only)
E
––
TCP/IP cable (connects to 10BASE-T or 100BASE-T TCP/IP)
A
24
LANTRONIX
serial
Item
reset
5VDC
B
A
D
Network interfaces
Networking Alpha® Signs
Lantronix MSS485 (pn 1088-4112A)
Description
MSS485-T
B
6vdc
A
C
reset
shld
txa
txb
rxb
rxa
shld
10BASE-T
console
LANTRONIX
serial
D
power
link
ok
serial
Item
E
Description
A
Wiring terminal block
B
Power connection (6 volt only)
C
Reset button
D
RJ45 TCP/IP port
E
LED diagnostic lights
1 = Power
2 = Link (network link/connection)
3 = OK
5 = Serial
Typical use
Used to connect to multiple signs using one serial server.
Ethernet
E
serial
console
shld
txa
txb
rxb
rxa
shld
MSS485-T
LANTRONIX
The sign’s serial
address will allow
you to talk to one
sign at a time instead
of broadcast.
serial
ok
link
power
C
10BASE-T
reset
RS485
6vdc
B
A
(Detail)
Alpha sign
Alpha sign
Alpha sign
A
C
B
D
6vdc
MSS485-T
reset
shld
txa
txb
rxb
rxa
shld
10BASE-T
console
LANTRONIX
serial
E
power
Network interfaces
link
A
Part #
1088-8624
ok
serial
Item
Description
8-foot RS485 cable
1088-8636
1-foot RS485 cable
B
4331-0602
Modular Network Adapter
C
1088-4112A
MSS485 Micro Serial Server
D
—
Power cable (6 volt only)
E
—
TCP/IP cable (10BASE-T only)
25
Networking Alpha® Signs
Additional 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
3
Setting
4
5
6
7
8
Meaning
On / On / On
2-wire RS485
4, 5
On/Off
2-wire RS485 termination
6, 7
On / On
RX biasing
Off
Float shield
8
26
2
Network interfaces
Networking Alpha® Signs
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
27
Networking Alpha® Signs
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
28
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
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:
IR Message Loader to Alpha® sign
DATA VALID
DATA
B
BAT.LOW
MESSAGE
LOADER
1 2 3
MEMORY LOCATION
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 49.
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
Network cables and adapters
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
29
Networking Alpha® Signs
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
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 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.
30
Network cables and adapters
Networking Alpha® Signs
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 or
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
Network cables and adapters
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
31
Networking Alpha® Signs
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
32
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
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 1088-8625
or
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
Network cables and adapters
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
33
Networking Alpha® Signs
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 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
34
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
10-foot modem-to-Converter Box III Type B9 RS232 cable (pn 1088-8635)
Description
Left side
DB9 (male)
Right side
DB25 (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
A
To PC’s
RS232 port
B
C
D
PC running messaging
software
Item
Part #
Description
A
—
Transmitting modem
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
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
35
Networking Alpha® Signs
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
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 shielded plenum cable
1088-8634
Type A9 RS232 cable (connects Converter Box III to PC RS232 port)
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.
36
Network cables and adapters
Networking Alpha® Signs
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
Part #
A
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 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
37
Networking Alpha® Signs
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
38
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
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
B
Part #
Description
A
—
The PC must be connected to the Ethernet LAN with a network card.
B
1088-9120
Alpha® Ethernet Adapter kit
C
1088-9317
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
39
Networking Alpha® Signs
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
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
(female)
1
4
(Black terminal) RS485 +
(Red terminal) SHIELD
Pin
Signal
1
2
3
4
RS485 +
SHIELD
Not connected (Green terminal)
RS485 –
40
RS485 – (Yellow terminal)
Green terminal
NOTE: Connecting the SHIELD depends on the sign to which you are connecting it. In
other words, if a Modular Network Adapter is connected to an Alpha® Personal
Priority Display sign, then connect the two SHIELD wires together from each
RS485 cable. However, do NOT connect the connected SHIELD wires to the Red
terminal.
