i took this instructable down for a few months because my sign hacking incident made it into the local paper and i had to lay low for a while, so i guess you have a good example of the riskiness of pulling this off.

if you are able to pull this off, i am entirely responsible. feel free to include my name in your court case.
but honestly, I'm just sharing this for scientific purposes not vandalism.

i was inspired to do this because of the i-hacked article but this turned out to be totally different to the device i encountered, so after getting it to work i felt compelled to share how i got it to work.

so, lets get started shall we!

if you are going to attempt this you are going to want some tools capable of "conquering" a padlock.
might i recommend a crowbar. but pack lightly as some evasive running may be in order if someone should come to investigate the scene.

Step 1:

Locating a sign

these signs aren't hard to locate, just search for areas like traffic zones or roadworks areas. once found it would be best to park some distance form the scene to keep your getaway vehicle less obvious.

Step 2:

once arriving at the sign, look for a box that may seem easily accessible for a worker (upright and forward facing). open the box however you perfer as it WILL be locked. once you have opened the box we are on to some saftey precautions
open the keypad faceplate using the black knob shown in the first picture, you will end up with some computery-looking stuff in fount of you. once in the computery space you will see a small black/grey box with loads of antenna cable coming out of it, as a precaution; rip it out or with it with your crowbar. not sure what it dose but transmitting anything cant be a good thing.

you have now broken in entry as well as committed vandalism, don't tell your mother.

Step 3:

commence hacking

not sure what happened here but the code turned to be out a large series of 2's ad it is all in numbers. i have a theory it could be because a 2 is the first digit in the internal serial number.
I'm sorry i cant relay elaborate on this bit, but i have no idea how it happened. hopefully they all just have a default of a series of numbers. and you have an unlimited amount of times to guess.

Step 4:

once you get the code right you will see a screen like the one posted below. select (2) for messages.

Step 5:

it will open up to a screen with the message that was being displayed before you opened it. it is simple to navigate and the instructions are written on the screen. but i will guide you anyway.

here is the sequence


then you are ready to type. use space bar to erase, use arrow keys to navigate and keypad to type. you can hit F2 if you wish to center words.
if you want to have a second page you simply repeat the sequence with a 2


the machine can hold up too 4 pages.

