(Topic ID: 77879)

EMs and LEDs

By Euchrid

8 years ago


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  • 46 posts
  • 21 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 8 years ago by Cruzin1a
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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#1 8 years ago

My son saved up his allowance to buy his first pin, a Williams Star Pool. After a few months on tear down, shop and repopulating we install all LEDs throughout (I know, I know, the LEDs are worth more than the game). But, when we fire it up none of the GI lights work, except the one under the apron, and none of the inserts light. The game will play just fine, but every time a switch is hit all pf lights will very briefly, and dimly, flicker. The lights in the backbox work. Prior to tearing it down the incandescent in it worked just fine. This is my first shop of an EM - what gives? Is it the LEDs (new ones from Comet)? Is it just because it's an EM? Any advice?

#2 8 years ago

Reinstall some of the incandescent bulbs and see if they light. Maybe you have a shorted or partially shorted LED somewhere which is pulling down the GI circuit. Pull each LED lamp, one at a time to check for this.
Make sure you have the proper value fuse installed in the GI lighting circuit. If too high a rating, you could burn some wiring and/or start a fire in the machine.

#3 8 years ago

I actually did an LED conversion and one of the LEDs shorted out the rest. I only noticed this because I change out the light blubs with the machine on (big no, no...)

#4 8 years ago

Indeed. sometimes it is the sockets on older EMs, They can light an incandescent, and fail on LED, taking out the series....Indeed a short somewhere is likely.

Also, grab a meter...and start checking.

Quoted from jrpinball:

Reinstall some of the incandescent bulbs and see if they light. Maybe you have a shorted or partially shorted LED somewhere which is pulling down the GI circuit. Pull each LED lamp, one at a time to check for this.
Make sure you have the proper value fuse installed in the GI lighting circuit. If too high a rating, you could burn some wiring and/or start a fire in the machine.

Good Help.

#5 8 years ago
Quoted from jrpinball:

Maybe you have a shorted or partially shorted LED somewhere which is pulling down the GI circuit. Pull each LED lamp, one at a time to check for this.

Exactly... I'm pretty sure those LEDs need a consistent 5 to 6 volts or they won't even try to light up. Am I wrong?

-Steve Ridge

Post edited by VDrums2112 : Typos, mispellings, improper grammer... You name it!

#6 8 years ago

Likely somebody someplace is trying to send you a message. These things happen for a reason.

#7 8 years ago

"EM's and LED's" is the definition of an oxymoron.

I will change over one day when they look like an incandescent. They are very close, but not quite there yet.

#8 8 years ago
Quoted from Garrett:

"EM's and LED's" is the definition of an oxymoron.

I will change over one day when they look like an incandescent. They are very close, but not quite there yet.

Agreed.

Ken

#9 8 years ago

Disagreed. But that's like my opinion, man

#10 8 years ago
Quoted from VDrums2112:

Exactly... I'm pretty sure those LEDs need a consistent 5 to 6 volts or they won't even try to light up. Am I wrong?
-Steve Ridge
Post edited by VDrums2112 : Typos, mispellings, improper grammer... You name it!

Not exactly. An LED has its own internal voltage that it wants/needs to light up. A Red LED, might be as low as 1.2 volts. A number of the larger LEDs along with most of the whites and blues typically require 3.4V. Some as much as 4.9VDC.

The voltage rating of the "replacement" LED is all about what they have done to deal with the extra voltage (6.3V - 3.4V = 2.9V). In its simplest form, that is a resistor put in line with one lead of the LED. But you also need to know the maximum current draw of the LED. That typically ranges from 20 milliamps to 70 milliamps. (0.070 A). So, you might find a 75 or 100 ohm resistor in series with the 6V LED.

But, 6.3 VAC is not 6.3VDC. Which is what all the above is based on. 6.3VAC GI power is continually changing polarity and going up and down from 0 volts (think Sine Wave). So the LED does not recieve 6.3 V all of the time unless it is a specially designed replacement.

So, if the LED only contains a single resistor and used on AC, it will only be lit half the time and be flashing 60 times a second. This is the strobe light effect many of us complain about. It may not be noticeable when looking directly at the LEDs, but you will see its effect as your eyes track the moving ball across the playfield.

If the LED actually contains a Bridge rectifier (or 4 diodes) to convert AC to DC, then you get more brightness but it is still strobing 120 times a second.

If they add a capacitor to smooth the pulsating DC into filtered DC, you get a contantly lit LED. You also get the possible benefit of LED slightly ramping up to full brightness when first turned on, and fading out when turned off.

This is why there are all sorts of different standard and premium, non ghosting, reduced strobing etc. etc. LEDs being sold for the Pinball Market.