Network cables and adapters
Networking Alpha® Signs
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
RS232
connector
(pn 1088-9108) port
or
RJ12-to-DB25
connector
(pn 43700001C)
PC running
messaging software
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
41
Networking Alpha® Signs
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
42
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
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™ 2.0 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™ 2.0 to help you create and edit graphics and animations.
AlphaNET™ 2.0 software works with serial, modem, and LAN networks and can send messages to
any individual sign or group of signs.
Network messaging software
43
Networking Alpha® Signs
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.
44
Network messaging software
Networking Alpha® Signs
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 #
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™ 2.0 User Manual
Explains how to install and use the version 2.0 software for
AlphaNet™ (formerly called AlphaNet plus™ for
Windows®.) Lengthy 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.
9711-2401B
AlphaTicker™ Installation Instructions
Describes how to install and network AlphaTicker™ signs.
9711-4201C
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.
9711-6501B
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
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.
Appendix
45
Networking Alpha® Signs
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/TTL 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
Converter Box III
(pn 1088-1111)
set to Terminated
RS485 Termination ON
First sign
Middle sign(s)
RS485 Termination OFF
RS485 Termination OFF
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 (using a special feature called RS485 echo):
RS232
Modem
Wireless transceiver
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.
For more information on RS485 echo, see “Appendix C—RS485 echo” on page 48.
46
Appendix
Networking Alpha® Signs
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
To sign’s
RS232/RS485
port
Part #
C
D
F
E
Description
A
—
B
1088-9107
End-of-line (EOL) terminator
1088-8624
8-foot RS485 cable
1088-8636
1-foot RS485 cable
C
B
Duplex adapter
D
4331-0602
Modular Network Adapter
E
—
Ferrite (ferrite end towards sign)
F
1088-8002
1000-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
Wall-mounted Personal Priority Display®
A
D
C
B
Personal Priority DIsplay
F
E
Item
Appendix
Part #
Description
A
—
Ferrite (ferrite end towards sign)
B
1088-8624
3-foot RS232 cable
C
—
Duplex adapter
D
4331-0602
Modular Network Adapter
E
1088-9107
End-of-line (EOL) terminator
F
1088-8002
1000-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
47
Networking Alpha® Signs
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.
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.
48
Appendix
Networking Alpha® Signs
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 for you automatically, and not all signs have jumpers.
See“Appendix E—Serial and power connections” on page 51 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.
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.
49
Networking Alpha® Signs
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 51 provides information on which signs have
terminal blocks.
Terminals
50
To make a connection, insert a wire under the
appropriate screw and then tighten the screw.
Appendix
Networking Alpha® Signs
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
Back of sign
4120C or R
X
X
Back of sign
4160C or R
X
X
Back of sign
4200C or R
X
X
Back of sign
4240C or R
X
X
X
X
X
X
Back of sign
7080C
X
X
X
Back of sign
7120C
X
X
Back of sign
7160C
X
X
Back of sign
7200C
X
X
X
X
9080C
See note 2 below
X
Back of sign
9120C
See note 2 below
See note 2 below
9200C
See note 2 below
X
X
X
Back of sign
9160C
9240C
See note 2 below
X
Back of sign
Big Dot®
X
X
Back of sign
Serial Clock
X
X
Back of sign
X
X
Back of sign
X
X
4000 Series
7000 Series
AlphaPremiere™
9000 Series
AlphaVision™
Wood
Director™
Aluminum
PPD™
X
X
Back of sign
Back of sign
Back of sign
X
Underneath bottom
back panel
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.
Appendix
51
Networking Alpha® Signs
Appendix F—Alternate sign connections
There are ways to connects 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 49. 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 46 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 45 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-ofline termination” on page 46.
Item
T
COLOR
ROTATE
0
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 45.
