(Topic ID: 190482)

Do you need to tear the play field all the way down to add LED lights?

By Ericc123

7 years ago


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  • Latest reply 7 years ago by OLDPINGUY
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    #1 7 years ago

    I'm looking to buy an LED kit for my new machine, one of the ones that comes pre-selected for what you need, and the instructions on where to place them. I have added LED bulbs in small quantities to my machines before but have had trouble getting to certain bulbs. If I'm doing a full kit from scratch would I need to completely clear off the play field? I know that this isn't a 10 minute job but am I looking at several hours worth of work or even days off and on?

    As always any help is always appreciated,

    Eric

    #2 7 years ago

    You can replace the leds from underneith the playfield 95% of the time, replacing them from the top is just making more work for yourself. Depending on the machine its less than an hours work usually maybe around 30 mins

    #3 7 years ago

    Really depends on the game. With most modern games, you can unscrew the socket from underneath the playfield. With older games, the leads are stapled to the playfield, so you would have to get at the sockets from above.

    Also, not a huge fan of the LED kits. I use Comet LEDs, and buy them in bulk. This way, you don't need to "color by number" as the kits would have you do. Don't go with a colored GI, you will regret it when everything is blue or purple or green and it looks like a rainbow shat all over your playfield. Color matched inserts really make the inserts pop. Buy a few bulk packs here and there, and before you know it, you'll have a nice stock of bulbs to pull from.

    #4 7 years ago

    Edit: The post above is great information regarding LEDs. No color for GIs and color matched inserts is the way I go as well.

    There will be some easy bulbs to replace and some that are a little harder to get too, but you will never have to do a full tear down to replace them. You might have to move a plastic or ramp to get to one area, but that would be it. As stated above, most of them can be changed from under the playfield.

    #5 7 years ago

    I am not a pro, but depending on the machine some bulbs might be hard to get to. You get get to most of them under the play field. The ones in the head of the machine are not too bad. The ones that are above the play field in tricky spots might require removing some screws, nuts and wire forms. Make sure you remember the steps forward and backwards getting to the hard to reach spots. I usually take my time and I might break it up to one or two days depending on my time schedule. Depending on who you buy your kit from, I always seem to come up short on the bulbs or the type of bulb that fits in the socket. It is tedious and would also recommend using one of those hand band led flashlights, works great.
    Good Luck

    #6 7 years ago

    By the time I typed my response everyone else said the same thing....

    #7 7 years ago
    Quoted from bigchief99:

    By the time I typed my response everyone else said the same thing....

    I don't have much I can contribute to pinside. So when a question is asked that I can be helpful with, I act quickly. I was still late to the party though.

    #8 7 years ago

    I would also say get bulk LEDs. My first game I purchased a kit because I was figured the work was done for me but next game I actually priced out the bulbs and it was much cheaper to buy that way. I just print out the lamp locations and go through and note color and type needed. Then when I purchase I've added some extra. So if I need 14 red I buy 20. After a couple machines you end up with some extras to play with. More satisfying for me too because I decided what to get.

    #9 7 years ago

    Some games will require quite a bit of disassembly to get to certain bulbs that are buried under plastics and ramps. The good thing is, since they are LEDs, you won't likely have to do it again for a much longer time than you would if just replacing a burned out incandescent lamp with another.

    14
    #10 7 years ago

    LED commandments (aka: don't look like a newbie and get laughed at behind your back):

    1. Never buy a kit. They are always terrible.

    2. Never put colored LEDs in the GI sockets. Ever.

    3. Never put colored LEDs behind the backglass. Ever. Even if threatened at gunpoint, don't do it.

    4. Never put super bright LEDs under the inserts. You won't be able to read them.

    5. Buy a few extra of every color because you always get a few duds.

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    #11 7 years ago

    Great stuff guys. Any opinions on frosted, regular, non ghosting (whatever that means) it seems like the options are limitless. My last order was some random bulbs from Cointaker for a Simpsons Data East that I didn't convert fully.

    #12 7 years ago

    I usually go with frosted since you can place them anywhere and not have to worry about it being too bright if it's not covered by a ramp or plastic.

