Classic Bally/Stern LED Adapter Kit - Vid's Review


By vid1900

3 years ago


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    There are 266 posts in topic. You are on page 1 of 6.
    13
    #1 3 years ago

    So you got yourself a classic Bally or Stern pinball machine and you tried to put some LEDs into it.

    The General Illumination circuit worked great (the lights that stay on all the time), but all of the inserts and CPU controlled backbox lights (Player 1, Game Over, Tilt.....) rapidly flash on and off! What gives?

    The problem is that LEDs only draw 10% of the current that the old incandescent bulbs used to draw. The components on the lamp board don't sense enough current to latch on, so they shut off. Every 8ms, the CPU sends a pulse to turn them back on. This creates a fast flickering that makes the game unplayable with LEDs.

    Past solutions were:

    1. Replace the lamp driver board with an Alltek "Ultimate LED/Lamp Driver Board" for $100. This board allows you to use LEDs and gives you an entirely new lamp driver board. If your old board is missing, hacked up, burnt or corroded, this is still your best option. Lifetime warranty too.

    http://www.allteksystems.com/products-mpu-replacements.html#lamp

    lamp-driver-board.jpg

    2. Add a resistor to each lamp socket. This inexpensive ($2.00 for 100 resistors) fix is where you solder a 470 ohm resistor to each lamp socket under the playfield so that the lighting circuits see enough current draw to stay latched on. Although inexpensive, this fix might take 4+ hours of mindless soldering; and if the old sockets are corroded, it can take a lot of brushing, flux and heat to get the solder to stick.

    (pic stolen from Jags)

    resistor fix.jpg

    -

    So Hans at Siegecraft came up with 3 small daughter boards that attach to the original Lamp Driver Board.

    These boards have the resistors built in, saving you many hours of work.

    At $45 for a entire kit, this can be a nice money saver; especially if you have a bunch of games to convert.

    http://www.siegecraft.us/

    ===========================

    Jump ahead in this post to the -52 Aux Lamp Driver adapter:

    INSTALLING -52 AUX LAMP DRIVER BOARD LED ADAPTERS (p4)

    #2 3 years ago

    1.jpg

    #3 3 years ago

    Here is a typical Bally lamp driver board.

    This needs to be functional before you go further, so open the coin door and press the little red service button one time.

    All the controlled lamps on the playfield and backbox will start flashing.

    Any lamps stuck on probably need a new SCR on the board.

    Any lamps not working at all could need a new bulb (check if voltage is correct at the socket), new socket (spring corroded/ or broken off completely) , wire fixed, or a new SCR or Transistor.

    2.jpg

    #4 3 years ago

    Remove the 3 lamp connectors.

    Examine the connector pins.

    These need to be clean and shiny, so use a brass brush and polish them up.

    If the pins are corroded black or green, just replace the entire row of pins. Assume that the female side of the connectors are just as corroded, so replace the female side too.

    If you are new to working on pins, I know it seems like replacing the male and female connectors is a lot of work - but it only takes a few minutes. A few minutes and 2 dollars in parts now will save you a LOT of headache latter.

    3.jpg

    #5 3 years ago

    You will note that the connectors have a Keying Plug in them to keep the connector from being put on backwards.

    There is a corresponding pin missing from the row on the Lamp Board (there is even a little white arrow silkscreened on the board for reference if you replace the row of pins).

    4.jpg

    #6 3 years ago

    The Keying Plug would prevent the connector from plugging into the adapter, so we need to cut the pin off the adapter board.

    Double check that you are cutting the correct pin off the adapter, or you will be soldering in a new row of pins.

    Count twice, cut once.

    Use a sharp pair of side cutters/diagonals (the boss said we are not allowed to call them "Dikes" anymore).

    Don't even think of just pulling the Keying Plug out of the connector as a shortcut! You don't want to be that idiot....

    5.jpg

    #7 3 years ago

    There are two 28 pin adapters, so make sure you are cutting the correct pin from the correct adapter.

    Each requires a different pin cut!

    6.jpg

    #8 3 years ago

    Again, be sure you are cutting the correct pin.

    You can even temporarily put the adapters on the Lamp Board as a "sanity check, lol.

    7.jpg

    #9 3 years ago

    8.jpg

    #10 3 years ago

    Now we need to get the controlled bus power to the Adapter Boards.