once completed hit esc until you make it back to the log on screen and all your silly messages will be on display for everyone to see.
Oh wow. This is amazing. I wouldn't do it personally due to the overall risk, but still amazing.
its really not hacking tho if yuh are useing the keypad but still good and funny as hell
You are badass! I probably wouldn't rip out the transmitter, and I was hoping for a more thourough guide.
I saw this done as a boycott effort against BP. I don't want to go to jail or have a felony record. So I probably won't try it.
If its on the road thats a federal offence ( US )
you are the first guy to say and i quote: DISCLAIMER if you are able to pull this off, i am entirely responsible. feel free to include my name in your court case. but honestly, I'm just sharing this for scientific purposes not vandalism. dude that is stinkin awesome though my dad is like the boss of the bosses who put out these signs sooooo.... yea that is out of the picture to me but still great instructable. next time u should hack into a lage billboard like the ones on the freeway that would rock follow me on twitter twitter.com/XXXXXX that would be cool or instructables.com subscribe to me instructables.com/user/XXXXX u know what i am sayin? overall stinkin awsome 'ible -miiwii3
Use a lock gun to break the lock. They are around $30-$40.
ive found somewhere else that the password is DOTS as a default, and if it's not, Hold Control and Shift and while holding, enter DIPY. this should work.
This is awesome! you are my new hero...
That is simply AWSOME 5 stars+faved what is the limit of characters you can put ?
7 characters on each row. and there are 3 rows... so 21 in all or maybe it scales down the letters when you add more than that.
cool thanks
Do you have to drop the f-bomb in your thumbnail.
yeah the F-Bomb is a serious word...
hmm... Something really funny to do on one of these is to advertise porn or something on a busy highway or near a school that would be freaking hilarious.
XD I just realised what the retra-vision thing was LOL! that earns 5*
Rofl After I saw this happen on the news Ive been wanting to do it. the sign said: "Caution! Nazi zombies ahead!, THE END IS NEAR!!!" LOL.
HAHA Sweet!<br/><br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/4c6876f656/zombie-traffic-signs">http://www.funnyordie.com/videos/4c6876f656/zombie-traffic-signs</a><br/>
I saw this on the news this morning (in orlando). the sign said "caution zombies, run!" Obviously a copycat of the article on i-hacked.
everyone shut up this is awesome!!
Dude. Epic. Thanks man. But are you sure you can't help a little more on the name and password? Or did you just get lucky?
ur gonna have to take some of the blame for this<br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://news.aol.com/article/zombies-road-signs-attack-austin-texas/322482">http://news.aol.com/article/zombies-road-signs-attack-austin-texas/322482</a><br/>LOL! Zombies!<br/>&quot;When i seez a zombie down da road i go like BOOM BOOM HEADSHOT BOOM&quot;<br/>
just heeardd about this<br/>most ppl think it was funny<br/><br/>another article on it<br/><a rel="nofollow" href="http://news.aol.com/article/zombie-road-signs-attack-austin-texas/322482?icid=200100397x1218085198x1201194649">http://news.aol.com/article/zombie-road-signs-attack-austin-texas/322482?icid=200100397x1218085198x1201194649</a><br/>
Flagged as inappropriate as it encourages vandalism and other illegal activities.
Vandalism implies destruction of property. Err, wrong. Illegal activities? "haxoring" huh? I'd get that pole check as soon as possible, it seems to have ruptured your sense of humour along with your lower intestines.
I quote from step two: "once in the computery space you will see a small black/grey box with loads of antenna cable coming out of it, as a precaution; rip it out or with it with your crowbar. not sure what it dose but transmitting anything cant be a good thing. you have now broken in entry as well as committed vandalism, don't tell your mother." (many, many instances where SIC would be appropriate in that quote) Ripping out the transmitter is vandalism, and illegal. Messing with the signs in general would be illegal, too, I would assume. I don't, however, know that for a fact, so I'm not going to say it is.
Its the internet. Get over it. Youre not the one doing this, so why care.
I am chatised. However, I couldn't care less.
You not caring doesn't change the definition of vandalism. This is vandalism, you were wrong, don't be a jerk about it.
I thought saying "I am chatised" qualified as conceding the point. And yeah, being a jerk on the Internet is kind of a prerequisite.
Ah, my bad, didn't know what you meant. It's not a word I see a lot, so when one letter is missing it throws me off :P
I gotta say, that also was one of the first things that came to my mind. Breaking that "Reciever" or whatever it is, or just removing it is vandalism (if you keept it.. you also stole it, thats probably even worse). Hacking that sign and opening the lock is also illegal. Could be different it wasn't locked at all, but don't hold me for that.
<a rel="nofollow" href="http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/Road_signs_warn_of_zombies">http://www.kxan.com/dpp/news/Road_signs_warn_of_zombies</a><br/><br/>AUSTIN (KXAN) - Austin drivers making their morning commute were in for a surprise when two road signs on a busy stretch of road were taken over by hackers. The signs near the intersection of Lamar and Martin Luther King boulevards usually warn drivers about upcoming construction, but Monday morning they warned of &quot;zombies ahead.&quot;<br/>
Vandalism? Nothing is damaged, in fact many of these messages encourage slow driving!
Step 2; "rip it out or with it with your crowbar." sounds awfully vandalizing to me :D
Ok ok, I didn't read the whole thing! : )
hahahahaha fair enough
Or may cause an accident.... both is possible. I don't think either will happen ;-)
just so you know, i didn't actualy break the (transmitter/reciever/whatever it was) i just unplugged it.
I'd love to put my Ex-Wife's name and phone number up on one of these things... Just to get even. Like: "For Free Bxxxx & Lxxx Call: xxx-xxx-xxxx for a good time,"
If that's all it would take to get even, what did she do that was so bad? Throw water balloons at you? Pee on your birthday cake?
defiantly very nice
I'm glad you did get to posting this! I saw the thread on 4chan this morning! You sir, are awesome. Massive screen-cap below.
You massive screen-cap is a tiny unreadable 13KB image!
Sorry about that!<br/>Here is the <a rel="nofollow" href="https://www.instructables.com/files/orig/F1Y/CUZJ/FQHNIT8H/F1YCUZJFQHNIT8H.jpg">link</a> to the full sized one.<br/>
Maybe you could just unplug the transmitter?
It's not actually a transmitter, it's a receiver for communication via a dedicated handset or txt from a cellphone! !! You don't really have to break open the cabinet and put your finger prints all over the keyboard :)
Actually, I like this inst. I always wondered what platform was used or even how the messages were transmitted to the sign. Although it is dangerous to actually get into one of these signs as usually they are next to highways with lots of traffic and are usually watched or eventually will be passed by law enforcement, it still would be a fun prank. *as long as it is not done on a sign that says something like "BRIDGE OUT"...I think that would be extremely dangerous and irresponsible.
Something like this? Speed Limit 90mph