TRANSMIT
SELECT
D
*
K
+
P
’
U
F
E
&
J
/
O
”
L
-
R
Q
.
,
V
W
ADV
DELETE
X
!
?
Y
Z
SHIFT
INSERT
RETURN
SPACE
CAPS
BACK
SHIFT
Part #
Description
End-of-line (EOL) terminator (Must be plugged into the RS232 or TTL plug
on the first and the last sign.)
A
1088-9107
B
—
Ferrite (ferrite end towards sign)
1088-8624
8-foot RS485 cable
1088-8636
1-foot RS485 cable
C
BAT.LOW
MESSAGE
LOADER
MEMORY LOCATION
6
5
4
%
I
=
N
:
S
WIDTH
HOLD
DOT
9
C
$
H
>
M
;
3
8
B
¢
G
<
TIME
SPEED
7
A
#
SCROLL FLASH
D
4331-0602
Modular Network Adapter
E
1088-8002
1000-foot RS485 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 49.
52
Appendix
Networking Alpha® Signs
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
53
Networking Alpha® Signs
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 by itself, 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 9703-3006).
NETWORK OF ALL CLOCKS
A
To right port
ALPHA
HOUR MINUTE
B
To right port
ALPHA
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
Description
End-of-line (EOL) terminator (Must be plugged into the left—as you face the
back of the clock—RJ11 port.)
A
1088-9107
B
—
Ferrite (ferrite end towards clock)
1088-8624
8-foot RS485 cable
1088-8636
1-foot RS485 cable
C
54
Part #
D
4331-0602
Modular Network Adapter
E
1088-8002
1000-foot RS485 shielded plenum cable
Appendix
Networking Alpha® Signs
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
A
1088-9107
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
E
1088-8002
1000-foot RS485 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)
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.
Appendix
55
Networking Alpha® Signs
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 #
Description
End-of-line (EOL) terminator (Must be plugged into the left—as you face the back of the
clock—RJ11 phone jack.)
A
1088-9107
B
—
Ferrite (ferrite end towards clock)
1088-8624
8-foot RS485 cable
1088-8636
1-foot RS485 cable
C
To RS485
connector on
Converter Box III
(Set switch to
Unterminated.)
D
4331-0602
Modular Network Adapter
E
1088-8002
1000-foot RS485 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)
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.
56
Appendix
Networking Alpha® Signs
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 (-)
SHIELD WIRE
RD
BK
BL
B
A
OR
D
Item
A
B
Appendix
Part #
BLACK WIRE (+)
RED WIRE (-)
SHIELD WIRE
E
Description
—
Ferrite (ferrite end towards sign)
1088-8624
8-foot RS485 cable
1088-8636
1-foot RS485 cable
C
4331-0602
Modular Network Adapter
D
1088-8002
1000-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)
57
Networking Alpha® Signs
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 associated with it. There are several methods for assigning an IP address that can be used
depending on various circumstances. For some of these methods, installation of the serial server hardware
must be done while assigning the IP address. For other methods, the IP address can be assigned after the
serial server hardware is installed.
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. The specific address is usually designated by an IS network administrator.
•
The hardware address of the serial server. This is found on a label on the back of the server.
Methods 1–5 for assigning an IP address are listed in order from the most simple and most often used
to the least often used. Method 6 should only be used when setting the address of an AlphaPremiere™
9000 Series sign because a different serial server, called a CoBox card, sits inside this sign. The Cobox card
has its own software for assigning IP addresses.
Method 1: EZWebCon
INSTALLING EZWEBCON SOFTWARE
You can get the latest version of EZWebCon for your network platform from either the Alpha®
Ethernet Adapter CD or the Lantronix CD, or from the Lantronix Internet site (www.lantronix.com). Just
download it to an empty directory on your PC. The following instructions use version 2.0/1 of
EZWebCon, which may differ from the version you have.
1.
