I have been waiting anxiously to get my hands on one of herg's new GI OCD boards ever since I heard he was planning on releasing it as a product. Like every Theatre of Magic owner, I was faced with a choice: keep incandescent bulbs in the GI, or install LEDs and turn off the dimming effects (which are used extensively and quite well in the game). Up to this point I've stuck with incandescent, but I really wanted to change the GI to a cool white LED. Now I can without sacrificing the light show!
Here is the product link; I purchased this on the day it became available:
The kit comes with the PCB, mounting hardware, all cables, including a nice long USB cable you can run to the coin door for configuration changes (more on that later).
Step one is to convert your GI to LED if you haven’t already; then test to make sure that everything is still working before starting on the GI OCD installation. In the second video you can see how the LEDs flicker badly when the machine tries to dim WITHOUT the GI OCD installed.
Now that this was all working, I started on the GI OCD installation. The instructions on the website are very good with pics for each step. A few things were different on my game that I had to deal with (TOM was listed as a ‘should work’ so I expected some minor differences). First there was a ground braid running on the side of the backbox where the board is to be installed. I covered this with some duct tape (probably not necessary, but now I know it can’t short out. Second, I discovered that the position I chose to screw the board into was interfering with the display bracket that hooks on to secure the display. I had to move the board deeper into the backbox, which made it impossible to install 1 of the 5 screws. I think it will be okay though, with my flexible nut driver extension I was able to install the 4 in the corners.
Here is my final installation position with the display installed:
After that I simply followed along the instructions on the website for installing the 4 or 5 cables that are required for the board to do its job. All cables were keyed and completely mistake proofed. The only cable that requires extra scrutiny is the CPU ribbon cable, but that was pretty easy if you pay attention. I then chose to install the USB cable permanently so that I could configure the lighting from the coin door with my laptop. I just routed it down the same path that the playfield harness took and I utilized the existing wire clips to make it to the front of the cab.
You’ll have an extra pile of wires in the backbox to secure for all the required cabling. No worries though, there is plenty of room for everything, just make sure you secure the new cables in the existing wire clips so that no connectors can rub, pinch or short.
Power up the first time went fine; the board has activity and power indicator LEDs and the GI fired right up no problem. As the website said, since my game was not a WPC95, it would require some initial configuration to make it fully work. This took only a few minutes and I was up and running. I also took this opportunity to tweak the standard settings to even out the brightness ramp on my particular machine / LED setup. There is a nice test mode built into the device so you can tune brightness settings for all 8 GI brightnesses.
Here are the settings I decided on:
And here what you’ve been waiting for, the final results:
The videos really don’t do justice to how well this works. The LEDs behave just like the incandescent bulbs (and often quite a bit better) but have the nice modern lighting look of LEDs. The colors on TOM work very well with cool white LEDs, or you could go multi-color if that is more to your taste. I am very happy with the performance of this product. The price is very reasonable for what you get. Bottom line: it just works; and it works perfectly. 5 stars.