AlphaNET plus (version 1.3) - Alpha
Ve
rs
io
n
1.
3
™
AlphaNET plus
for Windows
Compatible with
Windows 95, 98, NT, ME, 2000
& Macintosh PowerPCs!
User Manual
For latest updates, go to:
http://www.adaptivedisplays.com/alphanetplus/
© 1996 - 2000 Adaptive Micro Systems, Inc.
Form No. 9708-8081C
Revision date: 10/25/00
i
Manual Map
Connecting your PC to a sign
This chapter explains the basics
of connecting your personal
computer to a sign.
Installing AlphaNET plus for
Windows software
& setting up sites
This chapter shows how to install
the AlphaNet plus for Windows
software on your personal
computer.
Also, a step-by-step tutorial
explains the basics of creating sites
using the Site Manager program.
ii
Creating and sending messages
This chapter explains how to
create messages with the Message
Editor program. Using graphics and
animations or “flicks” in messages
is also covered.
Finally, using the Message
Editor and the Site Manager to
send messages to signs is explained.
Reference
This chapter contains Quick
Reference summaries of the
Message Editor, Emulator, Site
Manager, Comm Manager,
Message Translator, and
Diagnostics programs.
iii
NOTE:
Due to continuing product innovation, specifications in this document are
subject to change without notice.
Copyright © 1996-2000 Adaptive Micro Systems, Inc. All rights reserved.
The distinctive appearance of this product is a Trade Dress of Adaptive Micro Systems, Inc.
Trademarked names appear throughout this document. Rather than list the names and entities that own the trademarks or
insert a trademark symbol with each mention of the trademarked name, the publisher states that it is using the names for
editorial purposes and to the benefit of the trademark owner with no intention of improperly using the trademark.
BetaBrite, BETA-BRITE, BIG DOT, POWERVIEW, and SMART ALEC are trademarks of Adaptive Micro Systems, Inc.
registered in the United States Patent and Trademark Office.
ADAPTIVE, Alec, ALPHA, AlphAlert, AlphaNET, AlphaNET plus, AlphaNET plus II, ALPHAVISION, Automode, BetaBrite
Director, Director, EZ KEY II, EZ95, PagerNET, PPD, PrintPak, Solar and TimeNet are trademarks of Adaptive Micro
Systems, Inc.
Visit us at our Internet World Wide Web site:
http://www.ams-i.com or e-mail us at [email protected]
iv
Contents
Connecting your PC to a sign ....................................................................................1
PC hardware and software requirements ..................................................................................................................2
Minimum hardware and software requirements .........................................................................................2
Other hardware requirements.....................................................................................................................2
Macintosh hardware and software requirements ......................................................................................................2
Types of sign connections ........................................................................................................................................3
Cable network.............................................................................................................................................3
Modem network .........................................................................................................................................4
Wireless networks (LAWN) ........................................................................................................................4
Local Area Network (LAN) ..........................................................................................................................5
Installing AlphaNET plus for Windows software and setting up sites...................................7
How to install AlphaNET plus for Windows software ................................................................................................8
What’s new in version 1.3?.......................................................................................................................................9
How to change a sign’s address .............................................................................................................................10
What is an “address”?..............................................................................................................................10
Changing a sign’s address........................................................................................................................11
Step-by-step tutorial in setting up devices, sites, and groups ................................................................................12
What are “sites” and “groups”? ...............................................................................................................12
Overview of the tutorial ............................................................................................................................12
Step 1: Creating or changing the devices .................................................................................................14
Setting up a modem (or “remote”) connection ..............................................................................15
Setting up a direct cable (or “local”) connection ............................................................................18
Setting up a wireless transmitter connection .................................................................................20
Setting up a Local Area Network (LAN) connection........................................................................22
Step 2: Creating or changing the sites......................................................................................................25
Creating the R & D site — a modem example................................................................................25
Creating the Sales site — a LAN example ......................................................................................29
Creating the Lobby, Engineering, and Manufacturing sites — a wired example .............................32
Creating the Shipping site — a wireless example...........................................................................36
Step 3: Creating or changing the groups ..................................................................................................39
Creating and sending messages ............................................................................ 43
Basic message editing ............................................................................................................................................44
Using the Message Editor to create your message...................................................................................44
Using the Emulator to see your message .................................................................................................46
Using Modes to change the look of a message ........................................................................................47
Using Characters to change the look of a message ..................................................................................51
Using international characters..................................................................................................................57
How to send a message to a sign ...........................................................................................................................61
What happens when messages are sent to a sign? ..................................................................................61
Sending messages from the Message Editor ...........................................................................................62
Sending messages from the Site Manager ...............................................................................................63
v
The difference between ALL MESSAGES and COMMON MESSAGES.............................................64
How to use graphics in messages ..........................................................................................................................65
Creating a graphic ....................................................................................................................................65
Creating a flick or animation.....................................................................................................................70
Another way to create a flick ..........................................................................................................75
How to edit a Counter file .......................................................................................................................................76
What is a Counter file? .............................................................................................................................76
Three examples of how to use Counter files.............................................................................................77
Example 1 — Using a counter in a message ..................................................................................77
Example 2 — Using a counter in a message and displaying a target file message.........................85
Example 3 — Using a counter to display just a target message.....................................................94
How to use string variables in a message...............................................................................................................99
What are string variables?........................................................................................................................99
Basic steps for setting up string variables in a message ..........................................................................99
Detailed steps for setting up string variables in a message ....................................................................100
How to create and use a custom automode sequence ..........................................................................................103
Creating or editing an automode sequence ............................................................................................103
Using the automode sequence ...............................................................................................................105
Reference ......................................................................................................107
Message Editor menu ...........................................................................................................................................108
Emulator menu .....................................................................................................................................................117
Site Manager menu...............................................................................................................................................120
Comm Manager menu ..........................................................................................................................................126
Message Translator menu.....................................................................................................................................128
Diagnostics program ............................................................................................................................................129
Appendices.....................................................................................................137
Appendix A — Macintosh PowerPC setup............................................................................................................137
Appendix B — Which Modes are available on signs.............................................................................................140
Appendix C — Which Characters and Colors are available on signs.....................................................................142
Appendix D — Which display Options are available on signs ...............................................................................143
Appendix E — Understanding message line positions (Top, Middle, Bottom, Fill)................................................144
Appendix F — How text and graphics are displayed on signs ..............................................................................150
vi
Chapter 1 map
Connecting your PC to a sign
Chapter 1 map
Connecting your PC
to a sign
PC hardware and
software
requirements
1
Connecting your PC to a sign
Macintosh
hardware and
software
requirements
Types of sign
connections
1
PC hardware and software requirements
PC hardware and software requirements
Minimum hardware and software requirements
•
•
•
•
•
•
Windows 95, 98 or NT workstation
Processor requirements appropriate to selected operating system
16 MB RAM
10 MB of hard disk space
CD drive
RS232 (serial port) or LAN access
Other hardware requirements
Additional hardware, such as connectors and cabling, is also
required and depends on the type of sign and connection you will
be using.
Macintosh hardware and software requirements
See “Appendix A — Macintosh PowerPC setup” on page 137 for
details.
2
1
Connecting your PC to a sign
Types of sign connections
Types of sign connections
An overview of the methods of connecting signs is presented on
the following pages.
For more detailed information, see the document Network
Configurations (part number 9708-8046).
Cable network
In this type of network, one or more signs are connected with
RS485 cabling to a PC running AlphaNET plus for Windows
software:
Modular Network Adapters
ALPHA sign
ALPHA sign
Converter Box
PC with AlphaNET plus
software
Cable network
1
Connecting your PC to a sign
3
Types of sign connections
Modem network
In this configuration, modems are used to connect one or more
signs to a PC running AlphaNET plus for Windows software:
Modular Network Adapters
ALPHA sign
Converter Box
ALPHA sign
Modem
Modem
PC with AlphaNET plus
software
Modem network
Wireless networks (LAWN)
AlphaNET plus for Windows software can be used with a Local
Area Wireless Network (LAWN) — also called an “on-site” wireless
network.
A LAWN operates by using a transmitter attached to a PC which
broadcasts either text or graphics to one or more signs, each
equipped with its own Data Receiver. The range of a LAWN is
usually limited to a few miles:
Data Receiver
Data Receiver
ALPHA sign
ALPHA sign
Data Receiver
Transmitter
ALPHA sign
PC with
AlphaNET plus for Windows
Local Area Wireless Network (LAWN)
4
1
Connecting your PC to a sign
Types of sign connections
Local Area Network (LAN)
In this configuration, one or more signs are connected to an
existing Local Area Network:
For more detailed information, see the document Networking
ALPHA signs with ALPHA Ethernet Adapters (part number 97088093).
ALPHA sign
Ethernet
Adapters
ALPHA sign
ALPHA sign
ALPHA sign
RS232
RS232
10Base-T Ethernet cabling
PC with
AlphaNET plus software
RS485
ALPHA sign
ALPHA sign
LAN
Local Area Network (LAN)
1
Connecting your PC to a sign
5
Types of sign connections
6
1
Connecting your PC to a sign
Chapter 2 map
Installing AlphaNET plus
for Windows software
and setting up sites
Chapter 2 map
Installing AlphaNET plus for
Windows software
& setting up sites
How to install
AlphaNET plus for
Windows software
What’s new in
version 1.3?
Step-by-step
tutorial in setting up
devices, sites, and
groups
How to change a
sign’s address
What is an
“address”?
Changing a sign’s
address
Setting up a modem
(or “remote”)
connection
Setting up a direct
cable (or “local”)
connection
Step 1: Creating or
changing the devices
Setting up a wireless
transmitter
connection
Setting up a Local
Area Network (LAN)
connection
Step 2: Creating or
changing the sites
Step 3: Creating or
changing the groups
2
Installing AlphaNET plus for Windows software and setting up sites
7
How to install AlphaNET plus for Windows software
How to install AlphaNET plus for Windows software
HINT
Before starting the software
installation, check to see if there
is a README file.
Look at this file before installing
the software because it may
contain late-breaking information
about the software.
1. Start Microsoft Windows and be sure to have all other
applications closed.
2. Insert the AlphaNET plus for Windows CD into your CD
drive. The installation process should start automatically.
3. If installation does not start automatically, you can either...
a. Select Start > Run. Next, type d:\setup using the correct
letter for your CD drive instead of “d:”. Finally, select OK.
b.
Or...Using Windows Explorer, you can double-click on
Setup.exe in your CD drive folder.
3. Follow the instructions when the installation program
prompts you.
4. When the installation program is done, these program icons
appear:
5. This completes the software installation.
8
2
Installing AlphaNET plus for Windows software and setting up sites
What s new in version 1.3?
What’s new in version 1.3?
1.
Version 1.3 supports Windows 95, 98, NT, 2000, ME, and
Macintosh Power PCs.
2.
Version 1.3 supports Adaptive’s new outdoor signs and
redesigned 4000 and 7000 signs (available first quarter of 2001)
for both messaging and emulating messages.
• Messages can be triggered by date as well as by day or
time. Messages can be issued as recurring (displayed
multiple times with the same start day/date/time and end
day/date/time.)
• In messages, characters can be “condensed” or “custom”.
• Modes to be used in the Automode sequence can be set by
the user.
Networking (TCP/IP) capability has been added for
messaging using Ethernet Adapters on a Local Area Network
(LAN).
3.
4.
Version 1.3 supports real-time string variables from external
applications, including ActiveX applications. You can use an
application to send the variable data to a sign’s memory, to be
merged with text in a message.
5.
6.
Icons for modes have been updated.
7.
Version 1.3 no longer supports:
Installation starts automatically (if the operating system
feature for autorun is turned on.)
• Windows 3.1
• Networking to signs using print servers
• Networking to signs using wide-area wireless paging
transmitters
What has not changed?
Version 1.3 supports version 1.2 data: existing site definitions,
messages and message scheduling are still valid.
Version 1.3 supports older Alpha signs.
Version 1.3 supports networking to signs using local wireless
transmitters.
2
Installing AlphaNET plus for Windows software and setting up sites
9
How to change a sign s address
How to change a sign’s address
What is an “address”?
About Address 00
If more than one sign will be
connected to a device (modem,
wireless, or local connection),
then give each sign a unique
address, like 01, 02, 03, etc.
Otherwise, sending a message to
the sign with address 00 will also
send the message to all the other
connected signs.
An Alpha sign has a feature which allows a unique number or
“address” to be assigned to it. This address permits you to send
messages to an individual sign on a network.
All Alpha signs leave the factory with a default address of 00.
However, another address—like 01, 02, 03, etc.—can be given to a
sign. Addresses for signs should be assigned before setting up
devices, sites, and groups so that messages go to the correct signs.
For example, in the company used in the next sections’s tutorial,
several signs are connected into a network (below), and each of
these signs is given a unique address so that a message can be sent
to a particular sign:
Engineering
03
Engineering
04
Engineering
05
These three signs all have unique addresses
(03, 04, and 05) so that a message can be
sent to a particular sign.
10
2
Installing AlphaNET plus for Windows software and setting up sites
How to change a sign s address
Changing a sign’s address
1. To change the address of a particular sign, first make sure that
Alphavision Note
To change the address of an
Alphavision sign, an access
panel on the back of the sign
must be removed. Then a DIP
switch must be set to change the
address.
sign is connected to a power supply and is functioning.
2. Point the front of the Remote Control at the sign’s infrared
receiver window as shown below:
Point the front of the Remote Control at the
sign’s infrared receiver window.
SOUND
ON - OFF
PROGRAM
RUN
APPEND CURSOR SPECIAL FONT
ROLL
WIPE
SCROLL FLASH
1
2
3
4
AUTO
SPEED
TIME
DOT
7
8
9
0
B
A
¢
#
%
I
N
:
;
T
S
?
’
U
*
K
L
-
R
Q
.
,
V
F
E
P
”
6
+
/
O
ROTATE
5
&
J
=
>
M
COLOR
HOLD
SELECT
D
C
$
H
G
<
WIDTH
W
X
!
Y
INSERT
RETURN
SPACE
Z
SHIFT
CAPS
BACK
SHIFT
ADV
The person using the Remote Control should be
from 5 to 30 feet from the front of the sign.
DELETE
Remote Control
(front and top views)
3. Press the
PROGRAM
button on the Remote Control.
PROG TEXT FILE A will appear on the sign.
4. Next, press the
button until SET ADDRESS appears.
BACK
5. Press the
button until ADDRESS = 00 appears. (The sign
ADV
Address Note
Normally, a sign’s address is a
decimal number from 00 to 99.
However, if you need more
addresses, a hexadecimal
number from 00 to FF (0 to 255)
can be used as an address. For
example, hexadecimal 1F =
decimal 31.
2
may have an address other than 00.)
6. Set the sign’s address by pressing any of the number keys. For
example, to enter an address of 15 press the
then the
button and
button.
7. Finally, press the
RUN
button two times to set the sign’s
new address.
Installing AlphaNET plus for Windows software and setting up sites
11
Step by step tutorial in setting up devices, sites, and groups
Step-by-step tutorial in setting up devices, sites, and groups
What are “sites” and “groups”?
Sites and groups are terms used by the AlphaNET plus for
Windows software to describe how messages are sent to signs. You
create sites and groups to make sending messages to multiple signs
flexible and easy.
A site is a collection of one or more signs, and a group is made
up of one or more sites.
To help you better understand, a tutorial is presented below. In
this tutorial a complex example is created in a series of easy-tounderstand steps.
Overview of the tutorial
In this tutorial, we’ll set up sites and groups for an imaginary
company pictured below. The table shows how signs are assigned in
this company:
Table 1: Overview of the tutorial company
Group
Production
Administration
Site
1Connection
# signs
Manufacturing
2
• local
Shipping
1
• wireless
Engineering
3
• local
Sales
2
• LAN
Lobby
2
• local
R&D
2
• modem
device
1A
sign is connected to a PC running AlphaNET plus for Windows software by a direct cable (or
“local”) connection, by a modem (or “remote”) connection, or by a wireless transmitter.