Another problem I have seen by using LEDs in an EM game is what I believe to be caused by induced current. If you see an EM where someone has replaced all the lamps in the backglass with LEDs, you can see various non-lit LEDs flash very briefly when various things are happening in the game (like scoring etc.) Unlike an Incandescent bulb, LEDs can light extremely fast, and, as described above, can light with very low voltage and current. When a wire has to pass current, it actually creates a small magnetic field around it. The more current it passes, the greater the magnetic field. If you lay another wire parrallel to the first wire, the current in the first wire will induce voltage in the second (The basic principle of how an air transformer works). So, by turning on a coil in a EMs head you induce voltage in the lamp wires (like Ball in Play, match lights, Game Over) which are laying parrallel to them in the wire loom. And you get faint little random flashes of light in some, if not all of the feature lamps. This may not be very noticeable down at the PF, and also not by the person playing the game (except maybe during bonus collect). But its easy to see by on-lookers.

#11 8 years ago

That's awesome, CactusJack!

[Keeping my stockpile of 47s (and 44s) on hand.]

#12 8 years ago
Quoted from DirtFlipper:

That's awesome, CactusJack!
[Keeping my stockpile of 47s (and 44s) on hand.]

A great read on LED's.

#13 8 years ago
Quoted from Garrett:

A great read on LED's.

+1

#14 8 years ago
Quoted from DirtFlipper:

That's awesome, CactusJack!
[Keeping my stockpile of 47s (and 44s) on hand.]

I just bought 900 47s off a friend that was leaving the hobby. I should be good for a long time.

#15 8 years ago

Thanks for the help. I'll start replacing and testing and report back.

#16 8 years ago

I've got a couple of games that I have put some LEDs in. For the most part, I don't like the looks of them in EMs, but I put them in a couple of games, only under playfield inserts, and they look really really good. If you want to add a little color to a game, they do a very good job of it.

If they are used in non GI situations, use non ghosting. You can see the flicker and it's irritating, to say the least.

But for the most part, I still stick with incandescents for EMs.

#17 8 years ago

I buy LED's directly from china on the cheap. Do not get me wrong they are not a non-ghosting LED, but are as equally good quality as any countaker, ablaze, ect. And the LED's almost half the price. I have never seen LED's flicker on GI unless they were weant to intentionally DIM due to computer controlled GI.

#18 8 years ago

Here's a couple pics of my faces, I'll grab a cherry bell pic and a Bally joust pic when I get home. They all look great if done right.

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#19 8 years ago
Quoted from Gundam_Pilot_:

I buy LED's directly from china on the cheap. Do not get me wrong they are not a non-ghosting LED, but are as equally good quality as any countaker, ablaze, ect. And the LED's almost half the price. I have never seen LED's flicker on GI unless they were weant to intentionally DIM due to computer controlled GI.

I'll have to look again as my EM's seem to be missing this "computer" controlled GI you speak of.

#20 8 years ago
Quoted from Gundam_Pilot_:

Here's a couple pics of my faces, I'll grab a cherry bell pic and a Bally joust pic when I get home. They all look great if done right.

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All give you this, that back glass looks great they way you have it.

#21 8 years ago

I'm not an LED fan in general, especially in an EM. With that said in your Faces they same strangely appropriate.

#22 8 years ago

It depends on the game. I think Bally "Old Chicago" for example could really pop with the correct LEDs installed. Colored LEDs really make the playfield inserts pop on EMs when you put the same color LED under them. When done correctly, LEDs can really make an EM shine. I'm a purist for the most part, but mods such as LEDs are easily undone, and so aren't terribly objectionable. The thing with LEDs though, is that it seems to take a little experimentation to get a desirable effect and when done tastefully they can enhance the appearance of any game.

#23 8 years ago

Honey! The cat just barfed up another Rainbow all over my pinball game.....

#24 8 years ago

Retro whites are fine under the bumper caps,that and the colored silicone # 47/44 bulb covers are fine when you are trying to highlight a feature or hide some pure light coming through a backglass that has a couple of thin areas.

#25 8 years ago

I gotta chime in. LEDs in EM's look like ass. Sorry just had to pipe in after seeing pictures of that Sonic Faces. A few LEDS in some general illumination area is fine but the whole thing in LEDS = BLECH!

#26 8 years ago

For me, it's all about keeping the heat to a minimum. I buy the warm whites from Cointakers, and I put them behind the backglass, under all the playfield inserts, and under most of the playfield plastics--anywhere heat is going to do damage. I don't put them in the pop bumpers (unless the cap is something really rare that isn't reproduced) because they just don't look right in them.

The warm whites from Cointakers are pretty close to 44/47's, not quite, but miles ahead of the cheaper LED bulbs. I bought some of the cheap ones off ebay and they're garbage.

