(Topic ID: 153216)

RETROFIT Classic Bally/Stern DIY Plasma-to-LED Conversion Display Kits


By acebathound

4 years ago



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#201 3 years ago

I can make up a set of detailed assembly instructions + photos.

#202 3 years ago

I'm game, where do I sign up.

#204 3 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

I can make up a set of detailed assembly instructions + photos.

Definitely appreciate that offer & may take you up on it at some point!

Initially during the beta test I'd want to keep any detailed assembly info / photos private, as the "added value" part of these conversions will have been the additional modifications to make the displays more efficient than the steps the "old school" guides for creating conversion led displays (linked earlier on in this thread) had outlined. If/when the kits go official, it's not something I have much control over in preventing.. but right now I'll be asking beta testers not to post any detailed pictures/info of those modifications that might "reveal the magic" too early. That said, I don't mind discussing via PM with the participants possible changes that could improve efficiency more if there's something I've missed or ways to make certain parts of the builds easier that I never thought of.

I might relax on the whole "don't reveal the magic" perspective once beta testing is underway. I've not been bit *too bad* on being public with things, but am aware that happens & have found recently a few ideas/implementations of mine that others have copied -- and that's enough to know it's best not to let the cat out of the bag too early when you can help it

#205 3 years ago
Quoted from Drewscruis:

I'm game, where do I sign up.

I'll be posting some additional info early next week. For now, expressing interest here or via PM works!

For some reason I thought you might be!

#206 3 years ago
Quoted from acebathound:

I'd like to judge interest in a *very* "rough around the edges" 1ST ROUND OF BETA TESTING on these conversion kits to basically get the project moving along & to gain some valuable feedback/suggestions based on other people's experiences.
Before getting *too excited*, let me explain briefly what that might look like..
There'd be limited instructions, possibly just a component list of things to change per display model and quick description of the conversion process (recommendations of required/optional modifications, some tips on parts of the build, etc). *Emphasis on limited instructions.* Should be enough for the more experienced individuals to know what needs to be done, but not for anyone that needs every step detailed with pictures when building out kits. Participants would need to have the right tools, be comfortable with troubleshooting Bally/Stern displays, be able to fill in the blanks some, & provide feedback/suggestions based on their experience. There may be additional small modifications to the display or slight differences in what's included with the kit(s) as the project moves forward, but at this time I can't imagine anything major.
Doing an initial beta test this way takes a lot of pressure off me honestly in not feeling I have to "get everything right" just to get some of these boards into the wild & get some feedback. The feedback would help finalize some decisions on how far to go with instructions, what to suggest for build steps & even the feasibility of this entire idea (cool/awesome or too cumbersome?). If some people that consider themselves experienced with modifying boards attempt the conversions and have issues, then I know the less experienced people will also have issues. So at least for this project, "relaxing" my own expectations of where things need to be at for an initial round of beta testing seems most appropriate to move things along.
So with that said -- who'd be up for that kind of thing? As long as there's enough interest, I can whip up some more details early next week on discount pricing for kits for the beta test, etc -- and may even be able to start sending some kits out later in the week [as long as I'm not finding I have to place any additional material orders].

I'm up for it. Count me in!

#207 3 years ago

If you don't mind shipping in Canada, count me in.

#208 3 years ago
Quoted from Andyball:

If you don't mind shipping in Canada, count me in.

No problem shipping to Canada, just higher international shipping costs that are still hard for any of us to accept

#209 3 years ago

If you need another Bally/Stern owner as a beta tester, I'd be happy to participate.

#210 3 years ago

I don't think my current project machine will be far enough along for any beta testing, but I'd be interested once these go into production.

#211 3 years ago
Quoted from RocketFromTombs:

I don't think my current project machine will be far enough along for any beta testing, but I'd be interested once these go into production.

Awesome, great to hear!

#212 3 years ago

Trying out a few of the other color filters I had bought.

These are all WHITE DIGIT displays with color filters being used, except for the CREDIT display which is a "brand X" led display using actual AMBER digits -- just for comparison.

white_displays1.jpg

Player 1 has a fire red that looks more of a dark orange -- with a 2nd piece doubled over on the 1s digit it produces more of a red. Unfortunately the "red" color isn't really showing up in the photo.

Player 2 has a blue overlay. Compared to a display with actual BLUE LED blocks, it's toned down a bit but would still look nice. Refer to previous pictures here where the BLUE LED block displays are shown. https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/interest-check-diy-bally-led-displays-using-old-boards/page/4#post-3161815

Player 3 is green. I'm not sure what games would benefit from green displays off the top of my head, but had the color Again the 1s digit has a doubled up filter and it makes the color slightly darker.

