(Topic ID: 153216)

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

By acebathound

3 years ago

Topic Stats

  • 759 posts
  • 60 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 7 months ago by Wolffdp
  • Topic is favorited by 91 Pinsiders


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There have been 217 images uploaded to this topic. (View topic image gallery).

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tester2 (resized).jpg
display3 (resized).jpg
display2 (resized).jpg
display1 (resized).jpg
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Topic index (key posts)

22 key posts have been marked in this topic, showing the first 20

Post #1 Refurbish kit for Bally/Stern 6 and 7 digit displays. Posted by acebathound (3 years ago)

Post #362 PCB Depopulation image (Stern DA-100 Rev C) Posted by vid1900 (3 years ago)

Post #363 PCB population image (Stern DA-100 Rev C) Posted by vid1900 (3 years ago)

Post #364 PCB 5v population image (Stern DA-100 Rev C) Posted by vid1900 (3 years ago)

Post #395 SMD pads to enable comma Posted by acebathound (3 years ago)

Post #439 PCB depopulation image (Bally AS-2518-15) Posted by vid1900 (3 years ago)

Post #440 PCB population image (Bally AS-2518-15) Posted by vid1900 (3 years ago)

Post #444 PCB Depopulated (Stern DA-100) Posted by eh97ac (3 years ago)

Post #446 PCB depopulated (Stern DA-300) Posted by dothedoo (3 years ago)

Post #469 PCB depopulated (Bally AS-2518-21) Posted by Cheddar (3 years ago)

Post #505 Link to gallery of photos of sample installations Posted by acebathound (3 years ago)

Post #515 display and filter color options Posted by acebathound (3 years ago)

Post #530 install and review of steps with plenty of pictures Posted by RocketFromTombs (3 years ago)

Post #558 Promotional offer on orders Posted by acebathound (3 years ago)

Post #568 Link to all the board schematics Posted by acebathound (3 years ago)

Post #612 PCB Depopulation image (DA-300 Rev C) Posted by vid1900 (3 years ago)

Post #630 Parallel Resistor locations on BALLY AS-2518-21 6-DIGIT Displays Posted by acebathound (3 years ago)

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#16 3 years ago

This sounds like fun.....following.

1 week later
#57 3 years ago
Quoted from acebathound:

I'll let others be the judge of the pricing and whether it's worth their time. Personally, I think $90 for a set of conversion kits for 5x displays (in RED) or around $95-100 (in WHITE, that gives the ability of using led gels) is pretty fair.

Oooh I'm totally in for a set of white! I want to try some different colored gels.

1 month later
#155 3 years ago
Quoted from acebathound:

Yeah really putting any money into a System 1 game is pissing into the wind as it won't increase the value of the game unless when it's sold, the person buying it appreciates all the upgrades & values those additions just as much. So you just have to love the game(s) enough to warrant throwing additional money into them for upgrades or new boards. For the displays it makes more sense to just use the originals unless you can justify going belly up on the game.. or if you can sell the old set to help pay for the new set.

Ain't that the truth. The Dragon for sale at TPF last year was completely restored with perfect cleared playfield, repainted and cleared cab and perfect backglass. Just an awesome looking game. Didn't sell at $1200.

The only exception is probably Asteroid Annie.

3 months later
#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!

#213 3 years ago

Where did you buy the filters?

#226 3 years ago

I'm ok with it too.

2 weeks later
#253 3 years ago
Quoted from Cheddar:

Looks sharp! Those white digits are going to look great in centaur

I was thinking of going with black digits

1 week later
#277 3 years ago

I, too, have to put a value on my time. I'm in my 50's now and have 20+ games I want to restore and yet I continually buy dead games and dead boards because I like to bring them back to life. That's half the fun.

But I'm in it for the white displays. I've been wanting those for a long time and up until now the 7volution was the only display in white, and no 6 digits in white. There may be other white displays now, but for the last couple of years that was it.

1 week later
#348 3 years ago

The white looks good in Centaur, nice job.

#349 3 years ago
Quoted from vid1900:

I'm back in the States, and soldering up some LED boards.
Tip #1:
Here is a quick tip that every field service tech knows.
If you don't have a component bender in the field, a large pair of Vise-Grips gives you a quick and dirty tool to bend up components against:

Find the groove that is the correct size lengthwise, then make your bends neatly.
Bend up all the resistors at the same time. Don't bend one, install one, bend one.....try to be efficient.
Buy a "Lead Forming Tool" for 99cents on Ebay. You will use it for the rest of your life.

Vid, did you drag those vise grips through the ocean on your way back to the States?

Do you have a link for the lead forming tool? Cheapest I saw was $5.95 (which I'm fine with BTW), but why pay that if you can get it for $.99, right?

#361 3 years ago
Quoted from Andyball:

I have no idea how you packed everything in the shipping box. That's a real puzzle to put it back in that i did not even tried. You have more patience than I do. . Well done!

Me neither. I took it all out when I got it to look at everything......couldn't fit it back in the box.

#380 3 years ago

I'm ready to mount the new display to the original board, but I'm confused about the number of pins from the right angle header that are needed. The instructions say 15x pins for a 7 digit display, but there are 22 connections on the display board and all pics I've seen - except Andyball's - show all connections used.

So do I connect all of them? Or don't connect the ones silkscreened in parentheses?

#382 3 years ago
Quoted from acebathound:

The ones in parentheses are redundant connection points. As long as you have good pads on the plasma header for the non-parentheses digit signal pads there's no need to connect those.