12
2
Installing AlphaNET plus for Windows software and setting up sites
Step by step tutorial in setting up devices, sites, and groups
Table 2: Schematic of the tutorial company
Groups
Production
Administration
Sites
Lobby
Sales
R&D
Connection
devices
LAN
Engineering
Manufacturing
Direct cable
connection (“Local”)
Shipping
Local wireless
transmitter
Modem
(“Remote”)
Local wireless
data receiver
Shipping
Receiving modem
Converter Box III
Ethernet
adapters
Converter Box III
Signs
(The number
on the right of
each sign is its
“address”.)
2
R&D
R&D
00
01
02
Sales
Sales
Engineering
01
Engineering
02
Engineering
03
Lobby
04
Lobby
05
Manufacturing
06
Manufacturing
07
01
02
Installing AlphaNET plus for Windows software and setting up sites
Address 00 should be used
with care because sending a
message to a sign with
address 00 can also send the
message to all the signs on a
given device.
For example, if a sign with an
address of 12 was also
connected to a wireless
receiver, then whenever a
message was sent to sign 00,
sign 12 would also receive it.
Rule of Thumb: If you have
more than one sign on a
device (e.g., modem, local, or
wireless), then assign each
sign a unique address. To
change a sign’s address, see
“Changing a sign’s address”
on page 11.
13
Step by step tutorial in setting up devices, sites, and groups
Step 1: Creating or changing the devices
A “device” is a way to connect a sign to a PC that is running
AlphaNET plus for Windows software. See chapter 1 for detailed
instructions on how to connect signs.
For more information on networking signs, see the Network
Configurations (pn 9708-8046) manual or Networking ALPHA
signs with ALPHA Ethernet Adapters (pn 9708-8093).
The basic devices or types of networks are:
•
Direct cable (or “local”) connection — This method uses cables to
connect signs into a network, and messages to each sign are sent over
this cabling. A local connection works best when all the signs are in
one building.
•
Modem (or “remote”) connection — Typically, this method is used
when the signs you wish to send messages to are signs that are not in
the same building (or city, etc.) as your PC. In this type of connection, a
modem is attached to your PC and another modem is attached to one or
more signs at the other location. At times which you specify, messages
are transmitted to the signs when the PC modem “calls” the signs’
modem.
•
Wireless connection — In this setup, each sign is equipped with a
wireless Data Receiver. The advantage of this connection method is
that wiring does not have to be strung between each sign.
Messages are sent from your PC to signs via a transmitter, attached to
your PC, which broadcasts messages to these Data Receivers. The
distance from your PC (i.e., the transmitter) to the receivers on the
signs is limited.
•
14
LAN (Local Area Network) connection — This option allows you to
connect one or more signs to a Local Area Network (LAN) using an
Alpha Ethernet Adapter. There is no maximum to the number of Alpha
Ethernet Adapters that can be used with AlphaNET plus for Windows
version 1.3 software. See the document Networking ALPHA signs
with ALPHA Ethernet Adapters (pn 9708-8093) for detailed
information.
2
Installing AlphaNET plus for Windows software and setting up sites
Step by step tutorial in setting up devices, sites, and groups
Setting up a modem (or “remote”) connection
In our imaginary company, the following signs are connected by
modem:
Transmitting modem — the steps below show you how to
program this modem.
Receiving modem — to set up this modem, see “Options”
in the “Diagnostics program” in chapter 4.
Converter Box III
R&D
01
R&D
02
1. To create a modem device, open the Site Manager program:
Double click on this
icon to open the Site
Manager:
2
Installing AlphaNET plus for Windows software and setting up sites
15
Step by step tutorial in setting up devices, sites, and groups
2. Next, select Edit and then Device:
3. When the Device Editor window appears, select Install. Then
select Modem on Com 1 from the list and OK. (If you have a
modem on a different communications port, choose the
modem on that port.)
These default devices make your job
easier because they are the most
common methods of connecting
signs to your PC.
16
2
Installing AlphaNET plus for Windows software and setting up sites
Step by step tutorial in setting up devices, sites, and groups
4. Select OK and the following window will appear.
N OT E
To finish setting up a modem
connection, you have to set up a
modem site using the Site
Manager.
To see an example of this, see
“Creating the R & D site — a
modem example” on page 25.
5. If you want to change any of the modem settings, make sure
Modem on Com 1 is highlighted as above and then select Edit.
Use the following window to change the modem settings and
then select OK:
Table 3: Modem setup
A
N OT E
B
The modem setup shown here is
for the transmitting modem.
C
The receiving modem must also
be set up properly. (See
“Options” in the “Diagnostics
program” on page 129.)
E
F
D
G
Item
Directions
A
Modem
B
COM Port
Select the port on your PC that connects to your modem.
Data Format
Use 7E2 for 7 data bits, even parity, 2 stop bits
Use 8N1 for 8 data bits, no parity, 1 stop bit
(The 7E2 setting is compatible with most signs.)
D
Baud Rate
Alpha signs can receive at baud rates between 1200 and 9600
baud. However, a Converter Box III with a serial number greater
than AF00004525 (e.g., AF00004526, AF00004527, etc.) has a
minimum baud rate of 2400, and baud rates of 300 or 1200 will
not be accepted even though these rates are shown in the
Device Editor.
E
IP Port
Not needed for a modem device.
F
Dialing Prefix
If you must dial a number (like “9”) for your modem to reach an
outside phone line, enter the number here.
G
Modem Init
String
C
2
Name
Check this box.
Consult your modem documentation.
Installing AlphaNET plus for Windows software and setting up sites
17
Step by step tutorial in setting up devices, sites, and groups
Setting up a direct cable (or “local”) connection
In our imaginary company, the following signs are connected by
a local connection:
Direct cable connection (“Local”)
Converter Box III
04
Engineering
01
Lobby
Engineering
02
Lobby
05
Engineering
03
Manufacturing
06
Manufacturing
07
6. Continuing from the previous step, select Install in the Device
Editor window. Then select Local Wired Com 2 from the list and
OK:
18
2
Installing AlphaNET plus for Windows software and setting up sites
Step by step tutorial in setting up devices, sites, and groups
7. Select OK and the following window will appear.
N OT E
To finish setting up a local
connection, you have to set up a
local site using the Site
Manager.
To see an example of this, see
“Creating the Lobby,
Engineering, and Manufacturing
sites — a wired example” on
page 32.
8. If you want to change any of the local settings, make sure Local
Wired Com 2 is highlighted as above and then select Edit. Use
the following window to change the local settings:
Table 4: Local setup
A
B
C
D
Item
A
Directions
COM Port
Select the port on your PC that is cabled to your sign(s).
Data Format
Use 7E2 for 7 data bits, even parity, 2 stop bits
Use 8N1 for 8 data bits, no parity, 1 stop bit
(The 7E2 setting is compatible with most signs.)
C
Baud Rate
Alpha signs can receive at baud rates between 1200 and 9600
baud. However, a Converter Box III with a serial number greater
than AF00004525 (e.g., AF00004526, AF00004527, etc.) has a
minimum baud rate of 2400, and baud rates of 300 or 1200 will
not be accepted even though these rates are shown in the
Device Editor.
D
IP Port
Not needed for a local wired device.
B
2
Name
Installing AlphaNET plus for Windows software and setting up sites
19
Step by step tutorial in setting up devices, sites, and groups
Setting up a wireless transmitter connection
About Address 00
If more than one sign will be
connected to a wireless device
(or a modem or local
connection), then give each sign
a unique address, like 01, 02, 03,
etc.
In our imaginary company, there is just one sign that uses a
wireless connection. In this example, messages are sent to the sign
using a wireless transmitter which is attached to a PC:
Otherwise, sending a message
to the sign with address 00 will
also send the message to all the
other connected signs.
Data
receiver
Shipping
To change a sign’s address, see
“Changing a sign’s address” on
page 11.
00
9. Continuing from the previous step, select Install in the Device
Editor window. Then select Local Wireless Com 1 from the list
and OK:
N OT E
Why can we choose Wireless on
COM1 when we already set up a
Modem on COM1?
Site Manager assumes that
perhaps you have an “AB
switch” attached to both a
modem and a wireless
transmitter. Or perhaps you
unplug one device and plug in
the other based on your needs.
10. After entering the wireless settings, select OK and the
following window will appear.
N OT E
To finish setting up a wireless
connection, you have to set up a
wireless site using the Site
Manager.
To see an example of this, see
“Creating the Shipping site — a
wireless example” on page 36.
20
2
Installing AlphaNET plus for Windows software and setting up sites
Step by step tutorial in setting up devices, sites, and groups
11. If you want to change any of the wireless settings, make sure
Local Wireless Com 1 is highlighted as above and then select
Edit. Use the following window to change the wireless settings
and then select OK.
Table 5: Wireless setup
A
B
F
C
D
G
E
H
I
Item
Name
Modem
Don’t check for a wireless connection.
Wireless
Check ONLY Wireless if you are sending messages to signs
using a transmitter attached to your PC.
B
COM Port
Select the port on your PC that connects to your modem or
transmitter.
C
Data Format
Use 7E2 for 7 data bits, even parity, 2 stop bits
Use 8N1 for 8 data bits, no parity, 1 stop bit
(The 7E2 setting is compatible with most signs.)
D
Baud Rate
Alpha signs can receive at baud rates between 1200 and 9600
baud. However, a Converter Box III with a serial number greater
than AF00004525 (e.g., AF00004526, AF00004527, etc.) has a
minimum baud rate of 2400, and baud rates of 300 or 1200 will
not be accepted even though these rates are shown in the
Device Editor.
E
IP Port
Not needed for a local wireless device.
F
Pager Header
G
Pager Trailer
H
Packet Size
I
Packet Delay
A
2
Directions
Use these for your specific transmitter.
Consult your transmitter documentation for details.
Installing AlphaNET plus for Windows software and setting up sites
21
Step by step tutorial in setting up devices, sites, and groups
Setting up a Local Area Network (LAN) connection
N OT E
For more detailed information,
see Networking ALPHA signs
with ALPHA Ethernet Adapters
(pn 9708-8093).
In our imaginary company, there are two signs that use a LAN
connection. In this example, messages are sent to the two signs
using an ALPHA Ethernet Adapter which is connected to a LAN:
LAN
Ethernet
adapters
Sales
Sales
01
Signs: The number
to the left of each
sign is its “address”.
02
12. In the Device Editor window, select Install. Then select
Ethernet Adapter from the list:
22
2
Installing AlphaNET plus for Windows software and setting up sites
Step by step tutorial in setting up devices, sites, and groups
13. Select OK and the following window will appear:
N OT E
To finish setting up an Ethernet
Adapter connection, you have to
set up an Ethernet Adapter site
using the Site Manager.
To see an example of this, see
“Creating the Sales site — a LAN
example” on page 29.
14. If you want to change any of the Ethernet Adapter settings,
make sure that Ethernet Adapter is highlighted as above and
then select Edit. After entering the Ethernet Adapter settings,
select OK:
Table 6: Ethernet Adapter setup
A
B
Item
2
Name
Directions
A
TCP/IP
This must be checked for an Ethernet Adapter.
B
IP Port
Specify the IP Port for your Ethernet Adapter. The default
setting is 3001 for ALPHA Ethernet Adapters.
Installing AlphaNET plus for Windows software and setting up sites
23
Step by step tutorial in setting up devices, sites, and groups
15. Since we’re finished adding devices, select Close to exit, but
first, choose one of the devices and then select Make Default.
Sites you create will use the chosen device unless you specify
otherwise.
Before selecting Close,
choose one of these devices
and then select Make Default.
This shows Local Wired Com 2
as the default device.
24
2
Installing AlphaNET plus for Windows software and setting up sites
Step by step tutorial in setting up devices, sites, and groups
Step 2: Creating or changing the sites
Before creating the sites, there must be a device for each of the
sites. Since we did this is Step 1, we can continue.
These are the sites we have to make for our imaginary company.
Notice that many of them are just departments within the company.
Sites/signs typically are named by location:
R&D
Sales
Lobby
Engineering
Manufacturing
Shipping
Creating the R & D site — a modem example
1. There are two signs in the R & D site (see “Schematic of the
tutorial company” on page 13). One of these signs must be
given an “address” of 01 and the other sign an address of 02
(see “How to change a sign’s address” on page 10).
2. Next, to create the R & D site, open the Site Manager program
if it is not already opened:
Double click on this
icon to open the Site
Manager:
3. Next, select File and then New Site:
2
Installing AlphaNET plus for Windows software and setting up sites
25
Step by step tutorial in setting up devices, sites, and groups
4. After selecting New Site, the Site Editor window will appear:
Table 7: R & D setup (1 of 4): Site Editor (Site Info) window
A
B
C
D
E
F
Item
A
Name
Site Name
Directions
Type R & D.
When this is checked, the signs in the current site (in this case
the two R & D signs) will receive messages sent from the
Message Editor program. For example, if a message is sent
from the Message Editor with To Selected Sites chosen (see
below), then both the R & D signs would receive that message.
N OT E
Be careful when you check Use
as an Editor transmit site for
more than one site, since
whenever you transmit To
Selected Sites in the Message
Editor software, the message will
go to all sites designated as
“transmit site” and you may have
messages going to signs you
didn’t intend to use.
B
Use as an Editor
transmit site
Select this in the
Message Editor
software
This option is useful when you’re testing to see what a message
looks like before sending it to many signs.
C
Compatibility
Alpha 1.0 (EZ95) – If all of your signs use the EZ95 protocol.
EZ KEY II – For the EZII protocol or Infrared Loader.
Incandescent – If all the signs on this site are either a 790i,
430i, 440i, or 460i.
Alpha 2.0 – For new Alpha (4000, 7000, and outdoor) signs
scheduled for first quarter of 2001.
NOTE: If a site includes signs which use different protocols,
some of the AlphaNET plus features may not work. Different
sites should be created for signs with different protocols.
D
Connect Device
Because both R & D signs are connected by a modem, select
Modem on Com 1.
E
Phone Number
Enter the phone number that the PC modem should dial.
Enable error
checking
Check if you want the software to check that each sign correctly
received each message sent to it. When this option is on, errors
will be recorded in the error log of the Comm Manager
program. This option cannot be selected for wireless or LAN
connections.
F
26
2
Installing AlphaNET plus for Windows software and setting up sites
Step by step tutorial in setting up devices, sites, and groups
5. Next, information is entered for Sign Info:
Table 8: R & D setup (2 of 4): Site Editor (Sign Info) window
A
HINT
A long sequence of sign
addresses can be entered using a
hyphen.
For example, the address list:
5,6,7,8,9 could also be entered
as 5-9.
B
C
D
Item
A
Name
Tone on Receipt
Directions
Select Single Beep, Three Beeps, or Custom Tone (where you
can create your own tone) if you want the signs in the Address
List to beep each time they receive a new message.
The addresses of all the signs in this particular site (in this
case, 01 and 02 for the R & D site):
B
C
D
2
Address List
R&D
01
R&D
02
Addresses of
R & D signs
(See NOTEs below.)
NOTE:
Alpha signs are set to address 00 when they leave the
factory, but in this example new addresses must be
entered. To change the address of a sign, see “How
to change a sign’s address” on page 10.
NOTE:
If you had entered the address 00 in Address List,
then all messages would always be sent to both the R
& D signs. (Address 00 “broadcasts” a message to
every sign.)
Counter File...
See “How to edit a Counter file” on page 76.
Automode
Table...
Choose an Automode table, if desired. (Compatibility on the Site
Info tab must be Alpha 2.0 for Automode Table… to be
available.) In this example, Compatibility on the Site Info tab is
not Alpha 2.0, so Automode Table… is not available.
See “How to create and use a custom automode sequence” on
page 103 for more information.
Installing AlphaNET plus for Windows software and setting up sites
27
Step by step tutorial in setting up devices, sites, and groups
6. In this example nothing needs to be entered or changed for
Group Info:
Table 9: R & D setup (3 of 4): Site Editor (Group Info) window
7. Also, nothing is changed for Advanced:
Table 10: R & D setup (4 of 4): Site Editor (Advanced) window
8. Select OK and the following will appear:
Sites, like the new R & D site
you just created, will appear in
this part of the window.
When a site appears in red,
this means that it has not been
updated.
