(Topic ID: 98819)

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

By vid1900

7 years ago

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  • Latest reply 4 months ago by northvibe
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    #1 7 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.



    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.



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


    #2 7 years ago


    #3 7 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.


    #4 7 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.


    #5 7 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).


    #6 7 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....


    #7 7 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!


    #8 7 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.


    #9 7 years ago


    #10 7 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.


    #11 7 years ago

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

    That makes it easy!


    #12 7 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.


    Here is the daisey chain installed.


    #13 7 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.


    #14 7 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.


    #15 7 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.


    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.

    #19 7 years ago

    List of Bally games this should work on:

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

    Stern Games:

    Big Game
    Cosmic Princess
    Flight 2000
    Hot Hand
    Iron Maiden
    Lazer Lord
    Memory Lane
    Nine Ball
    Orbitor 1
    Split Second
    Star Gazer
    Wild Fyre

    Oddball games:

    Black Sheep Squadron

    New Fathom

    New Vector

    Sexy Girl and Gammatron

    #22 7 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).


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

    #24 7 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 7 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.

    #28 7 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.

    2 months later
    #58 6 years ago
    Quoted from dothedoo:

    The only problem I have with the kit is the lamp buss connector for J1 sits right on top of the mounting screw on the Stern LDA-100 board. If I hadn't noticed this before powering up it would have shorted and blown the fuse.

    You can use a nylon screw as long as the rest of them are metal for grounding.

    9 months later
    #99 6 years ago

    Having an extra 6" of wire would be welcome, although I can't think of any game off the top of my head that requires it.

    8 months later
    #169 5 years ago
    Quoted from rcbrown316:

    was all of this worth the 50 bucks you saved by not using the alltek board?

    Like it says in post#1, if your LDB is all hacked up, get the Alltek.

    For people who have a bunch of classic Bally, the savings quickly add up by using the boards.

    3 weeks later
    #177 5 years ago

    If you flip the switch on the Altek, does it get worse, or stay the same?

    #180 5 years ago
    Quoted from bayoubilly70:

    Stupid question ... What switch ?

    Not literally a switch, but there is a required jumper wire that brings buss voltage to the board on TP13 if you want to use LEDs.

    If you lift this off the test point, does the problem get worse or stay the same?

    1 week later
    #185 5 years ago



    These boards from Siegecraft allow you to install LEDs without flicker for lamps that are driven by the Aux Lamp Driver -52.

    As the Bally games became more complex in the 80s, Bally added the Aux boards so they could add more CPU driven lamps.

    A dozen or so of 80s games have these boards:

    Eight Ball Deluxe (all the different versions)
    Flash Gordon
    Fireball II
    Mr & Mrs Pacman
    Space Invaders

    Note that the kit comes with an 18 and 20 pin adapter, each with a bi-pin power connector.


    #186 5 years ago

    Here, we'll install a set in Xenon, because that's probably the most popular of the above games, but their all pretty similar.

    The -52 Aux Lamp Driver board in it's natural state:


    #187 5 years ago

    Here we can see the 18 and 20 pin connectors with their female counterparts removed.

    Note the missing Key Pins that keep the connectors from being installed backwards:


    #188 5 years ago

    You need to cut one Keying Pin from each adapter board.

    On the 20 pin adapter, cut off pin #2

    On the 18 pin adapter, cut off pin #3


    Then install the adapter boards on the -52 board.


    #189 5 years ago

    Here are the installed adapters from another angle for clarity.


    #190 5 years ago

    The final step is to bring power to the adapter boards.

    Grab power from one of the lamp runs near the -52 board, daisy chain the power to the second adapter board. Once you test that it works, secure the power wire to the power bus with a drop of solder.

    How to identify the proper place to grab power from is in this post, earlier in this thread:


    Here I used 2 different color wires to better demonstrate the daisy chain, but you will only need to use a single color:


    #191 5 years ago

    Total install time was 7 minutes.

    Now you can install LED lamps everywhere that are driven by the -52 board without annoying flicker.


    #193 5 years ago
    Quoted from HHaase:

    How is clearance on the back side in regards to the those SCR's?

    About 1/64" of clearance.

    Users with SCRs that have been replaced (and thus are mounted taller than stock), will want to slightly bend all the SCRs in the row down for clearance.

    2 weeks later
    #197 5 years ago
    Quoted from HHaase:

    I'm just a bit paranoid about dimensional issues popping up in the future,

    You could include a Fishpaper that would insulate the back of the boards from touching all the transistors maybe?

    #201 5 years ago
    Quoted from HHaase:

    I just know there will be somebody who leaves it out and then blames me a damaged board.

    I hear ya.

    You'd probably have to install it before it ships.

    5 months later
    #226 4 years ago

    I can beta test the AUX or classic, I don't think I have any 6803 up and running right now.

    6 months later
    #244 4 years ago

    Anyone having this problem should share:

    Which lamp(s) are having the problem (playfield, backbox, location)

    What brand LED (color, brand, when purchased)

    Pic of the driver board (are the stock parts driving these lamps, or replacement parts?)

    If you move the LED, does the problem follow?

    #246 4 years ago
    Quoted from GVONM:

    Just installed the new version. Saw zero improvement. Still have 20+ lamps flickering on Flash Gordon.

    Are you sure you grabbed power from the right buss?

    1 year later
    #301 3 years ago
    Quoted from mima:

    As I now know that this is currently not a option for Goldball I suppose I need to revert to the soldering of resistors on the lamps. However how do I workaround that the controlled lamps (for the most part) is mounted on two big light boards?

    You can bend the leads of the resistor and put them into the socket, alongside the LED bulb.

    Depending on the socket, the resistor might be on the side of the LED, or slightly above it.

    No soldering needed, and you can easily lower your resistor value should your MPU require it.

    s-l1000 (resized).jpg
    #303 3 years ago
    Quoted from mima:

    What is the best and quickest way to determine the value of the needed resistor.?

    Generally people use 470 ohm.

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