Indoor Programmable Electronic Message Center Signs and Software

Alpha 220C LED Display


Longer, brighter, better! The Alpha 220C is specifically designed to get your message across as quickly as possible. The longer length provides more space to display your message on one line. Bright, colorful LED's give your message maximum impact.

The Alpha 220C is perfect for employee communication, to inform, inspire or educate. Keep everyone "in the know" with this versatile electronic message display.

The Alpha 220C is an indoor LED message center. It displays text and graphics in three colors and three rainbow combinations. The Alpha 220C is one of the brightest and sharpest indoor displays available.

Use the Alpha 220C to convey information about your business, products, services and specials to employees, customers, visitors, students, patients and guests.

The 20-character display makes the Alpha 220C perfect for displaying ACD statistics in Call Centers or movie titles and display schedules in Movie Theater marquee applications. Its size works well at airport gates to announce flight arrivals and departures; as point of sale displays in restaurants, specialty shops, car washes and retail businesses; in auto dealerships to announce special promotions and new features; in waiting rooms to inform patients; and in hotels, motels and convention centers to announce meetings and meeting locations. It is an inexpensive solution for displaying messages in several locations on a education or business campus.

The Alpha 220C can be used to display employee communications that build company loyalty, boost morale and encourage teamwork. Display the company stock price, emphasize safety issues, advertise company-wide events, promote cafeteria specials, announce birthdays and anniversaries, and publish production goals and attainment. The Alpha 220C is also ideal for displaying real-time information from a wireless broadcast service or Internet source.

For applications that require multiple LED message centers, any number of Alpha 220C displays can be connected together to form an integrated system, along with a computer, displaying important information instantly where it is needed, throughout a business or sales organization, manufacturing facility, distribution operation, health facility, school campus, prison, transportation terminal, hotel or hospitality complex, convention center or government office building.

Messages can be entered using a remote control keyboard that is as easy to understand and use as an ordinary calculator. Our unique Automode programming features eliminate the need to learn complicated programming procedures. Within seconds, anyone can create attractive visual messages with attention-getting impact.

Messages may also be entered using a computer and special messaging software.

Messages are enhanced by 26 built-in display modes, multiple colors, multiple text sizes and fonts, preprogrammed animations, user-designed graphics, special characters, day, date, time of day and many other special features.

