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 Post subject: Classic serial BetaBrite support
PostPosted: Fri Jul 25, 2008 7:55 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 7:35 pm
Posts: 16
Location: North Carolina, USA
I just downloaded AlbumPlayer and was wondering if anyone has added the ability to use a serial BetaBrite LED sign. I was able to find one topic on this in the past, which discussed theory on programming an application. I have no Windows programming skills and was wondering if anything public has been offered that's ready to roll.

Thanks.

John


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2008 2:50 pm 
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Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 4:43 am
Posts: 330
Location: Australia
as far as i know there is no plugin for this yet


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sat Jul 26, 2008 6:38 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 7:35 pm
Posts: 16
Location: North Carolina, USA
Thanks for the reply wobbly.

I think ukzappa or Larrys may have some input on this.

Check this thread out -> http://forum.albumon.com/viewtopic.php?t=698&highlight=led


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 12:45 am 
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Joined: Tue Nov 08, 2005 4:43 am
Posts: 330
Location: Australia
cool maybe you could ask in that thread i know that the plugin has not been uploaded for all of as to use


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 Post subject: Re: Classic serial BetaBrite support
PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 3:26 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2007 11:28 am
Posts: 91
Tekman wrote:
I just downloaded AlbumPlayer and was wondering if anyone has added the ability to use a serial BetaBrite LED sign. I was able to find one topic on this in the past, which discussed theory on programming an application. I have no Windows programming skills and was wondering if anything public has been offered that's ready to roll.

Thanks.

John


I don't know these kind of display's, what is it that you want with it?
It can be done if specs of how to interface with the display (protocol etc.) and connections are known. If you can provide these it should not be a lot of work since I can use my screensaver to output the info.

Larry


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 5:28 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 7:35 pm
Posts: 16
Location: North Carolina, USA
Thanks for the reply Larrys.

The Alpha BetaBrite uses serial communications set for 9600,N,8,1.

I want to feed the sign with track tags, mainly "Artist - Song name" (maybe even year)

The interface needs to have selectable options:

Com port 1 - 4

Sign unit ID# 0 - 255

Track tag output selections to choose from:
CD
Name
Artist
Length
Composer
Conductor
Orchestra
Rating
Comment

This indirect link explains packet info required. Section 5.1 is a standard transmission packet. Caution the PDF is 17Megs.

http://www.adaptivedisplays.com/Documentation/questions.php?questionid=149

I'm not sure what your screensaver is. It can handle custom outputs to the serial port from AP's XML message interface?

John


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 7:05 pm 

Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2007 11:28 am
Posts: 91
That should be enough info.
My screensaver connects to AP and it is an easy job to send names and title to the com port too instead of just displaying it on screen.
Ill get back to you as soon as I find some time.

Larry


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Sun Jul 27, 2008 11:45 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 7:35 pm
Posts: 16
Location: North Carolina, USA
Thanks! I'm looking forward to it.


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 6:16 am 

Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2007 2:24 pm
Posts: 64
Location: London, UK
Hi,
Do you use Delphi? I did write a quick and dirty program to control my Alpha 7120C which does the job just fine. I do recall looking at the Betabrite protocol in the dim and distant but I don't recall whether they use the same protocol. Obviously you will need to check and change where/if necessary. Here is my unit1 code which should give you enough to get it up and running.

---------------------------------------------------------------------
Removed - Too old!
---------------------------------------------------------------------

You will need to make changes as I've hard coded locations.
Also, the TComPort component may not be native Delphi - I don't have the time to check just now (building a garden shed!!) but I am happy to look into that later if needs be.

Please don't criticise the code! I'm sure there are many ways to tackle the problem and no doubt much more elegantly. However, for what its worth, it works and works well. :)


Last edited by ukzappa on Thu Sep 30, 2010 7:26 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 8:21 am 

Joined: Tue Jan 16, 2007 11:28 am
Posts: 91
Thanks ukzappa,

the protocol is the same so if you don't mind sharing the "dirty" tool with Tekman we're all happy. :P

I'm sure he can wait until you've finished you shed. :wink:

Larry

P.S. the TComPort isn't native indeed. I had one for Delphi 5 but this one doesn't like Delphi 2005 which I use now. If you don't mind sharing the Tcomport I'd be very happy!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 5:46 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 7:35 pm
Posts: 16
Location: North Carolina, USA
Thanks for helping out ukzappa.

The shell path is all I think needs to be changed
Quote:
ShellExecute(Form1.Handle,'open','D:\Applications\AlbumPlayer\Albumplayer.exe',
'-normalscreen', 'D:\Applications\AlbumPlayer', SW_SHOWMAXIMIZED);


Maybe the path and other options could be in an .ini file. I have the standard "C:\Program Files\AlbumPlayer\Albumplayer.exe"

I made a mock-up of what I envisioned. I just wish I had Windows programming skills.