Player 4 is amber. 1s digit has a doubled up filter. I *think* the color is similar to a single layer fire red, but I'll have to verify that.

And here's what it looks like with the machine off. I removed the blue filter for display #2 in the photo to show what the WHITE digits by themselves would look like with the machine off and no overlay.

white_displays2_(resized).jpg

Just wanted to show what was possible with the WHITE digits & color filters. Of course you can customize using whatever color filters you want whenever you want to change the color. Combine color filters to make entirely different colors, etc.

I'll post a few more samples of other colors I bought at random. By no means would it be the only options available out there for led color gels / filters. Since they're used for photography there's just about any shade/color you could imagine .. not just red, but light red, flame red, primary red, medium red, dark red, orange red, etc.

#213 3 years ago

Where did you buy the filters?

#214 3 years ago

Some other colors. Lavender in player 1. Light Blue in player 2. Yellow in player 3. Still the amber in Player 4. The ones digit is doubled up on all of them. Even though the yellow shows a bit darker in the picture.. in person I didn't see that change really.

I color adjusted the lavender as it looked too blue. I'm probably misrepresenting still, it's not blue.. but not super purple either. Anyway just some more samples of what other colors might look like. Take it with a grain of salt.. different displays/monitors may be showing the colors a bit differently than they actually appear.

othercolors.jpg

And here's probably a better idea of what the doubled up fire red producing more of a red digit looks like. Anyway it's the only red filter I have so that's the best I can do

red_digit_(resized).jpg

IMO the colors look better in person, brighter & more vivid. I'm sure a ton of that has to do with the equipment I'm taking the pictures with and lighting, but some might be in-part due to how the displays multiplex and what that does to camera/video equipment.

#215 3 years ago

Great machine for showing these! Nitro is one of my all time favorites as far as art goes! Gameplay not so much!

#216 3 years ago

The blue looks really nice,breaks up all the red on that particular backglass.
Mikr

#217 3 years ago
Quoted from too-many-pins:

Great machine for showing these! Nitro is one of my all time favorites as far as art goes! Gameplay not so much!

Not thrilled play testing these on that one... Zzzzz. Usually do more attract mode testing.

Quoted from Grizlyrig:

The blue looks really nice,breaks up all the red on that particular backglass.
Mikr

Yeah it seemed like a crazy combination at first but grew on me quick. I like it. It's like led bulbs, sometimes crazy combinations work out to be a nice contrast.

#218 3 years ago

I know, I know.. I need to be posting some info on the beta testing & pricing. Still flushing out a bunch of details & ideas this week, including better ways to test these before you put them in your machines! More details to come as the week progresses, including that much desired pricing info. Who asks people how many displays they're interested in for a beta test before releasing pricing? All questions will be answered soon enough. Except the top secret confidential stuff of course.

For now, I'll leave you with my personal achievement of the day -- finally getting around to sticking a set of the BLUE DIGIT (ie. no filter here, just pure blue digits) LED displays in my Stern Black Beauty Shuffle Alley. The entire reason I got back into doing an LED display project was to upgrade the look of this machine, as I thought it'd look cool with BLUE displays & also thought the standard plasmas made it seem a bit outdated. Not sure how many of these machines are in existence but aside from seeing one or two pop up on eBay, you rarely hear anything about them.

blackbeauty_(resized).jpg

What's cool though is it uses 7x displays & LM323K (3A) regulator.. I was hoping it used the 3A so I wouldn't need to swap out the board. It'll be a good long-term test of a "worst case" scenario with more displays than usual on the less-beefy regulator. I don't expect issues though as the load on these displays was looking pretty darn good to me.

Of course the picture is taken in attract mode. I don't have time to play games! Maybe after I get some of these kits out!

#219 3 years ago

OK I have obviously needed to get some kind of idea of ballpark pricing here as I had a few people ask in PM's when I was inquiring on number of boards they were interested in for the beta test. Have thought about it some over the last few days and I think I've come up with some numbers that should make people *very happy*. But you tell me

First I just want to say, there's a lot of thought that went into this pricing and the numbers I've come up with here are actually below what I expected to be able to offer full sets at. I'm pricing for volume, which is something I'm not accustomed to -- and these are also priced for what they are.. conversion kits, that require you to have spare bad displays as donor, technical skill to upgrade and diagnose them, and may even take some finesse or additional repairs to get them going -- but boy do they ever look oh-so-sweet once assembled! I for one, am *thrilled* at the idea of having WHITE digit displays, convertible to any color just by swapping led color gel filters out. I'm excited for people that buy the WHITE digit displays to weigh in on their own thoughts because of this.