Sorry, but I like to keep my machines turned on, and this way I can do it without worrying about my inserts sagging, my backglass peeling and my plastics warping from the heat. The peace of mind is worth the slightly different appearance the LED's give the machine.

#27 8 years ago
Quoted from Rat_Tomago:

I gotta chime in. LEDs in EM's look like ass. Sorry just had to pipe in after seeing pictures of that Sonic Faces. A few LEDS in some general illumination area is fine but the whole thing in LEDS = BLECH!

Tell us how you really feel

#28 8 years ago
Quoted from Garrett:

Tell us how you really feel

Yea Dan, Don't hold back!

Ken

#29 8 years ago

I do not share secrets, so do not pass this one on. I even think Dan uses period correct dimes/quarters in his pins.
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#30 8 years ago

I do not have LED in my pins. I never have the pins on more than 1 hour a day. The heat savings with LED's on plastics is important, especially if your pins are on all day/night long.

#31 8 years ago

Just tossing it in there.

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#32 8 years ago
Quoted from Rat_Tomago:

LEDs in EM's look like ass.

EA sports.JPG
#33 8 years ago
Quoted from Garrett:

Tell us how you really feel

Quoted from EM-PINMAN:

Yea Dan, Don't hold back!
Ken

I would sound like Dr. Sheldon Cooper if I did that.

#34 8 years ago
Quoted from Darcy:

I do not share secrets, so do not pass this one on. I even think Dan uses period correct dimes/quarters in his pins.
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Slick Chick is set for coins pre 64 made with silver.

#35 8 years ago
Quoted from Rat_Tomago:

Slick Chick is set for coins pre 64 made with silver.

Just make sure to reject the Canadian ones.

#36 8 years ago
Quoted from Pin-it:

Just make sure to reject the Canadian ones.

Yeah no Canadian slugs in my machines.

#37 8 years ago

Canadian coins were silver up until 1968, after that nickel. In 2011 (I think) coinage changed again, more steel, less nickel. Now they have nickel cladding. Magnetic coins. No more 1 cent coins, and we have the ever popular $1 coin, and the $2 coin.

#38 8 years ago
Quoted from Darcy:

... and we have the ever popular $1 coin, and the $2 coin.

aka the "Loonie" and the "Toonie"

#39 8 years ago
Quoted from Rat_Tomago:

Slick Chick is set for coins pre 64 made with silver.

I found a few of those in one of my Pitch and Bat games.

#40 8 years ago
Quoted from Darcy:

and we have the ever popular $1 coin, and the $2 coin.

- which can be difficult to deposit in the coin slot at the Windsor Ballet.

#41 8 years ago
Quoted from newmantjn:

- which can be difficult to deposit in the coin slot at the Windsor Ballet.

Haven't been to the "ballet" in years...mighty fine performers in Windsor!

#42 8 years ago

Turns out I had a bad fuse holder - it was bent.

As far as the led debate goes, the machine belongs to my eight year old son and I've let him do whatever. Suppose he's flexing his creativity with the lights as he likes to change them around constantly.

#43 8 years ago

Glad to hear you found it!

#44 8 years ago

Agreed, very glad you found the issue. I think the Faces machine looks great!

#45 8 years ago
Quoted from newmantjn:

- which can be difficult to deposit in the coin slot at the Windsor Ballet.

Well, not really. Just toss it, with your thumb (like a wishing well). Or use the edge of the stage, stand the coins on end and flick it into the target with your finger. Closest to the target wins.
$5 bills just need to be folded like a paper glider, and you are ready to go.
(Ah nuts! Our new polymer bank notes do not fold).

1 week later
#46 8 years ago
Quoted from CactusJack:

Another problem I have seen by using LEDs in an EM game is what I believe to be caused by induced current. If you see an EM where someone has replaced all the lamps in the backglass with LEDs, you can see various non-lit LEDs flash very briefly when various things are happening in the game (like scoring etc.) Unlike an Incandescent bulb, LEDs can light extremely fast, and, as described above, can light with very low voltage and current. When a wire has to pass current, it actually creates a small magnetic field around it. The more current it passes, the greater the magnetic field. If you lay another wire parrallel to the first wire, the current in the first wire will induce voltage in the second (The basic principle of how an air transformer works). So, by turning on a coil in a EMs head you induce voltage in the lamp wires (like Ball in Play, match lights, Game Over) which are laying parrallel to them in the wire loom. And you get faint little random flashes of light in some, if not all of the feature lamps. This may not be very noticeable down at the PF, and also not by the person playing the game (except maybe during bonus collect). But its easy to see by on-lookers.

I think this may be the flicker I see in my bonus multiplier rollovers. When not lit they flicker in sync with any activity in the machine including the flippers. The rest of the non GI activated lights in the playfield do not do this when they are not illuminated.

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