Inview Marquee Message Board

  • My mill(Savona Specialty Plywood) has donated this industrial message board:

    It’s an Allen Bradley Inview. The display is 7.2"H X 60"W and it’s Tri-Colour(red, green, yellow). It looks like Inview has been bought out or rebranded but the info for it is here:

    It stopped working a while ago, but it seems like it could be a power supply issue. In any regard, it’s obsolete in terms of use at the mill.

    @arasbm and myself were chatting about it last week and I picked it up today. It’s a NEMA 4 rated enclosure which means it is rated for outdoor use and could be great to mount outside of the space and display/automate whatever messages we see fit. The only issue I can see is we may need to take it inside during winter as it’s only rated to 0C.

    Anyway, it belongs to the space now. Among many, many other things it might fit into the whole theme of recognizing if the kettle or coffee pot is on. Maybe displaying a coffee cup in a corner or something!?

    Also, if someone could show me how to embed photos into my posts instead of posting links, it would be great.

  • Thanks for this awesome donation @n0pe ! I am really excited to see how it comes together. Like you suggested, I think there is a great potential here to create a unique interface for our makerspace members :smile:

    Was it a 5v 40amp power supply that it is using? Anyone has such a power supply kicking around that we could use to test if that is the problem?

    @n0pe regarding photo attachment, it should be drag and drop. If not, you can use the markdown format: ![]( http(s)://full_path_to_photo )

  • Yeah it was 5V/40A. I’m wondering if it’ll work if we replace the caps inside the power supply. It’s worth checking out before potentially spending money on one.

  • I know we have a 5V 40A supply here at Scorpion (it wasn’t big enough for a project and we had to go to a 60). Stop by on Wed and get it from Garet if you need it.


  • 3D


  • Yes!!! Nice work guys, I would love to check it out maybe Friday. Was it the PS?

  • Yes. I guess all things faded over time. We ended up using an atx power supply. I donated a few serial communication parts to get things going. :)

  • @n0pe
    Yes, but for about ten minutes we were all confused because the replacement power supply was doing the same thing with and without a load attached.
    We ended up replacing the power supply completely and substituting in an ATX power supply and things started happening. Now we’re working on interfacing. I’ll be in next wednesday to start work on the RS-232 adapter.

  • @MIPS Great stuff. I can also get my hands on the marquee software to play around with, but someone else had mentioned making something in-house. The stock software for it is horrendous. Industrial programming software is/was notoriously bug-ridden. Only recently has it started to become somewhat intuitive to use with certain vendors.

  • 3D

    No luck. We’ve fabricobbled together a max232-based RS232 -> TTL adapter only to discover it does not respond to any kind of communication on the serial. Apparently, there is a custom protocol named “Control-T” that is only implemented in PLC5, MicroLogics and bunch of other PLCs. This, or it needs an Ethernet/IP comms module to be able to talk to usual PCs.
    I also may be doing something terribly wrong here.

  • There’s proprietary software from Allen Bradley that will set up messages on it that I have in hand here. I will bring it by so we can set it up.

    We have this in place in other areas of the mill and trigger messages via data highway + or DH+ which I think is proprietary to AB.

    There are 2 ways we’ve set it up here.

    PLC Controlled:

    We pre-program the canned messages at a PC and send them to the display via DH+ to be stored on the board. Then you can send 1 or more words of data from a PLC via DH+ with the first word dictating which message to display, and the remaining passing variables to be displayed(if the selected message contains variables). Aside from that, there are a few trigger bits and words that get sent that determine which variables are being passed and when to grab them.

    PC Controlled:

    We had an RS232 card in a PC and sent the messages directly to the board and the board just cycles between the messages. I don’t recall if the PC had a proprietary card or not, but I will have a look to see if it’s still in the back of the PC that was controlling it. No variables, just messages. This works, but is still quite limited and clunky. There’s nothing user friendly about the proprietary software on these boards.

    The alternative is to hack it to little bits and make it work the way I know you guys can make it work. :grimacing:

  • So looking at the old setup, the messages were sent from the PC’s serial port to the board. No proprietary PCI cards.

    I brought the software in and the disc is sitting on the board. One night this evening I’ll come by with the laptop and connect through the allen bradley software. Any night you will be around this week, @toxuin ?

  • 3D

    I’ll be in Monday (today) from 5.30 till ~7.30 and Wednesday from 6 till late.
    Guys, we are running short of computers with physical parallel\serial ports fairly quickly now:-D

  • If you need more machines with real serial ports just ask. I still know people in the PC recycling business on the coast. I’m sure they can make a good deal for a half dozen (not all that fast or good) machines for not a ton of money.
    I’ll also be in Wednesday.

  • We use a combination of pl2303 based USB/rs232 adaptors and the star tech dual 16550 based PCI cards at work. They work pretty much flawlessly. I would rather spend money putting nice serial cards into machines…

  • I’ll come in Wednesday as well.

  • NCIX has a PCI card with 2 serial ports, and a parallel for $42, USB serial adaptor for $30. Using good hardware. That’s before I try to log in to the work account and get a better price.

    So … don’t pay more than that for an old, slow machine just to get serial ports. :)

    I should mention that @n0pe dropped off a disc with the software for that message board on the weekend too. Should be in the hack room.

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