Alpha 220C Features

  • One Line – The Alpha 220C is a one-line model. It displays text and graphics on one line.
  • Multicolor – The Alpha 220C is a multicolor model. Text and graphics may be displayed in colors chosen from a palette of three colors – red, green and amber – or in three rainbow color combinations. Specifying the built-in Autocolor feature automatically and randomly changes the color of each screen of text.
  • 20 Character Display – The Alpha 220C displays 20 characters in all modes except Condensed Rotate mode. In Condensed Rotate mode, it displays 35 characters.
  • 28K Memory – The Alpha 220C will store up to 28,000 bytes of messages, programming instructions and graphics.
  • 2 Character Sizes – Characters can be 1.5" (5 pixels) or 2.1" (7 pixels) high.
  • 2 Character Fonts – Text can be displayed in two fonts – serif (fancy) or sans serif (block).
  • 4 Character Widths – Text can be displayed in four widths – slim, stroke, wide or stroke-wide – in both fonts.
  • Shadow Style – Text can be displayed in a 2.1" serif or sans serif font with a background shadow color. The shadow color for red or rainbow 1 characters is green. The shadow color for green, amber, rainbow 2 and mix characters is red.
  • Fixed or Proportional – Text can be displayed using fixed or proportional spacing.
  • 14 Character Styles – The two fonts, two character heights, four widths and shadow style can be combined to produce fourteen character styles:
    • 2.1" Sans Serif Slim
    • 2.1" Sans Serif Stroke
    • 2.1" Sans Serif Wide
    • 2.1" Sans Serif Stroke-Wide
    • 2.1" Sans Serif Shadow
    • 2.1" Serif Slim
    • 2.1" Serif Stroke
    • 2.1" Serif Wide
    • 2.1" Serif Stroke-Wide
    • 2.1" Serif Shadow
    • 1.5" Sans Serif Slim
    • 1.5" Sans Serif Stroke
    • 1.5" Sans Serif Wide
    • 1.5" Sans Serif Stroke-Wide
  • Store 81 Messages – The Alpha 220C will hold up to 81 messages files at one time. Each message file can be any size. The Alpha 220C dynamically allocates memory to each message file as needed up to the total amount of memory available.
  • Battery Backup – The Alpha 220C has battery backup for messages. Messages are retained in memory for up to a month when the Alpha 220C is unplugged.
  • Sequence 128 Messages – Up to 128 messages files may be run in a sequence. Messages files may be listed more than once in the sequence.
  • Message Scheduling – Each message can display on its own schedule, automatically turning on and turning off at specified times on specified days without human or computer intervention. Each message can be programmed with the day and time to start running and the day and time to stop running. Daily recurring messages, such as Lunch Time Specials and Coffee Break Specials or messages coordinated with public transportation arrival and departure schedules, can turn on and turn off at the appropriate times each day. Safety-oriented messages, such as "Lift With Your Legs, Not With Your Back" or "Don't Forget To Wear Your Safety Goggles" can be scheduled to display at different times, instead of at the same time, to achieve maximum effect and variety.
  • Wireless Keyboard – The Alpha 220C comes with a remote control keyboard. The remote control keyboard emits infrared light that controls many Alpha 220C functions. The remote control keyboard can be used up to 30 feet away from the Alpha 220C. It can be used to:
    • turn the Alpha 220C on and off
    • turn off and on the programming keys beep feature
    • program messages
    • run messages
    • delete specific messages
    • insert display modes, special effects and features, and international characters into messages
    • compose dot graphic files and incorporate them into messages
    • set the message file run sequence
    • set the start and stop times and dates for each message file
    • set the time, day and date
    • clear display memory
    • password protect the messages
    • change the serial address of the Alpha 220C
    • run the built-in diagnostic tests
  • Password Protection and Message Locking – These features are provided to prevent unauthorized messages or changes to messages in the Alpha 220C.
  • International Character Set – Messages may contain all the upper and lower case letters (A - Z and a - z), the numbers 0 - 9, and the special characters:

    ! @ # $ % & * ( ) _ - + = | \ { } [ ] : ; ? ? < > , . ? / `

    The following international characters and symbols may also be displayed:

    These characters and symbols allow you to compose messages in more than one language, in English and in Spanish, for example, so you can display the messages in an alternating language message sequence.

