(Topic ID: 341106)

Champion Pub - LED Kits / Advice

By CelticKnot

11 months ago


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  • 13 posts
  • 7 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 11 months ago by Homebar124
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#1 11 months ago

Hi Pinsiders. Next up in my quest to update/refurb my Champion Pub machine, I'd like to do an LED upgrade. As I've been going through the playfield and researching issues, I've noticed several bulbs burned out and figured I may as well just do an entire replacement. I've seen kits on several web sites and ebay for around $190-$220, which seems to be the going rate. Any recommendations?

The Pinball Bulbs site has a regular kit and a purple glow kit. Anyone have experience with the purple glow?
Pinball Bulbs Purple Glow Kit

All the kits I've found say they're 2x brighter than incandescent, is that a good thing when it comes to pinball?

Also, any general advice when it comes to LED kits for DMD-era games? I read a sticky post in the main "Tech" forum all about LEDs but the information is over 10 years old. I'm sure the tech has evolved a bit since.

#2 11 months ago

You csn do a search and get 1000 results you're looking for but let me answer this 100%.

Never buy a kit.
Never buy any goddamn thing called "Purple Glow"
Pick a white color and buy them in bulk from Comet.
https://www.cometpinball.com/products/2smd-bulbs

#3 11 months ago

I mean the fact they actually post this nauseating picture in an add is insanity

Oh and it's $209...bwhaaha

Champion_Pub_Full_0.jpgChampion_Pub_Full_0.jpg

#4 11 months ago

@thelaw, I guess taste is a deeply personal thing.

I side with you as I wouldn't do the purple thing. It may be a fine product but I would prefer the game to be as original as possible. Perhaps my original post didn't specify that -- I'd like to replace all the incandescents with LEDs and make it still look like the original. Is that even possible given the "2x brightness" claims of the bulb kits?

Also the $209 sticker clearly bothers you... I'd happily spend as little as possible. The 1000s of links (ok, "10s of links") I've found all seem to be right around that number. It seems my table takes ~150 bulbs. At $0.79 per bulb (minimum) from the Comet site you mentioned, $118.50 is the total. So, about $90 less.

However if I'm paying someone to give me a schematic with what bulb goes where, in addition to all the specialty bulbs, that probably saves me time and frustration and is therefore worth a few extra bucks to me.

Thanks again for your input. Very much appreciated.

#5 11 months ago
Quoted from CelticKnot:

Also the $209 sticker clearly bothers you... I'd happily spend as little as possible. The 1000s of links (ok, "10s of links")

Jesus Fucking Christ.

#6 11 months ago
Quoted from CelticKnot:

I'd like to replace all the incandescents with LEDs and make it still look like the original. Is that even possible given the "2x brightness" claims of the bulb kits?

No.

The closest you will get is comet retros, and they are still slightly brighter than incandescent. If you do piecemeal replacement they will stand out terribly, but once you change them all, you will not notice it and get used to it.

Comet 555 and 44 bullet retro with frosted top will do most of the bulbs on the machine. You can leave the flashers as bulbs IMO you don't need LED there. Warm white should match the originals closest.

As for where to put bulbs etc, you don't need that. It's in the manual as to what bulbs go where, and it's really obvious.... see a bulb, remove it, replace it, put it back. What do you need a map for? Now, if you're color matching inserts (waste of time for the most part) the map would show you what someone else has determined is a good pick for that spot (usually a hideous color bulb). "Kits" are a waste of money. Colored LED's have their place (replacing a bulb that would normally have a colored sleeve on it) or to fill in a damaged spot on an older backglass with something other than naked white.

Do not do it with the power on unless you want to possibly learn how to fix more than just swapping bulbs.

Once you finish the led conversion, go into your menus and turn off GI power saver. You won't need it once there's LEDs in there and they won't work correctly anyway depending on the specific bulb and power save level (the GI might flicker).

#7 11 months ago

There have been countless threads about this. People buy a machine and one of the first things they do is throw rainbow colored BS lights into a game and then call it personal taste. Truth be told: most LED jobs are so heinous that if I were to buy their machine, they would be paying me to remove all the junk from their work of art masterpiece.