Now I see this paragraph after reading back through the instructions:

6. Any of the leads corresponding to digits with parentheses around them are
OPTIONAL to solder. There's no harm in soldering them, but they're duplicate
connections. In other words if you have a good connection for “D1” there's no
reason to solder “(D1)” unless you really want to. Notice the parentheses.

I saw this in section 8A (reusing plasma leads), but not in section 8B, which was what I was doing. I would suggest adding this step in 8B.

#390 3 years ago
Quoted from acebathound:

Looks like I have it listed as a "TIP" on STEP 4 in section 8B.
"TIP: Any of the digits marked with parentheses around them are optional (ie. you don't have to install a pin into “D1” AND “(D1)” – you only need to make a connection to one of those."
I'll probably update that and make the verbiage similar in both sections though.

I don't know why, but I skipped over it. Maybe it was the smaller font. Anyway, sorry to call it out, it was there and I just missed it.

#393 3 years ago

First one done, and looks exactly as I had hoped. Crappy iphone camera makes it look washed out, but the reflection on the playfield glass is what it really looks like.

IMG_8544 (resized).JPG

1 week later
#428 3 years ago

Just an FYI, when I tested my display (I've only done one so far), I plugged it in and powered up and it displayed the last game score and HSTD properly, but some of the unused segments were lit dimly. You can actually see this in the pic I posted earlier, which I took right after powering up for the first time. During a game the display had erratic behavior. Sometimes segments would flicker. Sometimes display would freeze, then "catch up" on a spinner shot or bonus countdown. It would behave differently depending which player # or machine it was plugged into.

I checked for cold solder joints and solder bridges during assembly so I knew that wasn't it. The only thing left was the decoder chip. I replaced it and everything worked perfectly. I've never had one that was intermittent like that before. And of course, I couldn't test the display beforehand.

Bottom line: Check for cold solder joints and bridges, then replace the decoder chip if the display doesn't work properly.

#434 3 years ago
Quoted from barakandl:

When something like the spinner is going off, interrupts are going to stack up and possibly updating the display might get skipped in a cycle. I notice in lamp matrix'd game with LEDs when the CPU has to stop and do lots of work, the feature lamps can begin to blink a little bit. I assume because the interrupt isnt happening on every cycle because the CPU is busy. This kind of effect might show up worse do to the nature of how LEDs work.
For segments dimmly being lit when they should be off, I wonder if the 4543 outputs needs something on them to keep the driver transistor all the way off. Or maybe noise from somewhere else is leaking into the displays. Doesnt take much to get some light out of an LED. Maybe some kind of filter over the display so you don't notice the dim lit segments.

I thought some of this might be related to the nature of LEDs too, but not in this case. Replacing the 4543 resolved all of the issues.

#436 3 years ago

I did a full remove/repopulate. It was just a weird 4543.

3 weeks later
#446 3 years ago
Quoted from RoyF:

Will this kit work with the Stern DA-300 display board?


IMG_8541 (resized).JPG

IMG_8545 (resized).JPG

2 weeks later
#456 3 years ago
Quoted from Grnrzr:

I received my kits last week, and just got my first display done! So far the hardest part for me has been removing the old components.

Did you get white with gels or blue? Your game would look kickass with aqua colored gels to match the SILVERBALL lights at the bottom of the backglass.

1 week later
#491 3 years ago

I picked up a half dozen bunk 6-digit displays at Expo for peanuts. I'm going to make a set for Playboy using pink gels.

1 month later
#584 3 years ago

What's the difference between yellow and straw yellow?

2 weeks later
#599 3 years ago
Quoted from CactusJack:

This should be interesting. Too bad they don't list exactly how many 7 digit Ballys there are.

On Dec-23-16 at 20:06:07 PST, seller added the following information:

There are 20 6 Digit Displays
There are 22 7 Digit Displays
There are 8 Williams Displays from Black Knight.

#602 3 years ago
Quoted from CactusJack:

Cool. Don't know why I didn't see that when viewed on my phone. I don't like the way Ebay ports their auctions to mobile devices. A few features are missing that I like to use (sort by distance etc.).

I agree, I prefer to view ebay from a browser. The ebay app doesn't even work on my iOS devices.

#608 3 years ago
Quoted from emsrph:

Yep, move the gray wire from pin 12 in the connector to pin 11 for a Stern 7 digit.

Or solder bridge the two pins together on the display PCB, then it will work with either Bally or Stern.

#610 3 years ago
Quoted from emsrph:

Considered that dothedoo but wanted to return my wire harness back to original configuration. Pretty easy to pop the pin into the right slot.
Three of the four connectors had been switched to match the Bally displays that were used in there.

Oh, thought you were doing just the opposite. Carry on

2 months later
#669 2 years ago
Quoted from CactusJack:

I want to do my EBD and will help you use up those blue LEDs but don't have any dead 7 digit displays.

That's been my problem, only one dead 7-digit display and I can't bring myself to convert working displays. I picked up a bunch at TPF untested, so I hope to have a few dead ones. One has a broken nipple so I'll be able to convert at least one.

There were LOTS of 6-digit displays there so I hope someone picked some up to convert.

#685 2 years ago

Dragonfist and Lazerlord are already 7-digit games.

2 months later
#715 2 years ago

Nice that you're using ICs in place of driver transistors. Hopefully they're cheap. So easy to replace if one goes bad down the road.

Do you plan to do a run of larger boards to replace the Stern DA-300s? I'm tempted to buy some full kits seeing how I keep buying junk displays and they end up having bad boards, but the glass is good. I can't bring myself to tear them apart for the conversion.

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