  • 24 Special Characters – The Alpha 220C has 24 built-in special characters (glyphs) that may be displayed in messages:
    • Carriage Return symbol
    • Y Punctuation Key
    • Up Arrow
    • Down Arrow
    • Left Arrow
    • Right Arrow
    • Pacman
    • Sailboat
    • Baseball
    • Telephone Handset
    • Heart
    • Car
    • Handicap Wheelchair Symbol
    • Rhino Head
    • Mug
    • Satellite Dish
    • © - Copyright Symbol
    • Male Symbol
    • Female Symbol
    • Bottle
    • Diskette
    • Printer
    • Musical Note
    • Infinity Symbol
  • 26 Display Modes – The Alpha 220C has 26 display modes that control how the characters of each message enter, display and exit. Using a variety of display modes in a message gives "eye-appeal" to the message:
    • Automode – Characters enter, display and exit under control of randomly selected display modes.
    • Roll (Up, Down, Left, Right, In, Out) – Characters move onto the display down from the top (Roll Down), up from the bottom (Roll Up), from the right end to the left (Roll Left), from the left end to the right (Roll Right), move into position vertically from the top and bottom (Roll In), move into position vertically, entering from the center horizontal row (Roll Out).
    • Wipe (Up, Down, Left, Right, In, Out) – Characters are revealed as each horizontal row or vertical column of pixels is lighted row by row or column by column – from the top row of the character down (Wipe Down), from the bottom row of the character up (Wipe Up), from the left column of the message to the right (Wipe Right), from the right column of the message to the left (Wipe Left), from the center row of the message up and down (Wipe Out), or from the top and bottom rows of the message to the center row (Wipe In).
    • Scroll – Characters move up onto the display from the bottom, and any displayed characters move up and off the display.
    • Rotate – Characters travel from right to left across the display in the familiar stock market ticker display mode.
    • Condensed Rotate – Characters travel from right to left across the display in a horizontally-compressed font in the familiar stock market ticker display mode.
    • Hold – Characters display without effects or motion for a specified length of time. The length of time the message stays on the screen is determined by the Speed code.
    • Flash – All characters blink on and off simultaneously several times.
    • Twinkle – The pixels of the displayed characters oscillate their intensity.
    • Sparkle – New characters appear as their pixels turn on randomly and pixels in existing characters randomly turn off.
    • Snow – Lighted pixels sprinkle down from the top pixel row, building new characters from the bottom up, like accumulating snow.
    • Interlock – The 2nd, 4th, and 6th horizontal rows of pixels in the characters move rapidly from the left end to the right, while the 1st, 3rd, 5th, and 7th horizontal rows of pixels move rapidly from the right end to the left, forming the message on the display.
    • Switch – Every other character, i.e., the 1st, 3rd, 5th, 7th, 9th, etc., moves onto the display from the top down, as the remaining characters move onto the display from the bottom up, pausing momentarily to display the message.
    • Cycle Color – Each horizontal row of pixels in the message phrase is displayed in a color that changes four times a second, followed by a momentary pause, displaying the message phrase in one of the six color patterns – red, green, yellow, rainbow1, rainbow2 or mix.
    • Spray – The pixels of characters move across the display from right to left in a spray effect, forming the characters from left to right.
    • Starburst – Several star-patterns display randomly, then form new characters, replacing any previously displayed characters.
  • 6 Speeds – The Alpha 220C has six Speed codes that control how long characters stay on the display in Hold and other modes, and how fast text moves across the display in the two Rotate modes. A special "no hold" Speed code can be used with Hold mode to create user-designed animation effects.
  • 11 Built-in Animations – The Alpha 220C has eleven built-in graphic animations that can be inserted into messages as special effects:
    • Cherry Bomb – The fuse on a cherry bomb burns down, and the bomb explodes.
    • Don't Drink and Drive – A car collides with a bubbling cocktail glass, tossing its passenger and displaying the message "Please Don't Drink and Drive."
    • Fireworks – Colorful firework patterns explode and cascade on the display.
    • No Smoking – A burning cigarette is extinguished, flipped with a finger and replaced with the international No Smoking symbol.
    • Fish – Three little fish – one red, one yellow and one green – swim from left to right past green underwater vegetation, then swim right to left, chased by a red shark.
    • Slot Machine – A slot machine spins with random outcomes.
    • Balloon – About a dozen balloons in different sizes and colors float up. Ends with exploding effect.
    • News Flash – A colorful satellite dish graphic “transmits” dots upward as the characters, “NEWS FLASH” in red, green and yellow, wipe right.
    • Trumpet Playing Music – A trumpet rolls down onto the screen. As its valves move up and down, eight red and green notes come out of the trumpet and move across the screen to the right.
    • Thank You – "Thank You" is written in script from left to right.
    • Welcome – "Welcome" is written in script from left to right.
  • Automatic Message Centering – Messages are automatically centered on the Alpha 220C display in all display modes, except when the Fixed Characters code is used. The Fixed Characters code left-justifies messages, and uses fixed (equal) character spacing from left to right. The primary use of the Fixed Characters code on the Alpha 220C is to display similar fields of data on consecutive screens in the same pixel positions.
  • Display Graphics – The Alpha 220C will display user-designed graphics and logos, up to 7x120 pixels each, with your messages. You can create and store graphics in the Alpha 220C using the remote control keyboard, or you can use a computer and special software. Using a computer, compose or scan bitmap (.bmp) graphics and save the bitmap files on disk. Then use software, such as AlphaNet or Smart Alec, to send messages and graphics to the Alpha 220C.
  • Display Custom Animations – The Alpha 220C will display user-designed animations – sequences of user-designed bitmap graphic files. The animations may play alone, or they may be included with a message.
  • Real-Time Clock – The Alpha 220C has a built-in, battery backed up real-time clock. The time and date (day, month, year) can be set using either the remote control keyboard or using a computer with software that sends the computer?s time and date to the Alpha 220C. The day, date and time are retained in Alpha 220C memory for up to a month when the unit is unplugged.
  • 12- or 24-Hour Time Display – The Alpha 220C can display the time of day in either 12-hour or 24-hour format.