    Ghosting refers to residual voltage being left in the bulb and keeps the bulb lit just enough to leave a faint glow. Usually only affect insert bulbs. It is hardly noticeable imo, probably not likely you'll need non-ghosting for your DE Simpsons. 2 SMD (Surface Mounted Diodes) in warm white throw off a nice light that will brighten up any game. If you don't want to spend the money on SMD bulbs, the Comfort Bright bulbs by Comet LEDs are the choice I normally go with, even though I've had a few of them flicker after being installed after a while (the duds that Vid mentions)

    Natural white tends to be more like a daylight white and really updates the look of the game. IMO, some games need warm white, while others need natural white. It's really boils down to preference.

    #13 7 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    2. Never put colored LEDs in the GI sockets. Ever.

    Unless you own a Party Zone which has a separate red colored GI circuit.

    Never say never.

    #14 7 years ago
    Quoted from GLSP3022:

    Unless you own a Party Zone which has a separate red colored GI circuit.
    Never say never.

    I looked at his game list.

    No Party Zone, Fireball Classic or Space Station

    #15 7 years ago
    Quoted from Ericc123:

    Any opinions on frosted,

    Frosted are better at dispersing light, so if you have a larger area to light up, they are a good choice. Less "hot spotting" under plastics or backglasses.

    Sometimes, a switched lighting circuit has just enough current to always keep a LED dimly lit. Incandescent lamps are unaffected (too dim to see), but LEDs can stay lit or flicker. Non-Ghosting bulbs keep the LEDs from lighting without full voltage.

    #16 7 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    Frosted are better at dispersing light, so if you have a larger area to light up, they are a good choice. Less "hot spotting" under plastics or backglasses.

    Sometimes, a switched lighting circuit has just enough current to always keep a LED dimly lit. Incandescent lamps are unaffected (too dim to see), but LEDs can stay lit or flicker. Non-Ghosting bulbs keep the LEDs from lighting without full voltage.

    That makes sense. Thank you for the explanation.

    #17 7 years ago

    I use comet frosted 5050 non ghosting bulbs in natural. Like vid said...they throw more light around playfield and dont spot the art or backglass. Also sometimes I'll use the same led in clear for the inserts. Got to be careful here though. They are so bright in some inserts that it washes out the insert and is hard to track the ball. I need to go back to my Xenon for this.

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    #18 7 years ago

    What game are you working on?

    Do you want to play in the dark? Kids?
    People with sensitive eyes?

    These answers will help decide on the brightness of the bulb......(think of home...40W, 60W, 100W...we use different brightness)

    #19 7 years ago

    I have three colored LEDs across the top of my JP that I think are technically in the GI circuit. I put a red orange and yellow and it makes the topper look just like the backglass sunset. But they are not on the playfield so its a bit of stretch for the LED Commandments

    #20 7 years ago

    I always use warm white frosted LEDs in B/W backboxes so they never look too harsh.

    #21 7 years ago

    Comet 2 smd frosted natural white are your friends. Thats all i use in all of my machines. Dont bother with colored leds. Also using led flashers will blind you.

    #22 7 years ago

    Sorry but for once I disagree with vid. Pinball bulb kits have always been great for me - I don't like messing with counting up all the bulbs and there are times when gi is better colored in places (shadow comes to mind in the back areas, but sure there's others). Plus spotlight kits and strips for back and trough really make the package look nice. Yeah - you probably pay a bit more for it all but it never bothered me (get it on a sale).

    It's a really good opportunity to partially tear down the topside and clean places you can't normally reach, do a few repairs, etc, rerubber. I always combine all this and it takes a weekend (or couple if you need to order parts) to get it all installed, cleaned, waxed, flippers rebuilt, new balls, new rubbers.. and you should be good for a while.

    That's my take at least.

    #23 7 years ago

    You can put color bulbs wherever you want. Everyone has their opinion. I find it fun to experiment with different bulbs and just see how they look. You can always change bulbs if it looks bad. I recommend buying a bunch of different bulbs and see what you like. Get the different whites, frosted and clear bulbs, and different colors. Games are different as well. There is no one way to do all games. Like others said, most bulbs are easy to get to under the playfield. In some cases, it might be easier to undo a few things and go from the top. Good time to do a full shop and clean everything.

