(Topic ID: 66701)

Choosing LED's

By NickRocco

6 years ago

Topic Stats

  • 27 posts
  • 15 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 years ago by NextoPin
  • Topic is favorited by 12 Pinsiders


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#14 6 years ago

Comet Pinball LEDs are the best deal out there. And the product and service is top notch!

From my experience here is what I have come up with regarding some basic ground rules in LED choice and use:

1. I prefer the frosted 1SMD 5050 for almost everything as it gives a nice bright smooth dispersed light for inserts, under plastics for GI, and behind the back glass. Only exception is using Retros when you want that pinpoint of light showing as with an incandescent.


2. For back glass and under playfield plastics use warm white LEDs behind warm colors such as yellow, orange, and red, and use cool/natural white behind cool colors such as blue, green, and purple. You can use a colored LED for a "special effect" in some areas if desired. Again the frosted 1SMD 5050 works great here.

3. For inserts you can also use the frosted 1SMD 5050 but match the color of the LED to the color of the insert. The only exception is for yellow inserts. Do not use a yellow LED under a yellow insert. Instead use a warm white LED. Yellow LEDs are not bright enough and are only useful behind white inserts.

4. Use different color LEDs under white inserts to give you a more colorful playfield if that is the effect you want.

5. Use colored LEDs under playfield plastics to create a more modern colorful look if that is the effect you want.

6. Use specialty LEDs such as color changers and flex heads for those areas that may need them. Flex heads are good for where you have a sideways mounted bulb under an insert but I have found that the regular frosted 1SMD 5050 LEDs do put out enough sideways light to work just fine also.


7. Another very useful specialty bulb is the older style "Bullet" LED with a frosted lens. These are great to use if you have a bulb that "peaks" out from under a plastic and shines right in your eyes. This style of LED shines very little light to the sides so it reduces the brightness that hits your eyes. Just use a frosted warm or cool/natural to match the other LEDs in that area.


8. Every game is different so feel free to experiment with different color and type combinations. It is always a good idea to purchase a few extras so that you can experiment.

9. The most important rule sometimes is to not follow any rules. If you think it might work give it a try. If you think it won't work give it a try anyways! You will never know what works until you try. It's only a bulb and it can easily be changed out if it doesn't work for you.

So my suggestion to get started is to get a bulk pack of both the warm and cool/natural in the frosted lens style found here:


The bulk pack pricing of 59 cents is great! These LEDs can be used everywhere and will be a good start. Just remember to use the warm white behind warm colors and the cool/natural white behind cool colors. You then can also pick up various colored LEDs to match your inserts and for any "special effects" you may want to experiment with.

Just remember it's your pin and what looks good to you is what is most important!!

#19 6 years ago
Quoted from ckochan:

Oranges aren't far ahead of yellow in terms of performance either. I recommend going the warm white route for any orange inserts as well.

I agree although I have used the frosted oranges under orange inserts and they have been bright enough. The nice thing about the Comet frosted 1SMD 5050 LEDs is that you can remove the frosted caps. This will result in a brighter more directional light that works well under inserts also. Especially if the color is not so bright such as with yellow and orange.

In my BTTF I am using the orange LEDs under the orange "McFly" inserts on the left side of the play field. They are working fine there. However I did put a warm white under the orange "Go Back Again" insert so that it would "pop" a bit more when lit.

Another trick is to put red LED's under the orange or even yellow inserts. The red gives the orange or yellow inserts a nice deep orangish red color that looks pretty good. Did that on my Bally Star Trek under the "Bally" inserts up on top.

That's the cool thing with these colored LEDs, you can experiment very easily to see what looks best to you!

#22 6 years ago
Quoted from Piparoo:

I put purple LEDs in some of the white inserts of a TFTC I was working on. I really like how that turned out.

Purples under white inserts look great. The cyan color is real good too. The white inserts are the best to work with as you can use any color LED and the insert will become that color when lit. I like to match with the artwork color that surrounds the insert. That usually works real good but not always! On my Bally Star Trek the bonus 1-10 numbers are positioned like photon torpedoes coming out of the Enterprise. Those white inserts are surrounded by a yellow then green field artwork. Kind of like an energy field coming off the torpedoes. I first thought yellow to match the yellow field but then I decided to contrast and go with green instead. So now I have green torpedo inserts in a field of yellow and then green again. It looks great! You just got to experiment but also use some artistic judgement.

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