  • 5 Counters – The Alpha 220C will automatically count up or down in any increment, updating every minute, hour or day. Up to five different counters may be active in your messages at the same time. Counting may begin at any value between 0 and 99999999. Messages can display the number of days, minutes or hours until a special event; the number of days or hours since a lost-time accident; or a numeric value that increments or decrements by the same amount every minute, hour or day.
  • Target Messages – Upon reaching specified Counter "target" values, specific target messages can be displayed automatically. For example, a message might display "10 DAYS WITHOUT AN ACCIDENT!" and on the next day automatically display "11 DAYS WITHOUT AN ACCIDENT!" followed by the target message: "A NEW RECORD... CONGRATULATIONS!"
  • Computer Connection – The Alpha 220C may be attached to a wide variety of computers, control equipment and communication devices.
  • Supports Multiple Communications Protocols – The Alpha 220C supports multiple communication protocols. RS232 and RS485 and two RJ11 attachment ports are standard features. Ethernet and POCSAG attachment options are also offered. Numerous cable, network, wireless and modem connectivity options are supported by the Alpha 220C – click here for more information.
  • Address Each Display – Each Alpha 220C can be assigned a unique serial address, so that messages and data may sent by computer or control devices to different displays on the same cable, wireless channel, modem phone number or TCP/IP address. 255 serial addresses are available, and the Alpha 220C serial address may be set or changed easily with the remote control keyboard or with a computer and special software without having to open the Alpha 220C enclosure. The Alpha 220C also has a bank of internal DIP switches that allow its serial address to be set permanently. This method will survive lengthy power supply interruptions or other conditions that could cause a software-set address to reset.
  • Message Verification and Error Checking – Built-in features ensure that messages are received accurately when a computer or control equipment sends messages or data to the Alpha 220C by cable.
  • Priority Message – The Alpha 220C has a 125-byte Priority message file that can be activated by special programming. When the Priority message file is activated, all other message files that are currently running stop being displayed. When the Priority message is terminated, the other messages resume displaying.
  • Audible Alert – A Tone feature may be invoked to beep the Alpha 220C as needed. Several tone control programming options are built-in.
  • Program with both Computer and Keyboard – The Alpha 220C may be programmed by computer and by remote control keyboard without either the computer or the remote control keyboard disrupting the messages programmed by the other device. You may define how much of the storage capacity of the Alpha 220C is reserved for programming by the remote control keyboard. You can also allow or deny remote control keyboard access to message files transmitted to the Alpha 220C by computer.
  • Non-Blinking String File Updates – The Alpha 220C supports "String Files" and real-time updating of String Files without blinking the messages displayed on the sign. String files are memory areas set aside in sign memory by special programming. One use of String Files is to store changing data being updated by an external device or computer. For example, the Alpha 220C could be programmed to display five (or more) ACD statistics fields for each of ten (or more) ACD queues. As the real time values change for each of the 50 variables (5 x 10), the updated values can be transmitted into the Alpha 220C instantly, without causing the Alpha 220C to blink and without affecting the information currently being displayed. String Files can also be used to save sign memory. For example, if the same data is displayed multiple times within a message, the data can be stored once in a String File and recalled from its String File location each time it is needed.
  • Nested Commands – For programmers writing control sequences using native sign communication protocol, multiple commands can be repeated or "nested" within a transmission frame.
  • Clear Memory Easily – When debugging and testing software and messages features, the remote control keyboard can be used to clear the memory of the sign quickly and conveniently, without opening the Alpha 220C enclosure or taking it down from where it is mounted. Clearing memory removes all messages, graphic files and the password that have been programmed into the Alpha 220C.
  • Supports Wireless Applications – The Alpha 220C supports POCSAG or pager transmission format. It can be programmed for wireless applications.
  • Wireless News and Sports Service – The Alpha 220C can be equipped with a wireless broadcast receiver that will display the latest news headlines, financial market summaries, sports information and scores, in addition to your own messages. The receiver and news service are extra charge options.
  • Update Firmware Easily – When new features or firmware improvements for the Alpha 220C are announced by Adaptive Micro Systems, firmware upgrades may be purchased and easily installed.
  • Keyboard Programming Manual – A programming manual describing how to use the remote control keyboard is provided with the Alpha 220C. It is well-written, well-organized and easy to use. It includes tutorial exercises and feature reference tables. A Spanish translation of the manual is available. Both English and Spanish manuals may be downloaded at no charge.
  • Technical Assistance and Support – Ongoing limited customer assistance for installation issues and technical support are provided by Alpha-American Programmable Signs at no additional charge.
  • Programming Assistance and Training – Our experienced instructors and technicians are available by telephone or on site in your location.
  • Internet Support – Both the manufacturer, Adaptive Micro Systems, and distributor, Alpha-American Programmable Signs, have informative web sites.
  • 110 or 230V – The Alpha 220C is completely solid-state. It has a removable power cord, and it plugs into a standard 120V AC electrical outlet. For a more attractive installation, if possible, locate your electrical outlet out of sight behind the Alpha 220C or above the drop ceiling, if the Alpha 220C is being mounted near the ceiling.
  • Attractive Enclosure – The Alpha 220C has an attractive Eurostyle case design that will compliment any business environment.
  • Mounting Hardware – Each Alpha 220C includes mounting hardware for wall, counter top and ceiling installations. Back-to-back mounting hardware for ceiling-mounted configurations is available as an extra charge option.
  • One Year Warranty – The Alpha 220C has a one-year USA factory warranty. After the one-year warranty expires, the Alpha 220C will be repaired and returned for flat rate of $95.