Double-click ezwebcon.exe in the downloaded files.
2.
The EZWebCon application opens and installs itself on your PC.
CONNECTING THE SERIAL SERVER TO THE SIGN AND THE NETWORK
RS232 cable
TCP/IP cable
Serial server and
specific connections
58
3.
Connect a TCP/IP cable to an active port and to the serial server according to the information for
your specific serial server in the sign-to-sign interfaces section beginning on page 22.
4.
Connect the appropriate power supply to the serial server. For an Alpha® Ethernet Adapter, this
will be the sign with its power cable plugged into an outlet. For a Lantronix serial server, this will
be its own power cable.
Appendix
Networking Alpha® Signs
5.
Check the LED lights on the serial server:
–
–
–
The power light should be solid green, indicating it is properly powered.
The link light should be solid green, indicating a valid network connection.
The activity light should be blinking green, indicating normal operation.
USING EZWEBCON SOFTWARE TO ASSIGN THE IP ADDRESS
6.
Open the EZWebCon software. The main window appears:
7.
Select Action>Assign IP Address in the main window.
8.
The Assign IP Address to Server window appears. Complete the information as follows:
This always begin with
00-80-a3. It is also case sensitive
and must be in lowercase letters.
You do not need to type dashes.
Type both the numbers and
decimal points.
This line should be grayed out
and the None box checked.
This line should contain zeros,
or you can set it as needed
for your system.
This box should be checked.
9.
Appendix
Click OK.
59
Networking Alpha® Signs
10. Reboot the serial server if prompted to do so.
11. Do one or more of the following:
–
–
–
If the serial server already has an IP address assigned to it and you’re assigning the same one,
EZWebCon will notify you. Click OK to continue.
If the serial server already has an IP address assigned to it and you’re assigning a different
one, EZWebCon will ask whether you really want to assign the new address. Click Yes to
continue.
If the serial server does not have an existing IP address, EZWebCon will notify you that it will
assign the IP address. Click OK to continue.
USING EZWEBCON SOFTWARE TO DETECT SERIAL SERVERS AND IP ADDRESSES ON THE NETWORK (OPTIONAL)
12. Open the EZWebCon software. The main window appears:
13. Click File>Browse Network to search for existing servers on the network.
60
Appendix
Networking Alpha® Signs
14. When the Browse Network window appears, it will show IP addresses of existing serial servers on
the network, including the IP address just assigned to this serial server. (To print, press Print
Screen on your keyboard and then paste into a drawing or word processing application.)
NOTE: If the IP address you just assigned does not appear, you can ping the serial server as
described in the section for “Method 2: DOS/ARP command”. If the IP address still does
not appear, you must either assign an IP address to the serial server using a different
method or contact IS personnel with the hardware address on the back of the serial server.
IS can then use network management software to locate the IP address.
NOTE: It may be a good idea to write the IP address directly on the serial server.
15. Click Cancel and close EZWebCon.
Method 2: DOS/ARP command
In a DOS window in Microsoft® Windows 95 and Windows NT, the arp command is a simple way to
assign an IP address when none has been previously assigned. The arp command is used here in
conjunction with the ping command. The ping command is used to test the connection with the serial
server and to determine whether the new IP address has taken effect.
NOTE: The arp command will not work if any IP address has ever been assigned to the given
hardware address. The arp command will not replace an existing IP address with another IP
address. You can use Telnet to change or delete an existing IP address. Refer to “Method 3:
Telnet” on page 64.
OBTAINING NEW IP ADDRESS(ES)
1.
Appendix
Obtain a valid IP address for each serial server. This is usually assigned by an IS network
administrator.
61
Networking Alpha® Signs
CONNECTING THE SERIAL SERVER TO THE SIGN AND THE NETWORK
RS232 cable
TCP/IP cable
Serial server and
specific connections
2.
Connect the serial server according to the information for your specific adapter in the sign-to-sign
interfaces section starting on page 22.
