M-500, M-1000, M1500 Bright Scrolling Computer Controlled Led Signs

These are generic scrolling LED signs come with an infrared remote, mounting brackets, and a CD-ROM. They support serial port connectivity using an RJ12 connector. For the most part, they operate similar in manner to the Pro-Lite signs, but use a different protocol. The "outdoor" models are super bright.

The signs come with a remarkable lack of branding, which can make identifying the kind of sign difficult; this is an advantage for anyone who wants a generic sign absent of vendor tags. Based on a bit of investigation this appears to be because it's made in China, where the manufactures steal each other's designs. The original manufacture appears to be Bestlink Optoelectronics Limited.

There's also a set of mini LED signs, with a Perl module (Device::MiniLED) to program it, as well as special instructions for using that module with OS X Mountain Lion.

Default Password

The default password to the sign is 000, and with a remote must end in Enter. But it's possible to "unset" the password, making it easier to program.

Baud rate

Older signs originally defaulted to 2400 baud, but you should try 9600,N,8,1 to start with.


Where other signs use the concept of pages, this sign calls them "Files" and uses a two-digit numerical number to represent them.

About the Protocol

The sign's protocol uses an escape sequence mechanism. There's two kinds of escape characters, the backslash \ and the caret ^. To use either in a message, one needs to escape the escape characters with a backslash.

The end of line terminator is the carriage return: chr(13), 0x0C, \r.
The newline character (0x0A) is not used.

Inside the Sign

The inside of the sign consists of a circuit board with LEDs mounted to it, and a controller card labeled MS1-CTRL Ver 3.2:

M500 Controller Card

Large signs, such as the MC-M10 7x40A DIP Ver 1.1 1220 are actually two signs internally chained together via a bridge.

Preferred Vendor

Bright Signs Contact: Kerry Schwab <sales@brightledsigns.com>

Signs from here include shipping, non-trial software, and a high quality FTDI USB to Serial adapter! The 4"x26" is a very good bargain, if you're a hobbyist looking for a sign to connect to your computer.

Sign Models

The model number conveys the size and kind of the sign. The suffix N is for iNdoor signs, the W is for semi-outdoor (think Window). The signs come in Red, Amber, and tri-color; the latter suffix being RG for red, green, and yellow/amber (when both lit).
  • 4"x17" 7.62mm pitch, 7x50 pixels
    • Indoor 3-color (M500N-7x50RG2)
  • 4"x26" 7.62mm pitch 7x80 pixels
    • Indoor 3-color (M500N-7x80RG2)
    • Semi Outdoor 3-COLOR (M500W-7x80RG2)
    • Semi Outdoor Red (M500W-7x80R)
    • Semi Outdoor Amber (M500W-7x80A)
  • 6"x38" 15mm pitch, 7x60 pixels
    • Semi Outdoor 3 Color (M1500W-7x60RG)
    • Semi Outdoor Red (M1500W-7x60R)
    • Semi Outdoor Amber (M1500W-7X60A)
  • 6"x49" 15mm pitch, 7x80 pixels
    • Semi Outdoor 3 Color (M1500W-7x80RG)
    • Semi Outdoor Red (M1500W-7x80R)
    • Semi Outdoor Amber (M1500W-7x80A)
  • Small LED Signs
    • Programmable LED Badge
    • 2x10 LED Micro Desk Sign
    • 4x16 LED Mini Desk Sign
  • Larger, outdoor signs (bitmap graphics can be sent as well)

Related Hardware



Other Sign Links

  • AvBrand — discussion of the serial protocol.

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