(Topic ID: 89748)

1987 Data East Laser War Topper?


By LesManley

5 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 78 posts
  • 27 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by ForceFlow
  • Topic is favorited by 8 Pinsiders

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Clyde Lyte Owner's Manual (undated).pdf (PDF preview)
Clyde Lyte Owner's Manual (1988).pdf (PDF preview)
LYTE 20LED (resized).jpg
Lyte Interim Schematic.pdf (PDF preview)
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There are 78 posts in this topic. You are on page 2 of 2.
#51 1 year ago

This seems like a major breakthrough. I know we've all seen the topper on the flyer, but is this the first time we've known that the product is actually called "Lyte?"

You know some shop in some small town is sitting on a hoard of NOS Lyte boxes. Not the official topper ones, but the actual product. Seems like it shouldn't be that hard to convert it to something that looks like the LaserWar topper.

#52 1 year ago

I knew it had "lyte" was associated with it, but until now, I thought it was the manufacturer rather than the product name, as per the comment from Joe Kaminkow on IPDB. It's tough to find something named "lyte" without another piece of identifying information. Clyde combined with Lyte was the key.

Quoted from woody24:

Seems like it shouldn't be that hard to convert it to something that looks like the LaserWar topper.

You would still have to make a vacuform mold for the data east style box, and find some smoked glass to cut to the right shape to fit the box. It looks like the glass is riveted to the case.

There's also what looks like holes on the side (in the laser war flyer), and I'm not sure what those are for.

On IPDB:

The manufacturer flyer shows a trapezoidal backbox topper with a spinning red LED board to create an optical effect. Joe Kaminkow told us that the light itself came in a square black box, approximately 12 by 12 inches, made by a now-defunct company called Lyte. Data East added a custom trapezoidal housing around it for mounting on the backbox using screws. The spinning LED display did not operate in concert with game play. He wasn't sure if it got its power from 12 volts from the output of the sound board or if it had a 110v line cord. Joe said the topper was too expensive and was discontinued during the production run of this game. He guessed about 500 of the earliest machines came with this topper.

So, a few pieces of info in that comment are incorrect at least--the Lyte name, and the number of them made (I keep hearing the number 10 thrown about--not 500).

Also, it seems odd that the device would not be connected to the sound system in some way considering it is a sound visualizer (and that this was the first stereo sound system). I really want to see if aberdeentp's topper has a cord that would connect to something in the game.

#53 1 year ago
Quoted from aberdeentp:

I just found this post, I have this topper, a friend found it in the depths of the warehouse of the Game Exchange in Denver, they had it for years but guess they never got a game to put it on. So he negotiated a price for me and it's on my Laser War. I doubt there is enough interest to warrant a reproduction but if anyone decides to I can try to help anyway I can. It does work, and does all kinds of tricks, I imagine it would be better in a darkened room.

Quoted from aberdeentp:

here's a picture

Id buy a repro kit. Send the box to freeplay 40 to redo the plastic and post pics of the insides

Id also help with this project as well

#54 1 year ago
Quoted from lordloss:

Id buy a repro kit. Send the box to freeplay 40 to redo the plastic and post pics of the insides
Id also help with this project as well

Realistically, what would happen would be this:

Plastic shroud is made/formed.
Donor LYTE system is bought off ebay
Convert donor lyte to fit Data East topper plastic.

The only LYTE on ebay was bought within minutes after the post was made..

#55 1 year ago
Quoted from lordloss:

The only LYTE on ebay was bought within minutes after the post was made..

Yeah, that was me. I figured it would be better for a pinhead to lay hands on it to potentially have a shot a documenting and reproducing it. It seems like it could be an interesting project to tackle.

#56 1 year ago
Quoted from ForceFlow:

Yeah, that was me. I figured it would be better for a pinhead to lay hands on it to potentially have a shot a documenting and reproducing it. It seems like it could be an interesting project to tackle.

Glad to hear you got it. That's why I posted the link here

The missing piece here seems to be how the "Lyte" gets a signal from the machine, assuming the off the shelf Lyte is the same as the topper version.

#57 1 year ago
Quoted from Clnilsen:

The missing piece here seems to be how the "Lyte" gets a signal from the machine, assuming the off the shelf Lyte is the same as the topper version.