So without further adew, here are the prices I'm targeting/estimating for the introductory price of the conversion kits.. when they become officially available. Hopefully these work out in volume & material costs stay fairly consistent.. and I can make these prices stick for the long-term!

BETA TESTERS will receive discounts on this pricing. More info on that to follow later this week.

Estimated "Official Introductory Price" for Conversion Kits ( officially unofficial )

  • 6-DIGIT BLUE DIGIT DISPLAYS (SINGLE DISPLAY) $19.95ea
  • 6-DIGIT BLUE DIGIT SET (5X 6-DIGIT) $89.95ea
  • 7-DIGIT BLUE DIGIT DISPLAYS (SINGLE DISPLAY) $22.95ea
  • 7-DIGIT BLUE DIGIT SET (4X 7-DIGIT, 1X 6-DIGIT) $99.95ea

**For WHITE DIGIT sets, add $1.50 per individual kit price (or $7.50 per full set price). This accounts for additional cost of digits + color filter of your choice (of what I have available). Filters may be cut-to-size or may require cutting (if buying a full set). Haven't figured that out yet.

Price would not include shipping.

Note: These are not available yet, just trying to give some idea to what official pricing might look like if beta testing goes well.

#220 3 years ago

Some additional info on the kits.

Kit Contents (still working on finalizing but this should be *fairly* complete):
-PCB (LED Digit Panel)
-LED Digits
-Bracket & Screws for Mounting
-A Few Dozen Resistors
-Jumper Wire for 5v Connection
-Foam Tape (optional to install around led digits to block light from backbox)
-Nylon Spacers (for 7-digit displays only. Bally 7-digit displays have a few traces running close to the mounting holes)
-Right-Angle Pin Header Strip (cut down as single pins, for use if your plasma display leads are removed or otherwise unusable)

*Note: The Foam Tape I got a good price on is 1/2" thick and will need to be cut vertically to fit better & also so I'm not sending out 14" or something crazy for each display when it's too wide anyway. Not something I originally planned on including, but I got a good price -- and figured why not to make it a bit more complete? Will see what the beta testers think and go from there, as there's perhaps other better options available.

Possible Bonuses that *may* also be included (at least initially):
-A few extra 2N5401 transistors for the digit-drivers (just in case there's a digit or two that are lighter due to a weak transistor). I'm waiting on these to come in (hopefully toward the end of this week). I have only had a few displays that I've had to swap transistors on because the digits were slightly dimmer, but it can happen.
-A few small samples of other color filters for the WHITE DIGIT sets (ie. enough to cover a single digit). That way you get to see how versatile the WHITE digits are.

#221 3 years ago

In addition to all of this, I'm working on some instructions for testing the displays at the bench before you put them in your machine. Simple test to light an "8" on one digit.. and then probe the other digit lines to light the "8" up. This will allow you to verify basic functionality of the display -- especially important if you're working with totally "unknown" boards from a box. Of course it will still be up to you to inspect the board & verify there aren't shorts or any major issues while you're modifying the displays. But you won't have to plug them into your machine and *pray* either.

Going forward if beta testing goes well on these I'll offer a small PCB as a DIY kit that will make testing of these easier for people that want to upgrade a large number of displays. That way you aren't messing with a bunch of your own alligator clips or wire harnesses so much.

Well, I think with all of that.. I'm going to call it a night. Tomorrow's another day & I've plenty to do to get these ready for the BETA TEST

#222 3 years ago

Very good man!
the more you go the more it looks like my 7 digits project for Zaccaria

even the single pin right angle strip

Pricing looks ok and it seems you have thought about all it is needed for a good final result.

#223 3 years ago

I was hoping to keep the positive vibes going on these this week with getting ready for beta testing.

Didn't last

I have a small set-back to figure out that I found yesterday when trying out the "comma enable" functionality (well, really a decimal) on the 7-digit Bally displays. The decimal didn't light. Immediately had a hunch what the problem was, but was hoping it was just a bad transistor on the comma circuitry. No dice.

The short of it is, for the way the segment driver circuits are changing to support the led display conversions -- resistors will be needed on the 4543 segment outputs.

