Indoor Programmable Electronic Message Center Signs and Software

Alpha 4240C NEMA 12 LED Electronic Display Sign

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Technical Support


The Alpha 4240C NEMA 12 LED Electronic Sign is a state-of-the-art indoor, full matrix, tricolor LED display in a NEMA 12 enclosure. The Alpha 4240C NEMA 12 LED sign displays one or two lines of text, graphics, and animations, and it can be networked together with other Alpha, AlphaPremiere, and AlphaVision displays, in standard or NEMA enclosures, using RS485 or Ethernet connectivity.

The Alpha 4240C N12 is designed for preventive safety, quality control maintenance and the continuous real time employee communication you need to keep production up and running.

The Alpha 4240C N12 enclosure provides protection against windblown dust, falling dirt and dripping non-corrosive liquids. Automatic LED dimming and shutdown features protect the Alpha 4240C N12 from damage when the internal temperature is too hot to continue normal operation.

The Alpha 4240C N12 is a versatile indoor LED message center designed for industrial and commercial use. It displays text and graphics in three colors and three rainbow color combinations. The Alpha 4240C N12 is one of the brightest and sharpest indoor displays available.

Messages can be entered using a remote control keyboard that is as easy to understand and use as an ordinary calculator. Automode and Autocolor 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 25 built-in display modes, multiple colors, multiple text sizes and fonts, user-designed graphics, day, date, time of day and many other special features.

For applications that require multiple LED message centers, any number of Alpha 4240C NEMA 12 displays can be connected together to form an integrated system, displaying important information instantly where it is needed.

Focus on the process... When you focus on the process, you're focused on information, productivity, prevention, employee morale and customer satisfaction. To ensure continued productivity and preventive safety, to relay real time communication, to manage quality control, to boost employee morale – count on the Alpha 4240C NEMA 12.


The Alpha 4240C N12 is useful as an information or direction sign in a corridor or at the top or bottom of an escalator in a somewhat dirty environment, such as a warehouse facility, manufacturing facility, distribution facility, school or business campus, airport or other transportation terminal.

The Alpha 4240C N12 is a highly visible communication tool for a large area. It is a good choice for an automobile, truck or motorhome dealer to display special promotions and new features, since there is frequent washing of vehicles in these environments.

The Alpha 4240C N12 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 4240C N12 will also display real-time information from a production system, from a wireless broadcast service or from an Internet source.

Alpha 4240C N12 Features

  • One to Two Lines – The Alpha 4240C N12 will display text and graphics on one or two lines.
  • Multicolor – 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.
  • 24 to 120 Character Display – The Alpha 4240C will display twenty-four 4.8-inch characters in one-line format. It will display eighty 2.1-inch characters or one hundred-twenty 1.5-inch characters in two-line format.
  • 28K Memory – The Alpha 4240C N12 will store up to 28,000 bytes of messages and graphics. An inexpensive memory upgrade option is available to increase memory capacity to 60,000 bytes.
  • 3 Character Sizes – Characters can be 1.5" (5 pixels), 2.1" (7 pixels), or 4.8" (16 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 – normal, wide, double-wide, or wide double-wide.
  • Fixed or Proportional – Text can be displayed using fixed or proportional spacing.
  • 40 Character Styles – The choice of two fonts, three character heights, and three width codes provide twenty unique proportionally-spaced character styles and twenty unique fixed-width character styles:
    • 4.8" Sans Serif Normal
    • 4.8" Sans Serif Wide
    • 4.8" Sans Serif Double-Wide
    • 4.8" Sans Serif Wide Double-Wide
    • 4.8" Serif Normal
    • 4.8" Serif Wide
    • 4.8" Serif Double-Wide
    • 4.8" Serif Wide Double-Wide
    • 2.1" Sans Serif Normal
    • 2.1" Sans Serif Wide
    • 2.1" Sans Serif Double-Wide
    • 2.1" Sans Serif Wide Double-Wide
    • 2.1" Serif Normal
    • 2.1" Serif Wide
    • 2.1" Serif Double-Wide
    • 2.1" Serif Wide Double-Wide
    • 1.5" Sans Serif Normal
    • 1.5" Sans Serif Wide
    • 1.5" Sans Serif Double-Wide
    • 1.5" Sans Serif Wide Double-Wide
  • Store 81 Messages – The Alpha 4240C N12 will hold up to 81 messages files at one time. Each message file can be any size. The Alpha 4240C N12 dynamically allocates memory to each message file as needed up to the total amount of memory available.
  • Battery Backup – The Alpha 4240C N12 has battery backup for messages. Messages are retained in memory for up to a month when the Alpha 4240C N12 is powered off.
  • 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 4240C N12 comes with a remote control keyboard. The remote control keyboard emits infrared light that controls many Alpha 4240C N12 functions. The remote control keyboard can be used up to 30 feet away from the Alpha 4240C N12. It can be used to:
    • turn the Alpha 4240C N12 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 address of the Alpha 4240C N12
    • 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 4240C N12.
  • 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:

    International Characters and Symbols

    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.