    #24 7 years ago
    Quoted from OLDPINGUY:

    What game are you working on?
    Do you want to play in the dark? Kids?
    People with sensitive eyes?
    These answers will help decide on the brightness of the bulb......(think of home...40W, 60W, 100W...we use different brightness)

    I'm working on the Simpsons Pinball Party. Always play in the dark. Kids are too young to play it for now at least. No sensitive eyes in the family. I've been looking at the Comet Pinball guide to lighting on their site and it's been hugely helpful.

    #25 7 years ago

    This is a great thread. Thanks for starting it. I'm picking up an X-Files tomorrow and may want to LED it eventually. I'll refer back here.

    #26 7 years ago

    You go it! Id Highly recommend 2 SMD Frosted in Sunlight for this game, and try out ICE Blue under the Itchie Inserts.
    Grab 3 of your favorite colors in Op Max....2 for the cooling towers, they make the full tower glow, and one for Homer.....a couple for Spots.

    Fast and Easy to do, other than a couple pain bulbs in the back.

    You may want to consider Hergs OCD, if you enjoy the fading of the lights.

    You should be OK to play in the dark, or 1-2 frosted strips on the Apron, and the lower half is fully lit!

    Enjoy! A blast to LED!

    #27 7 years ago

    Great time to clean all of your inserts while installing your new led's. Q-tips and novus 1 or alcohol is what I use. Easy to do when you unscrew the lamp sockets under the playfield.

    #28 7 years ago
    Quoted from Jtm3:

    Great time to clean all of your inserts while installing your new led's. Q-tips and novus 1 or alcohol is what I use. Easy to do when you unscrew the lamp sockets under the playfield.

    Great Reminder!!!

    Can make a difference greater than a change to LEDs.....

    Ive gone through bunches of games that were "LED" by previous owners.....only a small % cleaned their inserts...
    Huge difference on any game with carbon dust blocking the light.

    #29 7 years ago
    Quoted from rottenrobert1313:

    I use comet frosted 5050 non ghosting bulbs in natural. Like vid said...they throw more light around playfield and dont spot the art or backglass. Also sometimes I'll use the same led in clear for the inserts. Got to be careful here though. They are so bright in some inserts that it washes out the insert and is hard to track the ball. I need to go back to my Xenon for this.

    Nice Grand Prix rottenrobert1313 ! Lighting looks nice for an EM. Is your GP restored?

    #30 7 years ago

    Simpson's pinball party will need non ghosting in the inserts.

    #31 7 years ago

    For Simpsons pinball party, definitely buy the LED OCD board for it or it'll look bad. That game doesn't take well to ANY leds stock, even non ghosting ones. I've seen premium leds in TSPP without that board and it's just not worth it. Lots of ghosting and flickering.

    #32 7 years ago
    Quoted from RVApinballer:

    For Simpsons pinball party, definitely buy the LED OCD board for it or it'll look bad. That game doesn't take well to ANY leds stock, even non ghosting ones. I've seen premium leds in TSPP without that board and it's just not worth it. Lots of ghosting and flickering.

    So, stupid question of the day, what is an LED OCD board? What does it do and where can I purchase one? Is it compatible with any bulbs or does it have to match with certain ones?

    #33 7 years ago
    Quoted from RVApinballer:

    For Simpsons pinball party, definitely buy the LED OCD board for it or it'll look bad. That game doesn't take well to ANY leds stock, even non ghosting ones. I've seen premium leds in TSPP without that board and it's just not worth it. Lots of ghosting and flickering.

    I put LEDs in my Simpsons Pinball Party when I bought it. I did not use comet bulbs (although I recommend the comet bulbs) because I didn't know better. I put in ghosting bulbs and thought it looked fine. About a month and a half ago I purchased the LED OCD board and wow what a difference. It is a must whether you use ghosting or non ghosting bulbs.

    Some here have a better explanation as to what the LEDOCD board is, but you buy the one that fits your game and it really doesn't matter what type of bulbs you have. From what I understand ghosting bulbs are actually better with the OCD board, but I am not 100% positive in this (my ghosting LEDs work really well with the board). To find the website, just google LED OCD Board and you will find it.