The problem is, there's no great way to add those resistors in there. Still thinking through this one. I have a few ideas, including possibly just doing a small piggyback board at the 4543 (which would require removing the 4543 and replacing with a socket or soldering the piggyback in directly). The piggyback would allow resistors to be placed in-line with the segment outputs and segment driver transistors.

Beyond that, I'm not sure I've come up with any viable options that don't involve removal of components.. or something that is a bit of a hack (ie. soldering resistors in-line at the transistor pad, 4543 leg or cutting a trace to solder in the resistor). Working within the confines of the old board eliminates options pretty quick.

So with that said, is a piggyback at the 4543 an okay solution? Or does that turn people off to this idea? Just curious.

#225 3 years ago
Quoted from Cheddar:

I'm ok with piggyback

Agreed. The alternative is replacing the entire bottom board which is exactly what you are trying to prevent. A small Piggy back should be fine. After all, a number of Displays I just serviced had bad ICs and are already socketed. It if included a new IC, that would be an even bigger bonus.

If I got ahold of 4 dead 7 Digit Stern Displays, I would be all over Beta Testing.

#226 3 years ago

I'm ok with it too.

#227 3 years ago

Is it possible to place the additional resistor on the LEDs PCB? even for a second release of the PCB... it's an idea...

#228 3 years ago
Quoted from gianfri:

Is it possible to place the additional resistor on the LEDs PCB? even for a second release of the PCB... it's an idea...

I had that thought -- remove the segment drivers and reroute the signal from the 4543 to the collector pad so the 4543 segment output goes to the LED PCB instead. Then have the current limiting resistors on the LED panel, along with the segment driving circuitry.

Couple ways to attack it really, just a matter of figuring out what the simple solution is. I actually have the display working fine by going back to the original transistor configuration that *shouldn't* require resistors on the 4543.. decimal lights on the 7-digit and the display seems to work just fine. Just not sure yet if it's a solid solution and that's taking time to look into.

With that said, if someone with a ton of EE experience and understanding of using discrete transistors in an emitter-follower setup, send me a PM

#229 3 years ago

Ok another update..

Looks like replacing the 7x segment drivers with n-channel FETs will do the trick. Seems easier than doing a separate piggyback PCB for the 4543. I'm going to modify a full set of 6-digit displays for testing, along with a 7-digit. Should have beta testing back on-track if it works out, I'll know in a day or two. Can then make some additional material orders and as soon as those come in.. get some kits out for beta testing soon after.

Sorry for the delay/wait on these.

Feel like it's been 2 steps forward, 1 step back through much of the journey. But I don't give up easy

#230 3 years ago

Reconfigured the 7x 6-digit BLUE displays in BLACK BEAUTY (shuffle alley). Things are looking good

I now have a big pile of MPSA42's from replacing the segment drivers. I was going to snap a picture of lol. Despite being bummed having to replace those with FETs, the displays get more efficient this way. And everyone will for sure have plenty of spare MPSA42's. Gotta look at the upside

I also tested the 7-digit Bally display again with this setup, and the decimal lights like it should. Going to convert over some WHITE 6-digit displays tomorrow.

#231 3 years ago

Got some timing on fully desoldering & repopulating components on a 6-digit display using my Hakko 808. Up until now I was just soldering resistors in parallel on the back. I'm not super fast, but total time to convert a single display was 35-40 minutes. Keep in mind this was a display with plasma glass on it still, so I could re-use the old leads (soldering to the smd pads on the led panel pcb). Otherwise add another 5-10min for mounting with the single RA header pins. The display looks nice and clean since all the existing footprints were used. Just a single jumper wire on the back. I like it, think I'll be recommending that way in the instructions as the preferred "clean" way to convert a display. But soldering the resistors in parallel on the back is of course also an option.

In other positive news, yeesh these things are efficient! Surprising me even as I *expected* about 80-100mA per display. They're instead measuring 35-45mA additional load per display on the BLUE digit displays. Depends what value resistor is used for the segments (ie. "bright enough" or "BRIGHTER!!"). This matches efficiency of the better aftermarket displays.. even the ones with "adjustable brightness" that the user can be set anywhere from around 25mA (too dim) to 115mA or more (full brightness) for a single display. I'm happy WHITE will probably be a bit higher (45-60mA or so) since they'll need to be brighter with going through a color filter. Test is being done by locking a single digit with an "8" on it at the bench (faking signals, no MPU connected, watching that the 5v line stays solid). Also confirmed via machine load testing.