  • 25 Display Modes – The Alpha 4240C N12 has 25 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), from the right and left ends to the center (Roll In), and from the center of the display to the right and left ends (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 column of the message to the right and left columns (Wipe Out), or from the right and left columns of the message to the center column (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.
    • 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.
    • Slide – Characters slide rapidly across the display, one at a time, from right to left, building the message from left to right.
    • 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 4240C N12 has six Speed codes that control how long characters stay on the display in Hold mode, how long characters stay on the screen in the various Roll and Wipe modes, Interlock mode, etc. The fastest speed code is used with Hold mode to create user-designed animation effects.
  • 9 Built-in Animations – The Alpha 4240C N12 has nine built-in animations that can be inserted into messages as special effects:
    • Cherry Bomb – The fuse on a cherry bomb burns down, and the bomb explodes with a beep. The beep is an attention-getting Audible Alert when it is incorporated into a message.
    • 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.
    • Running Animal – An animal resembling a horse runs across the display from right to left.
    • Slot Machine – A slot machine spins with random outcomes.
    • Turbo Car – A car appears and races across the display.
    • 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 4240C N12 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 4240C N12 is to display similar fields of data on consecutive screens in the same pixel positions.
  • Display Graphics – The Alpha 4240C N12 will display user-designed graphics and logos, up to 16x240 pixels each, with your messages. You can create and store graphics in the Alpha 4240C N12 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. Software, such as AlphaNet, can be used to send messages and graphics to the Alpha 4240C N12.
  • Display Custom Animations – The Alpha 4240C N12 will display user-designed animations – sequences of user-designed bitmap graphic files. The animations may play alone, or they may be included with a text message.
  • Real-Time Clock – The Alpha 4240C N12 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 4240C N12. The day, date and time are retained in Alpha 4240C N12 memory for up to a month when the unit is powered off.
  • 12- or 24-Hour Time Display – The Alpha 4240C N12 can display the time of day in either 12-hour or 24-hour format.
  • 5 Counters – The Alpha 4240C N12 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 4240C N12 may be attached to a wide variety of computers, control equipment and communication devices.
  • Supports Multiple Communications Protocols – The Alpha 4240C N12 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 4240C N12 – click here for more information.
  • Address Each Display – Each Alpha 4240C N12 can be given a unique 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 addresses are available, and the Alpha 4240C N12 address may be set or changed easily with the remote control keyboard or using a computer and special software. The Alpha 4240C N12 enclosure does not have to be opened.
  • 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 4240C N12 by cable.
  • Priority Message – The Alpha 4240C N12 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 4240C N12 as needed. Several tone control programming options are built-in.
  • Program with both Computer and Keyboard – The Alpha 4240C N12 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 4240C N12 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 4240C N12 by computer.
  • Non-Blinking String File Updates – The Alpha 4240C N12 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 4240C N12 could be programmed to display five (or more) statistics fields for each of five (or more) production lines. As the real time values change for each of the 25 variables (5 x 5), the updated values can be transmitted into the Alpha 4240C N12 instantly, without causing the Alpha 4240C N12 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 4240C N12 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 4240C N12.
  • Supports Wireless Applications – The Alpha 4240C N12 supports POCSAG or pager transmission format. It can be programmed for wireless applications.
  • Wireless News and Sports Service – The Alpha 4240C N12 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 4240C N12 are announced by Adaptive Micro Systems, firmware upgrades may be purchased and easily installed. Alpha 4240C N12 firmware is provided on a chip conveniently mounted in a chip carrier that literally snaps into a socket inside the Alpha 4240C N12 enclosure. An access panel is provided.
  • Keyboard Programming Manual – A programming manual describing how to use the remote control keyboard is provided with the Alpha 4240C N12. 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 4240C N12 is completely solid-state. It has no power cord. A Terminal Block is provided for attaching power.
  • Attractive NEMA Enclosure – The Alpha 4240C N12 has an attractive case design suitable for industrial and commercial environments.
  • Temperature Protection – The Alpha 4240C N12 has automatic temperature controls that help to protect it from damage when its internal temperature is too hot to continue normal operation.
    • Dimming Point – If the internal temperature reaches a "dimming point" of 55° C (131° F), the Alpha 4240C N12 is forced into a 50% reduced power mode, effectively dimming the brightness of LED output by about 50%. LED output returns to normal and forced dimming is turned off when the internal temperature falls below the dimming point.
    • Shut Down Point – If the internal temperature continues to increase, another sensing circuit will execute an automatic shut down at 70° C (158° F) to protect the sign from damage. LED output is turned off.
  • Mounting Hardware – Each Alpha 4240C N12 includes mounting hardware for wall, ceiling or stack mounting installations. Back-to-back mounting hardware for ceiling-mounted configurations is available as an extra charge option.
  • Two Year Warranty – The Alpha 4240C N12 has a one-year USA factory warranty. Alpha-American Programmable Signs extends the warranty to two years for our customers. After the two-year warranty expires, the Alpha 4240C N12 will be repaired and returned for a flat rate that includes return shipping.