28
2
Installing AlphaNET plus for Windows software and setting up sites
Step by step tutorial in setting up devices, sites, and groups
Creating the Sales site — a LAN example
9. After making the R & D site, we’ll create the Sales site which
consists of two signs (see “Schematic of the tutorial company”
on page 13). First, select File and then New Site:
10. After selecting New Site, the Site Editor window will appear:
Table 11: Sales setup (1 of 4): Site Editor (Site Info) window
A
B
C
D
E
F
Item
2
Name
Directions
A
Site Name
Type Sales.
B
Use as an Editor
transmit site
C
Compatibility
D
Connect Device
Because the Sales sign is connected via an ALPHA Ethernet
Adapter, select Ethernet Adapter.
E
IP Address
Specify the 4-node Internet Protocol address for this sign. See
your network administrator if you do not know this address.
See Networking ALPHA signs with ALPHA Ethernet Adapters
(pn 9708-8093) for information about assigning an address to
an ethernet adapter.
F
Enable error
checking
This option is not available for an ALPHA Ethernet Adapter
connection.
See “R & D setup (1 of 4): Site Editor (Site Info) window” on
page 26.
Installing AlphaNET plus for Windows software and setting up sites
29
Step by step tutorial in setting up devices, sites, and groups
11. Next, information is entered for Sign Info:
Table 12: Sales setup (2 of 4): Site Editor (Sign Info) window
A
HINT
A long sequence of sign
addresses can be entered using a
hyphen.
For example, the address list:
5,6,7,8,9 could also be entered
as 5-9.
However, if you include more
than one sign in the list, then any
message sent to this site will
appear on all the signs in the list.
You will not be able to send a
message to any individual sign in
that site.
B
C
D
Item
A
Name
Tone on Receipt
In addition, more than one sign
in the list for a site may cause
problems if error checking is
enabled on the Site Info tab.
Directions
See “R & D setup (2 of 4): Site Editor (Sign Info) window” on
page 27.
The addresses of the Sales signs are01 and 02:
B
Address List
NOTE:
C
D
30
Sales
01
Sales
02
Addresses of the Sales
signs
(See NOTE below.)
Alpha signs are set to address 00 when they leave the
factory, but in this example new addresses must be
entered. To change the address of a sign, see “How
to change a sign’s address” on page 10.
Counter File...
See “How to edit a Counter file” on page 76.
Automode
Table…
Choose an Automode table, if desired. (Compatibility on the Site
Info tab must be Alpha 2.0 for Automode Table… to be
available.) In this example, Compatibility on the Site Info tab is
not Alpha 2.0, so Automode Table… is not available.
See “How to create and use a custom automode sequence” on
page 103 for more information.
2
Installing AlphaNET plus for Windows software and setting up sites
Step by step tutorial in setting up devices, sites, and groups
12. In this example nothing needs to be entered or changed in
Group Info:
Table 13: Sales setup (3 of 4): Site Editor (Group Info) window
13. Also, nothing is changed in Advanced:
Table 14: Sales setup (4 of 4): Site Editor (Advanced) window
14. Select OK and the following will appear:
The new Sales site will appear in this
part of the window along with the
R & D site.
When a site appears in red, this
means that it has not been updated.
2
Installing AlphaNET plus for Windows software and setting up sites
31
Step by step tutorial in setting up devices, sites, and groups
Creating the Lobby, Engineering, and Manufacturing sites — a wired example
15. After making the Sales site—we’ll create the local sites. First,
we’ll create the two Lobby signs.
Select File and then New Site:
16. After selecting New Site, the Site Editor window will appear:
Table 15: Lobby setup (1 of 4): Site Editor (Site Info) window
A
B
C
D
E
Item
32
Name
A
Site Name
B
Use as an Editor
transmit site
C
Compatibility
D
Connect Device
E
Enable error
checking
2
Directions
Type Lobby.
See “Sales setup (1 of 4): Site Editor (Site Info) window” on
page 29.
Installing AlphaNET plus for Windows software and setting up sites
Step by step tutorial in setting up devices, sites, and groups
17. Next, information is entered in Sign Info:
Table 16: Lobby setup (2 of 4): Site Editor (Sign Info) window
A
HINT
A long sequence of sign
addresses can be entered using a
hyphen.
For example, the address list:
5,6,7,8,9 could also be entered
as 5-9.
B
C
D
Item
A
Name
Tone on Receipt
Directions
See “Sales setup (2 of 4): Site Editor (Sign Info) window” on
page 30.
The addresses of the two Lobby signs are 02 and 03:
Lobby
01
Addresses of Lobby signs
(See NOTEs below.)
Lobby
B
C
D
2
Address List
02
NOTE:
Alpha signs are set to address 00 when they leave the
factory, but in this example new addresses must be
entered. To change the address of a sign, see “How
to change a sign’s address” on page 10.
NOTE:
If you had entered the address 00 in Address List,
then all messages would always be sent to both
Lobby signs. (Address 00 “broadcasts” to every
sign.)
Counter File...
See “How to edit a Counter file” on page 76.
Automode
Table...
Choose an Automode table, if desired. (Compatibility on the Site
Info tab must be Alpha 2.0 for Automode Table… to be
available.) In this example, Compatibility on the Site Info tab is
not Alpha 2.0, so Automode Table… is not available.
See “How to create and use a custom automode sequence” on
page 103 for more information.
Installing AlphaNET plus for Windows software and setting up sites
33
Step by step tutorial in setting up devices, sites, and groups
18. In this example nothing needs to be entered or changed in
Group Info:
Table 17: Sales setup (3 of 4): Site Editor (Group Info) window
19. Also, nothing is changed in Advanced:
Table 18: Sales setup (4 of 4): Site Editor (Advanced) window
34
2
Installing AlphaNET plus for Windows software and setting up sites
Step by step tutorial in setting up devices, sites, and groups
20. Select OK and the following will appear:
The new Lobby site will appear
in this part of the window
along with the other sites you
created.
When a site appears in red,
this means that it has not been
updated.
21. The Engineering and Manufacturing sites are created just like
the Lobby site. However, make sure that addresses of the
Engineering and Manufacturing signs are set as follows:
Engineering
03
Engineering
04
Engineering
05
Manufacturing
06
Addresses of Engineering signs
Addresses of Manufacturing signs
Manufacturing
07
NOTE: To set the address of a sign see “How to change a
sign’s address” on page 10.
2
Installing AlphaNET plus for Windows software and setting up sites
35
Step by step tutorial in setting up devices, sites, and groups
Creating the Shipping site — a wireless example
22. The last site we have to make is Shipping which is a wireless
site:
Select File and then New Site:
23. After selecting New Site, the Site Editor window will appear:
Table 19: Shipping setup (1 of 4): Site Editor (Site Info) window
A
B
C
D
E
Item
Directions
A
Site Name
B
Use as an Editor
transmit site
C
Compatibility
D
Connect Device
Select Local Wireless Com 1.
Cap Code
Complete this as appropriate for your specific pager/receiver.
Consult your pager/receiver documentation for details.
E
36
Name
2
Type Shipping.
See “Sales setup (1 of 4): Site Editor (Site Info) window” on
page 29.
Installing AlphaNET plus for Windows software and setting up sites
Step by step tutorial in setting up devices, sites, and groups
24. Next, information is entered in Sign Info:
Table 20: Shipping setup (2 of 4): Site Editor (Sign Info) window
A
B
C
D
About Address 00
If more than one sign will be
connected to a wireless device
(or a modem or local
connection), then give each sign
a unique address, like 01, 02, 03,
etc.
Otherwise, sending a message to
the sign with address 00 will also
send the message to all the other
connected signs.
Item
A
Tone on Receipt
Directions
See “Sales setup (2 of 4): Site Editor (Sign Info) window” on
page 30.
The address of the Shipping sign can be left at its factory
default value of 00:
B
To change a sign’s address, see
“Changing a sign’s address” on
page 11.
Name
Address List
Shipping
C
D
00
Counter File...
See “How to edit a Counter file” on page 76.
Automode
Table…
Choose an Automode table, if desired. (Compatibility on the Site
Info tab must be Alpha 2.0 for Automode Table… to be
available.) In this example, Compatibility on the Site Info tab is
not Alpha 2.0, so Automode Table… is not available.
See “How to create and use a custom automode sequence” on
page 103 for more information.
25. In this example nothing needs to be entered or changed in
Group Info:
Table 21: Shipping setup (3 of 4): Site Editor (Group Info) window
2
Installing AlphaNET plus for Windows software and setting up sites
37
Step by step tutorial in setting up devices, sites, and groups
26. Also, nothing is changed in Advanced:
Table 22: Shipping setup (4 of 4): Site Editor (Advanced) window
27. Select OK and the following will appear:
The new Sales site will appear in this
part of the window.
When a site appears in red, this
means that it has not been updated.
28. In the same manner as above, create both an Engineering and a
Manufacturing site. For the Engineering site, use Local Wired on
COM2 and sign addresses of 03, 04, and 05. For the
Manufacturing site, use Local Wired on COM2 and sign
addresses of 06 and 07.
38
2
Installing AlphaNET plus for Windows software and setting up sites
Step by step tutorial in setting up devices, sites, and groups
Step 3: Creating or changing the groups
A “group” is a collection of one or more sites. In our imaginary
company, there are two groups—Administration and Production.
Groups are a convenient method of organizing sites into
categories so that messages may be easily send to multiple sites.
For example, in our imaginary company, we might have a
message intended for just the R &D site or just the Sales and Lobby
sites. However, many times we’ll want a message to go to the R & D
and the Sales and the Lobby sites. This is where groups come in. A
group is a method of sending messages to several sites.
Groups
Production
Administration
Sites
R&D
Sales
Lobby
Engineering
Manufacturing
Shipping
1. To create the Administration group, open the Site Manager
program if it is not already opened:
Double click on this
icon to open the
Site Manager:
These are the sites
created in this tutorial.
2
Installing AlphaNET plus for Windows software and setting up sites
39
Step by step tutorial in setting up devices, sites, and groups
2. Next, select File and then New Group. The following will
appear:
3. For Group Name, type Administration. Next, click on R & D
and then Include Site to add the R & D site to the
Administration group. (You can also double-click on the sites
to be included.) Add the Sales and Lobby sites to the
Administration group in the same way:
HINT
Use the Control key to select
multiple sites.
N OT E
You can double-click on a site to
be included. However, to exclude
a site, you must select it in the
right column and then click on
Remove Site.
4. When you’re done adding the Sales and Lobby sites, select
OK and the following should appear:
Groups, like Administration,
will appear in this area.
40
2
Installing AlphaNET plus for Windows software and setting up sites
Step by step tutorial in setting up devices, sites, and groups
5. To see the sites that belong to a single group, just click on a
group. The folder for that group will show as open and only
the sites in that group will be listed:
N OT E
To return to seeing “all sites”,
hold down the Control key while
clicking once on the name of the
group you just chose in this step.
The folder icon for that group will
show as closed and all other
sites will be listed also.
When you
select a group,
the sites that
are in the
group appear.
6. The Production group is created almost exactly like the
Administration group. However, the Production group is
made up of the Engineering, Manufacturing, and Shipping
sites.
After adding the Production group, this window should
appear:
2
Installing AlphaNET plus for Windows software and setting up sites
41
Step by step tutorial in setting up devices, sites, and groups
42
2
Installing AlphaNET plus for Windows software and setting up sites
Chapter 3 map
Creating and sending messages
Chapter 3 map
Creating and sending
messages
What happens when
messages are sent
to a sign?
Using the Message
Editor to create your
message
Creating a graphic
How to use graphics
in messages
How to send a
message to a sign
Basic message
editing
Sending messages
from the Message
Editor
Using the Emulator
to see your message
Creating a flick or
animation
Sending messages
from the Site
Manager
Using Modes to
change the look of a
message
Using Characters to
change the look of a
message
What is a Counter
file?
Creating and sending messages
How to use string
variables in a
message
How to create and
use a custom
automode sequence
Using international
characters
Three examples of
how to use Counter
files
What are string
variables?
3
How to edit a
Counter file
Basic steps for
setting up string
variables in a
message
Detailed steps for
setting up string
variables in a
message
43
Basic message editing
Basic message editing
Because the AlphaNET plus for Windows software allows you
an infinite number of ways to create a message for a sign, there is no
way to show every possible example. However, in the following
pages examples of basic and advanced message editing will be
presented. First, the basics...
Using the Message Editor to create your message
1. After installing the AlphaNET plus software on your PC, open
the Message Editor. Then open a window for the new message
you’ll create:
Double click on this icon
to open the Message
Editor:
Click here
to create a new
message window.
2. Type the words The first message in the window:
44
3
Creating and sending messages
Basic message editing
3. Then use the sign Emulator to preview what this message will
look like on a sign:
NOTE: Because the Emulator can’t display every mode, it is
used to preview how words and phrases will appear.
Click here
to open the Emulator
and preview your message.
To change the type of sign being emulated,
see “Using the Emulator to see your message”
on page 46.
4. Next, add the current date to your message. First, close the
Emulator window. Then select Options and Date:
When this window
appears, select OK and
a date icon will appear at
the end of the message.
3
Creating and sending messages
45
Basic message editing
5. Then preview your message again using the Emulator:
Using the Emulator to see your message
6. The Emulator can simulate how messages will appear on a
number of different signs. To select a particular sign, first
stretch the lower right-hand corner of the Emulator screen to
reveal the name of the sign being emulated:
The type of sign that the
Emulator is currently
using. (FM 128x32 TRI =
a Full Matrix, tri-color,
128 columns x 32 rows
sign)
7. We’ll change the sign used by the Emulator to an Alpha
4120C. First, stop the Emulator by selecting the
button.
Then select Options, Sign Model, and the Alpha 4120C sign:
46
3
Creating and sending messages
Basic message editing
8. Then click OK.
9. Finally, to play your message on the new sign, select the
button on the Emulator:
Stretch the window size to see the
display that’s being emulated.
10. To use the Emulator application with an ALPHA Director sign,
select Sign Model and AlphaVision Character Matrix:
Set 16 characters x 8 rows
for an ALPHA Director sign.
Using Modes to change the look of a message
“Modes” are special effects that change the way a message
appears on a sign. For example, the Rotate mode moves a message
from right to left across a sign. In this example, we’ll create a
message that displays employee birthdays.
NOTE: Some Modes options are not available on all signs. For
a list of what Modes are available, see “Appendix B —
Which Modes are available on signs” on page 140.
Example 1: How to display employee birthdays.
(Follow the steps below.)
In this example, the Hold and Rotate modes are used to display employee birthdays. This setup
can be used for a variety of uses such as announcements and anniversaries.
Using the Hold mode, the top
line remains fixed while the
names go by.
Using the Rotate mode, the
names move from right to left
on the bottom line.
3
Creating and sending messages
47
Basic message editing
11. To create Example 1, first, close the previous message—The
first message—but don’t save it. Next, open a new message.
Then select Modes and Hold:
12. When the following window appears, select Top:
Line Position is where a message
appears on a sign. See “Appendix E
— Understanding message line
positions (Top, Middle, Bottom, Fill)”
on page 144 for more details.
13. The icon for Hold will appear in the message window:
This little marker indicates
that the text following this
icon will appear on the top
line of a display.
Hold mode
icon.
48
3
Creating and sending messages
Basic message editing
14. Type Birthdays. Then select Modes and Rotate. (When
HINT
Place the cursor over an icon
and press the right mouse
button to see a short description
of the icon at the bottom of the
Message Editor window. For
example:
prompted, select Standard Rotate and the Bottom line
position.) Finally, type the names Tom White, Patty Smith, and
Bob Evans. (Follow each of the first two names with a comma
and a space.)
Select Standard Rotate...
...and the Bottom line position.
Right mouse button
You can also switch between
using pictures to using text
descriptions for the icons by
selecting Edit > Icon Type.
3
Creating and sending messages
49
Basic message editing
15. Next, select
to run the Emulator to see how the message
looks:
The current mode
The message speed
(5 = fastest, 1 = slowest)
The sign that is
currently being
emulated (In
this case, an
Alpha 4120C)
A b o u t t h e E m u l a t o r. . .
The Emulator software does not
show exactly how a message will
appear on a sign.
The Emulator should be used to
check how fonts, colors and
graphics will appear on a sign and
also how much text will appear on
a line. (If text appears in white,
this means it is too long to fit on
the display. If possible, break the
text into smaller segments.)
