(Topic ID: 153216)

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


By acebathound

3 years ago



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

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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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#4 3 years ago

This could be a really neat idea. I'm sure I'm not the only one with boxes of displays with bad glass.

1 week later
#76 3 years ago

Is there a way to find out if a company already has the tooling on file to produce digit displays with a comma? Obviously, it's been done by some of them before.

#88 3 years ago
Quoted from acebathound:

It's possible to fake something that resembles a comma. What I did here was use small pieces of electrical tape & just kept roughly the same angle as the vertical segment and blocked off a tiny portion of the round arc on the decimal.
comma_(resized).jpg
Other thoughts I've had over the years were having a round "dot" (think hole-punching electrical tape) and then overlapping it just slightly on the decimal on the top left and seeing if the resulting moon shape would look nice-enough.
There's also probably some type of "V" shape you could do as well.
I've yet to think of something that would be super easy/consistent. Having some kind of decal made up that aligned in the corner of the digit would make it easy.. but the resulting decal may be too delicate/thin for that approach. Matching the angle with electrical tape doesn't seem like it'd be too hard of a task. Then you'd just need to get the exposed areas roughly the same thickness (for 2x digits per display.. so 8 digits on most games).
For the 7-digit board, the comma/decimal connections are being brought over to the led digit pcb so the connection would be there if someone wanted to fake the decimal into a comma. I don't think the 6-digit boards had comma support originally, so no commas on that one.

Maybe cut a small piece of black vinyl on a vinyl cutter that can be placed on each digit display in the corner where the period is?

#91 3 years ago
Quoted from acebathound:

Yeah, I know there's some guys that are doing custom decals for things. I'm sure quite a few could be fit on a single sheet. I can look into some kind of option there and ask some questions once I get the actual digits in that will be used. I only have the 20mm width digits right now.
I placed the order for some WHITE digits. So hopefully they work out & once I get those I'll have a better idea of what may be possible with the decimal. Worst case it shouldn't be *too hard* for people to fake it with electrical tape (since many people have that around). Best case would be possibly doing something with a decal that could align with the corner of the digit and have something that easily converted the shape into something more comma-like. You're limited though because of the smaller size of the decimal compared to a regular comma, so I think just straightening the arc on two sides and giving the comma the most length & width that's probably the best way to go with it.
I'm just not sure how delicate the vinyl would be in that size & if there'd be different thicknesses that would make it less-so. But for the amount that would probably fit on a single sheet.. if that option materialized, could just give 2x what was actually needed in case a few ripped during application.

Honestly, I wouldn't bother doing it with electrical tape. Too much work.

A decal or vinyl cut-out would be pretty easy to apply.

#109 3 years ago
Quoted from shimoda:

Next up, we need a solution for GTB Sys1 displays!

There are actually still plenty of originals available. There are a few sellers on ebay selling refurbished displays. I have a few boxes of them myself--some repairable, some not. Usually one or both of the IC's need to be replaced, plus the cap and sometimes the resistor if it's causing a problem. Gottlieb's displays are fairly easy to work on as long as the glass is good.

#112 3 years ago
Quoted from shimoda:

If they are available I haven't seen them then (new) and would love a pm with link (SYS 1 displays). I was just sayin...

http://www.bostonpinballcompany.com/displays.htm

1 month later
#152 3 years ago
Quoted from shimoda:

I still wish there was a more cost effective solution for Sys1. $250 for new display sets - well, that's half of what many are worth.

As long as the glass nipple isn't broken, the displays are easy to repair. The problem is usually the resistor and/or the 6118 chips. You can find the 6118 chips on ebay.

#156 3 years ago
Quoted from dothedoo:

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.

Sadly, I hardly ever see system 1 games sell at shows. They're almost always all there from start to finish.

