(Topic ID: 153746)

DIY Guide For Coverting Your F-14 Tomcat Beacons From 1683's to 89's

By nerdygrrl

5 years ago


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  • 42 posts
  • 15 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 49 days ago by Hangernade
  • Topic is favorited by 32 Pinsiders

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13
#1 5 years ago

Before I start I want to give credit where credit is due for this project, this was the brain child of Pinside member GRUMPY. He mentioned in a thread that he had built a few of these for his games with the 1683 beacons and was happy enough to share with me his hand drawn schematics and talk me through a bit of the process.

As many F-14 Tomcat owners know, our beloved beacons come equipped with 28V, 1683 flasher bulbs. So if you want to run 12V 89 LED's in them for further seizure inducing action it is next to impossible. That is unless you step down the voltages. This little DIY project can make those LED desires a reality. It's a pretty simple, low cost, project that takes about 1/2 an hour to put together. How simple you ask? Simple enough for me to put it together and install it successfully on my first attempt.

Parts:

Perf Board from teh Rat Shack $2.49

*5 W/ 5Ohm resistor .75 Great Plains Electronics.

2A/200V Bridge Rectifier .60 Great Plains Electronics

18G or 22G wire for jumpers ~10 inches Check yo scrap box

2 PCB Feet Steal em from a junk board

Drill Bit to drill out input/output lines

*If you are going to run incandescent 89's instead of LED's you are going to need to beef up your resistor to 10W/10 Ohms.

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#2 5 years ago

Install the bridge rectifier horizontally across the perf board, then run the resistor off of the + lead on the rectifier vertically down the board (like so).

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Next we need to add some jumpers off of the bridge rectifier, and down the perf board. Our AC lines and our lines to the beacons will connect to these jumpers.

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#3 5 years ago

Now that we have the resistor and our three jumpers in place, we will need to solder them to the leads of the bridge rectifier. Make sure to note the polarity and the AC leads these will be noted on your bridge rectifier.

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Fold the lead of the resistor over to create a bridge across to the lead of the rectifier. Repeat with this step with the jumpers, folding the wire over to create a bridge with its respective rectifier lead. Now hit those suckers with some solder!

Some sloppy soldering here. I will go back and clean up tomorrow before I install.

Note that I have pre-drilled holes for the input and output wires form the pinball cab.

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#4 5 years ago

So you done went and built yourself a voltage regulator. Now you need to go out and find you some voltages to regulate. In your back box locate the 28V lead that runs to the beacons and their motor. We want the beacon leads AKA the white (negative) and white with blue trace (positive) located above the molex connection. I made my cut about 4 to 5 inches up from the molex.

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#5 5 years ago

Take the leads that connect to the molex end AKA the AC feed and install them into the AC inputs on your perf board.

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Now repeat with the remaining lines that run to the beacons AKA the outputs. Remember the and white with blue trace is the positive lead and the straight white is your negative lead.

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Once all wires are installed we will fold them over as we did before creating a bridge to our jumpers and solder in place.

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#6 5 years ago

Now it's time to get the board installed. I found that if you move the existing fuse holder over a bit you have plenty of space to mount the perf board. I am not too happy with this location and will move it once I get a new drill bit. Man that ground plating eats up bits.

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#7 5 years ago

Now all that is left is to grab a pair of shades and some LED's. Grumpy recommends Comet's 50/50 13 SMD tower bulbs for the beacons. Sadly I only had one on hand and will have to make do with these 8 SMD flat tops for now.

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And remember safety first. Whenever pugging in a new piece of equipment it is always good to have a fire extinguisher handy.

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#8 5 years ago

I'll try and shoot a video tonight to show the flashers in use.

#9 5 years ago

Delete placeholder not needed.

#10 5 years ago

Nice write up.

I wonder how that would look using color matched LED flashers.

#11 5 years ago

I had a red tower that I tossed in there. It looked pretty nice. It deepens the colors a bit. I will post a vid I shot last night, but it doesn't really do it justice.

#12 5 years ago

Nice write up!

#13 5 years ago

Nice work Mel. Added to my favs.