For example, these pictures show
how the message we just created
would appear on a one-line
Alpha 215C sign.
50
3
Creating and sending messages
Basic message editing
Using Characters to change the look of a message
“Characters” are options that change the appearance of text in
a message. For example, normal-sized text (called Seven Row
Normal) is seven rows of LEDs high, but some signs allow you to
create text 15 or 16 rows high with the 15/16 Row Normal option. In
this example, we’ll create a message that displays airline fares.
NOTE: Some Characters options are not available on all signs.
For a list of what is available, see “Appendix C —
Which Characters and Colors are available on signs”
on page 142.
Example 2: How to display airline fares.
(follow the steps below)
In this example, the Roll mode, 15/16 Row Normal text, and the New Line option are used to
display airline prices for several cities. Just like Example 1, this set up can be used for a variety of
uses such as announcements and anniversaries.
A single message will be used
to create large text on two-line
signs and normal text on oneline signs.
16. To create Example 2, first, save the message you created from
the previous example. To do this, select File and then Save:
First, make sure
this is selected.
Second, name the
Example 1 message
msg01.msw.
3
Creating and sending messages
Third,
select OK.
51
Basic message editing
17. Next, select File and then New to open a new message. Then
select Modes and Roll In:
18. When the following window appears, select Top:
OOPS!
By selecting Top, we’ve made an
error that will show up later.
However, we’ll keep going to
demonstrate a common mistake
and how to correct it.
19. Because we want large text, select Characters and 15/16 Row
Normal. Then type Las Vegas $85, Chicago $199, New York $235:
15/16 Row
Normal icon
52
3
Creating and sending messages
Basic message editing
20. Let’s see how the message looks so far. First, let’s see how it
looks on a one-line sign. Run the Emulator and change the sign
being emulated to a 215C. (If you don’t remember how to
change the sign, see “Using the Emulator to see your message”
on page 46.) The message should look like this on a 215C sign:
Since a one-line sign like the 215C can’t
display the 15/16 Row characters, the sign
displays Seven Row Normal instead. But
this is what we wanted.
21. Stop the Emulator and change the sign to a 4120C, a two-line
sign, and then run the Emulator. This is what it should show
now:
Why doesn’t the large text appear on the two-line 4120C sign like we
wanted?
Because in a previous step we selected the Top instead of the
Middle or Fill line position:
To make the large 15/16 Row text
appear correctly, the line position
must be changed to the Middle.
22. To make the large 15/16 Row characters appear correctly on a
two-line sign, start by deleting the Roll In icon from the
message:
To delete the Roll In icon, place the cursor to the right of
the icon and press the Backspace key on your computer
keyboard.
3
Creating and sending messages
53
Basic message editing
23. Next, without moving the cursor in the message, select
Modes and Roll In as you did before. When the following
window appears, select the Middle line position:
24. Now display the message in the Emulator using a two-line
sign like the 4120C. The 15/16 Row text should now appear
correctly:
Your message text should now look like this:
Notice that this marker on the
Roll In icon has changed to the
middle indicating the new line
position.
25. Save your message and name it msg02.msw. However, keep
using this message for the following steps.
OOPS!
Using a carriage return might
seem like the logical way to
format lines of text in a message,
but it doesn’t work.
26. We’d like to display a city name and dollar amount at the
same time on a sign. Try deleting the comma and space
between each city/amount pair. And then place a carriage
return after each like this:
We’ll correct this later with the
New Line option.
A carriage return has been placed
after each line of text.
54
3
Creating and sending messages
Basic message editing
27. Next, run the Emulator to see what the carriage returns you
added do to the message format. This is what you should see:
Carriage returns do NOT
break text into separate lines.
The New Line option must
be used instead.
28. To format the text so that Las Vegas $85 and Chicago $199 and
New York $235 all appear on separate lines, add a New Line
after each city/amount pair. To do this, use the Options menu:
These are New Line icons.
3
Creating and sending messages
55
Basic message editing
29. Run the Emulator to see what the New Lines you added do to
the message format. This is what you should see:
The New Line option
formats the text correctly.
56
3
Creating and sending messages
Basic message editing
Using international characters
International characters—like the é in résumé—are available for
the following languages: French, German, Italian, Spanish, and
Croatian.
Additional characters are also available. Check the Character
Map accessory to see if the character you want is available.
Follow this procedure to use international characters:
Step
Procedure
Start Windows 95:
1
Open Find:
2
Use Find to locate and then open the editor.ini file:
3
Double click on Editor to open it.
3
Creating and sending messages
57
Basic message editing
Step
Procedure
Your editor.ini file will look something like this:
4
Type the following line exactly as shown:
DefaultFont=Terminal
5
Then save the change:
6
Start AlphaNET plus for Windows and open the Message Editor:
7
58
3
Creating and sending messages
Basic message editing
Step
Procedure
In the Message Editor, select File and then New.
Type This is a test:
8
Go to Start > Accessories and open Character Map:
9
Imagine you want to add the letter ä to your message:
First, set Font to Terminal.
Second, click on the letter ä.
10
Third, note the keystroke. You must hold Alt and type
0132 to create the international character ä.
3
Creating and sending messages
59
Basic message editing
Step
Procedure
Return to the Message Editor. Add the ä character to the message by typing 0132 while
holding down the Alt key:
11
Finally, to make sure you’ve actually created the character you want, run the Emulator to
check your message:
12
NOTE:
You can not use characters created by holding down the Ctrl key and typing the
combination as shown in Step 10. For example, you will not be able to use the
Ç character because it is created by using Ctrl and 2.
Also, you can only use Alt with numbers less than 0169 to create characters.
For example, you can use Alt and 0168 to create the letter ¿, but Alt and 0169,
Alt and 0170, etc. will not create the correct characters and should, therefore,
not be used.
60
3
Creating and sending messages
How to send a message to a sign
How to send a message to a sign
What happens when messages are sent to a sign?
Messages are sent to signs using either the Message Editor or
the Site Manager program. When messages are sent from the Site
Manager, they erase any other messages in the sign’s memory.
These new messages are then displayed one after the other.
When a message is sent from the Message Editor, it erases all
the other messages in the sign’s memory. This one message then
plays over and over.
When a message is sent with the Message Editor:
When messages are sent with the Site Manager:
After creating a message in the Message Editor,
After creating messages in the Message Editor and then saving
select
them, open the Site Manager. Select
to send the message to one or more sites.
to add the messages
you created to one or more sites.
Then select
1 message repeated
to send the messages.
3 messages repeated
ANNIV1.MSW
ANNIV1.MSW
BIRTH1.MSW
CUSTOM.MSW
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Creating and sending messages
61
How to send a message to a sign
Sending messages from the Message Editor
1. Before sending a message, you must create at least one site
HINT
Generally, only send
messages from the
Message Editor...
• when you’re
testing to see how
a message looks,
or
• when you only
have one sign.
using the Site Manager program. (See Step-by-step tutorial in
setting up devices, sites, and groups in Chapter 2.)
2. Next, create your message in the Message Editor program.
When you’re done, send it to one or more sites:
Click here
to transmit the message to either
All Sites (every site you’ve created in the Site
Manager) or Selected Sites (only those Site Manager
sites that have been specially selected by choosing
Use as an Editor transmit site on the Site Info tab for
that site.) See “R & D setup (1 of 4): Site Editor (Site
Info) window” on page 26 in Chapter 2.
NOTE
If a device or site does
not actually exist, as
may be the case when
following this tutorial,
especially if error
checking is turned on,
you may receive errors
when transmitting from
the Message Editor.
62
3
Creating and sending messages
How to send a message to a sign
Sending messages from the Site Manager
1. Before sending a message, you must create at least one site
using the Site Manager program. (See Step-by-step tutorial in
setting up devices, sites, and groups in Chapter 2.)
2. If you haven’t already done so, “attach” your message to the
site (or sites) you want the message sent to:
HINT
To select more than one site, first hold
down the Control key on your keyboard,
then select the sites.
Select
to attach a
message to the Sales site.
3. Next, select the message. The message can be edited,
scheduled by day/date and time, or transmitted immediately:
Select
to edit the message in the Message
Editor before sending it, or
select
to set the day/date and time when the
message will start and stop on the Sales signs, or
select
to transmit the message immediately
to all the signs in the Sales site.
3
Creating and sending messages
63
How to send a message to a sign
The difference between ALL MESSAGES and COMMON MESSAGES
When you select a single site, all the messages attached to the
site will appear on the Site Manager screen. However, when you
select more than a single site, only the messages that are common to
the selected sites will appear.
When the Engineering site is selected, all the
messages attached to the site appear.
Also, when the Manufacturing site is selected, all
the messages attached to the site appear.
However, when both sites are selected, then only the
messages that are common to both sites will appear.
64
3
Creating and sending messages
How to use graphics in messages
How to use graphics in messages
The Graphic, Flick, and Animation options allow you to
include small bitmapped graphics in messages. Use the Graphic
option to display single bitmapped images and Flick to display
multiple images—like a movie.
To use both the Graphic and Flick options, you need to use
bitmapped images. There are many graphics included in the
“Samples” folder of AlphaNET plus for Windows. You can also
create the bitmapped images yourself. However, the Animation
option is a series of motion images or “flicks” that have already
been created for you. For example, the Running Animal animation
shows a horse going across a sign.
Graphic, Flick, and Animation are in the Options menu:
Creating a graphic
Before you actually start drawing, make sure you understand
how a bitmapped image is displayed on a sign. See “Graphics must
be “bitmapped” to a sign’s columns and rows” on page 152.
Next, because image editing software is not included with
AlphaNET plus for Windows, you’ll need a program to create and
edit bitmapped graphics. The image editing program used in the
following example is Paint Shop Pro. This manual uses version 3 of
Paint Shop Pro. You may have a more recent version. (See “Paint
Shop Pro — a bitmapped image editor” on page 153.)
Example 3: How to use a graphic in a message
(Follow the steps below.)
In this example, left and right arrow graphics are created to demonstrate the Graphic option.
The two arrow graphics we’ll
make are 7 rows (or pixels)
high. This means the arrows can
be used on one-line as well as
two-line signs.
3
Creating and sending messages
65
How to use graphics in messages
HINT
If you’re not using Paint Shop
Pro, don’t worry.
Most graphic editing programs
create images in a manner
similar to Paint Shop Pro.
1. To make the two graphic arrows, the program Paint Shop Pro
will be used. However, any bitmapped graphics editor
program can be used as long as the images can be saved in the
BMP file format.
Open Paint Shop Pro:
However, if you’re not using
Paint Shop Pro, consider using
software that has a “zoom”
feature so you can increase the
size of the graphic for ease of
editing.
2. Next, select File and then New. When the New Image
window appears, make the width and height of the new
graphic 16 x 7:
NOTE: Width and Height define the size of the graphic in
pixels—16 pixels wide x 7 pixels tall. These numbers
also correspond to a sign’s columns and rows—16
columns wide x 7 rows tall.
HINT
Because a maximum of 8 colors
can be used on signs, if possible,
you should select 16 colors
instead of 256.
66
We’re using 7, because this is
the height of a single line of
normal text on a sign
3
Creating and sending messages
How to use graphics in messages
3. A very small window will appear. Increase the size of this
window by using the editing software’s zoom feature:
Use the zoom feature to increase the
size of the small window until the
window says 16:1.
At 16:1, each pixel is represented by a
square which makes editing the
graphic easier.
HINT
4. Select a color for your graphic.
Be careful what color you use.
The color red will work on all
signs. Black is understood as
“turn off LEDs.”
For more information see “A
graphic may be the wrong color
for some signs” on page 152.
3
Creating and sending messages
67
How to use graphics in messages
5. Then draw the right arrow and save it as a BMP graphic
named rarrow.bmp:
Name the graphic rarrow.bmp and
save as a BMP file.
6. Create the other arrow (shown below), name it larrow.bmp and
save it:
68
3
Creating and sending messages
How to use graphics in messages
7. Next, open the Message Editor. Then select File and New:
8. Select Mode and Hold, using the middle Line Position. Then
select Options and Graphic. When the Select Graphic
window appears, select the rarrow.bmp (right arrow) file you
just created:
NOTE
For graphics, any mode can be
used, but for flicks, the
Hold Mode must be used.
For either graphics or flicks,
the mode selected must use
the middle Line Position.
9. An icon which represents the graphic will appear. Type the
word News after it. Put a space before and after News. Finally,
put the left arrow graphic (larrow.bmp) after the word News.
This is what you should now see:
Hold Mode (middle)
Right arrow graphic icon
Left arrow graphic icon
10. Now run the Emulator to see what the message looks like:
This is how the message
looks on a the two-line
4120C.
This is how the message
looks on the one-line
215C.
3
Creating and sending messages
69
How to use graphics in messages
NOTE: Graphics that are 24 rows high should be displayed
and emulated on Series 7000 or Alphavision signs and
not on one- or two-line signs (like the Series 4000 or
BETA-BRITE signs). Otherwise, the graphics will
appear garbled on the one- or two-line sign.
Creating a flick or animation
NOTE: The Flick option will only work with Alphavision and
Series 7000 signs. However, see “Another way to
create a flick” on page 75 if you want to create an
animation on another type of sign.
A flick is a series of bitmapped graphics that are shown one
after the other which gives the illusion of movement—or a movie—
on a sign. The Flick option is used to put a movie in a message. A
flick is made up of individual bitmapped graphics that you must
create.
Before you create a flick, you must first understand how a
bitmapped image is displayed on a sign. (See “Graphics must be
“bitmapped” to a sign’s columns and rows” on page 152.)
Next, because image editing software is not included with
AlphaNET plus for Windows, you’ll need a program to create and
edit bitmapped graphics. The image editing program used in the
following example is Paint Shop Pro (see “Paint Shop Pro — a
bitmapped image editor” on page 153).
Example 4: How to use a flick in a message
(Follow the steps below.)
In this example, we’ll create a ship that sails across a 7120C sign.
A flick is made up of many graphic files that are played one after the other.
Each graphic in a flick must fill the total display area of the sign it is displayed on. This
means that a flick is usually designed for one sign.
In this example, each graphic is 120 x 24 pixels because we’re playing the flick on a
7120C sign whose total display area is 120 columns x 24 rows.
70
3
Creating and sending messages
How to use graphics in messages
HINT
1. To create each graphic in the flick, the program Paint Shop Pro
will be used. However, any bitmapped graphics editor
program can be used as long as the images can be saved in the
BMP file format.
If you’re not using Paint Shop
Pro, don’t worry.
Most graphic editing programs
create images in a manner
similar to Paint Shop Pro.
Open Paint Shop Pro:
However, if you’re not using
Paint Shop Pro, make sure that
your software has a “zoom”
feature to increase the size of the
graphic being edited.
2. Next, select File and then New. When the New Image
window appears, make the width and height of the graphic
120 x24 pixels. Each graphic in the flick for the 7120C must be
this size.
NOTE: Width and Height define the size of the graphic in
pixels—120 pixels wide x 24 pixels high. These
numbers correspond to the 7120C’s columns and
rows—120 columns wide x 24 rows tall.
HINT
Because a maximum of 8 colors
can be used on signs, if possible,
you should select 16 colors
instead of 256.
3
Creating and sending messages
We’re using 120 x 24, because
this is the total display area of a
7120C sign.
71
How to use graphics in messages
3. A window will appear. Depending on the settings for your
monitor, it might be quite small. You can increase the size of
this window by using the editing software’s zoom feature:
Use the zoom feature to increase the
size of the small window until the
window says 16:1.
At 16:1, each pixel is represented by a
square which makes editing the
graphic easier.
(In some editors, you may need to turn
on the “show grid” feature.)
HINT
4. Select a color for your flick graphic:
Be careful what color you use.
The color red will work on all
signs.
For more information see “A
graphic may be the wrong color
for some signs” on page 152.
72
3
Creating and sending messages
How to use graphics in messages
5. Then draw the first graphic:
The first graphic in this flick will
show a ship entering from the left
side of the sign.
