Moving Message Sign

1 Jun 2001 10:41

A couple of weeks ago, we got an LED message board at work. They had them on offer at Maplin (if I recall correctly). Anyway, the manual with the board is singularly useless. It’s labelled “Moving Message Sign”, and has a picture of the display with “Taiwan Kingpul” on it.

It comes with a serial connector. Unfortunately, you don’t seem to be able to control the LED sequencing yourself, but you can upload messages to it, using the supplied software.

Unfortunately, the supplied software isn’t that good - it’s a 16-bit Windows program. We’d like to run something under Linux to control it. So with the judicious application of a copy of PortMon from, we found out how it works.

The connection settings are 2400,N,8,1.

To program it, get it either scrolling a message, or in the program editor, then send it the new message.

The message should be preceded by a preamble consisting of 0xAA,0xAA,0xAA,0xAA,0xAA,0xBB, and terminated by a single 0x80 byte.

Messages are almost in ASCII.

Hex Character
0x03 À
0x06 £
0x07 ¤
0x08 Ω
0x0F Ö
0x10 φ
0x13 à
0x14 §
0x16 æ
0x17 Σ
0x18 wineglass
0x1F ö
0x20 colon (swapped with space)
0x21 to 0x39 (same as ASCII)
0x3A space (swapped with colon)
0x3B Φ
0x3C Æ
0x3D to 0x5A (same as ASCII)
0x5B Ü
0x5D è
0x5F less-than
0x60 É
0x7B semicolon
0x7C Ñ
0x7D ñ
0x7E Ä
0x7F ä
0x80 end
0x81 left
0x82 right
0x83 up
0x84 down
0x85 jump
0x86 open
0x87 close
0x88 flash
0x89 flshg
0x8A doff
0x8B big
0x8C clear
0x8D speed*
0x8E random
0x8F wait*
  • speed and wait should be immediately followed by a literal numeral (i.e. 0x31 to 0x39), dictating how fast, or how long. There are a bunch more graphical characters, which do things like put a clock up. I don’t know the codes for those. Update: I no longer have access to this display, so I can’t help you beyond what’s published here.