    Each board has a 2 pin connector along the edge. These are where we will connect the voltage.

    9.jpg

    #11 3 years ago

    Both pins are electrically connected together, so it does not matter which one gets the voltage.

    That makes it easy!

    10.jpg

    #12 3 years ago

    Here you crimp the wires and assemble the connectors.

    The tab on the crimped metal, faces the long slot on the connector.

    If you don't have a crimper that does both crimps at once (like this one), do the smaller crimp first (the one that takes the stripped part of the wire), then do the crimp that secures the insulation.

    Since we are daisey chaining the wire, don't cut it into pieces. Just cut the insulation at each crimp and leave the wire as one long piece. Less chance of a broken connection this way.

    14.jpg

    Here is the daisey chain installed.

    11.jpg

    #13 3 years ago

    Here we have taken voltage from the common wire that runs to all the controlled lamps in the backbox - NOT from a GI lamp in the backbox. Solder this wire after you test for proper operation.

    Leave some slack in the wire so that the backbox door can open all the way.

    Zip tie the wire to the existing wiring harness so that the wire does not get pinched in the door.

    13.jpg

    #14 3 years ago

    OK, I know some of you are asking how you can be SURE you have tapped the proper voltage source.

    If you look at all the CPU controlled lamps on the backbox door (Tilt, Player 1-4, Game Over....) you will note that each has a small striped wire on one socket tab, and a "common" wire that runs to all of the controlled lamps.

    If you follow this around, you will see that this common wire leads back to a thick, non-striped wire.

    This common line is where you want to take your power from.

    12.jpg

    #15 3 years ago

    Once you are wired up, keep your finger on the power switch, the backbox door open, and flip the power on.

    Be ready to instantly flip the power back off should anything go wrong.

    But if you followed the above guide, you should see the CPU go through it's 7 flashes and then the CPU controlled lights start their attract mode sequence.

    The old, faded Bally inserts sure look great with color coordinating LED lamps installed, and the game will certainly run cooler with LEDs.

    I tried a bunch of different LEDs and everything I tried worked without flicker. I'll update this thread if I find any LEDs that don't work.

    Total instillation time: 20 minutes.

    Summery:

    If your old Lamp Board is fried or hacked to death, your money would be better spent on the Alltek board.

    But if your Lamp Board is good, and you want to save mega time soldering a ton of resistors, the Siegecraft LED adapter boards might be the best money you ever spent for your classic Bally/Stern game.

    Highly recommended.

    #16 3 years ago

    SHUT UP AND TAKE MY MONEY...

    Get out...this is awesome. Have been waiting a long time for someone to do this.

    #17 3 years ago

    So this allows you to put leds in say a BoP and they don't flicker or strobe. Your WAY over my head vid...as usual.

    #18 3 years ago

    No this is for classic Bally and Sterns, 1977-1984. BOP is WPC.

    #19 3 years ago

    List of Bally games this should work on:

    Black Jack
    Black Pyramid
    BMX
    Centaur
    Centaur II
    Cybernaut
    Dolly Parton
    Eight Ball
    Eight Ball Deluxe
    Eight Ball Deluxe Ltd
    Elektra
    Embryon
    Evil Knievel
    Fathom
    Fireball II
    Fireball Classic
    Flash Gordon
    Freedom
    Frontier
    Future Spa
    Grand Slam
    Harlem Globe Trotters
    Hotdoggin
    Kiss
    Kings of Steel
    Lost World
    Mata Hari
    Medusa
    Mr. & Ms Pacman
    Mystic
    Night Rider
    Nitro Ground Shaker
    Paragon
    Playboy
    Power Play
    Rapid Fire
    Rolling Stone
    Silverball Mania
    Six Million Dollar Man
    Skate Ball
    Space Invaders
    Speakeasy 2 & 4 Player
    Spectrum
    Spy Hunter
    Star Trek
    Strikes and Spares
    Super Sonic
    Vector
    Viking
    Voltan
    X's and O's, Xenon

    Stern Games:

    Ali
    Big Game
    Catacomb
    Cheetah
    Cosmic Princess
    Dracula
    Dragonfist
    Flight 2000
    Freefall
    Galaxy
    Hot Hand
    Iron Maiden
    Lazer Lord
    Lectrnamo
    Lightning
    Magic
    Memory Lane
    Meteor
    Nine Ball
    Nugent
    Orbitor 1
    Pinball
    Quicksilver
    Seawitch
    Split Second
    Star Gazer
    Stars
    Stingray
    Trident
    Viper
    Wild Fyre

    Oddball games:

    Black Sheep Squadron

    New Fathom

    New Vector

    Sexy Girl and Gammatron

    #20 3 years ago

    Nice job on the write up!