6. After you’re finished drawing the first graphic, save it—and
all the other flick graphics—in a folder named ship. (For
Windows 3.1, use the File Manager to create this folder) Name
this first graphic ship00.bmp and save it as a BMP file:
HINT
Even though up to 100 graphics
can be in a flick, keep in mind
that a sign’s memory capacity is
limited.
So first experiment with small
flicks on a sign.
NOTE: The name of each graphic in a flick is important. The
first graphic’s name must end with 00, like ship00.bmp.
The second graphics’s name must end with 01, like
ship01.bmp. The third graphic’s name must end with
02, like ship02.bmp, and so on. Up to 100 graphics can
be in a flick—numbered 00 to 99, like ship00.bmp
through ship99.bmp.
Save all the flick graphics in a
special folder you create
3
Creating and sending messages
73
How to use graphics in messages
7. The other graphics in the flick are created. Each graphic file
ends with a consecutive number—00, 01, 02, etc.—and each
graphic is saved as a BMP file in a special folder for the flick—
ship, in this case.
The completed flick of 11 graphics shows a ship crossing the
screen. When the ship is about mid-screen, a submarine
periscope appears in front of the ship. The periscope
disappears as the ship passes above it but pops up again
behind the ship, looks around, then goes under water.
ship00.bmp
.
.
.
ship01.bmp
.
.
.
ship02.bmp
.
.
.
ship03.bmp
.
.
.
ship04.bmp
.
.
.
ship05.bmp
.
.
.
ship06.bmp
.
.
.
ship07.bmp
.
.
.
ship08.bmp
.
.
.
ship09.bmp
.
.
.
ship10.bmp
74
3
Creating and sending messages
How to use graphics in messages
Another way to create a flick
Though the Flick option will only work with Alphavision and
Series 7000 signs, there is another way to create the illusion of
motion on a sign.
The Graphic option can be used to place one graphic after
another in a message:
ship00.bmp through ship05.bmp
Use the Hold mode (with the
middle Line Position) and
Speed (No Hold) option in
front of the graphics.
This is necessary in order to
turn off the Automode
feature so that the graphics
will be displayed correctly.
3
Creating and sending messages
75
How to edit a Counter file
How to edit a Counter file
What is a Counter file?
A Counter file sets up from 1 to 5 numerical counters (called
“Counter 1” through “Counter 5”) which can be used for either or
both of the following:
Used to display information in minutes, hours, or days on a sign. A counter icon can be
included in a message to a sign:
A counter can be placed inside a message.
(This one is counting down from 60 minutes.)
Used to display special messages (“target files”) on a sign after a set amount of time
has passed.
After 50 days, the counter included in the top message (which counts up from 0
to 50) is set up to display the “target” message below:
SOUND
ON - OFF
PROGRAM
RUN
APPEND CURSOR SPECIAL FONT
ROLL
WIPE
1
2
3
4
AUTO
SPEED
TIME
DOT
7
8
9
0
A
B
C
D
¢
#
<
I
N
:
T
S
+
L
-
R
Q
.
,
V
6
F
*
K
P
’
U
COLOR
ROTATE
SELECT
E
&
/
O
”
WIDTH
HOLD
5
J
=
>
M
;
?
%
$
H
G
W
X
!
Y
Z
SHIFT
INSERT
76
SCROLL FLASH
SPACE
RETURN
CAPS
SHIFT
BACK
ADV
NOTE: The software necessary to use a Counter file is
included in the standard Alpha firmware for signs and
allows you to program a Counter file from your
computer. However, the standard Alpha firmware does
not allow you to program a Counter file using an
infrared Remote Control (left).
DELETE
3
Creating and sending messages
How to edit a Counter file
Three examples of how to use Counter files
In these examples, we’ll show the three basic ways of using
counters on signs:
Manufacturing
Manufacturing
Manufacturing
Shipping
Engineering
06
07
Shipping
00
Engineering
03
Engineering
04
Engineering
05
Addresses of signs
Example 1 — on the Shipping sign, Counter 1 will
be used to just show a message that counts down
hours.
Example 2 — on the Manufacturing signs, Counter
2 will be used to show a message that counts up
days. Also, Counter 2 will be set up to display a
“target” message when it counts to 50.
Example 3 — on the Engineering signs, we’ll use
Counter 2 from Example 2 again. However, this
time only the “target” message will appear on the
Engineering signs.
Example 1 — Using a counter in a message
In this example, we’ll end up with a message on the Shipping
sign that counts down from 60 minutes over and over again:
NOTE: The Shipping sign would still be able to display other
messages.
3
Creating and sending messages
77
How to edit a Counter file
1. First, open the Message Editor program and create a new
message:
2. Next, select Edit and then Sign Select. When the following
window appears, make sure that Use Counters is checked.
Then select OK:
Check this box.
78
3
Creating and sending messages
How to edit a Counter file
3. Add a counter to the message by selecting Options, Counter,
and Counter 1. Then after the counter icon type a space and
the words minutes before next shipment:
4. Save this counter message as countshp.msw:
5. After saving the message, close the Message Editor. Open the
Site Manager program and select Edit and then Counter File:
3
Creating and sending messages
79
How to edit a Counter file
6. Next, either open an existing Counter file (like the default file
shown below) or type a new file name (like shipping.ctw):
7. When the Counter Setup window appears, select Counter 1
and enter the values as shown below:
Table 23: Counter Example 1 — Counter 1 setup
A
B
C
D
Item
A
B
80
Name
Directions
Counter 1 - 5
Select Counter 1.
Target Files
This is where a message is assigned to a Target File.
One to five messages that could be displayed on a
sign when Counter 1 reaches its Target value. (No
Target Files are used in this example.)
Counter On
Make sure this box is checked for this example.
Increment
Decrement
In this example select Decrement because we want
Counter 1 to count down, not up.
Minutes
Hours
Days
Select Minutes because we want Counter 1 to count
in units of minutes.
3
Creating and sending messages
How to edit a Counter file
Table 23: Counter Example 1 — Counter 1 setup
Start
Enter 60 because we want Counter 1 to start at 60
minutes and then count down to 0.
Target
Enter 0.
Dec
Enter 1 because we want Counter 1 to count down 1
minute at a time—60, 59, 58, etc.
Target Files
One - Five
This is where you would select which Target File
messages to display when Counter 1 reaches its
Target value. (No Target Files are used in this
example so none are checked)
Counter
Run Time
Start TIme
Stop Time
The times when you want the counter to run. In this
example, Always is selected because we want
Counter 1 running continuously. Since Always is
selected, Stop Time is not available.
Counter
Values
C
On Weekends
Since we don’t need our counter running on
weekends, leave this unchecked.
Auto Reload
This box is checked because we want our counter to
count down continuously. If this box was not
checked, Counter 1 would count down from 60 to 0
just once.
D
8. Select OK after entering the information in Counter Setup.
When this window appears, double click on the Shipping site,
and the Site Editor window will appear:
Double click
3
Creating and sending messages
81
How to edit a Counter file
9. Next, select Sign Info and attach the Counter file you just
created to the Shipping site:
After clicking on Counter File, select the
counter file you just edited. (In this case,
shipping.ctw.) Then select OK.
D e l e t i n g a C o u n t e r fi l e
If you want to delete a Counter
file from a sign, after clicking on
Counter File, click on None and
then OK.
Select OK.
82
3
Creating and sending messages
How to edit a Counter file
10. Add the message that contains Counter 1 to the Shipping site:
Select Shipping. Then select
:
Select the message
that contains
Counter 1,
countshp.msw.
Click on OK.
The message you added appears at the end
of the list.
The order in which the messages appear is
the order the messages are sent to a sign.
If you wanted the message at the start of the
list, you should have selected the top
message (anniv1.msw) and then clicked
on
3
Creating and sending messages
instead of
.
83
How to edit a Counter file
11. Finally, in order to display the message you just added to the
Shipping sign, the message must be transmitted. To do this,
select the Shipping site and then select the transmit icon:
Select Shipping because this is the only site
we want messages sent to.
Click on the transmit icon.
Resetting a Counter
If you’re prompted to reset a
sign counter, select Yes to reset
the counter to its Start value (see
“Counter Example 2 — Target
File setup” on page 89).
Otherwise, select No to leave the
sign’s current value intact.
Click on Selected
Sites and then OK.
All the messages
will be sent to the
Shipping site sign.
84
3
Creating and sending messages
How to edit a Counter file
Example 2 — Using a counter in a message and displaying a target file message
In this example, we’ll end up with a message on the
Manufacturing signs that keeps track of the number of days without
an accident.
Also, when 50 days is reached, a message appears on the
Manufacturing signs that says Another 50 days without an accident!
(This is called a “target” message.)
NOTE: The Manufacturing signs would still be able to display
other messages.
After 50 days, the counter included in the top message (which counts up from
0 to 50) is set up to display the “target” message below:
1. First, open the Message Editor program and create a new
message:
3
Creating and sending messages
85
How to edit a Counter file
2. Next, select Edit and then Sign Select. When the following
window appears, make sure that Use Counters is checked.
Then select OK:
Check this box
3. In the message window, type the words Days without an
accident: and a space. Then add a counter to the message by
selecting Options, Counter, and Counter 2:
86
3
Creating and sending messages
How to edit a Counter file
4. Save this counter message as countman.msw:
5. Next, create the “target” message — the message that will
appear when Counter 2 reaches 50 days. Then save this
message as target1.msw:
Save the target message as target1.msw.
6. After saving the target message, close the Message Editor.
Open the Site Manager and select Edit and then Counter File:
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Creating and sending messages
87
How to edit a Counter file
7. Next, either open an existing Counter file (like the default file
shown below) or type a new file name (such as target.ctw):
8. When the Counter Setup window appears, select Counter 2
and enter the values shown below:
Table 24: Counter Example 2 — Counter 2 setup
A
B
C
D
Item
A
B
88
Name
Directions
Counter 1 - 5
Select Counter 2.
Target Files
This is where a message is assigned to a Target File.
One to five messages that could be displayed on a
sign when Counter 2 reaches its Target value.
Counter On
Make sure this box is checked for this example.
Increment
Decrement
In this example select Increment because we want
Counter 2 to count up, not down.
Minutes
Hours
Days
Select Days because we want Counter 2 to count in
units of days.
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Creating and sending messages
How to edit a Counter file
Table 24: Counter Example 2 — Counter 2 setup
Start
Enter 0 because we want Counter 2 to start at 0 days
and then count up to 50.
Target
Enter 50.
Inc
Enter 1 because we want Counter 2 to count up 1 day
at a time — 1, 2, 3, etc.
Target Files
One - Five
Check One. This means that one message will appear
on the sign after Counter 2 has reached its target
value.
Counter
Run Time
Start TIme
Stop Time
The times when you want the counter to run. In this
example, Always is selected because we want
Counter 2 running continuously.
Counter
Values
C
On Weekends
Since we don’t need our counter running on
weekends, leave this unchecked.
Auto Reload
This box is checked because we want our counter to
count continuously. If this box was not checked,
Counter 2 would count up to 50 just once.
D
9. Next, select Target Files and for Target File 1, select Browse
and then select the file you created called target1.msw:
Table 25: Counter Example 2 — Target File setup
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Creating and sending messages
89
How to edit a Counter file
10. After selecting the target file, click on OK. Then double-click
on the Manufacturing site, and the Site Editor window will
appear:
Double-click on Manufacturing.
90
3
Creating and sending messages
How to edit a Counter file
11. Next, select Sign Info and attach the Counter file you just
created to the Manufacturing site:
After clicking on Counter File, select the counter file you just
edited. (In this case, target.ctw.) Then select OK.
D e l e t i n g a C o u n t e r fi l e
If you want to delete a Counter
file from a sign, after clicking on
Counter File, click on None and
then OK.
Select OK.
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Creating and sending messages
91
How to edit a Counter file
12. Add the message that contains Counter 2 to the
Manufacturing site:
Select Manufacturing. Then select
:
Select the message
that contains Counter
2, countman.msw.
Click on OK.
The message you added appears at the end
of the list.
The order in which the messages appear is
the order the messages are sent to a sign.
If you wanted the message at the start of the
list, you should have selected the top
message (anniv1.msw) and then clicked
on
92
instead of
3
.
Creating and sending messages
How to edit a Counter file
13. Finally, in order to display the message you just added, it must
be transmitted to the Manufacturing signs. To do this, select
the Manufacturing site and then the transmit icon:
Select Manufacturing because this is the only
site we want messages sent to.
Click on the transmit icon.
Resetting a Counter
If you’re prompted to reset a
sign counter, select Yes to reset
the counter to its Start value (see
“Counter Example 2 — Target
File setup” on page 89).
Otherwise, select No to leave the
sign’s current value intact.
Click on Selected
Sites and then OK.
All the messages
will be sent to the
Manufacturing site
signs.
After 50 days, the counter included in the top message (which counts up from
0 to 50) is set up to display the “target” message below:
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Creating and sending messages
93
How to edit a Counter file
Example 3 — Using a counter to display just a target message
HINT
This example is nearly identical
to Example 2.
In Example 2, the counter was
displayed in a message and a
target message was also
displayed.
In this example, we’ll use one of the five counters (in this case,
Counter 3) to display the message Another 100 hours of safe operation!
When Counter 3 reaches 100 hours, the message will appear on all
the signs in the Engineering site. (This site was created in the
previous section “What’s new in version 1.3?” on page 9.)
NOTE: The Engineering signs would still be able to display
other messages.
In Example 3, only the target
message will be shown. The
counter will just be used to
count. It will not be displayed.
1. Open the Message Editor program and create a new message:
94
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Creating and sending messages
How to edit a Counter file
2. Next, create the “target” message — the message that will
appear when Counter 3 reaches 100 hours. Then save this
message as target2.msw:
Save the target message as target2.msw.
3. After saving the target message, close the Message Editor.
Open the Site Manager and select Edit and then Counter File:
4. Next, either open an existing Counter file (like the default file
shown below) or type a new file name (like engineer.ctw):
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Creating and sending messages
95
How to edit a Counter file
5. When the Counter Setup window appears, select Counter 3
and enter the values shown below:
Table 26: Counter Example 3 — Counter 3 setup
A
B
C
D
Item
A
B
Name
Counter 1 - 5
Select Counter 3.
Target Files
This is where a message is assigned to a Target File.
One to five messages that could be displayed on a
sign when Counter 3 reaches its Target value.
Counter On
Make sure this box is checked for this example.
Increment
Decrement
In this example select Increment because we want
Counter 3 to count up, not down.
Minutes
Hours
Days
Select Hours because we want Counter 3 to count in
units of hours.
Start
Enter 0 because we want Counter 3 to start at 0
hours and then count up to 100.
Target
Enter 100.
Inc
Enter 1 because we want Counter 3 to count up 1
hour at a time—1, 2, 3, etc.
Target Files
One - Five
Check Two. This means that one message will appear
on the sign after Counter 3 has reached its target
value.
Counter
Run Time
Start TIme
Stop Time
The times when you want the counter to run. In this
example, Always is selected because we want
Counter 3 running continuously.
Counter
Values
C
On Weekends
Since we don’t need our counter running on
weekends, leave this unchecked.
Auto Reload
This box is checked because we want our counter to
count down continuously. If this box was not
checked, Counter 3 would count up to 100 just once.
D
96
Directions
3
Creating and sending messages
How to edit a Counter file
6.
Next, select Target Files. For Target File 1, select Browse and
then select the file you created called target2.msw:
7. After selecting the target file, click on OK. Then double-click
on the Engineering site, and the Site Editor window will
appear:
Double-click on Engineering.
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Creating and sending messages
97
How to edit a Counter file
8. Next, select Sign Info and attach the Counter file you just
created to the Engineering site, and you’re done:
After clicking on Counter File, select the counter file you just edited.
(In this case, engineer.ctw.) Then select OK.
D e l e t i n g a C o u n t e r fi l e
If you want to delete a Counter
file from a sign, after clicking on
Counter File, click on None and
then OK.
Select OK.
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3
Creating and sending messages
How to use string variables in a message
How to use string variables in a message
What are string variables?
A variable represents real-time data that can change (e.g.,
temperature or production rates, date, or time.) Since its value can
change or vary, it’s called a “variable”. Variables can be embedded
in messages. The value of the variable gets filled in wherever the
variable is used in an active message, and it is refreshed whenever
the value changes.