#14 5 years ago
Quoted from nerdygrrl:

Before I start I want to give credit where credit is due for this project, this was the brain child of Pinside member GRUMPY. He mentioned in a thread that he had built a few of these for his games with the 1683 beacons and was happy enough to share with me his hand drawn schematics and talk me through a bit of the process.
As many F-14 Tomcat owners know, our beloved beacons come equipped with 28V, 1683 flasher bulbs. So if you want to run 12V 89 LED's in them for further seizure inducing action it is next to impossible. That is unless you step down the voltages. This little DIY project can make those LED desires a reality. It's a pretty simple, low cost, project that takes about 1/2 an hour to put together. How simple you ask? Simple enough for me to put it together and install it successfully on my first attempt.
Parts:
Perf Board from teh Rat Shack $2.49
*5 W/ 5Ohm resistor .75 Great Plains Electronics.
2A/200V Bridge Rectifier .60 Great Plains Electronics
18G or 22G wire for jumpers ~10 inches Check yo scrap box
2 PCB Feet Steal em from a junk board
Drill Bit to drill out input/output lines
*If you are going to run incandescent 89's instead of LED's you are going to need to beef up your resistor to 10W/10 Ohms.
unnamed-5_(resized).jpg

Very nice write up, thanks man!!!

And here you get a schematic to have it all complete.

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#15 5 years ago

Shouldn't the bridge rectifier be fused?

#16 5 years ago
Quoted from KenLayton:

Shouldn't the bridge rectifier be fused?

In a Williams game??????????

#17 5 years ago
Quoted from KenLayton:

Shouldn't the bridge rectifier be fused?

The fuse is in the backbox before 6J3 ...

#18 5 years ago

Thanks for the kind words. I had been wondering how to go about doing this for a while and Grumpy was kind enough to help me out. It made sense to take some pics and document the process as I went along. It also kind of helped having some pretty good Vid's guides to use as reference.

Quoted from german-pinball:

Very nice write up, thanks man!!!
And here you get a schematic to have it all complete.
F-14_(resized).JPG

Many thanks! This will definitely come in handy!

#19 5 years ago

... and if anybody would like to build a "universal" board for Bulbs #89 and LEDs, a second resistor and a jumper could be added ...

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#20 5 years ago

Very nice!

#21 5 years ago

I know I'd gladly pay at least 20.00 for a finished mod for both my F-14s.

#22 5 years ago
Quoted from german-pinball:

... and if anybody would like to build a "universal" board for Bulbs #89 and LEDs, a second resistor and a jumper could be added ...
F-14_uni_(resized).JPG

I'm not sure if I'm reading it right, but should the lamps be connected to the middle common pin for the jumper, rather than one of the outer pins?

#23 5 years ago
Quoted from ForceFlow:

I'm not sure if I'm reading it right, but should the lamps be connected to the middle common pin for the jumper, rather than one of the outer pins?

For the jumper, there is a 3-pin Header.

If set in the LED-configuration we have R1 + R2 in parallel and a total resistor value of 5 Ohms, as needed for the LED configuration.

In the bulb #89 configuration, the resistor R2 has no effect and we "only" have R1 active with 10 Ohms, as needed for the bulb #89 configuration. For the bulb-configuration, you could leave the jumper complete out, but if it is set, you cannot loose the jumper, it is only a "parking-position" for the jumper.
The input and output connections of nerdygrrl´s sweet board are drawn in the schemtic with )-- and --( ...

Hope, that helps ...

#24 5 years ago

By the way ...

nerdygrrl showed, how easy it is to build this project. It would also be a nice DIY-etching-project, to give a professional look.

I would use vertical mounted resistors (e.g. mouser SQMWS1010RJ), to save PCB-space and also would add 2 Molex headers. A single-layer-PCB could look like this (dimensions 4,7 x 3,9 mm only). Sweet, isn´t it?

I will etch one over easter for my F-14.

F-14_PCB_(resized).JPG

Or even a bit smaller

F-14_PCB_alt_(resized).JPG

#25 5 years ago

This could probably be used on a Pinbot to replace the 1251's also, correct? you would have to install more than 1 though.

#26 5 years ago

Great instructions!

If you want to follow nerdygrrl's instructions but don't want to make your own voltage converter, you can purchase a prebuilt ones and still follow the rest of the instructions.

I'll try to find an appropriate one to order later.

#27 5 years ago
Quoted from german-pinball:

By the way ...
nerdygrrl showed, how easy it is to build this project. It would also be a nice DIY-etching-project, to give a professional look.
I would use vertical mounted resistors (e.g. mouser SQMWS1010RJ), to save PCB-space and also would add 2 Molex headers. A single-layer-PCB could look like this (dimensions 4,7 x 3,9 mm only). Sweet, isn´t it?
I will etch one over easter for my F-14.
F-14_PCB_(resized).JPG
Or even a bit smaller
F-14_PCB_alt_(resized).JPG

Very nice! I was just looking at how to do etching, etc this morning! I'll be curious how you make out. I am not sure if I have those skills just yet.

Thanks for the resistor link as well. I just threw this together with bits I had in my parts drawer. I would love to refine it.

