If you are looking for some real basics on solid state flashers click here first. Wiring information is also included.


The first step is to determine how many points of animation the sign will have.
A point is a load (or loads in parallel) that must be turned on and off by the
Controller board.
The load can be a series of lamps or neon transformers (or both).

In order to better determine the amount of points to use in a sign animation
various pattern options need to be discussed.

SCINTILLATE - The loads are wired in-line (i.e. 1-2-3, 1-2-3...) such as the border
action of a sign, or distributed evenly inside a confined area such as a letter or
other object. The amount of points used to display the scintillation pattern varies
and determines the amount of AC current required per point. The pattern selected
determines the intensity of the scintillation pattern (darker of brighter).


3 POINT - higher load current per point
(a.) 1 on / 2 off    click to view
(b.) 2 on / 1 off    click to view

click to view all 3 point patterns

4 POINT - medium load current per point
(a.) 1 on / 3 off    click to view
(b.) 3 on / 1 off    click to view
(c.) 2 on / 2 off    click to view

click to view all 4 point patterns

6 POINT - lowest load current per point
(a.) 1 on / 5 off    click to view
(b.) 5 on / 1 off    click to view
(c.) 2 on / 4 off    click to view
(d.) 4 on / 2 off    click to view
(e.) 3 on / 3 off    click to view

click to view all 6 point patterns

STACK - The lamps are lined up across an area of the sign and are turned on
in a pattern that appears to stack the lit lamps starting at one end and ending
at the other. The difference between a STACK and a FILL is the action
that takes place to get to the top of the stack. For example if there are six
lamps in a row and you want to step from right to left the pattern would be...

1 on
1 off / 2 on
2 off / 3 on
3 off / 4 on
4 off / 5 on
5 off / 6 on >>> 6 stays lit solid
1 on
1 off / 2 on
2 off / 3 on
3 off / 4 on
4 off / 5 on >>> 5 and 6 stay lit
1 on
1 off / 2 on
2 off / 3 on
3 off / 4 on >>> 4, 5 and 6 stay lit... and so on till the stack is full of lit bulbs.

click here to view a 6 point stack

FILL (or SPELL) - Instead of stepping across the string of lamps the lamps turn on
one at a time starting from one end to the other until they are all lit.
If you want to spell on the letters, in a name, then the fill pattern is what
you require. Back and forth actions are used in some cases such as...

(5 point example)
1 on
1 & 2 on
1 & 2 & 3 on
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 on
1 & 2 & 3 & 4 & 5 on
all off
5 on
5 & 4 on
5 & 4 & 3 on
5 & 4 & 3 & 2 on
5 & 4 & 3 & 2 & 1 on

the "dark" pattern can be made to sweep on also, such as...

(continuing from above)
5 off, 4 & 3 & 2 & 1 on
5 & 4 off, 3 & 2 & 1 on
5 & 4 & 3 off, 2 & 1 on
5 & 4 & 3 & 2 off, 1 on
5 & 4 & 3 & 2 & 1 off

click here to view this pattern

OPTIONS - More points of control allows you more freedom with your
pattern options. For example a sign could have a border of lamps that are
individually driven.
These lamps could be programmed (with ALDOR software) to scintillate in
a 3 point 1 on / 2 off pattern clockwise around the sign.
Then after a set number of repeating actions the same
bulbs could now start scintillating in a 6 point 4 on / 2 off pattern in a
counterclockwise direction. Next they could spell and stack in different patterns.
With ALDOR technology you can even have a set pattern on a sign that changes
when an outside input is detected. For example a bank of slot machines with a
sign over them that does a pattern change if change is required by one of the
machine players, or a jackpot relay closes inside one of the machines.

A common animation is to spell on a name with the letters lighting up solid
across the sign, spelling the name. The bulbs in the letters then scintillate,
turn off, and the pattern repeats. When calculating the number of points for
such a sign the points necessary to drive the neutral of each letter must also
be added to the points to make the lamps scintillate.

For example if the sign had 5 letters and the letters are to spell on, hold solid, then
scintillate with a 6 point 4 on / 2 off pattern the total point count would be 5 + 6 = 11 points.

This is accomplished by using an ALDOR driver (Triac Board) at the AC hot and
AC neutral lines. The AC hot side is held on by the controller while the AC neutrals
(connected as commons to each letter) are turned on in a sequence that
spells the name. Once all of the neutrals are turned on the AC hot lines are
flashed on and off in a pattern that scintillates the bulbs in the letters.

A common miss-wire on this kind of sign is done by trying to save "runs" of wire
back to the electronics by tying common points at the sign and running one wire.
Each line must be wired back to the electronics or AC current will "leak" through
the lamps filaments and cause some lamps to glow when they should be off.

Make a list and number each point indicating the amount of AC current each point will
have on it.

* Click here * to download a form that you can fill out.

This form is in Adobe Acrobat .pdf format
if you need a free Acrobat reader

Taking all of this into account click on the button below that indicates the amount
of points your sign project will have.


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