Variables can be in numeric format. They can also be in text
format, even if the value is numeric. This text format is called
“string” format, and variables in AlphaNET plus for Windows are
considered to be in string format.
Basic steps for setting up string variables in a message
These basic steps are detailed in the next section.
3
1.
Assign fixed memory partitions to the memory in a sign for a
site, also assigning labels to those memory partitions.
2.
Select to use strings for the selected sign the Message Editor is
using.
3.
4.
Insert markers for the string variables into the message.
5.
The message merges the variable data in the sign’s memory
with the text.
Creating and sending messages
Use an application to send the variable data to memory in the
sign. Valid applications include Microsoft Excel and Visual
Basic, and other ActiveX-compatible applications (ActiveX
“containers”.) You can also write your own application to send
variable data to the sign’s memory, per the ALPHA Sign
Communications Protocol manual (p.n. 9708-8061.)
99
How to use string variables in a message
Detailed steps for setting up string variables in a message
These are the detailed steps to use variables in a message.
1. Assign fixed memory partitions in the sign and labels for those partitions.
1. In the Site Manager, double-click on the site for the sign which
is to use string variables and then click on the Advanced tab.
2. Check “Assign Fixed Memory Partitions” and also check one
or more of the sets of memory strings in the sign to use. The
box for Configuration will be filled in for you using default
values. These default values assume 32-bit memory in the sign.
You can change this if you wish. Refer to the ALPHA Sign
Communications Protocol manual (p.n. 9708-8061) for
detailed information.
100
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Creating and sending messages
How to use string variables in a message
2. Select to use strings.
3. In the Message Editor, select Edit and then Sign Select:
4. Check Use strings and then click OK:
Check
this.
3. Insert message markers.
5. Create a message with text as needed. In this example, the text
is Today’s sales total:
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Creating and sending messages
101
How to use string variables in a message
6. Insert a marker for the variable into the message:
The label identifying the
string must be consistent
with the set(s) of strings
selected in Step 2 above.
4. Send variable data from another application.
Use an application to send the values for the string data to
memory in the sign.
Valid applications include Microsoft Excel and Visual Basic,
and other ActiveX-compatible applications (ActiveX “containers”.)
An ActiveX control, installed with AlphaNET plus version 1.3, is
available to be called by any ActiveX container.
You can also write your own application to send variable data
to the sign’s memory, per the ALPHA Sign Communications
Protocol manual (p.n. 9708-8061.) In this case, you must write the
functions to open a COM or TCP/IP port, write the string data to it,
and close it.
5. The message displays the variable data.
The message is displayed on the sign with the values for the
variables inserted from the sign’s memory.
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3
Creating and sending messages
How to create and use a custom automode sequence
How to create and use a custom automode sequence
NOTE
Custom Automode is valid only for
specific signs available first quarter
of 2001.
The message mode called Automode is the default mode used
if no other mode is selected in a message. It displays the message
with all the other modes provided with AlphaNET plus for
Windows. (For descriptions of the modes, see “Appendix B —
Which Modes are available on signs” on page 140.) You can create a
customized set of modes to be used as the Automode, as follows.
Creating or editing an automode sequence
1. In the Site Manager, choose Edit and then Automode File.
2. Accept the name of default.aut for the file, choose an existing
file if there is one, or type in a different name for a new file to
use. Then click OK.
3. Click Add.
4. Click on the down arrow and, from the list, click on the first
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Creating and sending messages
103
How to create and use a custom automode sequence
mode to be used in the sequence. Click OK to accept this
added mode in the sequence. The sequence of modes is shown.
At this point, there is only one mode, of course.
5. To add another mode to the sequence, click Add again, choose
the mode to add, and click OK.
HINT
If you want to add the new mode
before another mode in the
sequence instead of the end of
the list, click on the mode you
want to add it before and then
click OK.
6. Continue through Steps 3 and 4 until you have the list
complete as desired. When you’re done, click OK.
HINT
To delete a mode from the
sequence, click on that mode
once and then click Delete. It will
be immediately deleted.
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Creating and sending messages
How to create and use a custom automode sequence
Using the automode sequence
Each site can use a custom automode sequence, if desired, and
different sites can use different custom automode files.
1. Open the site to use the custom automode. On the Site Info
tab, choose Alpha 2.0 for Compatibility.
NOTE
Alpha 2.0 compatibility is valid only
for specific signs available first
quarter of 2001.
2. On the Sign Info tab, click on Automode File…
3. Choose the file to use and click OK.
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Creating and sending messages
105
How to create and use a custom automode sequence
4. This is the file that will be used for any messages sent to this
site using Automode.
5. To revert back to the installed Automode which uses all other
modes, click on Automode File… and then on None.
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3
Creating and sending messages
Chapter 4 map
Reference
Chapter 4 map
Reference
Message Editor
menu
4
Reference
Emulator
menu
Site Manager
menu
Comm Manager
menu
Message Translator
menu
Diagnostics
program
107
Message Editor menu
Message Editor menu
The Message Editor is used to create messages for signs. Text,
graphics, and animations (or “flicks”) can be used in messages. See
Chapter 3 for detailed instructions on using the Message Editor.
File
Edit
Modes
Toolbar
Status Bar
Characters
108
Options
Snippet
View
Window
4
Reference
Message Editor menu
Table 27: Message Editor menu
Menu item
Description
New
Opens a new message window.
Open...
Opens an existing message file.
Close
Closes the message window.
Save
Saves a message.
Save As...
Saves the current message under a different name.
Print...
Prints a message.
Print Setup...
Used to change printers, page size, etc.
Emulate All
Displays an entire message in the Emulator program.
Emulate Screen
Displays a message from the current cursor position in the Emulator
program.
Sends a message to either every site or some sites:
This sends a message to every site.
File
Transmit...
This sends a message to only those sites that
have been selected in the Message Editor. See
“R & D setup (1 of 4): Site Editor (Site Info)
window” on page 26.
4
Reference
1 File name 1
2 File name 2
3 File name 3
.
.
.
A list of recent message file names which can be selected and opened.
Exit
Quits the Message Editor.
109
Message Editor menu
Table 27: Message Editor menu
Menu item
Description
Undo
If highlighted, “undoes” the last operation.
Cut
Deletes selected text or graphics from a message and places it into the
Clipboard.
Copy
Copies selected text or graphics from a message and places it into the
Clipboard.
Paste
Places text or graphics in the Clipboard at the current cursor position
in a message.
Find...
Find Again Down...
Locates a word or phrase in a message.
Find Again Up...
Replace...
Replaces text in a message with text of your choice.
Spell Check
Use to see if the text in a message is spelled correctly.
Sets whether text or pictures will be displayed in a message for
Modes, Characters, and Options.
Icon type...
Picture
Text
Define Tab Key
Middle Roll In
15/16 Row
Sets the number of spaces that are advanced when the Tab key is
pressed.
Displays the Modes, Characters, and Options available for the Sign
type and Sign style selected below:
Edit
Sign Select...
Checking this displays all the
Modes, Characters, and
Options regardless of
whether they’re available on
a sign or not. For example, if
you did not check this box for
the Two-Line Tri-color sign
above, several Characters
would not be available
(dimmed) in messages:
Check these to use the
String and Counters
options in messages.
Check this to use options in
the Message Editor such as
condensed characters, or
custom automode files,
characters and speeds.
These options are available
for new ALPHA 4000, 7000,
and outdoor signs available
in the first quarter of 2001.
110
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Reference
Message Editor menu
Table 27: Message Editor menu
Menu item
Modes
(For more
information, see
“Using Modes to
change the look of
a message” on
page 47.)
NOTE: Some
Modes may not be
available on a sign.
See “Appendix B —
Which Modes are
available on signs”
on page 140.
4
Reference
Description
Automode
The default mode. If no other mode is selected, a message will appear
in Automode. Automode cycles through a list of all other modes. The
list of modes and their sequence in the Automode cycle can be
customized as needed.
Flash
Flashes message.
Hold
Holds message for several seconds.
Interlock
Alternating rows of dots enter from each end of a sign and interlock a
message into the center of the sign.
Roll
Rolls the previous message off the sign while rolling the new message
on.
Rotate
Rotates a message from the right to the left horizontally across a sign.
Scroll
Moves a message up one line at a time. The previous message is
pushed up.
Slide
A message moves onto the sign from right to left, one character at a
time.
Snow
The new message “snows” over and erases the current message.
Sparkle
The new message sparkles onto the sign over the current message.
Spray
A message sprays onto and across the sign from right to left, one
character at a time.
Starburst
Random starbursts explode a message onto a sign.
Switch
Alternating characters of a message slide off a sign in different
directions (first character slides up, the next down, etc.) New
characters appear in the same manner.
Twinkle
A message appears with a twinkling effect.
Wipe
The new message is wiped over the current message.
111
Message Editor menu
Table 27: Message Editor menu
Menu item
Description
15/16 Row Normal
15/16 Row Fancy
Ten Row
This is the height of text in rows. For example, Seven Row Normal (or
Fancy) text is 7 rows tall on a sign.
Seven Row Normal
Characters
(For more
information, see
“Using Characters
to change the look
of a message” on
page 51.)
NOTE: Some
Characters may not
be available on a
sign. See
“Appendix C —
Which Characters
and Colors are
available on signs”
on page 142.
112
Seven Row Fancy
See “Text comes in four basic sizes” on page 151.
Five Row
Condensed
Allows selection of 15/16 Row, Ten Row, Seven Row, or Five Row, in
condensed format.
Custom
Allows selection of 15/16 Row, Ten Row, Seven Row, or Five Row, in
customized format. Custom fonts must be installed in the sign’s
memory outside of AlphaNET plus.
Color
Allows selection of multiple colors if you have a multicolor sign. If no
color is selected, then Autocolor is set. In this case, the available
colors are randomly displayed.
Normal
The default setting for characters.
Wide
Text is displayed in bold characters.
Double Wide
Text is displayed in very bold characters.
Flashing
Allows individual or many characters to flash on and off.
Double High
Doubles the selected character height
True Descenders
When checked, the lower (or descender) part of letters such as j, g,
and q are displayed on a sign.
Fixed Width
When checked, each character takes up a fixed width like typewriter
text. Otherwise text is displayed proportionally with varying widths.
4
Reference
Message Editor menu
Table 27: Message Editor menu
Menu item
Description
Inserts the time into a message.
Time
NOTE:
The time is based on the time stored in your computer. If
your computer’s clock is not correct, then the time
displayed on a sign will also be incorrect.
Inserts the date into a message. A number of formats are available:
Date...
Options
NOTE: Some
Options may not be
available on a sign.
See “Appendix D —
Which display
Options are
available on signs”
on page 143.
Temperature
Inserts the current temperature in either Fahrenheit or Celsius into a
message.
NOTE:
Speed
This option is only available on the 790i sign.
The Speed menu displays 5 speeds and a No Hold option. Each speed
determines how fast messages are displayed and then replaced by the
next message on a sign.
Speed 1 is the slowest and Speed 5 is the fastest speed. Use No Hold
if you want your messages displayed as quickly as possible.
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Reference
New Line
Forces a line break. Use New Line and not a carriage return if you
want text to appear on a new line.
New Page
Acts as a page break. The sign will create a page break immediately
after New Page.
Animation
Preset animations that can be displayed on most signs. For example,
selecting Cherry Bomb displays a firecracker with a burning fuse on a
sign. When the fuse burns down, the bomb explodes.
String...
Inserts a text string in a message. See “How to use string variables in
a message” on page 99.
113
Message Editor menu
Table 27: Message Editor menu
Menu item
Description
A Variable is a marker that doesn’t stand for any thing specific
until you transmit the message.
For example, if you run a food shop which features a daily
special, then a Variable is an easy way to change your special.
First, a Variable called “Today’s special” is placed at the start of
a message:
Next, a second Variable called “Special price” is placed at the
end of the message:
Options
Variable...
The message looks like this:
NOTE: Some
Options may not be
available on a sign.
See “Appendix D —
Which display
Options are
available on signs”
on page 143.
114
Finally, each time the message is transmitted, you will be
prompted to enter text for both variables:
Counter
Inserts a minute, hour, or day counter in a message. For more
information, see “How to edit a Counter file” on page 76.
Graphic...
Inserts bitmapped (BMP format) graphics into a message. For more
information, see “Creating a graphic” on page 65.
Flick...
Displays a number of bitmapped image files on a sign which can give
the illusion of movement. For more information, see “Creating a flick
or animation” on page 70.
Message...
Inserts an entire message into the current message you’re editing.
4
Reference
Message Editor menu
Table 27: Message Editor menu
Menu item
Description
Capture...
Snippet 1
Snippet
Snippet 2
Snippet 3
Snippet 4
After highlighting some text in a message, select Capture to “store”
the text in one of the 5 snippets. This is a handy way to avoid re-typing
commonly-used text. When you need to use that text, simply put the
cursor in the message where you need the text and then click on the
Snippet that holds that text. It will be pasted where you need.
Snippet 5
Checking Toolbar displays these icons
Toolbar
Status Bar
Checking Status Bar displays
informative text on this line.
View
When Codes is checked,
the Modes, Characters,
and Options icons will
appear in a message.
Codes
When Codes is not
checked, only text will
appear in a message.
Here is a reminder for
how to show the codes
again.
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Reference
115
Message Editor menu
Table 27: Message Editor menu
Menu item
Description
Cascade
Tile
These are standard Windows methods of arranging windows and
icons on the screen.
Arrange Icons
Window
116
1 Alpha 1
2 Alpha 2
3 Alpha 3
.
.
.
These are the names of the message windows you have opened.
Select a window to make it the current window.
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Reference
Emulator menu
Emulator menu
The Emulator is used to preview messages that you create.
Note that because the Emulator does not simulate Modes, it should
only be used to see how text appears on lines.
File
Options
View
Toolbar
Status Bar
The current Mode and Speed of the
message being displayed.
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Reference
The current sign being emulated.
(To change, select Options then Sign Model.)
117
Emulator menu
Table 28: Emulator menu
Menu item
File
Description
Open...
Opens an existing message file.
Close
Closes the current message.
Play
Displays the current message.
Step Forward
Displays the next screen of the current message.
Stop
Stops playing the current message.
Step Backward
Displays the previous screen of the current message.
Rewind
Goes to the start of the current message.
1 File name 1
2 File name 2
3 File name 3
.
.
.
A list of recent message file names which can be selected and opened
in the Emulator.
Exit
Quits the Emulator.
Reduces the size of the Emulator window:
Zoom Out
Expands the size of the Emulator window:
Zoom In
Options
NOTE: In order to
select Zoom Out,
Zoom In, or Sign
Model, you must
stop the current
message from
playing in the
Emulator.
Stay On Top
When checked, this makes the Emulator window the frontmost
window on your screen.
Use this to change the sign that is being emulated:
Sign Model
Check to have the Emulator display time
in 24-hour format. (For example, in 24hour format, 3:12 pm = 15:12.)
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Reference
Emulator menu
Table 28: Emulator menu
Menu item
Description
Checking Toolbar displays these icons
Toolbar
View
Status Bar
Checking Status Bar displays
informative text on this line.
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Reference
119
Site Manager menu
Site Manager menu
The Site Manager is used to set up “devices”, “sites”, and
“groups”. Devices are methods of communicating with signs. For
example, a modem is a device because it is one method of sending
messages to signs.
Groups and sites are terms used to describe how messages are
sent to signs. You create groups and sites to make sending messages
to multiple signs flexible and easy.
For more information, see “Step-by-step tutorial in setting up
devices, sites, and groups” on page 12.
File
Edit
Messages
View
Toolbar
Status Bar
120
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Reference
Site Manager menu
Table 29: Site Manager menu
Menu item
Description
Creates a new site using the Site Editor:
• Site Info
• Sign Info
• Group Info
• Advanced
File
New Site
For detailed information on Site Info and Sign Info, see “Step 2:
Creating or changing the sites” on page 25.
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Reference
121
Site Manager menu
Table 29: Site Manager menu
Menu item
Description
Group Info shows you what groups are available and what groups the
current site belongs to.
Use Join Group, Leave Group, and New Group to add the current site to a
group, remove it from a group, or to create a new group.
