Sunday, March 30, 2008

Can LetterLED be that easy?

Yes, it can!

When at the recent ISA (International Sign Association) show, I was speaking with a representative from LetterLED. His comment was, "If people understood how easy are sign system was and how cost effective it is, they couldn't help but buy it." And, for these reasons, I tend to agree:

  1. You get your own customized sign. To buy a custom neon sign, it would cost much more.
  2. You can have a single or double line sign.
  3. You can change the sign by just pulling off the letters and then putting on new letters.
  4. A custom OPEN sign for under $100.
  5. Energy efficient: Save 70-80% on energy costs.
  6. Installation: Easy 5 minute installation.
  7. Safety: Impact resistant and safe to the touch.
  8. New script letters coming soon.
  9. And, after the script letters, 7 inch letters will also be coming.
Looking for other changeable letter solutions? Visit ChangeableSignLetters.com.

Friday, March 21, 2008

Using an Serial-to-USB adapter to program your LED sign

As time allows, I try and play with the LED signs and changeable letter signs. (There is not a whole lot to be done with a regular changeable sign with plastic letters) And, I have done the LAN adapters and I have worked with an ethernet adapter. BUT, I have had trouble getting the Serial-to-USB adapter set up. Not anymore.....

One sign I sell, the SS500M, is shipped with an adapter. But, it is a pretty inexpensive adapter, so I never put the effort forth to make it work. I either used my desktop PC with a serial port OR I just programmed using a remote control. Today, Good Friday, I decided I was going to make the adapter work. So, I bought an IOGear adapter. The adapter came with a CD and the packaging had "Windows Compatible" on it. I felt convinced I could!

And, the installation went quickly. Windows XP easily found the driver on the CD, and it seemed to go well. I opened up my LED scrolling sign software, and I expected to quickly create a message and download it to my electronic sign. Unfortunately, my led message sign had another plan. And, after more frustration, I read the directions. It then quickly became clear that my "fear of documetation" was unfounded. When the driver is installed, it picks a COM port based on some sort of logic. And, for whatever reason, the Serial-to-USB adapter was installed on COM 9. And, since my software only allowed for 8 COM ports, the solution was easy. I changed the COM port to COM 2, and after rebooting the LED scrolling sign software, my special-effects-enhanced LED message easily downloaded.

I have had customers get their signs working with the "free" Serial-to-USB converter in the past. And, when they switched to Windows Vista, they could not use the software, adapter, and sign together. Although I don't know this for sure, I would not be surprised if this adapter [it is Vista Compatible] would solve the problems of the old adapter working with Vista. Just an idea....

If anyone has had other experience with USB adapters or LED scrolling message signs, please let me know.

Happy Easter!

Andy