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I know that letting the viewers of our displays know that there is an FM radio channel available to hear the music is a major challenge. I've seen a lot of good ideas here for signs, but after passing one too many of those digital "road work" panels I thought of an idea for using the Snap-N-Glow letter panels. Why can't I use the panels todisplay 2 alternating messages? Problem was that some lights are needed for both messages, while others were used for only the first or second message. So with some careful planning and 3 channels, I have a sign that alternates sayings. I know it's not as flexible as the LED panels, but it will stand up to the weather and it's size is hard to miss (10 feet long and 30 inches high). Here is a video of the concept:

Please ignore the artifacts in the video because of the compression. At least you can get a feeling of the concept. I also have a couple of sequences - I would appreciate knowing which one is most attention getting for you.

Mike

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Looks great.... Except for the color I think you should go into the road work sign business..:laughing:

I think the sequence would look best if you do-hear the lights- no pause - tune to 88.5- short pause-hear the lights- no pause - tune to 88.5- short pause

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That's pretty cool!

If you don't want to tie up 3 channels, you could improvise by "doubling" the lights needed for both messages, and get one of those cheap (<$10) 2 channel faders.

I was planning on selling my snap-n-glow's but you have me thinking...

-Tim

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Thanks everyone for all the great replies. I've picked up a lot of great ideas here in the last year, and it was nice for a change to contribute an idea myself.

Toymakr - love the idea - forgot about that combination when I was making the test sequence. As for the color choice, I intend to give thissign doubleduty, for both my Halloween and Christmas displays. I got a great deal on 50 light green frosted lights last year after Halloweenn (25 cents a box!), so that is what I chose. I was disappointed in the video compression artifacts - it does look a lot better in person. The only other choice I had was orange transparent and purple clear, those would not work for Christmas and changing out all the light stringswould bea huge project.

Tim - don't know quite what you are suggesting, but a 2 channel controller will not work for me. There is the third channel "common" lights that need to be on for both the hear message and the FM frequency message. I guess if you never have the sign go dark it would work, but my intention is to have it go on and off during a sequence - so it does not distract from the overall display. Thissign is not small, and has almost 400 minis on it that are visible. I want to "try" and get the message across, but not overload my viewers.

Mike

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That is great - I have always been trying to figure something out that would work like this.

[line]

One Question how dose it work. Say for the part that says "Hear the Lights" the 'H' is using a light bulb space where the 'T' is in "Tune to...".

How can you turn on the 'T' in "Tune to..." and not turn on the 'H' in "Hear the Lights"

Sorry I Get it now the third channel is used for light bulbs that are found in both letters. Chanel one and two are for the bulbs that are unique to each individual saying. Is this Correct.

[line]

PS - Would there be a way to controll 3 sayings and if so How many channels would it take.

Yes there is and it would take a total of 7 Channels and a lot planning.

Thanks Ricky

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Ricky -

Here is my worksheet for the 1st row:

T 01 33 28 23 18 13 08 02 03 04 05 (11)

X

U 01 06 11 16 21 26 32 33 34 30 25 20 15 10 05 (3) (12)

H 01 06 11 16 21 26 31 35 30 25 20 19 18 17 15 10 05 (4)

N 31 26 21 16 11 06 01 07 12 18 24 29 35 30 25 20 15 10 05 (9) (10)

E 01 06 11 16 21 26 31 32 33 34 35 19 18 17 02 03 04 05 (8)

E 01 06 11 16 21 26 31 32 33 34 35 19 18 17 02 03 04 05 (5) (13)

A 31 26 21 16 11 06 02 03 04 10 15 20 25 30 35 17 18 19 (5)

X

R 01 06 11 16 21 26 31 35 29 24 17 18 19 15 10 04 03 02 (18)

R 01 06 11 16 21 26 31 35 29 24 17 18 19 15 10 04 03 02 (18)

X

A 31 26 21 16 11 06 02 03 04 10 15 20 25 30 35 17 18 19 (14) (4)

T 01 33 28 23 18 13 08 02 03 04 05 (7)