Advanced has the following options:
File
New Site
(continued)
Time Zone Adjust allows you to
correct for time zone differences. For
example, if you’re sending
messages from the Central Standard
Time zone to a sign located in the
Eastern Time zone (which is 1 hour
ahead), you would enter an Offset of
+01:00.
Delayed Send Options allows you
to delay transmitting messages to
a sign. This is useful if you’re
using a modem to send messages
because you could transmit late
at night to take advantage of
lower phone rates.
Memory Configuration is not covered in this manual.
Contact your ALPHA dealer for details.
122
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Reference
Site Manager menu
Table 29: Site Manager menu
Menu item
Description
Open Site
Opens an existing site.
New Group
Creates a new group. For more information, see “Step 3: Creating or changing
the groups” on page 39.
Open Group
Opens an existing group.
Remove...
Deletes site(s), group(s), or message(s) you have selected.
Allows you to send messages to all or just some sites:
Transmits all
messages to
every site.
File
Transmit...
Transmits all the
messages for the
sites that are
highlighted.
Transmits all the
messages for only the
sites listed here.
Exit
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Reference
Quits the Site Manager.
123
Site Manager menu
Table 29: Site Manager menu
Menu item
Device...
Description
Devices are ways to connect a sign to a PC that is running AlphaNET plus for
Windows software. There are four types of connection devices: direct cable
(or “local”), modem (or “remote”), wireless, and Local Area Network (LAN).
For more information, see “Step 1: Creating or changing the devices” on
page 14.
A Counter file can set up from 1 to 5 numerical counters which can be used in
messages or to trigger the display of other messages.
Counter File...
The counter in this message counts up
to 50 days then restarts from 0.
For more information, see “How to edit a Counter file” on page 76.
One or more files can be established so that a message can cycle through a
customized list of selected modes.
Automode File…
Edit
Select All
If you have a message selected from the message list, then all messages in
the list are selected. The same applies to sites and groups.
Deselect All
The opposite of Select All.
There are three “panes” in the Site Manager window (see below). Selecting
Switch Pane moves from the current pane to another pane.
Message pane
Switch Pane
Site pane
Group pane
Preferences
124
Use this to set the color of site and message names that have and have not
been updated (i.e., sent).
4
Reference
Site Manager menu
Table 29: Site Manager menu
Menu item
Description
Add...
Adds a message to the end of the current message list.
Insert...
Inserts a message above the message that is currently selected.
Replace...
Replaces the currently selected message with another message of your
choice.
Use to set the times when a message appears on a sign. In the example
below, the message will recur every Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday from
8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m.:
Messages
Schedule...
You can choose weekdays, weekends, every day, immediate, specific days or
dates. All of these options allow a start and/or stop day/date/time as
appropriate. You can also choose always, which runs continuously.
Edit
Selecting this opens the selected message in the Message Editor program.
Checking Toolbar displays these icons
Toolbar
View
Status Bar
Checking Status Bar displays
informative text on this line.
4
Reference
125
Comm Manager menu
Comm Manager menu
The Comm Manager keeps track of messages you send to
signs and reports on transmission errors. When a message is
transmitted, it goes through the Comm Manager before going to a
sign.
File
126
4
Reference
Comm Manager menu
Table 30: Comm Manager menu.
Lets you see the status of messages being transmitted to a site:
View
Remove
Removes the selected message(s) from the job list. When this is done, the
removed messages will not be displayed.
View Log
Shows all items sent each day and creates a log file for each day’s items. Allows
you to view what was sent each day.
Shows the message error log (below) which is a list of failed message
transmissions. Use Resubmit to resend a failed transmission, Details to see the
particulars of a particular transmission, and Delete to remove a job.
File
Error Log
Use to enable/disable saving the log file. You can also set how many days of log
files will be saved. This is useful is you have limited disk space. Also, a 24-hour
time format (00:00 to 23:59 instead of using AM or PM) can be set for all signs.
Set Log Options
Exit
4
Reference
When this is checked, all
signs will display the time in
24-hour format (e.g., 13:00
instead of 1:00 PM).
Quits the Comm Manager.
127
Message Translator menu
Message Translator menu
Use the Message Translator to “translate” the messages
created on older DOS AlphaNET software so that the messages can
be used with the newer AlphaNET plus for Windows software.
File
Options
Toolbar
Status Bar
Table 31: Message Translator menu
File
Convert File(s)
Select one or more files to convert.
Convert Dir
Select a directory of files to convert.
Print Log
Prints the message conversion log. The log tells you which if any messages
failed to convert.
Save Log
Saves the message conversion log.
Exit
Quits the Message Translator.
Used to change the following parameters:
Options
128
Settings
4
Reference
Diagnostics program
Diagnostics program
Diagnostics is an application that allows you to test the
functions of a single ALPHA sign or a network of ALPHA signs.
Diagnostics can:
• transmit test messages (or beeps) to one or more ALPHA signs
• receive information (e.g., serial address, firmware version, etc.)
from one or more ALPHA signs.
Tools
View
Edit
Broadcast
Options
Toolbar
File
Status Bar
Table 32: Diagnostics program
The “log” is the text that appears on the screen of the Diagnostics program:
Print Log
File
4
Reference
Text that
appears in
this area can
be printed
(or saved) as
a “log” file.
Save Log
Saves the log text file to disk.
Exit
Quits the Diagnostics program.
This is text created by the
Tools -> Get information
command
129
Diagnostics program
Table 32: Diagnostics program
Allows you to send a message to all the signs networked to your PC:
Send message to all signs
Type a message then click on Send.
Allows you to send a message to specific signs networked to your PC:
Enter the signs to send to, type a message, then click on Send.
Broadcast
Send message to selected
Addresses
A range of sign addresses can be selected. In this case, only signs
with addresses of 02 and 03 have been selected.
130
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Reference
Diagnostics program
Table 32: Diagnostics program
This option sends a continuous series of messages to specific signs networked to
your PC. This is a handy method of checking the serial address of each sign:
Enter the signs to send to, the interval between messages, and the
number of messages (packets) to send. Then click on Send.
Broadcast
Continuous message transmit
See the previous Send message to
selected Addresses.
A record (or “log”) of each
message sent will appear on
the screen.
Stop Transmission
Stops messages from being sent to signs.
Used to identify each sign on a network:
Select this to check all sign
addresses
Otherwise, select the
highest address to check.
Tools
Network query
The model and address of
each sign found on the
network will appear here.
(Use File to save or print this
list or “log”.)
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Reference
131
Diagnostics program
Table 32: Diagnostics program
Used to provide a comprehensive list of parameters from each sign on the network:
Enter the signs to inquire about, select the types of information
you want to receive, then click on Request.
NOTE:
Tools
Get information
Some of the above information is not
available on every sign. A message such
as “Not Supported” will appear if the
information you selected is not available
for a sign.
See the previous
Send message to
selected
Addresses.
Use File to print or save this
sign information.
Firmware
revision, time,
general
information
Standard text
and DOT file
information
Counter
information
Quick Flick
information
Outdoor
temperature
offset
Serial error
status
Information for
the next sign
132
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Reference
Diagnostics program
Table 32: Diagnostics program
Used to make a sign “beep” or to turn on or off a sign’s speaker:
Enter the signs to send a beep command to, and select
the types of command to send, then click on Send.
Beep
NOTE:
To make sure that a sign’s speaker is
on, send the Enable Beeper command
to all sign addresses before sending
beeps.
See the previous
Send message to
selected
Addresses.
Used to restart one or more signs:
Tools
Enter the signs to restart, then click on Send.
Reset Unit
See the previous Send message to selected Addresses.
Used to see if any LEDs or incandescent lights have burned out on a sign:
Enter the signs to test, select a color to test, then click on Send.
Lamp Test
See the previous Send message to selected Addresses.
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Reference
133
Diagnostics program
Table 32: Diagnostics program
Used to set a temperature offset or the dimming level on outdoor signs:
Enter the signs to change, specify either a temperature offset
or dimming times, then click on Send.
Outdoor Units
NOTE:
Temperature Offset corrects a sign’s
temperature reading. For example, if a sign
displays a temperature that is usually 3
degrees warmer than the actual temperature,
set the offset to -3.
See the previous
Send message to
selected
Addresses.
Dim On Time sets when the lights on a sign
will be dimmed. Dim Off Time sets when the
light on a sign will not be dimmed.
Used to change a sign’s serial address:
Tools
NOTE:
Change Address
Signs leave the factory with a
serial address of 00.
Change Address can not be
used to change a sign with
address 00. Instead, a handheld Remote Control must be
used.
Deletes all text and DOTS files and sets the serial addresses to 00 for all the signs
listed in the address list.
Enter the signs for clearing memory, click on
Clear Memory below, then click on Send.
Clear Memory
See the previous Send message to selected Addresses.
134
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Reference
Diagnostics program
Table 32: Diagnostics program
Checking Toolbar
displays these icons.
Toolbar
View
Status Bar
Checking Status
Bar displays
informative text on
this line.
Allows you to select and edit a Counter file:
Edit
Counter File
After selecting a
Counter file, the
parameters for the
five individual
counters can be
changed.
For more
information, see
“How to edit a
Counter file” on
page 76.
4
Reference
135
Diagnostics program
Table 32: Diagnostics program
Used to set COM port, modem, and pager settings. (See “Step 1: Creating or
changing the devices” on page 14 for more information.)
Options
Settings
This command allows you to program a
Hayes-compatible, high-speed modem (>
9600 baud) so that it be used to receive
messages from AlphaNET plus software.
To set up a wireless device, make sure the
Wireless box is checked, then enter the
following setting:
Pager Header: \001A20102000\002
NOTE: The modem also has to be set to
auto-answer phone calls. This can usually
be done by using software commands
(like above) or by setting DIP switches on
the modem. See your modem manual.
136
Pager Trailer: \003\004
4
Reference
Appendix A
Macintosh PowerPC setup
Appendices
Appendix A — Macintosh PowerPC setup
The following instructions describe how to use a Macintosh
PowerPC computer running either SoftWindows 981 or Virtual PC2
with AlphaNET plus for Windows.
Required software and hardware
Table 33: Required software
Qty
Part #
1
—
1
—
Description
Power Macintosh computer with at least 16 MB RAM (more RAM is recommended)
SoftWindows 981 for PowerPC (This emulates Windows 98.)
Virtual PC2 for PowerPC (This emulates Windows 98.)
1
2
Available from MacWarehouse (800-255-6227) for about $150.
Available from MacWarehouse for about $175.
The required hardware that will be needed depends on how
many signs are connected to the Macintosh PowerPC.
Typical sign configurations are shown in the following tables:
5
Appendices
137
Appendix A
Macintosh PowerPC setup
Single sign connection
Table 34: Single sign connection
A
C
B
To the
sign’s
RS232 or
TTL port
Item
Part #
A
—
D
To the
DIN8
modem
port
Macintosh
Power PC
running SoftWindows and
AlphaNET plus software
Description
This sign can be either an: ALPHA 200, 300, 4000, or 7000 series, ALPHAVISION, BIG
DOT, BETA BRITE, Director, Solar, or Personal Priority Display.
1088-8625
25-foot 6-conductor RS232 data cable
1088-8627
50-foot 6-conductor RS232 data cable
C
4370-0001C
25 pin sub-D/to 6 pos. RJ11 adapter
D
—
B
NOTE:
138
DB25-to-DIN8 hardware handshake modem cable (Supra Corporation, 800-727-8772,
part # 33-2025-PL)
The 4000, 7000, and Director signs must have an internal jumper set to RS232.
5
Appendices
Appendix A
Macintosh PowerPC setup
Multiple sign connection
Since there are a number of ways to network signs, a typical
connection is shown below. For more networking information, see
the Network Configurations (pn 9708-8046) manual.
Table 35: Multiple sign connection
B
C
D
To sign’s
RS485
ports
A
NOTE:
A Personal Priority Display
should not be at the end of a
network of signs.
I
E
B
C
F
H
D
To RS485
connector block
G
To DIN8
modem
port
Set switch to Terminated.
Macintosh Power PC
running SoftWindows
and AlphaNET plus
software
Item
Part #
Description
A
—
This sign can be either an: ALPHA 200, 300, 4000, or 7000 series, ALPHAVISION, BIG
DOT, Director, Solar, or Personal Priority Display.
B
1088-9107
End-of-line (EOL) terminator (An EOL must be plugged into the RS232 or TTL plug on
the last sign.)
1088-8624
8 foot, 4-conductor RS485 cable
1088-8636
1 foot, 4-conductor RS485 cable
D
1088-9103
Modular network adapter
E
1088-8000
RS485 cable
F
1088-1111
Converter Box III
G
1088-8634
10 foot, 9 pin-to-9 pin, type “A9” RS232 cable
H
—
serial port DB25-to-DB9 RS232 adapter (Available through Radio Shack)
I
—
DB25-to-DIN8 hardware handshake modem cable (Supra Corporation, 800-727-8772,
part # 33-2025-PL)
C
NOTE:
5
Appendices
The 4000, 7000, and Director signs must have an internal jumper set to RS485.
139
Appendix B
Which Modes are available on signs
Appendix B — Which Modes are available on signs
Modes are special effects used to change the way a message
appears on a sign and are used in the Message Editor:
Table 36: Modes available on signs
●
●
●
300 Series
●
●
●
●
●
420C
●
●
●
●
●
4000 Series
●
●
●
●
●
●
7000 Series
●
●
●
●
●
Big Dot
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
Solar series
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
BetaBrite
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
Director
●
●
●
PPD
●
●
●
Sparkle
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
1
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
1
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
1
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
Slide
Condensed
●
●
1
1
●
Spray
Snow
●
Scroll
●
Standard
AlphaVision
(Full Matrix)
AlphaVision
(Char. Matrix)
790i,
430i, 440i, 460i
●
●
1
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
In/Out (vertical)
●
●
●
In /Out (horizontal)
●
●
●
Up/Down/Left/Right
220C
●
●
●
Twinkle
●
Wipe
Switch
●
Switch
●
Starburst
●
Switch half the display
Spray
Up/Down/Left/Right
Spray -> Cycle Color
Slide
Interlock
Slide -> Cycle Color
Hold
●
In/Out (vertical)
Flash
200 Series
Sign
In/Out (horizontal)
Automode
Roll
Rotate
Modes
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
1. The “Slide” mode is not available for either the 220C or 420C sign, however it is an option in the AlphaNET plus
software. If “Slide” or “Spray” mode is selected for these signs, “Cycle Color” will be used. The same applies to
the “Spray” mode for the 420C sign only.
140
5
Appendices
Appendix B
Which Modes are available on signs
Table 37: How modes function
Mode
5
Function
Automode
This is the default mode, which actually consists of using all other modes available to each sign. If no other mode is
selected, the message will appear in Automode.
Flash
All characters flash off and on from the point of flash mode until the point where another mode is selected, if any.
Hold
Holds the message or specified text in a fixed place for several seconds.
Interlock
Alternating rows of dots enter from each direction of a sign and interlock to form the message in the center of the sign.
Roll
Rolls the characters in the message in their entirety onto the sign in the desired direction. You can choose to roll up, down,
left, right, in, or out.
Rotate
Rotates a message from right to left across the sign without stopping. For certain signs, text can be condensed or
standard.
Scroll
Moves the message one line at a time from bottom to top of the sign. The previous line is pushed off the sign.
Slide
The message moves onto the sign from one direction to the other, one character at a time.
Snow
The dots of each character in the message fall randomly onto the sign as if it's snowing.
Sparkle
The message sparkles onto the sign by randomly filling the letters of the message (at the start of the message display
only.)
Spray
The message is sprayed onto and across the sign, left to right, column-by-column and character-by-character.
Starburst
Random starbursts explode over and around letters of the message on the sign.
Switch
Alternating characters of the message slide onto the sign from different directions, that is, the first character slides up, the
next down, etc. For some signs, instead of alternating characters switching, one half of the message on the sign slides up
while the other half of the message slides down.
Twinkle
The message appears in its entirety in a twinkling effect with lights flickering off and on for the duration of the message
display.
Wipe
The message is wiped onto the sign in the direction specified, filling in each of the characters row-by-row or column-bycolumn. It looks as if it's washing over the old message. You can choose to roll up, down, left, right, in, or out.