#167 3 years ago
Quoted from gianfri:

Well, finally there are going to be several options for those pinball machines.
The green pini's attitude, recycling old display boards and transforming them into led displays.
and
The (5 displays set) full led display boards from a starting price of 150$ up to 250$ (depending on what you're looking for as finishing options)
I think it's really reasonable and you finally have the choice.
On the "machines" selling point of view, my opinion is that you shouldn't replace the displays to led on a selling price point of view but more on your personal desire, therefore you should not count on that, when you like you spend for what you like, then we all probably know that we will never really get money back from all the hours we spend to repair, restore and maintain those machines.

The main reasons why LEDs surfaced was that the glass displays were failing and no longer being manufactured. A side benefit of LEDs is that they don't need high voltage, run cooler, and can come in different colors.

For Bally/Stern displays in particular, they are essentially two pieces--the glass and the PCB. The PCBs can usually be repaired, but the glass cannot. So, it makes sense to be able to reuse a perfectly serviceable component and save some money while doing it. I would be interested to see if the same thing would be possible with other types of displays (like system 3-6 master displays, allied leisure displays, system 11 displays, etc)

Color choices can be a personal preference, but replacing dead glass displays with LED displays can sometimes simply be necessary to bring the game back to life.

#169 3 years ago
Quoted from gianfri:

I think the main difference between modifying an old one or buying a new led one is on the complexity of the mods and on the final result. (moneywise as well)

Right, to replace the glass display with an LED display, the procedure can't be too complicated or the savings over a complete new display won't be worthwhile. But if it's just a matter of soldering a handful of connection points, then yes, I'd say it would be worth it.

Quoted from gianfri:

I didn't really sell a lot of mods kits, probably also because the market is not the same, Bally has much much more machines around the world than Zaccaria.

Yep, the problem is producing something for a niche market that something like that is inside of an even smaller niche market. However, I imagine the folks who have bought them have been very appreciative that you took the time to produce them.

3 months later
#268 3 years ago

There is someone else with a 2-board LED design:

ebay.com link
http://www.wolffpactech.com/

And someone else with a single-board design (6-digit): ebay.com link » One Piece 6 Digit Bally Stern Pinball Led Display Replacement Orange Color

pasted_image (resized).png

#270 3 years ago
Quoted from gianfri:

And as I said previously the price difference is really tiny but I respect the green aspect of Wayne's project.

As I said earlier, I really like the idea of being able to reuse the PCBs, especially since there are so many with bad glass kicking around. I just wasn't sure if it would be worthwhile to pair it with a custom/new PCB since there already are drop-in display replacements available.

I do like the idea of those single-PCB displays, though. They look pretty slick.

2 weeks later
#409 3 years ago
Quoted from acebathound:

Is there interest in a plug-in PCB (at the J1 header) to test the converted displays?

I'd be interested in a small self-contained display tester of some sort, like a modern & compact version of a bally brown box display tester if it could test both the led displays and the glass displays.

Then I could tell you how many conversion kits I'd need

#412 3 years ago
Quoted from CactusJack:

he brown box also supplies the 190vdc

Yeah, that's always been the big catch, unfortunately. The few homebrew testers I've seen use a giant-sized professional bench-top adjustable power supply. I know you can boost voltage by sacrificing amperage, but I'm not an engineer and don't know the best way to do this without a big heavy transformer. I've also seen some modern single-voltage transformers that are about the size of a small muffin, but not quite as high as 190v.

Also, there's this interesting tester that was build for gottlieb displays, but it only needs 69v for the display: http://www.flipprojets.fr/Testdisplay_EN.php

#415 3 years ago
Quoted from CactusJack:

A "step up" regulator could probably be designed using a low voltage 120vac transformer in reverse. But is there really much of a market for a bench top display tester? Especially now that the plasma tubes are no longer being made.

Diagnostic equipment is always going to be a small market.

I have boxes of displays awaiting testing, and I don't always have a compatible game set up and running to test them, or would necessarily want to plug them into a working game in case a short blows something up in the game itself.

2 months later
#567 3 years ago
Quoted from acebathound:

What's the display model? I can send the schematic if I have it.

Could you post the schematics in the thread here somewhere for all the different versions if you have them handy?