NOTE: Do not connect the power cable to the sign at this time.
SETTING UP DOS COMMANDS FOR ASSIGNING AN IP ADDRESS
3.
Open a DOS window on the PC by selecting Start > Programs > MS-DOS Prompt.
4.
Type “ping –t n.n.n.n” (where n.n.n.n is the IP address to be assigned to the serial server) and press
Enter.
NOTE: This will continuously ping this IP address, allowing you to monitor exactly when
communication to the device is established. You can stop the execution of this ping
command by pressing Ctrl+C.
5.
Open another DOS window by selecting Start > Programs > MS-DOS Prompt a second time.
6.
Type “arp –s n.n.n.n 00-80-a3-x-x-x” (where n.n.n.n is the IP address of the serial server and
00-80-a3-x-x-x is the hardware address of serial server), but do not press Enter. You must first
complete the next step to power up the unit. This arp command will be executed in step 9.
APPLYING POWER TO THE SERIAL SERVER AND TO THE SIGN
62
7.
Connect the appropriate power supply to the serial server. For an Alpha® Ethernet Adapter, this
will be the sign with its power cable plugged into an outlet. For a Lantronix serial server, this will
be its own power cable.
8.
Wait 30 seconds or until the activity light turns off and on only every two seconds. Both the sign
and the serial server are now powered up and connected to the network.
Appendix
Networking Alpha® Signs
ASSIGNING THE IP ADDRESS
9.
Press Enter at the DOS window with the “arp –s n.n.n.n 00-80-a3-x-x-x” command to actually
assign the IP address.
NOTE: Once the serial server is initially powered up, you have only two minutes to assign it an IP
address. After two minutes, either an alternate method must be used or the serial server
must be rebooted by removing and reapplying power to it.
10. Watch the DOS window with the ping command to determine when communication has been
established. A “Reply from” response will appear in the window when this happens.
11. In the DOS window with the ping command, stop the ping command by pressing Ctrl+C.
NOTE: The serial server will not save the learned IP address permanently. The time it is saved
may vary depending on how your network is set up. This arp and ping procedure is
intended as a temporary measure to allow EZWebCon to communicate with the serial
server, or allow an administrator to Telnet into the serial server. Once logged in, the
administrator can enter the “Change IP address” command to make the address
permanent. See also “Reserving an IP address” on page 67 for instructions on determining
and reserving an IP address.
Appendix
63
Networking Alpha® Signs
Method 3: Telnet
Telnet is used to program a hardware device for parameters such as baud rate, stop bits, parity, and
particularly IP address. Telnet can be used to reassign an IP address directly when it has already been
assigned an address by other means.
CONNECTING THE SERIAL SERVER TO THE SIGN AND THE NETWORK
RS232 cable
TCP/IP cable
Serial server and
specific connections
1.
Connect the serial server according to the information for your specific adapter in the sign-to-sign
interfaces section starting on page 22.
2.
Connect the appropriate power supply to the serial server. For an Alpha® Ethernet Adapter, this
will be the sign. For a Lantronix serial server, this will be its own power cable.
3.
Check the LED lights on the serial server:
–
–
–
The power light should be solid green, indicating it is properly powered.
The link light should be solid green, indicating a valid network connection.
The activity light should be blinking green, indicating normal operation.
STARTING TELNET
Telnet is fully functional on all PCs. To use Telnet, click Start > Run, and type “Telnet.” A generic
window for Telnet will appear. You can also open a Telnet window for a specific serial server by clicking
Start > Run and typing “Telnet n.n.n.n” (where n.n.n.n is the currently-assigned IP address of the serial
server).
CHANGING AN IP ADDRESS
4.
64
(Note: Skip this step if you opened a Telnet window for a specific serial server.) From the Connect
menu, select Remote System and then, in the Connect window, type the IP address of the serial
server in the Host Name line. Use “telnet” for the Port and “vt100” for the TermType.