#29 5 years ago
Quoted from german-pinball:

For the jumper, there is a 3-pin Header.
If set in the LED-configuration we have R1 + R2 in parallel and a total resistor value of 5 Ohms, as needed for the LED configuration.
In the bulb #89 configuration, the resistor R2 has no effect and we "only" have R1 active with 10 Ohms, as needed for the bulb #89 configuration. For the bulb-configuration, you could leave the jumper complete out, but if it is set, you cannot loose the jumper, it is only a "parking-position" for the jumper.
The input and output connections of nerdygrrl´s sweet board are drawn in the schemtic with )-- and --( ...
Hope, that helps ...

Oh, I see--I didn't even look at the resistor values

#30 5 years ago
Quoted from nerdygrrl:

Very nice! I was just looking at how to do etching, etc this morning! I'll be curious how you make out. I am not sure if I have those skills just yet.
Thanks for the resistor link as well. I just threw this together with bits I had in my parts drawer. I would love to refine it.

You find instructions everywhere around the web, e.g. here:

http://fritzing.org/learning/tutorials/pcb-production-tutorials/diy-pcb-etching/

If you give me 2 weeks, I will etch you such a little board, put all parts on it and send it to you - if you want.

#31 5 years ago

Be careful what you say. I expect your inbox to be flooded in 3, 2, 1.....

#32 5 years ago

You need one with an A/C input signal.

#33 5 years ago

http://www.trainaidsa.com/catalog/product_info.php?cPath=56&products_id=111

This is the one I used to convert 6VAC GI to 12VDC to power EL Wire on my EATPM. It will accept up to 24V AC or DC.

$7 and change.

#34 5 years ago
Quoted from Insane:

This could probably be used on a Pinbot to replace the 1251's also, correct? you would have to install more than 1 though.

Yup same thing/theory. If it is just one 28V line to the beacons like here you should just have to make one step down unit.

#35 5 years ago

I've got LED 1683 beacon bulbs if you don't want to mess with modifying your wiring : http://www.jayspinball.com/index.php?main_page=product_info&cPath=66&products_id=207

#36 5 years ago
Quoted from jrobinso99:

I've got LED 1683 beacon bulbs if you don't want to mess with modifying your wiring :

Do they come in red and blue?

#37 5 years ago

Here is a link to one that would work:

amazon.com link »

There might be cheaper ones out there as well. This would just be for people who wanted to follow nerdygrrl's instructions but want to skip the "making your own board" part.

Hope this helps!

#38 5 years ago

Good information in this thread! I did the F14 1683 beacon bulb replacements with "direct replacement" LED bulbs from cointaker:

http://cointaker.com/products/1683 ($3.89 each)

Just plug them in and they work just fine. These are only white or warm white. They light up the beacons just fine with the "white" ones and brighter than the original 1683s, but (as Grumpy is implying) the color bulbs would be more brilliant with the matching blue and red bulbs in those beacons. I'm content. In another week or so I'll be posting a video of it (and other things) and you can check these direct replacement LEDs out. Watch for it ...

#39 5 years ago

Yeah, even the flat top SMD's I used were brighter. That being said, $4 a bulb plus shipping hurts a little. Especially if you have something like Pin*Bot.

As far as mods go, this is pretty harmless, it's just a small disruption in the line and I had most of the parts kicking about so it made sense to attempt. It's no different really than adding in the inline fuse mod, except instead of creating circuit breaker via a fuse you are dropping down the volts via a resistor.

2 weeks later
#40 5 years ago
Quoted from KingBW:

In another week or so I'll be posting a video of it (and other things) and you can check these direct replacement LEDs out. Watch for it ...

Check out the end of the video in the following link for what the "direct replacement" LEDs look like for the 1683's in the beacons on the F14. Go to about the 48 minute mark for a few light shows in dim light.

1 year later
#41 3 years ago

Hey guys, so my f14 has been great so far and I noticed its running on led flashers. The two on the lower lane guide corners are out... is there anything special about those compared to the flashers used everywhere else?

3 years later
#42 49 days ago

I realize that no one has posted here in 3 years but I find this mod quite intriguing. I have a High Speed that I would love to use this on. I like the Nerdygrrl/Grumpy collaboration board but was wondering if anyone actually followed through with a purpose made board. Personally I would like to see the molex connector on the beacon harness eliminated in favor of a 2 pin in header/connector and a 4 pin out header/connector on the board. I myself want to use the led bulbs but I think the dual resistor/jumper pin setup would be a great option to have in place. Anyone but the crickets have anything to add/critique etc.?

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