Hence, the reason TheLaw is pulling brass tax here - he is getting straight to the point. He is like that, and tends to deny how much he loves Johnny Mnemonic - both the movie and the game (each of them jockeying for the lead).

That said: get warm retro SMD LEDs from Comet or Cointaket and don't look back.

Don't get blue anything.
Don't get green nothing.
For the love of pinball, do not buy any pink or purple at all.

Less (color) is more, keep things simple, don't go overboard or overthink this.

#8 11 months ago

@NPO, I assure you I want to keep the game as close to stock as possible while at the same time reaping the benefits of LED tech. As is abundantly clear, I am a newcomer to this hobby so I wasn't sure if color mods were worthwhile for gameplay or a tacky fad that's looked down upon. It seems that I have a definitive answer.

@slochar, thanks for the thoughts. I want to say that there are some bulbs in the cabinet with color sleeves on them but not 100% sure; will have to pop the hood.

Thank you everyone for the advice, I'll stick to warm retro SMDs.

Dare I ask if frosted or clear are the way to go? Thinking clear since that's what I see in the playfield and behind the back glass.
Do I want non-ghosting or will the power save option that slochar mentioned address ghosting?
Is this the kind of overthinking you cautioned against, @npo?

#9 11 months ago
Quoted from CelticKnot:

Thank you everyone for the advice, I'll stick to warm retro SMDs.
Dare I ask if frosted or clear are the way to go? Thinking clear since that's what I see in the playfield and behind the back glass.
Do I want non-ghosting or will the power save option that slochar mentioned address ghosting?
Is this the kind of overthinking you cautioned against, NPO?

10 years ago, no. It was a VERY real thing to have to hide ghost vs non-ghost LEDs. Now, at least for me, throw any warm retro LED into a game, and it should behave.

Here's what I have loaded 20+ games with and had minimal to zero issues (555 for the "PCB" lights....44/47 for the "twist and turn" lights):

https://cointaker.com/t/frosted

Remember: warm white for the "warm" look. If you get "white", it'll be "cool, artificial" light - you won't like that if you're looking for that 80s warm look with LED technology.

#10 11 months ago

I agree color matching is largely unnecessary but you might want some yellow bulbs for yellow inserts. The white LEDs just don't look right under yellow inserts in my opinion. Comet has the retro bulbs where are 1x, they also have bulbs that are 1.5x. For GI lighting that you don't see the bulb directly the extra light is nice. But if you can see the bulb I like the 1x for those.

1 week later
#11 11 months ago

Warm, got it. I guess I'll take stock of my game and order a few 25-packs of whatever I need @ 1x warm. I looked over the manual the other night and a vast majority on the playfield are 555s, with a handful of 44s. I can't seem to find a diagram for the back glass lighting but I think they're all 555s. So probably 4-5 25-packs of frosted 555 SMDs and one 25-pack of frosted 44 SMDs.

Maybe I'll order a few 1.5x warms just to see what the difference is and a couple yellows for inserts for grins. Would I want 1.5x for yellows or just 1x? Crap, I'm over-thinking it again. Sorry, @NPO.

I PROMISE I WON'T ORDER PURPLES. Or blues. Or greens.

#12 11 months ago

I'll throw in here... I put an LED kit into a Johnny Mnemonic back in my early pinball days. Never again. Then I used bright white for GI and color matched the inserts, which was too tedious to figure out an order for. I have found that my preference is Comet Sunlight for GI and most inserts, with warm white for yellow inserts and pink (gasp!) for orange inserts. I find that it livens things up and keeps the whole warm vibe without being obnoxious. You could easily use Sunlight for everything though, which makes ordering super simple.

One more setting that you will want to change is to turn off 'GI Dimming' if Champion Pub supports it, or you will have some major flickering. You can fix this by getting a GI OCD board from Comet.

#13 11 months ago

Just con wrted my champion pub from mixed colored leds to cool white for the gi and color matched the inserts. Buy them in bulk and save money and have a few left over if some fail. Comet is my recommendation

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