    The only thing i did differently was to pick up the feature lamp bus right at the rectifer plug and then put it in with the rest of the wire bundle that goes up to the head. Picking up the feature lamp bus right in the head makes sense though.

    #21 3 years ago

    So when will Hans have them for sale?

    #22 3 years ago
    Quoted from Xenon75:

    So when will Hans have them for sale?

    The un-populated boards are for sale right now (all 3 for $15).

    http://www.siegecraft.us/presta/index.php?id_product=43&controller=product&id_lang=1

    I'm sure Hans wanted us to try and blow stuff up before he offers the populated boards.....

    #23 3 years ago

    Damn! That writeup makes ME want to place an order, and I'm the guy selling the things. I am working on assembly jigs to help with assembly until I get the final push done to get the wave solder running. Otherwise they are just about ready to go into production. Once I confirm there are no variations, I'll be handling the keying pins too.

    Assembled sets should be available soon, but I will have to check on a connector change for a couple Stern board PCB versions to clear some mounting screws.

    Vid, You rock! I owe ya one.

    #24 3 years ago
    Quoted from HHaase:

    Assembled sets should be available soon, but I will have to check on a connector change for a couple Stern board PCB versions to clear some mounting screws.

    And before you make up a million sets, I want to try a few "simple" LEDs like the Ablaze singles and make sure they pull enough current.

    #25 3 years ago

    I loaded up with Ablaze single LEDs (about the simplest LEDs made), and no flashing, so even the worst case scenario is working fine.

    Nice job Hans.

    #26 3 years ago

    Glad I could be of service! I'm printing the last assembly jig right now while starting to set up the assembly for the first batch of 48. These will use the bottom entry connections, so they'll fit both Bally revisions of the lamp driver board, but I'm told there are some standoff spacing issues on the Stern LDA-100 Rev B and Rev C.

    Slow going with hand soldering these, so I'll only be able to do a few sets a day. I'll probably have them up on the website tomorrow, but there may be a shipping delay depending on how fast I can get them assembled.

    #27 3 years ago

    Wow, great review vid! If you ever want to review anything I'm selling, let me know and I'll hook you up with some discounts! Maybe you'll become the go-to person for new product reviews. Vid's Guides & Product Reviews

    I'm surprised none of the pinball led manufacturers have created a line of leds with parallel SMD resistors built into them specifically for these classic Bally/Stern machines. Seems like there would be enough of a market there to pay for initial tooling efforts pretty quick -- especially for the first manufacturer that does it & offers them for sale at even just a single Pinball show. *HINT HINT*

    Anyway, nice to see some pcbs made up for this! I may be adding to the pile later this year -- have a few different ideas in mind to possibly combine it with LDB tester so it has dual functionality, but $5 per board is darn good for these in what it saves in time versus soldering resistors on each lamp socket. It was painful to see the amount of work others were doing in converting just a single machine over with perf boarded stuff or soldering to individual lamps. Nice job Hans!

    One other DIY method that wasn't mentioned above is soldering SIP resistors soldered directly to the back of the board (Vid had posted a picture of this in another thread). You're out total cost of some SIP resistors & wire, so probably looking at $1.20-1.50 per header that way. Common pin on the SIPs get bent up or snipped higher than the board (so they aren't shorting to anything), then those pins are tied together with wire running between them & the wire then ties into the feature lamp bus. The other pins on the SIPs (individual resistors) get soldered to the 2.54mm header positions. It has the benefit that you're looking at & re-soldering practically every header pin on the board, which is usually needed anyway since there are almost always a few cracked/cold solder joints on those headers. I thought that was pretty clever, not sure Vid if you came up with that or someone else did.. but a great DIY method IMO.

    bally lamp driver mod.jpg

    ---
    http://www.pinitech.com - "Pinball Inspired Technology"
    Kits, upgrades and test equipment for pinball machines

    #28 3 years ago
    Quoted from acebathound:

    not sure Vid if you came up with that or someone else did.