Alpha 220C Specifications

  • AMS Part #: 1014-1111
  • Display Array: 120 pixels wide x 7 pixels high
  • Number of Lines: 1
  • Maximum Character Height: 2.1" (4.3 cm)
  • Maximum Number of Characters on Sign Display: 20 characters in all modes except Condensed Rotate mode; 35 characters in Condensed Rotate mode.
  • Pixel Size (diameter): 0.2" (.05 cm)
  • Pixel (LED) Colors: Red, Green, Amber, Rainbow 1, Rainbow 2 and Mix
  • Center-to-Center Pixel Spacing (Pitch): 0.3" (0.8 cm)
  • Character Set: Block (sans serif); Decorative (serif); Upper and Lower case; Normal, Wide and Double-Wide
  • Automatic Centering – Messages center in any mode, except when Fixed Characters is specified. Fixed Characters left justifies messages in any mode.
  • Power: 100 VAC - 240 VAC. Different power cords are offered for specific type plugs.
  • Power Cords Available: 120 VAC (North America), 230 VAC (Europe), 240 VAC (United Kingdom, Australia, New Zealand)
  • Power Cord Length: 9'10" (3 m) to 120 VAC (North America), 7'10" (2.5 m) to 230 VAC European
  • Keyboard: Handheld, Eurostyle, Infrared-Wireless, Remote operated
  • Case Material: Extruded aluminum
  • Display Area Size: 36" L x 2.1" H (91.4 cm L x 5.3 cm H)
  • Case Size: 37.7" L x 2.9" D x 3.8" H (95.76 cm L x 7.37 cm D x 9.6 cm H)
  • Weight: 4.7 lbs (2.13 kg) including display, power cord, and remote keyboard
  • Limited Warranty: One-year parts and labor, factory servicing
  • Agency Approvals:
    • 120 VAC Model: Listed to ANSI/UL 1950-3rd Edition (US) and CAN/CSA-22.2 No. 950-M89 (Canada)
    • 230 VAC Models: Complies with EN 60950: 1992 (Europe) and AS/NZS 3260-1993 (Australia/New Zealand)
    • FCC Part 15 Class A
    • CE Marked
  • Operating Temperature: 32? to 120?F, 0? to 49?C
  • Humidity Range: 0% to 95% non-condensing
  • Current Firmware Revision

