Quoted from acebathound:
It's always great hearing this. A ton of time went into the PCB design to get things just-right... tolerances, bracket positioning, plasma footprint & smd pads.. spacing of the digits, etc. Even the rounded corners on the top of the board which I think are a nice touch. I like things to look professional. I like when everything lines up.
I'm sure some people will get kits, build them and wonder what all the fuss was about. But a lot went on behind-the-scenes to simplify all of this stuff, create boards that mated well with the old displays, get them efficient and even trying to stream-line assembly / instructions. I do that, just my nature. If I'm going to do something like this, it makes no sense to just throw things together without thought. It's going to look damn cool, it's going to work well. So it's just awesome when people see that and appreciate it..each and every time So thanks to you & others that have had good things to say about this project and the kits, etc. It's appreciated. Glad to be hearing positive feedback!
You' re welcome! We appreciate too. I enjoy beta testing and provide feedback.
Today, i built the last 4 of the Bally 6 digits. Here is my feedback(one of my rare long post):
The equipment used was; full Pace soldering/desoldering station with flux dispenser, a microscope, compressed air and microminiature tools.
Before i started, i did a colored layout of all the component placement(see attachment in next post)
I did the following for the full mod method;
A. Removed old gas displays (10 mins)
B. Cleaned the boards with isopropyl(5 mins)
C. Desoldered all the components (75 min. One board was really bad to desoldered. Took me over 30 mins and 4 pads damaged. Usually less than 15 mins to do)
D. Installed and Soldered the Led displays to boards (20 mins)
E. Install the angled pins (20 mins. Use rubber band to hold them in place until ready to mate and solder)
F. Formed and soldered all the components( 120 mins)
G. Mated and soldered the display boards to the main boards(45 mins)
H. Re-clean all the boards(5mins)
I. Verify all solder joints under microscope and rework bad/missed joints(30 mins)
J. Installed in pinball and tested. (5 mins). All worked flawlessly!
Time to do 4 displays as per above: ~6hrs
Time to do layout(attachment): 45 mins
1. The instructions seems to be written for beginners in mind and provide great details that may not be for everyone. Would suggest to do 2 parts, a beginners, and an experienced to solder such as the cheat sheet but with succint steps. A layout is a must to know what is changed at a glanced.
2. Add a few spare resistors/transistor for each value in the kit. I came short on 2 of them. I might have lost them. I know that i had another type that i cut short and had to replace. Luckily, i had my own spares. There was a spare transistor in the kit. It was nice to have as it is not as common
3. The instructions should recommend that the 90 degree angle screws be locktite.
4. Some old main boards are a real pain to desolder/solder due to their built. I had one. Hope you don't have 5 to do.
5. The bench test should only be recommended for troubleshooting. It may scare away people and doing it in the pinball is pretty safe as long as J1 pin 1 is removed
6. Time to complete. Well, i went pretty full bore on this so I could provide feedback, minimize debugging and keep my pin value. I wanted the boards to look great in case I ever sell my pin in the future. The piggy back method may be acceptable for some, however, if i were to be buying a pin with displays done this way, i would de-value the pin as it would look like a hack. The full method take quite some times and the parts count to replace is high making it hard to be less than 60 mins per board not including troubleshooting when required. Note that i am including part forming.
7. I still have to permanently put the filters and light blockers.
Note that i did the "fifth" board the day before and took me over 4 hrs to understand and do the board. I got stucked on the boards mating, soldering/desoldering sequence and following the instructions.
Summary: the kit is of excellent quality and extremely well designed. The finished product done as a full replacement is fantastic, looks great and work flawlessly. I would build it again.
1. I checked under the microscope the long pins and the hole fitting: contrary to my comment this morning, the ratio pin to hole is already tight leaving very little space for the solder to flow to the other side. I do not recommend to go smaller as there is very little space left when the pin is inserted. Would suggest to stay the same or go next size up to help the solder flow. Sorry should have tried to take a photo but not sure it would have worked out
Do you have beta testers that have little soldering/desoldering experience?
I will post the attachment and photos shortly.