I'm sure some folks would find it useful to see them all in one place.

#570 3 years ago
Quoted from too-many-pins:

It is crazy how many time some of these companies made changes over the years!

Sometimes it had to do with the cost and availability of parts.

3 weeks later
#600 3 years ago
Quoted from eh97ac:

ebay.com link ยป Used Ballyand Williams Displays For Pinball Machines
In case you need some boards

..and now the price will probably skyrocket

1 month later
#622 3 years ago

(edit: sold)

I had a few displays with broken glass, so here are some 6-digit & 7-digit Bally display PCBs:

Archived after 0 days
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Sold (amount undisclosed)
Contributed to Pinside
Parts - For Sale
Used, good condition “Here are four Bally 6-digit display PCBs. These came from a lot of displays that mostly tested good (most problems were just bad segment transistors), so I would anticipate that t...”
2017-01-29
Ballston Spa, NY
30
Archived after 0 days
48 views
Sold (amount undisclosed)
Contributed to Pinside
Parts - For Sale
Used, good condition “Here are four Bally 7-digit display PCBs. These came from a lot of displays that mostly tested good (most problems were just bad segment transistors), so I would anticipate that t...”
2017-01-29
Ballston Spa, NY
30

1 month later
#656 2 years ago
Quoted from acebathound:

Are these conversion kits something people would like to see continue to be offered going forward? Just curious to get feedback there. Noticing lighter interest in recent months, not sure if that indicates people have moved on toward alternatives or most people with displays to convert have already done so.
I'll probably do one more PCB run for this year & then gauge further interest based on sales for the remainder of 2017. If interest remains light, I'll just figure most people would rather build the full kits than save $50 or so per set on these conversion kits. Good thing I'm working on a full kit myself now that I'm sitting on thousands of LED digits
---
http://www.pinitech.com - "Pinball Inspired Technology"
NVRAM, kits, upgrades and test equipment for pinball machines

I'd wait to see what happens after each of this year's big shows. I assume there's usually an uptick of parts being ordered as people prepare games to sell or make new acquisitions.

Maybe it's also time to start thinking about an accompanying low-cost logic board? I'm not sure how much interest there would be with 3-4 other LED options already out there, though.

#668 2 years ago
Quoted from acebathound:

Might as well ask since it's been mentioned..
On a full kit, is there preference on single-board design versus the traditional 2-board design? I'm leaning toward a 2-board design out of the gate, at least for a DIY Kit. Not exactly a fan of seeing either components or solder points scattered around a digit panel myself.

I've seen examples of both.

The single PCB version might look a little odd, but I think I might prefer it, since this approach makes sense since you're not using actual glass and don't need to separate logic from the display. There's fewer connection points since you wouldn't have to connect one PCB to another. And there's probably some cost savings by doing one PCB rather than two.

On the other hand, going with a new single PCB design means designing a new PCB, rather than potentially using the retro kit PCBs that you already have, and just making a logic PCB add-on.

#671 2 years ago
Quoted from acebathound:

fully assembled with SMD components on the back

SMD components might scare away some folks, unless the boards were produced consistently in sufficiently large quantities.

Most people can't repair SMD stuff, so if something goes wrong, they are SOL.

#680 2 years ago
Quoted from acebathound:

So is this list below complete as far as Bally games that would benefit from the 6-digit to 7-digit mod?
Found these based on Oliver's notes @ http://www.pinball4you.ch/okaegi/pro_soft.html
HARLEM GLOBETROTTERS
DOLLY PARTON
FUTURE SPA
NITRO GROUND
SILVERBALL MANIA
SPACE INVADERS
ROLLING STONES
MYSTIC
HOT DOGGIN
VIKING
How about Stern games? Oliver's page mentions a divide by 10 for METEOR. Same 4555 setup for that?
Just trying to get an idea of things here..

Firepower

#682 2 years ago
Quoted from Drewscruis:

Didn't know firepower was a bally game...

D'oh, I wasn't even thinking about that. I just saw it on the list of 7-digit conversions. Nevermind

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