Using masks

Masks allow you to control the type of text that can appear in each column of the mechanical signs.

Each character in the mask represents a column and the last character in a mask repeats for the rest of the sign.

There are 4 aspects that each mask character can control.


Aspect

Mask code

Comment

Instant display

0

Cannot be combined with other codes

Allow Alphabetic letters

1

Allow Numbers

2

Allow Punctuation

4

Blank column

8

Cannot be combined with other codes

The codes 1,2 and 4 can be combined by adding their values. For example if you want to allow numbers and letters but no punctuation, use 3 (2+1)
If you want to allow any character, use 7 (1 + 2 + 4)

The purpose of limiting the characters in a column is to speed up the display. For example you may use some columns to display a time, two positions for the hour, then a colon and then two positions for the minutes. You would use a mask of 22422  - two numbers, one punctuation and then two more numbers. The mask codes force the mechanical signs to only hunt through the appropriate characters. So with the mask 22422 the sign will not bother clicking through A through Z for the first column. It will limit its search for the required digit by cycling only through 0 - 9.

Note that limiting a column to a certain set of characters (such as numbers) does not prevent you from attempting to place an alphabetic character in the column! If you do, the sign will keep searching for the letter and never find it, thus cycling continuously.

The mask code 0 will force that column not to hunt for a character, it will display the desired character immediately.
The mask code 8 will make that position unused - blank - this is used to separate columns on the sign.

Example 1


The first line is the text that is to be displayed on the sign, the second line shows the mask characters, third, the actual display:

11:15 ACELA      BOSTON                1
2242287777777777877777777777777777777822



Example 2

This example shows how the last mask character is valid for the rest of the sign. It defines 5 positions for a time and then a blank column and allows any text from then on. The colon in column 3 will display on the first iteration of the mechanical sign because its mask character is '0'.

11:15 BREAKFAST IN MAIN HALL
2202287

Example 3

A single '7' character means that any characters can be used in the sign. This is the default mask.

11:15 BREAKFAST IN MAIN HALL
7

How to change the masks
In order to edit the mask strings, check the checkbox on the left called 'Mask'.  Each text box now displays the masks for each row. To return to editing the text to be displayed, uncheck the Masks box.

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