Appendices
141
Appendix C
Which Characters and Colors are available on signs
Appendix C — Which Characters and Colors are available on signs
AlphaNet plus for Windows software allows you to change
the character shapes and colors of characters that are used in sign
messages. The Characters option and colors are used in the
Message Editor:
Table 38: Characters available on signs
Wide
Double Wide
●
●
220C
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
300 Series
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
420C
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
4000 Series
●
●
7000 Series
●
●
●
Big Dot
AlphaVision (FM)
●
●
AlphaVision (CM)
●
●
790i,
430i, 440i, 460i
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
BetaBrite
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
Director
●
●
●
●
PPD
●
NOTE:
●
●
●
Solar
142
●
Fixed Width
Normal
●
True Descenders
Color (see NOTE)
●
Double Height
Five Row
●
Flashing
Seven Row Fancy
●
Ten Row
●
Sign
15/16 Row Fancy
200 Series
15/16 Row Normal
Seven Row Normal
Characters
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
Sign names ending in “C”, such as 4120C, have color capabilities. Sign names ending in “R”,
such as 4120R, can display in red only.
5
Appendices
Appendix D
Which display Options are available on signs
Appendix D — Which display Options are available on signs
Options is a Message Editor command composed of special
features, like animation, and is used by the AlphaNet plus for
Windows software to enhance the way a message appears on a sign:
Table 39: Display options available on signs
Animation
String
Variable
Counter
Graphic (see NOTE)
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
220C
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
300 Series
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
420C
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
4000 Series
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
7000 Series
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
Big Dot
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
AlphaVision (FM)
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
AlphaVision (CM)
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
790i,
430i, 440i, 460i
●
Solar
●
●
BetaBrite
●
Director
PPD
Appendices
●
●
●
Message
New Line
●
Flick (see NOTE)
Speed
●
New Page
Date
●
Celsius
Time
200 Series
Fahrenheit
Sign
NOTE:
5
Temperature
Options
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
●
A graphic (which is a bitmapped image) or flick (which is a series of graphics) must be
designed for the resolution of the sign. For example, a 4120C sign has a resolution of 120
columns by 16 rows. Therefore, in order to fit on a 4120C, a graphic be no greater than 120 x
16 pixels in size.
143
Appendix E
Understanding message line positions (Top, Middle, Bottom, Fill)
Appendix E — Understanding message line positions
(Top, Middle, Bottom, Fill)
The Line Position option refers to where a message can be
displayed on a sign — the top, middle, bottom, or fill positions. Line
position are available with most modes, e.g., Hold, Snow, Sparkle,
etc. While the way these work varies slightly on different types of
signs, the basic concept is shown on an Alpha two-line sign in the
pictures here.
Line Position:
How the message appears in the Editor:
How the message appears on a 2-line sign:
Top
Middle
Bottom
Fill
When you use the Fill position, the sign will
try to fill both lines with the message.
If you do not select one of these four positions, an Alpha sign
will automatically display your message using the Automode
mode and the Fill line position.
Types of signs
Signs are categorized by number of lines of text.
1. Single-line (BETAbrite 215R & 215C, 220, 300 series, 400
series, Big Dot)
These signs are of varying lengths but are always 7 dots
high.
144
5
Appendices
Appendix E
Understanding message line positions (Top, Middle, Bottom, Fill)
2. Double-line (4000 series)
These signs are of varying lengths but are always 16 dots
high.
3. Triple-line (7000 series) and Multiple-line full matrix
(Alphavision)
These signs are of varying heights and widths.
4. Multiple-line character matrix (AlphaVision, Director)
These signs are of varying heights and widths, but have
character blocks with spaces between.
Single-line (BETAbrite 215R & 215C, 220, 300 series, 400 series, Big Dot)
On a single-line sign, all characters line up at the bottom of the
sign and work their way up for as many dots as the font supports.
Example:
Exception conditions:
• If the sign receives a font that is larger than the sign can
display, it will “size it down”.
• 7-high normal characters are substituted for any 15-high
normal characters.
• 7-high fancy characters are substituted for any 15-high
fancy characters received, etc.
• If a graphic (picture) is received that is taller than the display
can show, the top seven rows are displayed.
• If a graphic is received that is wider than the display can
show, it will show the left-most columns of the picture.
• If a graphic is received that is smaller than seven dots tall, it
will be displayed from the bottom of the sign working up,
similar to the 5-dot character set shown above.
• If a character set is not established in the message, 7-high
normal characters are used.
• If top, bottom, or fill positions are received, middle is used.
Double-line (4000 series)
Top position
On a double-line sign, the top position is defined as the top 7
dots of the sign, and operates in the same manner as a one-line sign.
See exception conditions for a single-line 7-row sign.
Bottom position
The bottom position is defined as the bottom 7 dots of the sign,
and it also is treated as a one-line sign. See exception conditions for
a for a single-line 7-row sign.
5
Appendices
145
Appendix E
Understanding message line positions (Top, Middle, Bottom, Fill)
Middle position
The middle position is treated as though it was one line of 16
dots. Each line of text presented on that line is prescanned to
determine the largest piece of text (or graphic object) to be
displayed. The line of text is then vertically centered based on that
largest object. For example, if you have a line of text which has
mostly 5-high characters, but has one 10-high character, the line is
viewed as a 10-row high line, and since this is a 16-row sign, that
leaves 6 extra rows… 3 blank rows on the top and 3 blank rows on
the bottom. All text and objects are then lined up to this new virtual
bottom (the 13th line) and treated the same as in a single-line sign.
Exception conditions:
• If the sign receives a font that is larger than the sign can
display, it will “size it down”.
On this sign, in the middle position, the only characters that
are too large would be characters using the “double-high”
control code. This control code is ignored.
• If a graphic is received that is taller than the display can
show, the top sixteen rows are displayed.
• If a graphic is received that is wider than the display can
show, it will show the left-most columns of the picture.
• If a character set is not established in the message, 16-high
normal characters are used.
Fill position
On a 4000 series sign, the fill position indicates that you wish to
use no more than 7-high characters, and that you want to fit as
much text on the screen as you can. When in this mode, the sign
views itself as having two lines of 7-high characters, and no means
of doing a character set larger than 7-high. If a graphic is selected, at
most seven rows of that graphic will be displayed. If the last piece of
text to be displayed (towards the end of the message) is only one
line worth of text, the sign will place 4 blank rows of dots at the top
and the bottom of the text in order to center the last line of text
vertically.
If the sign is operating on the top row, the bottom of that row is
assumed to be the 7th row of dots. All text is started from there and
worked up. (5-row characters will use rows 3 – 7, while 7-row
characters will use rows 1 – 7.)
If the sign is operating on the bottom row, it works its way up
from row 16. (5-row characters will use rows 12 – 16, while 7-row
characters will use rows 10 – 16.)
Exception conditions:
• If the sign receives top, bottom, or fill modes and also a font
that is larger than 7-high, it will “size it down”:
• 7-high normal characters are substituted for any 15-high
normal characters.
146
5
Appendices
Appendix E
Understanding message line positions (Top, Middle, Bottom, Fill)
• 7-high fancy characters are substituted for any 15-high
fancy characters received, etc.
• If a graphic is received that is larger taller than 7 rows high
(15-high for middle mode), the top 7 rows (top 15 for middle
mode) are displayed.
• If a graphic is received that is longer than the display can
show, it will show the left-most columns of the picture.
• If a character set is not established in the message, 7-high
normal characters are used.
Triple-line (7000 series) and Alphavision Full Matrix
Top/Bottom
These two positions work in tandem with each other. There is an
imaginary line between the top half and the bottom half to the
display. We will call this line the centerline. In the example below,
the “Centerline” is between the “HELLO”, and the “lots of text about
basically”. The centerline divides what is used on the sign for top
position commands from what is used for bottom.
Centerline
Establishing the position of the centerline
The centerline position is typically established by the first top
command received, and the rest of the space is used for the bottom.
If the bottom command comes first, the centerline is placed at its
highest possible position, row 8, allowing for one line of 7-dot
characters on the top. If the top command comes first, and not a
bottom, the centerline’s position is determined by the amount of
text following the position command.
Examples:
• If one 7-dot high line of text is received (following a top
command), the centerline will be fixed at row 8.
• If one line of 10-dot characters is received (following a top
command), the centerline will be placed at position 11.
• If two lines of 5-dot high characters are received (following a
top command), the centerline is placed at row 12 (5 for each
line of text, plus the 2 blank rows between the lines.)
Two exceptions to the above rules are as follows:
1. The centerline is never placed higher than 8 rows from the
top of the sign.
2. The centerline is never placed lower than 8 rows from the
bottom of the sign.
5
Appendices
147
Appendix E
Understanding message line positions (Top, Middle, Bottom, Fill)
Note: This ensures that there is always room for one line of
7-dot high characters on the top or bottom (including one
blank row.)
Once its position is established, the centerline remains fixed at
that position until a fill or middle position command is received.
All subsequent top or bottom position commands use the amount of
space set by the position of the centerline. You cannot change the
position of the centerline with a second top/bottom command.
Example:
Message
Centerline
Middle position
The middle position is treated as though it were one line as
many dots high as the sign is tall. Each line of text presented on that
line is prescanned to determine the largest piece of text (or graphic
object) to be displayed. The line of text is then vertically centered
based on that largest object. For example, if you have a line of text
which has mostly 5-high characters, but has one 10-high character,
the line is viewed as a 10-row high line. Assuming this is a 24-row
sign, that would leave 14 extra rows…7 blanks on the top and 7
blank rows on the bottom. All text and objects are then lined up to
this new virtual bottom (the 21st line) and treated the same as in a
single line sign.
Exception conditions:
• If a graphic (picture) is received that is larger than what the
display can show, the top-most rows are displayed.
• If a graphic (picture) is received that is longer than the
display can show, it will show the left most columns of the
picture.
• If a character set is not established in the message, 7-high
normal characters are used.
Fill position
On a 7000 series or Alphavision sign, the fill position indicates
that you wish to fit as much text on the screen as you can. On these
signs as opposed to the 4000 series, you can select character sets
larger than 7-high in the fill mode. The sign will start from the top of
the screen working down. If you select a 15-row character set, the
sign will fit as many 15-row lines of text on the screen as possible.
148
5
Appendices
Appendix E
Understanding message line positions (Top, Middle, Bottom, Fill)
As soon as the sign detects that the next line will not fit, it will stop
creating the current page and display it. The next page will begin
with the line that would not have fit. If the text does not use up the
entire display, the sign will center the text vertically, splitting the
blank space between the top and the bottom.
Exception conditions:
• If a graphic is received that is taller than seven rows high, the
top seven rows are displayed.
• If a graphic is received that is wider than the display can
show, it will show the left-most columns of the picture.
• If a graphic is received that is smaller than seven dots tall, it
will be displayed from the bottom of the sign working
up…similar to the 5 dot character set explained above.
• If a character set is not established in the message, 7-high
normal characters are used.
Alphavision Character Matrix
This sign works exactly like the Triple-line (7000 series) and
Alphavision Full Matrix signs, with the following exceptions.
Exception conditions:
• If a mode other than a “Wipe” mode is received, it is replaced
with “Hold”.
• An Alphavision sign ignores any of the following:
• graphics
• any character set command except 5- and 7-high normal
• wide
• double-wide
• double-high
• true descenders
• proportional spacing
• animations
• If a character set is not established in the message, 7-high
normal characters are used.
5
Appendices
149
Appendix F
How text and graphics are displayed on signs
Appendix F — How text and graphics are displayed on signs
Each sign is made up of a display area of columns and rows of
LED “pixels” that can be turned on and off and that can display
different colors (for color signs).
Columns and rows make up a sign
For example, a 4120C (or 4120R) sign has a total display area of
120 x 16:
Rows = 16
Columns = 120
The total display areas for other signS follows:
Table 40: The number of columns and rows in signs
Sign
BETA-BRITE Series
215 Series
300 Series
4000 Series
7000 Series
Outdoor displays
ALPHAVISION
Director
PPD
NOTE:
150
BETA-BRITE
BETA-BRITE BIG DOT
ALPHA Big Dot
215
215C
220C
320C
330C
4120R
4120C
4160R
4160C
4200R
4200C
4240R
4240C
7120C
7160C
7200C
790i
Solar series
Display area
(col x rows)
Colors
80 x 7
80 x 7
80 x 7
90 x 7
90 x 7
8
2 lines of 120 x 7
1
120 x 7
180 x 7
120 x 16
120 x 16
160 x 16
160 x 16
200 x 16
200 x 16
240 x 16
240 x 16
120 x 24
160 x 24
200 x 24
8
3
90 x 7
1
96 x 16 to 192 x 16
1
Display areas from 128 x 32 to 256 x 128.
3
8 lines of 16 characters
8
2 lines of 120 x 7
1
Sign names ending in “C”, such as 4120C, have color capabilities. Sign names ending in “R”, such
as 4120R, can display in red only.
5
Appendices
Appendix F
How text and graphics are displayed on signs
Text comes in four basic sizes
The Characters menu displays a list of available text sizes, such
as 15/16 Row Normal and Ten Row, and options, such as Wide and
Flashing:
Text sizes are selected from the
Characters menu. (The default
text size is Seven Row Normal.)
Other text options can also be
selected here.
The four basic text sizes are 15/16 Row (Normal and Fancy),
Ten Row, Seven Row (Normal and Fancy), and Five Row. These are
also available as compressed. Customized variations can be
installed into the sign’s firmware and accessed in the software.
Below are examples of how the message Las Vegas $85, Chicago
$199 would appear on a two-line 4120C or 4120R sign in all four
basic text sizes (except Ten Row):
15/16 Row Normal
Characters are 15 or 16 rows high and about 9 columns wide:
Seven Row Normal
Characters are 7 rows high and about 6 columns wide:
Five Row
Characters are 5 rows high and about 5 columns wide:
5
Appendices
151
Appendix F
How text and graphics are displayed on signs
Graphics must be “bitmapped” to a sign’s columns and rows
Before you create a graphic for a sign, you must first know the
display area of that sign. (See “Columns and rows make up a sign”
on page 150.)
The columns and rows that make up a sign’s display area also
represent the maximum pixel size of a graphic that can be put on the
sign. For example, a 4120C (or 4130R) sign has a total display area of
120 columns x 16 rows. This means that the largest graphic a 4120C
could display would be 120 pixels long x 16 pixels high:
A graphic may be too big for some signs
Because signs vary in size, make sure graphics you create can
fit on all your signs:
Though this 32 x 16 pixel
graphic fits easily on a two-line
4120C sign, only the top part
appears on a one-line 215C
sign.
A graphic may be the wrong color for some signs
Only sign names ending in “C” have color capabilities such as
the 4120C. Sign names ending in “R”, like the 4120R, can only
display red:
4120C
(a multi-color sign)
Yellow
Red
Green
4120R
(a red-only sign)
152
The entire
graphic appears
in red.
5
Appendices
Appendix F
How text and graphics are displayed on signs
Paint Shop Pro — a bitmapped image editor
Because a bitmapped image editor is not included with the
AlphaNET plus for Windows software, you’ll need a program to
create and edit graphics. At a minimum, the program you use
should have a “zoom” feature which allows you to magnify the
image you’re editing because graphics used on signs are typically 32
x 32 pixels or less in size. (That’s very small!)
While there are many great commercial programs available,
you may not need all their features—or want to pay the price for
them.
Paint Shop Pro is a shareware graphics utility. JASC, the
makers of Paint Shop Pro, allow you to use it free for 30 days. After
that, you’ll have to purchase it for about $70. This manual uses
version 3 of Paint Shop Pro. You may have a more recent version.
Paint Shop Pro has many features including a zoom.
Paint Shop Pro has many
functions including a Zoom
feature which can magnify small
images.
5
Appendices
153
Appendix F
How text and graphics are displayed on signs
Where can you get a copy of Paint Shop Pro?
154
•
JASC, Inc.
P. O. Box 44997
Eden Prairie, MN 55344
612-930-9171 (9 am to 5 pm USA Central Time)
•
Electronic Bulletin Board
612-930-3516
•
CompuServe
GO JASC
•
World Wide Web
http://www.jasc.com/
5
Appendices
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