Image

I thought It would be fun to send a custom message to the sign when AP is in 'stopped' or 'paused' mode.

Thanks.

John


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Mon Jul 28, 2008 10:39 pm 

Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2007 2:24 pm
Posts: 64
Location: London, UK
Larry,

I use Delphi Studio Architect 7 that I purchased (yep, I'm the one who actually bought it! :roll: ) back in 2003 if memory serves. It's possible the TComPort won't work in your version as it is a couple of years after mine! However, you are welcome to try it. Don't expect an all singing, all dancing component as it is Freeware. It was written by Dirk Claessens using Delphi 4. His download link is now dead so you may have trouble finding it so, if you do want to try it, PM me with an email address and I will fire it at you - it's only 22KB zipped!

Tekman,

Hold on there pardner! Now I'm writing bespoke code!?! :lol:
I really am up to my eyes in muck and bullets at the moment (well muck and concrete actually - bullets are your side of the pond (mostly) aren't they?)

Basically, as it stands, my app has no user input capability at all. In fact, it only has a visible window because I wanted to check I was getting good data. I had intended making it invisible but never got around to it.

Notes:
1: It assumes that the last COM port on your system has the sign. (For what it's worth, I only check up to COM9 as Microsoft changed the way they handle ports 10 and above!!! - However, not likely to be a problem).

2: I have also hard coded colour control codes which may not suit you and/or may not map to your sign. It uses Red for Album and Year, Green for Artist and Amber for Track. The Alpha 7120C is three colour - yours may be more or less.

3: My sign always reverts to ID00 when powered down so, for simplicity, my app only uses ID00. This seems sensible to me as you can only have one sign on an RS232 port. I suspect that ID is only of value when you connect multiple signs on the RS485 port.

Ok. If you are happy to wait a while I will add a .ini file to handle COM port, AP path, Paused and Stopped messages and colours (but you will need to tell me what colours are available on your sign together with the corresponding codes). Not ideal but a usable interim solution.

I will try and make an interface similar to your example so you can make changes on the fly but that would follow later. I make no guarantee though.

Got to mix more cement etc ...


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Tue Jul 29, 2008 1:24 am 

Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 7:35 pm
Posts: 16
Location: North Carolina, USA
ukzappa:

Quote:
bullets are your side of the pond (mostly) aren't they?

Sad but true.

I don't expect you to make anything too fancy (I consider myself lucky to get anything at all). I'm more than fine with a simple .ini file and no fancy window. The last com port is OK with me.

I realize we are probably the only two doing this right now with AP, I do expect more in the future as other Jukebox software apps support these signs natively. This will hopefully make the transition to AP easier, like in my case. You just can't live without one of these signs once you've used one.

I'm fine with ID00. I only have one sign anyway.

The betaBrite has eight colors. If you omit color, I think mine defaults to auto which does all kinds of cool colors and rainbow effects. This is the same as using "#26 + 'C'.

Here's the color chart:
1-Red
2-Green
3-Amber
4-Dim red
5-Dim green
6-Brown
7-Orange
8-Yellow
9-Rainbow 1
A-Rainbow 2
B-Color mix
C-Autocolor

One other thing I noticed in the code, is '#26 + 8' a bold font? If this is true, I would like '#26 + 9' which is a standard font.

It looks like if you were to roll one out with the AP path change and strip the colors (or change them to 'C' and change the font style, it looks like it's good to go! I know that's easy for me to say.

Thanks!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 8:58 am 

Joined: Sat Jan 20, 2007 2:24 pm
Posts: 64
Location: London, UK
Tekman,
I've made a start.
Should be able to have something for you to test in a couple of days although I don't think files can be posted here.

I've done:
Added ini file (lives in C:\Windows).
Selectable Com Port from Form (Selects highest available by default, selectable from Form).
Added Paused and Stopped messages (default in ini, editable from Form).
Tidied some really sloppy code!

To do:
Font and Colour
Select Tag
Status Options
Odd Tweaks

On Alpha:

#26 is font - 8 = Full Height Fancy (9 = Full Height Standard) plus many others.

#28 is colour - 1,2,3.9,A,B,C (I wish I had your palette - very nice).

As Larrys said, the protocols/control codes appear the same (but with some redundancy).

You may be right - just the two of us using signs. I have two. I did put one in the kitchen but my other half had me take it out when I displayed 'Bacon, Egg and Chips Please'! I couldn't see the problem but she took a dim view. Ah, well.

Builders' merchant should be delivering this morning so it's back to the shed for now!


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 Post subject:
PostPosted: Wed Jul 30, 2008 12:17 pm 

Joined: Fri Jul 25, 2008 7:35 pm
Posts: 16
Location: North Carolina, USA
ukzappa:

WOW! Thanks a lot.

I'll PM you with my e-mail address so you can make attachments.

I have no problem hosting the file to share with the AP community, if that's OK with you.


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