Appendix
Networking Alpha® Signs
5.
Type a user name and press Enter. It doesn’t matter what you type here, except that it must be
different from that used by any other Telnet user on the network.
6.
The “show server” command can provide confirmation that you’ve accessed the correct serial
server and also provide statistics about that serial server.
7.
Type “set priv”. Press Enter and then type the password. Press Enter again. The default password
is “system.”
Appendix
65
Networking Alpha® Signs
8.
You now have access to the Super User level of authority. This is required to set the IP address.
9.
To assign a new IP address, type “change ipaddr n.n.n.n” (where n.n.n.n is the new IP address).
10. Reboot the serial server by typing “i d 0” with spaces between the characters. (The last character is
a zero.)
11. Because the serial server will no longer be at the same address as when you connected to it using
Telnet, Telnet officially logs you out of that connection.
12. You then get this notification.
13. After clicking OK, and after the serial server completes the reboot, you can connect to the server.
You can also exit Telnet and send messages.
66
Appendix
Networking Alpha® Signs
Method 4: DHCP
Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP) allows a device to use a dynamic IP address assigned
at boot time from an available pool of addresses. With this method, you do not need to set the IP address
in the hardware itself.
The serial server is shipped with DHCP disabled. However, if DHCP ever becomes enabled (such as
after resetting the server) and if your network uses Dynamic Host Configuration Protocol (DHCP), then
when the serial server is re-connected to the network and powered up, DHCP will automatically assign a
dynamic IP address to the serial server. If you want to accept this assigned IP address and don’t need to
reassign another chosen address, you will still need to review the instructions below to determine and
reserve an IP address.
RESERVING AN IP ADDRESS
To allow you to send messages to the correct IP address, a system/network administrator must use
the DHCP Manager (or similar) application to locate the serial server by its hardware address. The
dynamic IP address is associated with the hardware address. This identification process can be involved
on large networks.
A system/network administrator can use the system/networking DHCP Manager application to set
the dynamically-assigned address to a permanent lease. This will reserve the IP address as a static address
for the particular hardware address. If you do not reserve the IP address, periodically DHCP will
automatically reassign a new dynamic—and typically different—IP address to the serial server. The result
is that messages will not be delivered to the serial server.
RESETTING DHCP TO DISABLED
1.
Follow steps 1 through 8 in Method 3: Telnet to start Telnet.
2.
Type “change dhcp disabled” to disable DHCP.
3.
Select Exit from the Connect menu to exit Telnet.
Appendix
67
Networking Alpha® Signs
Method 5: HyperTerminal
HyperTerminal may be used when you cannot access the serial server from the network. In this case,
you will need to program the device directly using HyperTerminal and a null DB25F- or DB9F-to-DB25F
serial cable (not supplied) from the PC to the server. (For an Alpha® Ethernet Adapter, however, you will
need to split out two wires to connect the MSS device to an external power supply.) You will also need to
use communication settings of 9600 baud, 8N1, and flow control set to either XON/XOFF or
HARDWARE. For assistance, call Technical Support at Adaptive™ Micro Systems.
NOTE: HyperTerminal is fully functional on all PCs, but you may need to install it with the Add/
Remove Programs icon in the Control Panel.
Method 6: Setting an AlphaPremiere™ 9000 Series sign IP address
Before you begin using an AlphaPremiere® sign on an Ethernet network, you must assign it a unique
TCP/IP address. The Alpha® Ethernet option inside the sign is shipped with a default address of
010.11.11.1. The following instructions use version 2.0 of the DST configuration utility, which may differ
from the version you have.
1.
Write down the 6-digit Ethernet address found on the Ethernet option label on the back of the
sign.
232/AUX
RXD
TXD
6
RS232/AU
RS485
Ethernet
address
X
4
2
Spkr
Out
Sign
Reset
RS485
2.