    I stole the idea from Scott Golumbowski just because it kept the front of the board looking un-hacked. I'm not sure if he was the first or not, but I liked it.

    #29 3 years ago

    Building will be a bit slow, only able to do a couple sets an hours, and not THAT many hours available. Still hand soldering everything. But they are up on the website. First come, first served. I have enough boards on hand for 98 sets, and components for 48. I'll order more if these run out, so don't worry about that. Just be aware the first batch will be trickling out slowly, and there may be a delay between this and the 2nd batch when the time comes.

    Also, the bottom entry connectors will NOT fit the Stern LDA-100 Rev B or Stern LDA-100 Rev C. I'll be taking care of that issue in a week or two with a different style connector.

    Photos later, Vid's writeup gives you more than I ever could on the shopping cart, so I'd rather focus time on assembly right now. I will be trimming the keying pins as I go.

    http://www.siegecraft.us/presta/index.php?id_product=44&controller=product&id_lang=1

    -Hans

    #30 3 years ago

    Ok....vid1900. I have seen you stuff and been completely intrigued. This is a nice write up on a great product. Completely jazzed. Talked to one of these guys at the Texas Pinball Festival in March so this must be the initial product. Sweetttt!!!!!

    #31 3 years ago

    Fixed the problem on the shopping cart that was preventing orders, so they (really this time) are available for order now.

    -Hans

    #32 3 years ago

    Just ordered for my Dads SMDM....looking forward to installing this for him..Thanks Vid and Hans!

    #33 3 years ago
    Quoted from HHaase:

    Building will be a bit slow, only able to do a couple sets an hours, and not THAT many hours available. Still hand soldering everything. But they are up on the website. First come, first served. I have enough boards on hand for 98 sets, and components for 48. I'll order more if these run out, so don't worry about that. Just be aware the first batch will be trickling out slowly, and there may be a delay between this and the 2nd batch when the time comes.
    Also, the bottom entry connectors will NOT fit the Stern LDA-100 Rev B or Stern LDA-100 Rev C. I'll be taking care of that issue in a week or two with a different style connector.
    Photos later, Vid's writeup gives you more than I ever could on the shopping cart, so I'd rather focus time on assembly right now. I will be trimming the keying pins as I go.
    http://www.siegecraft.us/presta/index.php?id_product=44&controller=product&id_lang=1
    -Hans

    You know if the volume gets crazy find a shop and sub it out. There are alot of places in Dallas that can build these extremely fast for a super low price. You also will have better reliability because it will be put through a reflow oven.

    #34 3 years ago

    Once I get the time, I only have one thing left to take care of before putting my wave solder into production, and that will speed things up quite a lot for production work. As it is, I am keeping ahead of orders without a problem.

    -Hans

    #35 3 years ago

    Appreciate the incredible review here Vid; I'm always amazed at how much detail and effort goes into these. They're so much more like a how-to than a review. Kudos!

    I've also added this article to the list of Vid's Guides that I'm PDF'ing over in another thread:

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/vids-guides-pdf-version

    If nothing else, this one's gonna sit on my iPad so I can use it as an install guide when I put these boards in my SeaWitch.

    #36 3 years ago

    I've had a few people ask me about offering these in kit form...... give me a week or two, need to order more parts for that and have to figure out pricing. But yes, I'll offer these as kits.

    -Hans

    #37 3 years ago

    got mine in the mail...thanks for getting that out. Will be a few weeks before I get over to my Dad's to get it installed and will report back...thanks!

    #38 3 years ago

    VID, you are the GREATEST!!!

    What a great writeup and review. I love your style of writing and explaining difficult things so easy. You should become a writer and will get a rich man

    The product is great too.

    Ingo

    2 weeks later
    #39 3 years ago

    Sorry I haven't had a chance to start packaging DIY kits yet. Had a part mixup again and am short on some connectors. Ordering the connectors this weekend.

    -Hans

    1 week later
    #40 3 years ago

    Parts for the DIY kits are ordered, should be here in a few days, and I have enough to cover between now and when they arrive. So I'm opening them up for sale now.

    This gives 3 ways now to get your hands on these adapters for you machines.