Additional materials orders going in today and tomorrow. Should hopefully be able to get some of these out for BETA TESTING soon!

---
http://www.pinitech.com - "Pinball Inspired Technology"
Kits, upgrades and test equipment for pinball machines

#232 3 years ago

Very cool!

#233 3 years ago

Is it too late to be added to the Beta Test list? I'm interested.

#234 3 years ago
Quoted from roar:

Is it too late to be added to the Beta Test list? I'm interested.

I'll be sending out a pre-order link this week to everyone that had expressed interest in the beta test & should have a better idea at that time how many sets are remaining.. but I think there will be room for a few additional people. Just want to give the people that had already expressed interest first crack at boards for the beta test.

#235 3 years ago

Finally snapped some pictures of the display I fully desoldered components off of to show how clean one of these can look if you have proper desoldering equipment and are fully replacing the components.

retrofit_front_(resized).jpg

ballystern_retrofit6_back_(resized).jpg

retrofit_bottom_(resized).jpg

#236 3 years ago
Quoted from acebathound:

I'd like to judge interest in a *very* "rough around the edges" 1ST ROUND OF BETA TESTING on these conversion kits to basically get the project moving along & to gain some valuable feedback/suggestions based on other people's experiences.
Before getting *too excited*, let me explain briefly what that might look like..
There'd be limited instructions, possibly just a component list of things to change per display model and quick description of the conversion process (recommendations of required/optional modifications, some tips on parts of the build, etc). *Emphasis on limited instructions.* Should be enough for the more experienced individuals to know what needs to be done, but not for anyone that needs every step detailed with pictures when building out kits. Participants would need to have the right tools, be comfortable with troubleshooting Bally/Stern displays, be able to fill in the blanks some, & provide feedback/suggestions based on their experience. There may be additional small modifications to the display or slight differences in what's included with the kit(s) as the project moves forward, but at this time I can't imagine anything major.
Doing an initial beta test this way takes a lot of pressure off me honestly in not feeling I have to "get everything right" just to get some of these boards into the wild & get some feedback. The feedback would help finalize some decisions on how far to go with instructions, what to suggest for build steps & even the feasibility of this entire idea (cool/awesome or too cumbersome?). If some people that consider themselves experienced with modifying boards attempt the conversions and have issues, then I know the less experienced people will also have issues. So at least for this project, "relaxing" my own expectations of where things need to be at for an initial round of beta testing seems most appropriate to move things along.
So with that said -- who'd be up for that kind of thing? As long as there's enough interest, I can whip up some more details early next week on discount pricing for kits for the beta test, etc -- and may even be able to start sending some kits out later in the week [as long as I'm not finding I have to place any additional material orders].

Count me in, I'd do a set for my xenon in blue if possible

#237 3 years ago

Pre-order links have gone out to the initial group of people that had expressed interest in beta testing these conversion kits!

So it looks like they're happening!

At the end of this week I'll include a few additional people that have recently expressed interest (roar & Slim64). I do expect to still have a handful of the 7-digit sets left from rough estimates, but the 6-digit sets look like they'll be in short supply.. I used up a dozen of those boards myself!

---
http://www.pinitech.com - "Pinball Inspired Technology"
Kits, upgrades and test equipment for pinball machines

#238 3 years ago

Ordered. shipping is reasonable to Canada. Looking forward to see it. hunting is now on to find non working displays

#239 3 years ago
Quoted from Andyball:

hunting is now on to find non working displays

Did you ever think in a million years you'd be looking for non working displays? lol.

#240 3 years ago
Quoted from Andyball:

Ordered. shipping is reasonable to Canada. Looking forward to see it. hunting is now on to find non working displays

That's encouraging and the shipping front. Looking forward to hearing back. My Silverball Mania would look great in blue and 2 of the 5 displays are flickering pretty bad.

#241 3 years ago
Quoted from acebathound:

Did you ever think in a million years you'd be looking for non working displays? lol.

Oh god no! Before you started this project, it was a throwaway board. I am happy that it is moving forward

#242 3 years ago
Quoted from roar:

That's encouraging and the shipping front. Looking forward to hearing back. My Silverball Mania would look great in blue and 2 of the 5 displays are flickering pretty bad.

Cost is about $23 cdn. it does not ask for your postal code, only wihich country. As for your flickering displays, a few of mine did the same and it was cold solder joints. have you reflowed all your solders, particularly at the connectors?