    #34 7 years ago

    I thought LEDOCD was better with regular LEDs and not non ghosting bulbs

    #35 7 years ago

    As a rule, games that are mostly red and/or yellow look better with warm white LEDs for GI, and games that are mostly blue or green look pretty good with cool (i.e. "natural") GI. I hate seeing cool LEDs under red plastics. And don't even get me started on green LEDs for under the foliage in Congo.

    #36 7 years ago

    I broke the rules a bit with my T2. I used the ice blue frosted LEDS from comet in the rear half of the GI. It's a subtle blue to accent the plastics, but enough white glow to illuminate the playfield.
    As others have said...stay way from purples, pinks and greens. Unicorn barf is never a good thing.

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    #37 7 years ago
    Quoted from Ericc123:

    So, stupid question of the day, what is an LED OCD board?

    Some recent games that were released with incandescent lighting (before LEDs were used) will flicker badly when you put in LEDs. It can be particularly bad during attract mode, or if the game uses fading effects to dim and brighten the inserts. LOTR is probably the worst offender, as the inserts are fading in and out continually during gameplay. The OCD board does the best it can to fix this issue, by "re-driving" the lamp matrix...basically to make it refresh more often.

    The LED OCD board only fixes issues with inserts. Most games do not have any issues with the GI as it is always on (though there are some games that do use dimming effects on the GI...particularly 90s Bally Williams games. Those effects can be turned off in the software if you want).

    Quoted from Ericc123:

    What does it do and where can I purchase one?

    The best price is to buy directly from Herg: http://ledocd.com/index.html (there are videos here as well). I also sell them at Comet Pinball, but the price is a little higher.

    Quoted from Ericc123:

    Is it compatible with any bulbs or does it have to match with certain ones?

    Although it will work, it's best not to use it with non-ghosting bulbs.

    #38 7 years ago

    Also, as others have said above...for modern games (like TSPP), you will be able to access nearly all of the bulbs from beneath the playfield, without having to remove any plastics on the top side. Get a 1/4 inch nut driver and unscrew all those GI bulb sockets. If unscrewing them seems like extra work, I promise it's always easier than whatever you'd have to do to reach the socket on the topside of the playfield. (Though as you may find, there can be some sockets that are affixed underneath a flipper bracket...in which case, change it out from above).

    #39 7 years ago
    Quoted from ToucanF16:

    Nice Grand Prix rottenrobert1313 ! Lighting looks nice for an EM. Is your GP restored?

    Thank you. No it's not restored. When I shop a game I take everything off the top of the playfield. (Forgot to mention this for op in my first response) Then a good cleaning and wax. Flatten wavy plastics and polish everything. This game had metal acorn nuts and those got polished too. New rubber and adjust switches. And...Led's of course.

    #40 7 years ago

    It sounds like the non-ghosting LEDs can be useful for inserts but not needed for GI, is that right?

    What about flashers?

    #41 7 years ago

    My understanding is that you do not want to use non ghosting bulbs if you have the ocd board. Non ghosting bulbs have a filter that prevents lower voltage from lighting the bulb. That is ghosting - when the bulb is dimly lit when it is supposed to be off. If you want dimming effects and have the ocd board, the non ghosting bulbs are not going to block some of the voltage.

    One thing to note is that you can disable dimming on BW games. That gets rid of most issues with flickering for free. However, you do lose the dimming light effects. It's a decent trade off for the other benefits of leds like lower voltage and no more burnt connectors. A game done right with leds just looks amazing and much more enjoyable to play.

    I've been tempted to try out the ocd boards but seems like you have to get both. One for inserts and the other for gi. Doesn't games dim both?

    #42 7 years ago
    Quoted from Nokoro:

    It sounds like the non-ghosting LEDs can be useful for inserts but not needed for GI, is that right?

    Right. With a few exceptions, GI is always on. No ghosting because they are not computer controlled.

    How do you know if your GI is computer controlled? If the playfield lights come on the moment you power up, those are not CPU controlled.

    And when using dimmer standard LEDs for the inserts, even if there is a slight amount of ghosting, it goes unnoticed anyway.

    If you use bright LED, you will definitely see the ghosting.

    Quoted from Nokoro:

    What about flashers?

    You may not even want LEDs for the flashers.

    Maybe try one before wasting a bunch of cash on the whole playfield.