Well, as long as you can grab an unamplified audio signal from somewhere, you should be able to connect it to the lyte's input.

The amplified output to the speakers would probably blow the lyte's board.

#58 1 year ago

3 years and finally confirmation with a physical topper. Nice. My Laser War is long gone, I thought for sure that we'd find Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster before one of these would actually show up. Really cool.

#59 1 year ago
Quoted from LesManley:

3 years and finally confirmation with a physical topper. Nice. My Laser War is long gone, I thought for sure that we'd find Bigfoot or the Loch Ness Monster before one of these would actually show up. Really cool.

Did that stay in MN? I wouldn't mind a laser war to complete my DE set someday.

#60 1 year ago
Quoted from lordloss:

Did that stay in MN? I wouldn't mind a laser war to complete my DE set someday.

No, it went off to the unholy land just east of us.

#61 1 year ago
Quoted from LesManley:

No, it went off to the unholy land just east of us.

I'll live without. ;(

#62 1 year ago

ok, well I'll try to do what I can soon, I'm up to my neck getting my taxes ready and with work, but I promise I will get to this.

#63 1 year ago

tomorrow my goal is to get some pictures taken and loaded, but I'm an old 8 bit lo fi type, think basic saw wave, and never posted a video on you tube or anywhere, so once I shoot a video with my phone don't know how to upload it.

#64 1 year ago
Quoted from aberdeentp:

tomorrow my goal is to get some pictures taken and loaded, but I'm an old 8 bit lo fi type, think basic saw wave, and never posted a video on you tube or anywhere, so once I shoot a video with my phone don't know how to upload it.

If you install the youtube app on your phone, it should make the process fairly straight forward.

#65 1 year ago

Here are two pictures, the video is uploading now, the other wire is going to the speaker so it would seem it is sound that causes the resulting interaction. This might not be how it was intended to be hooked up, obviously this didn't come with directions, so I don't know if it could be wired so something else generates the interaction.
here is the link for the video

20180314_175943[1] (resized).jpg

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#66 1 year ago

Thanks for posting--that looks cool. Never thought I'd see one of those in action.

I'm surprised that it's connected to the amplified output. I wonder if they did anything special inside the unit to account for that.

#67 1 year ago

I got my lyte box today. It was missing the power adapter, so I wasn't able to power it up. But, I did take it apart to see what was inside.

Nothing too surprising, and more or less what I was expecting to see since most of the mystery was revealed in other photos of the spinning LED board.

There are two boards in the unit. The board inside has the motor, takes power input, signal input, and the sensitivity adjustment. The board with the LEDs is mounted on a motor, and there are 3 contacts on the shaft that bring connections between the two boards.

The one downside is that the board with the LEDs was painted, so none of the part numbers/specs of the components are visible. It might be difficult to remove the paint without harming the ink for the letters & numbers.
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#68 1 year ago

Seeing the pictures of it and the rotary finger contacts reminds of something i saw in my younger years spinning speakers on a organ at a house. If my memory is right they were Leslie gyro sonic speakers or leslie like. As far as the paint issue you could do a test spot on corner of board long as there are no traces there to ruin. Looks like they did a got job of painting it.

#69 1 year ago

This thing is cool! My buddy's Laser War needs one. Put me on the list if someone can remake it and I'll buy it for him.

Thanks for all the work going into this

1 week later
#70 1 year ago

Which one of you guys beat me to the second LYTE on ebay yesterday?

2 months later
#71 1 year ago

I ended up finding another one, and this one appears to be a later version than the one I posted about earlier. It has significantly less circuitry & components than the original one, so they simplified the device quite a bit.

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#72 1 year ago

What little I can determine is that there was an 80 LED version, and a 20 LED version. Which one is appropriate for laser war, I haven't got a clue.
I've never even played the game but something drew me to click this thread, and now I'm hooked.

However, I think I know how it works, and I'd bet dollars to donuts I have a datasheet for the IC's in front of me.
For some reason I saw one of these IC's at work and was convinced I needed to keep the info fresh in my brain.

The hard part will actually be the interconnect between the LED board and the motor board.