Related Accessories and Replacement Parts

  • Firmware Update
  • Broadcast Receiver and News Service
  • Back-to-back Mounting Brackets
  • 230 VAC Power with European Line Cord
  • Remote Control Keyboard (with English labels) with 4 AAA Batteries Included
  • Remote Control Keyboard (with Spanish labels) with 4 AAA Batteries Included
  • Infrared Message Loader with 9V Battery and 3' Cable
  • 25' RS232 6-conductor Modular Cable with RJ11-06 connectors on each end
  • RS232 Serial Adapter (DB25F to RJ11-06) for 25-pin Serial Ports
  • RS232 Serial Adapter (DB9F to RJ11-06) for 9-pin Serial Ports
  • RS232 Serial Adapter (DB25M to RJ11-06) for Modem use
  • RS232 Serial Adapter (DB25M to DB9F) Gender changer for 9-pin Serial Port
  • RS232 Serial Adapter (DB25F to DB9M) Gender changer for 25-pin Serial Port
  • 25' RS232 6-conductor Modular Cable with RJ11-06 connectors on each end
  • 50' RS232 6-conductor Modular Cable with RJ11-06 connectors on each end
  • 6-Conductor RJ11 Coupler for connecting RS232 Cables together (Maximum 50' length)
  • Converter Box III with two End of Line Terminators (without Power Adapter)
  • Converter Box AC Adapter, USA, 10W 120VAC Input 9V Output
  • Converter Box AC Adapter, European, 14W 230VAC Input 9V Output
  • Converter Box AC Adapter, United Kingdom, 14W 240VAC Input 9V Output
  • 10' RS232 Serial Cable, Type A9, DB9F to DB9M for Converter Box to PC
  • 10' RS232 Serial Cable, Type B9, DB25M to DB9M for Converter Box to Modem
  • 1000' Spool of Shielded RS485 Network Cable
  • 100' Spool of Shielded RS485 Network Cable
  • RS485 Modular Network Adapter – Connects RS485 Modular Cable to Shielded RS485 Network Cable
  • 8' RS485 Cable with Ferrite Core; has RJ11-04 jacks on each end
  • 1' RS485 Cable with Ferrite Core; has RJ11-04 jacks on each end
  • 8' RS485 Cable with three RJ11-04 jacks for back-to-back Alpha sign configurations
  • MSS100 Ethernet Serial Server – 10/100 Base
  • MSS485 Ethernet Serial Server – 10 Base
  • Alpha Ethernet Adapter Kit – 10 Base
  • Alpha Ethernet Adapter – DB25F to RJ11 Connector
  • Alpha Ethernet Adapter Cable
  • Alpha Discrete Input Interface CPU Module
  • Alpha Discrete Input Interface Power Supply
  • Alpha Discrete Input Interface Kit (Sink Mode)
    • Additional Input Module (Sink Mode)
  • Alpha Discrete Input Interface Kit (Source Mode)
    • Additional Input Module (Sink Mode)
  • End of line Terminator for Converter Box III and Alpha RS232 port
  • Network Repeater Box
  • Packing Materials – Carton and Styrofoam

Related Documentation

Software Available

Technical Support

  • Hardware:
    • From Distributor, Alpha-American Programmable Signs
    • From Manufacturer, Adaptive Micro Systems
  • Software:
    • From Alpha-American Programmable Signs
    • From Adaptive Micro Systems
    • From other sign software providers

Ordering Info

  • For prices, please call Alpha-American Programmable Signs at (800) 223-4636 or use our Request Form.
  • 7.75% California Sales Tax is added to sales of items delivered in California, unless other arrangements are made.
  • Shipping charges are added to each order.
  • Submit orders by fax, mail, e-mail or telephone.
  • Various terms are available.

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Alpha-American Programmable Signs
2445 Morena Blvd., Suite 100, San Diego, CA 92110
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Phone: (858) 273-3036     Fax: (858) 273-3040
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