Mini LED Signs
The mini LED signs are similar in nature to the larger LED models, with the exception
of their size. The smaller signs can fit on a desk, a keyboard, or even be a badge
held on by pin or magnet.
The signs are programmable via a mini USB port — the serial adapter is built
right into the sign! What's really sweet is that there's a Perl module that does a lot of the heavy
lifting for you; it works with Windows and Linux.
This wearable display has 6 lines of text, 250 characters each. It can display 2
images of 12x384 pixels, with a maximum storage of 1500 ASCII characters or 675
eastern. The display can do fonts in either 12x36 or 12x48 pixels.
It has four special actions: rotate, snow, flash, and hold. It has five speeds.
And it has four levels of brightness: 25%, 50%, 75%, and 100%. The brightest setting
Using a poly-lithium ion battery of 240mAh, it takes 2-3 hours to charge. Rating is
AC110 -220V, 50Hz -60Hz. Working display time is over 16 hours!
Communication, and charging, is done with a single mini usb.
The power button on the sign simply connects or disconnects the sign from the battery;
if it's plugged in to a USB port, the sign will operate, even if turned "off."
Contact: Kerry Schwab <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Mini LED Signs
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).
Using the Mini Signs with OS X
To make the signs work with OS X isn't hard, it just requires a few steps to setup;
most of that is getting a USB serial driver working, and that's not difficult either.
To begin with, you'll need to install a copy of Apple's
XCode (free) and
from with in it, install the Command Line
Developer Tools (see the menu XCode / Preferences..., Downloads).
It also helps to have a recent copy of Perl, but you do not want to step on the copy
that the operating system uses. To do this, snag a copy of
With PerlBrew installed, you'll then install and switch the shell to the specified
version, like so:
Installation is super easy. Enter this at the Terminal:
curl -kL http://install.perlbrew.pl | bash
You may be asked to append these lines to ~/.bash_profile and then restart your bash shell:
# Perl Brew -- http://perlbrew.pl -- curl -kL http://install.perlbrew.pl | bash
At this point, a sandboxed version of Perl is installed, and you can add modules.
You will be most interested in Device::MiniLED.
From Terminal, execute the following perl command followed by the install steps:
perlbrew install perl-5.16.0
perlbrew use perl-5.16.0
Before you can use the script, you'll need to have the USB Serial Controller installed.
To find out what you need, plug in the sign to the Mac, and run the USB Prober (this
is part of XCode, simply search for it with SpotLight).
The device will appear as a USB-Serial Controller. For instance the Device Descriptor
section yields "0x067B/0x2303 (Prolific Technology, Inc.)",
so we want the PL2303 Serial device driver for Mountain Lion (assuming that's the OS X
version you're using).
Unplug the sign.
There's several places we can go to get that driver.
Install the downloaded driver, as you would other software.
$ perl -MCPAN -e shell
cpan> install CPAN
cpan> reload CPAN
cpan> install Device::MiniLED
Grab any dependencies, most likely Device::SerialPort
$ ls /dev
Plug in the sign.
$ ls /dev
The new entry that appears is the one you want.
It will look like /dev/tty.PL2303-00004006 (kernel extension osx-pl2303.kext) or /dev/tty.usbserial (kernel extension ProlificUsbSerial.kext),
these are in /System/Library/Extensions.
Put this in a file called testBadge.pl:
Then from your Terminal, execute the file: $
# man Device::MiniLED
# man Device::SerialPort
my $sign=Device::MiniLED->new(devicetype => "badge");
# add a text only message
data => "Just a normal test message",
effect => "scroll",
speed => 4
# $sign->send(device => "COM1");
$sign->send(device => "/dev/tty.usbserial"); # or "/dev/tty.PL2303-00002006" depending on your driver
Make sure the sign is set to show Message 1 (using the second button on the back; the sign will say M:1).
Some Useful Resources
From the Terminal, you can get additional information:
Also be sure to check out this resource: http://www.brightledsigns.com/developers