#73 1 year ago
Quoted from ForceFlow:

I ended up finding another one, and this one appears to be a later version than the one I posted about earlier. It has significantly less circuitry & components than the original one, so they simplified the device quite a bit.

And not all blacked out!!

Do you know if it functions the same??

Any chance of starting a component list and sketching schematic???

#74 1 year ago

My guess looking at still shots of the running game, it has the 20 light version. I can do most of the schematic of the LED board easily, only question will be the resistor values. Both versions likely work the same just with a lot more lights in the bigger version.

If I had a photo of both sides of the motor board and I could probably get that too. But that's not the critical piece here.

#75 1 year ago
Quoted from pacmanretro:

And not all blacked out!!
Do you know if it functions the same??
Any chance of starting a component list and sketching schematic???

Idk what I was thinking...just noticed front side of pcb is still blacked out

Hopefully we can get the info still underneath??

#76 1 year ago
Quoted from pacmanretro:

Idk what I was thinking...just noticed front side of pcb is still blacked out
Hopefully we can get the info still underneath??

I gotcha covered. I’m 95% sure I know what those two IC’s are.

That IC has multiple ways it can be integrated to do lighting displays. Trying to pick out which way it's done. Starting work on a schematic already, and the more I work on on it, the more I'm convinced I have the right one. The trick is going to be I have zero clue on the values of the resistors and capacitors on the LED board. That and I would need to see the back sides of both boards to trace things out.

-Hans

#77 1 year ago

I have too many things brewing right now to pursue any kind of a repro on these boards, and zero ability to do a housing for it.
But this partial schematic should give a good leg up for anybody else that may want to take it on.
Doesn't mean I won't keep an eye on things and chime in as I can help.
Oddball research projects like these are just too fun for me sometimes.

The IC's used for both locations U1 and U2 on these I'm about 99.9% positive is an LM3914. Was very commonly used for LED bar graphs in things like graphic equalizers, Vu meters, voltage meters, and things like that back in the 80's. As soon as I saw how this operated, I knew this was the likely culprit. If I'm not going to be making them myself, there's no reason not to share the info. The more I dug through building a schematic, the more it all lined up perfectly. These IC's are still readily available either in SMT or thru-hole and not expensive.

The other critical piece you'll need is called a 3-wire slip joint. This is the three-wire connection between the motor board and the LED board. Lots of places out there to get them, but I don't know how fast you need to spin, so be careful of the cheap 250rpm versions out there. The three wires coming through are LED voltage, Signal, and Ground, as best I can tell. Not something I've worked before but I did know the name at least.

Motor board I'm not going to really dig into very much as the photos should be a very good start to reverse engineer things. All the parts are clear and easy to see, and from the various photos so are the traces. Generic transistor, voltage regulator, and op-amp. The only tricky part will be nailing down the value on the pot and the speed of the motor.

The slip joint, along with the housing, are going to be your major factors on price.
I don't expect this to be a cheap repro by any means.

Can't quite figure out a couple components on the LED board from the photo for a schematic.
No idea at all where the signal line from Pin2 on the slip joint goes.
Also can't trace the lines from R1, R4 and R5 completely around U2.
The two IC's do have different circuits so can't just copy.

I'm also not 100% certain how R7-R10 and C2-C5 really are, so definitely verify those if possible.

Won't be able to know the resistor values without seeing the stripes (which may be visible from a low side angle).
Multimeter can't always get you values if you measure in-circuit.

I am confused over which version Laser War had in it.
Pausing the youtube video suggests the 20-LED version.
Some of the older promotional photos LOOK like the 80-LED, but that could just be ISO/Shutter settings being tricky.
However, that old Worthpoint link to the EBAY photos? That appears to be a third version completely.
I wonder if they may have made games with all three (known) versions of the Lyte.
There may not be a 'correct' version. Too little data points here.

-Hans

Lyte Interim Schematic.pdf
LYTE 20LED (resized).jpg

2 months later
#78 1 year ago

I managed to recently acquire two versions of the very elusive Cylde Lyte owner's manual.

I scanned them in, and here they are. One is undated, the other is dated 1988.

Clyde Lyte Owner's Manual (1988).pdfClyde Lyte Owner's Manual (undated).pdf
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