    Bare circuit boards only for $15
    http://www.siegecraft.us/presta/index.php?id_product=43&controller=product&id_lang=1

    DIY kits, with all parts included, but not assembled for $30
    http://www.siegecraft.us/presta/index.php?id_product=48&controller=product&id_lang=1

    Complete kits, fully assembled, for $45
    http://www.siegecraft.us/presta/index.php?id_product=44&controller=product&id_lang=1

    #41 3 years ago

    ordered one today for Night Rider. Man that game looks nice with LEDs.
    awesome product and great write-up!

    #42 3 years ago

    When will a kit be made to fit the AS-2518-52 Auxiliary Lamp Driver Board? I want to use Hans' kit on my Eight Ball Deluxe, but I want LEDs in all of the feature lamps.

    #43 3 years ago

    I want to make something for the aux driver board, no doubt about it, but have a pair of hurdles to overcome first.....

    1. I don't have one of the aux boards, so I need some community help to nail down the design. I'm not a bally guy.
    2. I need to save up some funding for boards and parts, my last couple projects completely tapped me out.

    -Hans

    #44 3 years ago

    There is three aux lamp boards. Two are identical sans decoder logic and one has a different pin out (more SCRs).

    Any manual with the aux lamp board will give you the pin out of the .156" plugs. I know kings of steel, future spa, kiss, have the smaller aux lamp board. EBD has aux board with more lamp circuits.

    #45 3 years ago

    I'd find it much too hard to develop for a board or machine I don't have hands-on access to. Often I've printed the silkscreen mask of circuit board designs on paper and held them up where they go inside a machine and realized I don't have enough clearance around a connector, adjacent board, or there's another component that would otherwise interfere with placement. In some cases a higher heat area that I don't want my board sitting on top of. I'm fortunate in that I have access to a lot of older games around to test on -- my biggest issue is too many ideas and not enough time

    I may add leds to a Mr & Ms Pac-man machine over the winter that's currently folded up. I could develop something for the aux lamp board on that machine as I enjoy playing it and would like to see what it looks like with leds.

    Honestly I was hoping a product like this got more interest as it's something I had wanted to add to my product line-up. Mostly though hoping to see decent sales because the Classic Bally/Stern test equipment I've been selling has only received a light amount of sales. It'd be nice to know there's some products that could sell in larger volumes for these classic games if they're a product/mod that could be added to every machine in a collection. And it being related to LEDs, it's actually pretty surprising it's not selling more even as bare boards or kits.

    ---
    http://www.pinitech.com - "Pinball Inspired Technology"
    Kits, upgrades and test equipment for pinball machines

    #46 3 years ago
    Quoted from BallyPinWiz:

    When will a kit be made to fit the AS-2518-52 Auxiliary Lamp Driver Board? I want to use Hans' kit on my Eight Ball Deluxe, but I want LEDs in all of the feature lamps.

    Ive got a good deal of the Bally machines that use aux boards, The aux driver boards dont have a flickering problem with leds on any of my machines.

    #47 3 years ago
    Quoted from Hellfire:

    Ive got a good deal of the Bally machines that use aux boards, The aux driver boards dont have a flickering problem with leds on any of my machines.

    That's interesting. I will have to install some LEDs in the sockets controlled by the Aux Driver Board and see what happens. Has anyone else had a flicker-free experience with LEDs in a Bally machine with an Aux Driver Board?

    #48 3 years ago
    Quoted from BallyPinWiz:

    That's interesting. I will have to install some LEDs in the sockets controlled by the Aux Driver Board and see what happens. Has anyone else had a flicker-free experience with LEDs in a Bally machine with an Aux Driver Board?

    yep, space invaders.

    #49 3 years ago

    Looks like the Aux Lamp Drivers use primarily [perhaps exclusively judging from the schematic] MCR106-1 whereas the regular Lamp Driver Boards use a combination of MCR106-1 (multiple lamps) and 2N5060 (single lamps). Maybe the MCR106-1 doesn't experience the same issues with needing the additional load resistor to prevent flickering as the 2N5060's. Or probably the more likely scenario, if the MCR106's are there to drive multiple lamps, then even with LEDs they are then adding more load than a single LED would and preventing flicker because of that additional load. So we'll go with that for now

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