#243 3 years ago

I bought a box a non working displays a couple months ago. It was more expensive to ship 27 displays than to pay for them

#244 3 years ago
Quoted from Andyball:

Cost is about $23 cdn. it does not ask for your postal code, only wihich country. As for your flickering displays, a few of mine did the same and it was cold solder joints. have you reflowed all your solders, particularly at the connectors?

Yes, I reflowed the solder on all the connectors you could clearly see cracks in the solder... Didn't make the flicker go away though. Shipping was $23 for the set of 5, 6 digit boards? Doesn't sound bad with our rotten exchange rate.

#245 3 years ago
Quoted from Cheddar:

I bought a box a non working displays a couple months ago. It was more expensive to ship 27 displays than to pay for them

That was quite a find! If I can find half a dozen, i will consider myself lucky. I had one display that was acting funny. I now have a second one but think it is a solder joint as it is ok when I move the display.

#246 3 years ago
Quoted from Andyball:

That was quite a find! If I can find half a dozen, i will consider myself lucky. I had one display that was acting funny. I now have a second one but think it is a solder joint as it is ok when I move the display.

That just means you need to buy some more project machines!

#247 3 years ago
Quoted from acebathound:

That just means you need to buy some more project machines!

Lol! True. Just the prices in my area are crazily, overly inflated. I plan to get a few more. I love more projects than playing them....

#248 3 years ago
Quoted from Andyball:

Lol! True. Just the prices in my area are crazily, overly inflated. I plan to get a few more. I love more projects than playing them....

Hah, I have that problem with spending time more on projects than actually playing games! I keep telling myself to "play more!" Maybe this winter.. lol.

I've said this before but what I like in this idea is that when you do buy a project machine and it has bad displays, it reverses this psychological viewpoint of feeling hosed. Instead it's like "cool, I can upgrade that" -- even if you just toss the display aside and put a good spare plasma in the machine. When you get enough bad displays for a full set you can buy a kit & upgrade the bad ones.

There's something kind of zen in it all I think. Being able to reuse the old boards, saving a bit of money, not having to throw something in the landfill that is still usable, not having to take up space with bad display boards that are just there for "spare parts" (and really how many do you need for spare parts once you have a dozen or more). I feel like I'm helping to reduce a source of anger for people too. I know when I was fixing up a lot of Classic Bally/Stern games 4-5 years ago, it was RARE to acquire a game that didn't have at least one or two dead or dying displays -- burnt digits, fading, arcing, etc. I always thought "Ah crap!!! There goes any remaining good plasmas I have." Or you're just having to "live with it" and play the game like that.

It's *so distracting* to have bad displays in a game and just highlights any other imperfections the game has IMO, whereas a nice crisp set of led displays in various colors that compliment the game even on "beater machines" will make the games look A LOT better. It's kind of neat feeling like these conversion kits may help get some LED displays into machines that might otherwise have never seen them because spending a few hundred on displays can't be justified.

#249 3 years ago

Working on a product page for these, most of the beta testers have seen this but just thought I'd like for anyone else wanting to get up to speed.

http://www.pinitech.com/products/ballystern_conversion_led_display.php

#250 3 years ago

I hate to waiver on this, but I'm feeling like I should be recommending people without decent desoldering equipment & technique to solder the resistors being replaced in parallel on the back of the board to minimize chance of pulling up pads when doing the conversions. Not sure what the split was on how many people like that idea or how many people wanted to fully desolder.

I do like the clean look of a board that has had all the components replaced... just that enough of these boards are single sided & put up with less heat or stress at the solder pads because of that. And really what makes the matter worse is on half the boards I have, the component leads were bent 90 degrees flat to the pad making it harder to just desolder the through-holes with the Hakko. It becomes desolder to expose the lead, cut the lead at the 90 degree bend with micro-flush cutters, add a bit more solder to the pad and remove the small piece of the resistor leg. Then clear the through-hole with the Hakko. Of course doing this assembly-style on a handful of resistors makes it faster. Another option is just to cut the resistor off the top of the board and leaving some length on the leg.. so you can then heat the pad up on the back and push the leg through enough to cut that 90 degree bend off or just pull the leg out completely. I'm sure others may have better recommendations/techniques that could be discussed here.

If soldering in parallel, there's really just the segment driver transistors to deal with removing fully. Once you have one display of a certain model done with the parallel resistors, the others go quicker (just set the board upside down in TeePee position and cheat off that one when you do the next. Then of course anyone that has no fear and has great technique has the choice of fully removing the components.

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