68
Using the Configuration Utility software supplied with the sign, select Tools > Assign IP:
Appendix
Networking Alpha® Signs
3.
Enter a unique IP address in the Enter IP address to assign line.
4.
Enter the 6-digit Ethernet address you wrote down in step 1 in the Enter the Hardware or Ethernet
Address line and click Set IP Address.
5.
Select Tools>Ping Device. Re-enter the sign’s IP address in the Enter IP Address line and click Ping to
verify the IP address you just assigned works. If a reply from the sign is not received, repeat steps
1–4.
Resetting a serial server
There may be times when you need to reset the serial server to its default factory settings. These
default settings include setting DHCP to enabled.
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
69
Networking Alpha® Signs
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 2.0 for Windows, and Smart Alec® (version 3.0 or later) are TCP/IP-compatible.
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.
70
Appendix
Networking Alpha® Signs
Installing and selecting Redirector settings
Lantronix Redirector software is needed for sending messages with Alpha® Messaging Software or
BetaBrite® Messaging Software over a TCP/IP network to one or more signs.
Lantronix Redirector software is used to redirect messages normally sent through a PC COM port to a
sign. Redirector associates the PC COM port with a network IP address for a serial server. The serial
server, in turn, is connected to the sign and sends the message on to the sign. In other words, Redirector
intercepts messages going to the COM port and sends them over the network to the serial server’s serial
port and to the sign.
NOTE: The COM port you choose cannot be in use by any other device. For example, an internal
modem. To determine which ports are in use, click Start > Settings > Control Panel and select
System. Click the Device Manager tab. In the Ports directory, determine the COM ports
currently in use. Redirector allows up to 40 logical COM ports to be redirected. You can
redirect any except those currently in use. However, Alpha® Messaging Software and
BetaBrite® Messaging software only recognize COM ports 1 through 4.
The following instructions use version 2.1/1 of the Redirector software, which may differ from the
version you have.
INSTALLING REDIRECTOR
You can get the latest version of Redirector for your network platform from either the Alpha® Ethernet
Adapter CD or the Lantronix CD, or from the Lantronix Internet site (www.lantronix.com). Just download
it to an empty folder on your PC.
DIRECTING A COM PORT TO A SERIAL SERVER WITH REDIRECTOR SOFTWARE
1.
Open the Redirector software. The main window appears:
2.
Select the COM port that you want to redirect from the Redirect To drop-down menu.
Appendix
71
Networking Alpha® Signs
3.
Click Add IP. In the IP Service Setup window, enter the IP address of the serial server that
EZWebCon detected in the Host line. In the TCPPort line, enter “3001,” a valid number used for
any serial server. Click OK.
4.
Click Save from Redirector’s main window.
5.
When the Config Info window appears, click OK and then close Redirector.
6.
If prompted, reboot the computer. You should now be able to access the sign using Alpha®
Messaging Software or BetaBrite® Messaging Software via the network.
Setting serial servers for Gateway Messaging Software
To use Gateway Messaging Software to send messages over a TCP/IP network, you must use an
MSS485 as a local/host serial server to send messages all at once to one or more signs, each with a remote
serial server attached.
In this mode, you set one MSS485 as the local/host device. When setting up the MSS485, you assign it
a fixed list of up to 12 IP addresses of serial servers. You set up each receiving serial server as a remote
device. Then you can use the local/host device to send messages at one time to all the remote devices in
the fixed list.
Setting up the MSS485 to act as a local device
You must program the MSS485 devices with IP addresses before setting them up. The firmware
version of the MSS485 must be B3.5/905 (dated 990518) or higher.
1.
72
Select Start > Run. Type “Telnet n.n.n.n” where n.n.n.n is the assigned IP address for the MSS485.
Click OK.
Appendix
Networking Alpha® Signs
2.
Type a user name and press Enter. It doesn’t matter what you type here, except that it must be
different from that used by any other Telnet user on the network.
