Quick answers for some of our most frequently asked technical support questions
Why can't I connect to my LED display?
Troubleshooting connection issues will depend on how you’re connecting to your sign. Please follow along with your situation:
A direct connection means there’s a cable coming from your sign, into your building. That cable is getting plugged into a computer or into a network (switch, router, etc.).
Next you will need to make sure the IP address on your computer is within the same range as your sign. For example, if the IP address of your sign is 192.168.1.200, your computer should be set to match the range of the sign. The last set of numbers needs to be within the range of 1-255 and should not be already used on another device if on the network. The subnet should match the network or 255.255.255.0 as default if the sign cable is plugged directly into the computer’s Ethernet port or EM supplied Ethernet adapter. Here’s a useful article with a step by step process.
If there is no network connection showing in your computer to change the IP address, then you may have a bad cable going to the sign. The best way to determine this is to use a different cable and plug right into the sign using a laptop. You will need to be able to reach the LED display and open it for this Please call tech support for guidance on how to do this at 248-478-1182 option 2, then 2.
With wireless antennas, you will have one antenna in/on the building, and another on the sign. This removes the need for a really long cable like a direct connection. First, you will want to check the lights on the back of the radio. From left to right, you will have one power light, one LAN light that should be flickering, and up to 4 signal lights.
No Power Light
Trace the cable coming out of the radio. It should be plugged into a port labeled “POE” on a small black POE box. That small black POE also needs its power cable plugged into an outlet. If everything is plugged in, try replacing the cable going from the “POE” port to the antenna. If you still have no power, that radio will need to be replaced. Please call tech support for assistance.
Power but No LAN Light
After tracing the cable from the antenna to the POE, you should find another cable plugged into the POE into the “LAN” port. That cable should be plugged into your computer or network. If it’s plugged into a network, take it off of the network and plug it into a computer. Try replacing the cable from “LAN” to the computer. If you have to take it off of your network, don’t forget to follow the instructions above for changing the IP address on your computer.
Power, LAN, but No Signal Lights
Power cycle the sign and the PC antenna to see if they connect again. If not, one of them may have lost its settings and will need to be reprogrammed or replaced. Please call tech support at 248-478-1182 option 2, then 2.
Turn off the sign for one minute and then power it back on. Allow five minutes for the modem to complete its reboot cycle and reconnect to the network. Try connecting again through Visions Play, making sure to use the public IP address of the modem.
How do I add a picture to my message?
Before you add a picture to your message, make sure it is a JPEG (.jpg) or a bitmap (.bmp) file. If it’s not, you will need to convert it to one of those formats before sending it to your LED display.
Once you have your picture chosen, you will need to open up Creator Plus II from Visions Play.
Go to Insert -> Background Image.
Click Browse and select your picture to add. Crop and size the image as desired.
Click Import to use it in your message.
See the “Import Picture and Background Images” section of the user manual for more detailed instructions. There is a user manual available in Creator Plus II, under the Help menu option.
Why doesn't my picture look good on my LED display?
There are a few things that can greatly affect how your picture looks on your display:
Choosing the Right Image Dimensions
First, you will want to look at the pixel dimensions of the picture you’re trying to use. An image that’s 1080×1920 pixels (the resolution of HDTVs) on a LED sign that’s only 72×180 pixels will cause distortion and drastic loss of image clarity.
A good rule of thumb is to use a picture that’s no more than 4x the size of the display. Images that are sized the exact same size of the display is always best. Have a LED display that’s 72×180 pixels? Use images that are 72×180.
Image Aspect Ratio
Aspect ratio is the relationship between height and width. For example, if your picture is 50×100, the aspect ratio is 1:2 because it’s twice as wide as it is tall. So, for a sign that’s 72×180, the aspect ratio is 1:2.5. You will want to choose a picture that is close to that aspect ratio. You wouldn’t want to try and place a picture that is vertical (portrait) onto a sign that is horizontal (landscape).
Limiting the stretching or squeezing of an image is key to retaining its clarity.
Simplify Your Images
In most cases, the simpler the image the better it will look on the LED display. Most LED displays, not including high-resolution displays with a pixel pitch under 4mm, have a limited amount of pixels to work with. Use of simple images and contrasting colors is key to effective messaging.
Account for Viewing Distance
A typical viewing distance is usually 50 to 200ft from your display to the eyes of your customer. The further away you are, the less the individual pixels stand out and the image comes into focus. The larger the pitch of the display, the greater the minimum distance required to effectively view the display. (16mm require the greatest viewing distance and are most common for elevated pylon signs or further from the road, while 6mm displays are good for most local foot traffic.)
How do I add a message i just created to my LED display?
All messages created and saved in Creator Plus II are located in the same file path:
In the Messages folder, you will find your different category folders. One of the categories will have your message.
To add it to your playlist, you will need to click on the “+” icon in Visions Play and choose “Add Files from Computer”. Follow the file path above to locate your message.
Double-click on the message to add it to the playlist. Do this for all of the messages you need to add (you can add more than one at once if it’s in the same category).
Click “Send” to update your sign with the current playlist.
My LED display, or a portion of it, doesn’t look right or is scrambled. What do I do?
Power cycle your display by turning it off for one minute and then turning it back on. Allow five minutes for the boot cycle to complete. If the issue is still there, take a picture of the issue and open a support ticket with Technical Support.
What happens if I need a replacement part for my LED display?
Once the part needed is determined, an order will be placed with customer service, programmed if necessary, and shipped. If the part(s) are under warranty, you will only need to pay for labor. If you have a labor warranty, that will also be covered according to the term of the warranty purchased. Most displays come with a 5 year parts warranty with a 1 year warranty on communication if antennas are used.
Who will do the service on my sign?
Either the sign company that you originally purchased the sign from or installed the sign will usually do the service. If they do not do service they may be able to direct you to another company that does. In certain situations, we may be able to provide a quote for a member of our technical support team to perform the service.
How do I get training for my sign?
Electro-Matic Visual provides training videos on our YouTube channel.
To set up a training session, please contact our Technical Support team. For a remote training session, you will need communication to your sign to be set up, a Windows PC with internet and Visions Play installed. Our team will need to be able to log into (and temporarily control) your computer using TeamViewer.
Can I use the Visions Play software on a Mac?
The software is not compatible on a Mac. It is recommended that you use a PC with a supported version of Windows installed.
My LED display is too bright or too dim
Your LED display is manufactured with a built-in photocell that detects light and will automatically adjust according to ambient conditions. This should make it brighter during the daytime and dimmer at night. Display are preprogrammed at the factory to achieve optimal brightness and any augments must be done by our support staff.
Multiple factors play into the intensity of your display at any given time. False readings from nearby lighting sources, failing photo controls, and intensity of cloud cover are just a couple outside factors that will affect the display. Adjustments may be available to our staff to comply with city specified requirements or personal desires.