Electronic Message Billboard, retail $79.99 (www.aroamarketing.com...)
Manufactured by Aroa HK Ltd. (www.aroamarketing.com)
Last updated 06-04-08

The Electronic Message Billboard was seen on Ebay a short time back (early-February 2006), and I purchased it because of the LEDs.

The Electronic Message Billboard is a scrolling LED message board, designed to scroll any of a number of "canned" message across a large LED matrix, or scroll a user-typed message of up to 60 characters. It also functions as a very large digital clock, providing hours/minutes/seconds and AM/PM indication.


The Electronic Scrolling Billboard unit comes ready to use straight out of the box. Batteries are included, pre-installed in the unit, but they may not be at full capacity

A full set of instructions is included with the Electronic Message Billboard that details exactly how to make it work. Here is the short version.

To display any of the canned messages, turn the Mode Select switch to the center position (Message). Open the hinged keyboard cover, and choose a message from the many that are shown in the furnished instructional material, and press the corresponding letter on the keyboard. That message will instantly come on and scroll right to left.

To have it display your own message, slide the Mode Select switch to the top (Input), and type your message on the keyboard. Letters, punctuation, numbers, and a handful of animated special graphics are all available. More on the special characters later.

When you're finished with your message (which can be up to 60 characters & spaces long), press the Scroll key, and your message will scroll right to left until you shut the unit off, change modes, or stop it with a second press of the Scroll key. The unit will retain your message in memory for as long as power is available; so it can be lost if you change the batteries without having the unit plugged in. To play back your saved message any time, just set the Mode Select switch to Input, and then press Recall and then Scroll on the keyboard.

The unit can also function as a digital clock. To get it to do this, just turn the Mode Select switch to the Message position, and press the Clock key on the keyboard. Setting the clock is easier than setting a VCR too. With the clock on the display, pressing the Hour, Minute, and Second buttons sets the hours, minutes, and seconds, respectively.

It comes with a stand, or it can be hung off a wall.

The unit comes with batteries, and is also equipped with a jack for an AC adapter, of which is also included.

The Electronic Message Billboard operates on 4 C cells or an AC adapter. To change the batteries, turn the unit over and unlatch the battery cover. Dump out the dead batteries, and place four new C cells in, orienting each cell so their flat-ends (-) negatives face the springs for them in each chamber. Then replace the battery cover.

Battery life is not listed and is not yet known. I'll have to burn a couple of sets through it to determine this.

The thing that surprised me most about this product was that it actually has a fully loaded, easy to use, and quite functional keyboard. I've seen $400 message display boards that were more difficult to use than the Electronic Message Billboard.

This is a digital scrolling billboard, not a flashlight. So I won't try to whack it against a steel rod or against the side of a concrete stair, stomp on it, try to drown it in a commode, run over it, or inflict other punishments upon it that I might inflict upon a flashlight. So this section of its web page will be rather bare, when compared to this section of the web page on a page about a flashlight.

The only really major downside to the Electronic Message Billboard is that it has very limited memory for user-entered text: only 60 bytes. That's 60 letters, numbers, symbols, and spaces. Then it's FULL, and no more text can be entered. One would think that with current technology, it would be no biggie to stuff a few K worth of memory in there at virtually no extra cost. But limited memory or not, you can still have fun with it.

One of the first tests I do with a messaging type display board is to check for an onboard censor. I typed {vulgar term for intercourse} {vulgar term for feces} {vulgar term for urine} into the product, pressed the scroll key, and watched as the product displayed all three toliet words. So the Electronic Message Billboard does not have an onboard censor; simply meaning you can type it full of cuss words and it will happily spout off the stream of obscenities to whomever looks at it.

The Electronic Message Billboard can be hung from a wall using a pair of small screws to fit a pair of keyhole slots on the back, or it can be placed anywhere else on its large, stable stand. The unit has two plastic tubes which fit into sockets on its underside; these tubes fit into two sockets on the base unit. It can easily be removed just by pulling the base unit from the billboard itself.

Photograph of the product in use.
The scroll speed was fast enough and my camera's shutter was slow enough that this photograph did not come out as intended. See the movie clip below for a more accurate portrayal of how the Electronic Message Billboard functions in reality.

Photograph of the product being programmed.

Spectrographic plot
Spectrographic analysis of the LEDs in this product.
USB2000 spectrometer graciously donated by P.L.

Quicktime movie (.mov extension) showing the LED Billboard in action.
This is 4.5 megabytes (4,737,408 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than twenty minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.
I cannot provide it in other formats, so please do not ask.

I misspelled all of the words intentionally!

I also programmed it to read:

Scrolling speed is *NOT* adjustable.

Window Media Player movie (.avi extension) showing the clock skipping several seconds.
This is 1.21 megabytes (1,292,664 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than six minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.
I cannot provide it in other formats, so please do not ask.

That sound you *MIGHT* hear is the air conditioner unit outside my window.
This product is not sound-sensitive; the sound may be ignored or muted if desired.

Test unit was purchased on Ebay on 02-06-06, and was received on the morning of 02-13-06.

The AC adapter is rated to output 6 volts DC at 600mA.
Center of plug is (+), barrel is (-).

Product was made in China. A product's country of origin really does matter to some people, which is why I published it on this web page.

UPDATE: 03-22-06
Custom message ***WILL*** become lost if unit is unplugged or plugged in (AC adapter plug), even when known-new batteries are installed in it.

UPDATE: 07-02-06
When in clock mode, the unit's Federation timebase...er...internal timebase (a little Star Trek humour here) seems to run slightly faster than it should; however the product compensates for it by visibly skipping several seconds every ten minutes; keeping reasonably accurate time that way. Below, is a movie showing it doing just that...the "seconds" counter progresses like:
...55, 56, 57, 58, 59, 03, 04, 05, 06, 07...
Notice it skips 00, 01, and 02.

Quicktime movie (.mov extension) showing this behaviour.
This is 3.1 megabytes (3,251,188 bytes) in length; dial-up users please be aware.
It will take no less than fifteen minutes to load at 48.0Kbps.
I cannot provide it in other formats, so please do not ask.

Unique product
Can be programmed by the user to display a custom message
No onboard censor, so the user can type toliet words into it
Runs on AC adapter OR batteries

Limited to 60 characters in custom message mode
No onboard censor, so the user can input toliet language into it
Custom message becomes lost if batteries poop out and AC is not used
Messages also become lost if unit is unplugged, even with new batteries in it

    PRODUCT TYPE: Scrolling LED message sign
    LAMP TYPE: 5mm diffused red LED
    No. OF LAMPS: ~672
    BEAM TYPE: Wide-angle
    SWITCH TYPE: Slide switches & rubber key keyboard
    BEZEL: Transparent red window
    BATTERY: 4x C cells or AC adapter
    CURRENT CONSUMPTION: Unknown/unable to measure
    ACCESSORIES: 4 C cells, AC adapter
    SIZE: 30"x2.5"x12" - Stand: 14"x8"
    WEIGHT: 4.25 lbs
    WARRANTY: Unknown/not stated


    Star Rating

Electronic Message Billboard * www.aroamarketing.com...

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