3.
Type “set priv.” Press Enter. Then type the password. Press Enter again. The default password is
“system.”
4.
Type “change flow control none.” Press Enter.
5.
Type “change charsize 7.” Press Enter.
6.
Type “change stopbits 2.” Press Enter.
7.
Type “change parity even.” Press Enter.
8.
Type “change access local.” Press Enter.
9.
Type “change dedicated hostlist.” Press Enter.
Appendix
73
Networking Alpha® Signs
10. Type “host add tcp n.n.n.n:3001T” where n.n.n.n is the IP address of a serial server to be used in
remote mode. Press Enter. Do this for each remote serial server to receive messages from the local
MSS485.
There is a maximum of twelve (12) IP addresses that
can receive messages from a local MSS485. However,
if a remote serial server is an MSS485, there can be
multiple signs receiving messages through that serial
server.
11. Type “change autostart enable.” Press Enter.
12. Type “show hostlist.” Press Enter. This will show the list of the remote serial server IP addresses
you entered.
13. Type “show port.” Press Enter. This will show the current settings of the port.
74
Appendix
Networking Alpha® Signs
SETTING UP SERIAL SERVERS TO ACT AS REMOTE DEVICES
You must program all serial servers with IP addresses before setting them up in remote mode. The
firmware version of any serial server must be B3.5/905 (dated 990518) or higher.
1.
Select Start > Run. Type “Telnet n.n.n.n” where n.n.n.n is the assigned IP address for a remote
serial server. Click OK.
2.
Type a user name and press Enter. It doesn’t matter what you type here, except that it must be
different from that used by any other Telnet user on the network.
3.
Type “set priv.” Press Enter. Then type the password. Press Enter again.The default password is
“system.”
4.
Type “change flow control none.” Press Enter.
5.
Type “change charsize 7.” Press Enter.
Appendix
75
Networking Alpha® Signs
6.
Type “change stopbits 2.” Press Enter.
7.
Type “change parity even.” Press Enter.
8.
Type “change access remote.” Press Enter.
9.
Type “show port.” Press Enter to show the current settings of the port.
10. Repeat step 1 through 9 for all serial servers to be used in remote mode.
RESETTING AND CHECKING ALL DEVICES
76
1.
Remove power from all the remote serial servers and re-apply power.
2.
Remove power from all the local MSS485 devices and re-apply power.
3.
Select Start > Run. Type “Telnet n.n.n.n” where n.n.n.n is the assigned IP address for the local
MSS485 devices. Click OK.
4.
Enter a user name and password.
Appendix
Networking Alpha® Signs
5.
Appendix
Type “show port.” Press Enter. This will show the current settings of the port. The Sessions number
indicates how many remote serial servers you set up for the local MSS485 to send messages.
77
Networking Alpha® Signs
78
Appendix
Networking Alpha® Signs
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, Inc.
Glossary
79
Networking Alpha® Signs
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 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.
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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.
Glossary
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Networking Alpha® Signs
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.
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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, 8-high.
character height-to-pitch relationship
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).
TIP: 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.
Glossary
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Networking Alpha® Signs
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.
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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.
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.
Glossary
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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
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.
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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.
Glossary
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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
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.
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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.
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.
Glossary
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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.
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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
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 plus™ for Windows® 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.
Glossary
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Networking Alpha® Signs
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.
Glossary
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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
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.
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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.
Glossary
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Networking Alpha® Signs
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.
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.
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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
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.
Glossary
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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-to-center 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.
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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.
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.
Glossary
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Networking Alpha® Signs
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
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.
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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 plus™ for Windows® 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 plus™ for Windows® 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).
Glossary
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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
A protocol in the TCP/IP suite that governs character-oriented terminal traffic.
through hole
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.
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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 plus™ for Windows® 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
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.
Glossary
103
Networking Alpha® Signs
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.
104
Glossary
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