Alpha 4240C N12 Specifications

  • AMS Part #: 1079-1115
  • Display Array: 240 pixels wide x 16 pixels high
  • Number of Lines: 1 or 2
  • Character Sizes: 4.8" (12.2 cm), 2.1" (5.3 cm) and 1.5" (3.9 cm)
  • Maximum Number of Characters on Sign Display:
    • 20 to 30 characters in 4.8-inch character format.
    • 40 characters per line in 2.1-inch character format.
    • 60 characters per line in 1.5-inch character format.
  • Display Memory: 28,000 bytes; may be expanded to 60,000 bytes.
  • 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): .3" (.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: 100-132 VAC, 60 Hz or 200-252 VAC 50 Hz Autoranging input.
  • Power Cord: Not provided. Both 120 VAC and 230 VAC models have Terminal Block for field wiring power connection.
  • Keyboard: Handheld, Eurostyle, Infrared-Wireless, Remote operated
  • Case Material: Extruded aluminum.
  • Enclosure: Designed to NEMA 12 specifications – protection against windblown dust, falling dirt and dripping non-corrosive liquids.
  • Display Area Size: 72" L x 4.8" H (182.8 cm L x 12.2 cm H)
  • Case Size: 76.4" L x 5.6" D x 7.9" H (194.2 cm L x 20 cm D x 14.2 cm H)
  • Weight: 50 lbs (22.7 kg) including display and remote control keyboard.
  • Limited Warranty: Two-year parts and labor, factory servicing (see comments above).
  • Agency Approvals:
    • 120 VAC Model: Listed to ANSI/UL 1950-Second Edition (US) and CAN/CSA-22.2 No. 950-M89 (Canada)
    • 230 VAC Model: 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 157???F, 0??? to 69???C
  • Temperature Control: Self regulated overheating protection
  • Humidity Range: 0% to 95% non-condensing
  • Current Firmware Revision

Related Accessories and Replacement Parts

  • Remote Control Keyboards
    • Alpha Remote 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
  • RS232 Connectivity Items
    • 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)
  • RS485 Connectivity Items
    • RS232 to RS485 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; have RJ11-04 jacks on each end
    • 1' RS485 Cable with Ferrite Core; have RJ11-04 jacks on each end
    • 8' RS485 Cable with three RJ11-04 jacks for back-to-back Alpha sign configurations
    • End of line Terminator for Converter Box III and Alpha RS232 port
    • Network Repeater Box
  • Alpha Ethernet Adapter Kits and Components
    • Alpha Ethernet Adapter – 10 Base T Serial Server
    • Alpha Ethernet Adapter – DB25F to RJ11 Connector
    • Alpha Ethernet Adapter Cable
    • MSS100 Ethernet Serial Server – 10/100 Base
    • MSS485 Ethernet Serial Server – 10 Base
  • Alpha Discrete Input Interface Kit and Components
    • 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)
  • Wireless Broadcast Receiver and News Service
  • Firmware Update
  • Back-to-back Mounting Brackets
  • 230 VAC Power
  • 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 Information

  • For prices, please call Alpha-American Programmable Signs at (800) 223-4636 or use our Request Form.
  • 8% 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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