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Communicating with a Pro-Lite LED Display, Cable Construction and Protocol

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I had a Pro-Lite display that I had picked up cheap without any communication cable, or any software, lying around in my shop. At least I had the remote, but it was slow and I never thought I would actually use it like that. It was high time that I got around to making a cable and looking into the protocol, so I thought that I would share my findings here.

My goal was to be able to update the sign from Processing and thereby be able to use it interactively in some way. It was a two step process, first I needed a cable, secondly I needed the protocol. Researching on the interwebs, I was able to find (as we all are) all the information I needed and now I will share this information in one location here, at our first and favourite 'how-to' stop.
 
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Step 1: Hunter and Gatherer

Things that you need
  • A Pro-Lite Display Sign (try online, I lucked out in finding mine)
  • A four wire telephone cable (RJ12) - look closely and see how many wires there are, six will also work, but four is simpler, a phone extension from the dollar store will usually have four.
  • A female serial DB9 Connector – I picked mine up at my local shop, they are easy enough to find online as well.

Tools
  • a crimp connector or some wire strippers with a crimper built in
  • wire clippers
  • a computer
JimysC3 months ago

I ordered one online from Neon Creations Ltd, which was printed background with neon in front. It was supplied on white acrylic box. That I got for my room as I love music. Like you, I also received a remote with which I can operate my led MUSIC from anywhere in my room.

Well done, but when the colours align, it is a straight-through, not a crossover cable as you said!
st_indigo2 years ago
Thanks for posting this. I just bought a sign used, and it also came with no cable or remote. I ordered a replacement remote from Pro-Lite, but like you, figured there was an easier, faster way to program the sign and have some interactive-ness to it.

I'm using a USB-to-RS232 cable. I have an old Mac iBook with the phone cable modem jack, and I wish there was some way to use just the phone cable jack directly. Anyone know if this is possible?
xruiz2 years ago
what kind of pro-light sign?
fjordcarver (author)  xruiz2 years ago
I think that is is called Tru-ColorII
gustavol2 years ago
This procedure is the same for LuxLite panels.
I did the same in a LuxLite D-A514.
janw2 years ago
It would be nice to connect it via USB with an FTDI ic.
wow super........
c.selvakumar
cselvakumardigital3@gmail.com
fjordcarver (author)  instructableselva2 years ago
Thanks!