    Standard incandescent flashers last a LONG time before burning out. And if you stick with incandescent, you don't have to cut any resistor wires....

    #43 7 years ago
    Quoted from jawjaw:

    My understanding is that you do not want to use non ghosting bulbs if you have the ocd board. Non ghosting bulbs have a filter that prevents lower voltage from lighting the bulb. That is ghosting - when the bulb is dimly lit when it is supposed to be off. If you want dimming effects and have the ocd board, the non ghosting bulbs are not going to block some of the voltage.
    One thing to note is that you can disable dimming on BW games. That gets rid of most issues with flickering for free. However, you do lose the dimming light effects. It's a decent trade off for the other benefits of leds like lower voltage and no more burnt connectors. A game done right with leds just looks amazing and much more enjoyable to play.
    I've been tempted to try out the ocd boards but seems like you have to get both. One for inserts and the other for gi. Doesn't games dim both?

    I don't have an OCD board, and this is a SEGA X-Files. I'm not sure how much dimming there is. I didn't notice much.

    Quoted from vid1900:

    Right. With a few exceptions, GI is always on. No ghosting because they are not computer controlled.
    How do you know if your GI is computer controlled? If the playfield lights come on the moment you power up, those are not CPU controlled.
    And when using dimmer standard LEDs for the inserts, even if there is a slight amount of ghosting, it goes unnoticed anyway.
    If you use bright LED, you will definitely see the ghosting.

    You may not even want LEDs for the flashers.
    Maybe try one before wasting a bunch of cash on the whole playfield.
    Standard incandescent flashers last a LONG time before burning out. And if you stick with incandescent, you don't have to cut any resistor wires....

    The GI is not computer controlled, so i think I'm ok there. I may get some bright insert bulbs and some standard LEDs. I haven't decided yet. I want to hear what other X-File owners have done and posted in the X-File thread to find out. As for the flashers, it has both #96 and #89 bulbs. Mostly #89s. I didn't realize you have to cut resistor wires to add LED flashers. Is that universally true for the flashers? If so, maybe I'll just stick to incandescents for those if they last a while. I assume you don't have to cut anything to LED insert or GI sockets, is that right?

    #44 7 years ago

    You just can't make this shlt up, today on CL:

    LED DemoMan (resized).jpgLED DemoMan (resized).jpgLED DemoMan 2 (resized).jpgLED DemoMan 2 (resized).jpg

    "Hmmm, what could I do to make my DM gay....make him pink?"

    Yes, make him pink!

    #45 7 years ago

    Come on Vid...the guy came on here for help.

    Yes, We know you have a collection of Bad LED jobs....how about you post a good job?

    Any Stern Games since AC/DC look OK?

    #46 7 years ago
    Quoted from OLDPINGUY:

    Yes, We know you have a collection of Bad LED jobs

    That DM is on Craigslist right now.

    I probably should make a collection of the worst of the worst, that would be entertaining.

    Quoted from OLDPINGUY:

    how about you post a good job?

    A good LED job is like a good hair transplant.

    You've seen lot's of good hair transplants, but you only notice the bad ones

    #47 7 years ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    I probably should make a collection of the worst of the worst, that would be entertaining.

    Please Do!

    #48 7 years ago

    Need help,

    Got a CONGO, I500 that need LEDs

    Like the games quite bright..
    I don't have a clue when it comes to making a game look good.
    I see pictures of other games that look amazing, but all this frosted/clear natural, warm white stuff goes over my head.

    Best bulbs to buy, and do they do kits!?

    Thanks

    #49 7 years ago

    Depends...Best contemporary Kit, IMO, Pinball Bulbs, but check the pics to see if you like.
    Next Pre made Kit is Cointaker or Nifty, again check pictures, because its the kits choice, not yours.

    Best Universal Kit, Comet...use Frosted Sunlight, and youll have around 100 bulbs extra.

    All vendors are very helpful with emails for additional help.

    Heres Mine done with a Comet Kit, essentially, with frosted Sunlight and Ice Blue, so you can compare to the other
    pics. (Double headed flex orange in the window...bent out of line of sight)

    Whichever you use, if you give a bit of attention to choices, you can master buying in bulk from your favorite vendor,
    and save some $$$.

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