D 01 06 11 16 21 26 31 32 33 29 25 20 15 09 03 02 (6) (10)

H 01 06 11 16 21 26 31 35 30 25 20 19 18 17 15 10 05 (7)

I 01 31 32 33 34 35 28 23 18 13 08 02 03 04 05 (4) (11)

E 01 06 11 16 21 26 31 32 33 34 35 19 18 17 02 03 04 05 (7)

O 06 11 16 21 26 32 33 34 30 25 20 15 10 04 03 02 (16)

X

Blue – 86

Red - 56

Common - 60

Mymatrix is 10 characters by 2 rows. "HEAR THE" uses only 8 characters in each row, so the T and O are only turned on in the second string (blue) for "TUNE RADIO". If you are not familiar with the Snap-N-Glow panels, the numbers in my matrix are the light positions in the panels.

I think from a practicality standpoint 3 messages would be a big problem. I used an awful lot of black out caps in my sign because you jump around a lot on the frames. You would be wasting a lot of lights.

Hope this helps out.

Mike

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radioguy1007 wrote:

Tim - don't know quite what you are suggesting, but a 2 channel controller will not work for me. There is the third channel "common" lights that need to be on for both the hear message and the FM frequency message. I guess if you never have the sign go dark it would work, but my intention is to have it go on and off during a sequence - so it does not distract from the overall display. Thissign is not small, and has almost 400 minis on it that are visible. I want to "try" and get the message across, but not overload my viewers.

I'm not explaining myself very well. What I was saying is that for the "common" lights, actually use two lights (one for each word), instead of one light that is "shared" like you did. This would require a bit of finangling to get it to work with the snap-n-glow panels where 2 lights share one hole, but I think you could get it to work (e.g. using zip ties). Then you'd just have 2 channels, and could use a 2-channel fader.

Your way (particularly the first part of the video) looks better though. But I was thinking that some people would be loath to dedicate 3 channels to a "tune-to" sign so an alternative way of doing it with a 2-channel fader (perhaps on a single LOR channel, or an X-10 channel) would be the alternative budget way to do it.

Again, nice work.

-Tim

ETA: A third alternative would be as follows: Using one channel, plug in the shared channel and a 2-channel fader. Plug the 2 'alternating' portions in the 2 channel fader. Now the sign will alternate, but only tie up one 'real' channel. The downside is that the "shared" portion will be always on and this might look goofy as the other portion fades in and out. That's why I'd suggest my other way above to anyone wanting to do this "on the cheap".

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Tim -

I think that having 2 lites in one hole would be noticed if you do a hard switch from one message to the other, as the lite source would be moving from one centerpoint to another (looks like jitter). I guess I never gave any thought to doing it "on the cheap", as if you buy enough light panels you will have a few dollars tied up there, so a couple more LOR channels should not be that bad. Your method would work fine if you just change back and forth with full brightness. My intention is to turn the sign on and off during sequences (or control the brightness as in my video) so as not to distract the viewers from the rest of the show. It does look very strange if only one of the strings is lit, you do need to have a pair contolled together.

Now I was thinking again of modifying some of those bi-color LED mini's so I could change the COLOR of the message...... but that would take 6 channels!

Hey, at least you have the panels to start with!

Mike

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radioguy1007 wrote:

Tim -

I think that having 2 lites in one hole would be noticed if you do a hard switch from one message to the other, as the lite source would be moving from one centerpoint to another (looks like jitter).

Mike

Not sure -- but I'd think if you did the fade, it wouldn't be noticible from any distance. In any case, you didit the better way.

Now we just need to have someone figure out how to make fully-changable message signs out of snap-n-glows, LED's, and the least amount of control channels!

-Tim

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Very, very clever Mike... I used the Snap-N-Glow panels for my radio tune sign last year. I was impressed with it because it stands out clear and visible from the street. If you don't mind, I want to use your concept.

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dq - that is why I posted the idea - to share with all to use. I've found so many good ideas here last year for my first LOR experience.I'm so glad I was able to contribute something back for others to use.It seemed like a neat idea to attract attention, and it worked out great. Have fun!

Mike

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