(Topic ID: 66580)

LED kits - Are they worth it?

By mrramsey

8 years ago


Topic Heartbeat

Topic Stats

  • 49 posts
  • 29 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 7 years ago by Razor
  • Topic is favorited by 7 Pinsiders

You

Linked Games

Topic Gallery

View topic image gallery

IM000925.JPG
RS Lit BG.JPG
RS BG LED.JPG
IMG_0298.JPG
Ipad 1.24.14 022.JPG
pins 2.27.14 013.JPG
pins 2.27.14 034.JPG
POTC_Playfield_8.25.2013.JPG
IMG_20131010_135432_998.jpg
POTC_Playfield2_8.25.2013.JPG
POTC_Playfield_8.20.2013.JPG

#1 8 years ago

Hi All, my second post to the forums. I am considering picking up an LED kit from cointakers.com for my Strange Science pin.

What is the primary reason to swap the old incandescent lamps out for new LED's?
Is there a significant energy savings?

I am really trying to go green as I add new stuff to our house. Just finished up a major remodel on the entire first floor and went LED on everything. Curious to how that relates in a pin.

#2 8 years ago

Ramsey, there is an energy savings...it's mentioned all over the CT site. Make the pin really "pop"....they also produce less heat. Worth the money on a cost basis, probably won't save $100-$200 in energy from them....but I buy the LED's cause they make your pin look amazing....GL

-1
#3 8 years ago

Here is a before and After of my POTC....so much better with CT kit then without IMO

POTC_Playfield_8.20.2013.JPG

POTC_Playfield2_8.25.2013.JPG

#4 8 years ago

For home use? It uses less energy sure, but don't expect a medal from Al Gore or anything.

#5 8 years ago

Thanks for the info Captive! That kind of what I was thinking they would do but it always helps to hear from people with first hand experience.

#6 8 years ago
Quoted from Captive_Ball:

Here is a before and after of my POTC.

The "after" photo makes it look like you only used blue LEDs on your machine.

#7 8 years ago

Radium - yes for home use - damn I was hoping to hear from AL lol

Captive - WOW! that indeed made it pop. That was just direct replacements of the existing bulbs and no additional lighting added right?

#8 8 years ago

To answer the question from the OP. Kits are the easy or lazy way to do it. I prefer to have more control of what the overall finished product looks like.

A customer of mine ordered a kit for his Fathom. To me the color bomb approach the kit takes really makes the game look like a$$, especially the backglass. I am still at a loss to understand how making the game all one color or a rainbow of color improves it in the least but to each their own. I am all for LEDs and their benefits when used to update the game to today's tech while leaving the beauty and ambience the designer intended. PinballBulbs warm white's are perfect for this.

#9 8 years ago

Also, since you haven't bought LEDs before, buying a kit might be the way to go at first as the suppliers have taken the time to figure out quantities and types of LEDs required for specific games. As you learn more about the different types of LEDs and buy more pins (oh yes you will! ) you can create your own 'kits' and modify them according to your tastes.

#10 8 years ago

Cooler operation is definitely one of my drives to change the bulbs. The goal for me anyway is not to change the original look of the pin but make the colors more vivid. Here is mine in its current state.
IMG_20131010_135432_998.jpg

#11 8 years ago
Quoted from littlecammi:

The "after" photo makes it look like you only used blue LEDs on your machine.

Not only Blue's but there are a lot in there....looks so much better then when I got it...ship is spot lit green

POTC_Playfield_8.25.2013.JPG
#12 8 years ago
Quoted from Xenon75:

To answer the question from the OP. Kits are the easy or lazy way to do it. I prefer to have more control of what the overall finished product looks like.
A customer of mine ordered a kit for his Fathom. To me the color bomb approach the kit takes really makes the game look like a$$, especially the backglass. I am still at a loss to understand how making the game all one color or a rainbow of color improves it in the least but to each their own. I am all for LEDs and their benefits when used to update the game to today's tech while leaving the beauty and ambience the designer intended. PinballBulbs warm white's are perfect for this.

Well said.

#13 8 years ago

I was once in your position, thinking I would swap out all my incandescents for LEDs. Then I learned that LEDs don't dim. So, if you have a game where there are dimming effects (usually in the GI and the Backbox), you get flickering. In some games you can turn off the dimming, but then you give up some cool lighting effects. That was a deal breaker for me, so I opted not to put LEDs in the GI and Backbox and reserved them for the inserts only.

I also found that different types/brands of LEDs give different results and everybody has different tastes so it's better to buy a few sample LEDs, try them out and see what you like best. Then buy all the LEDs you need once you figure out which kinds work best. I don't trust that the kits are going to give the best results.

#14 8 years ago

I put some color changing bulbs in the atoms on my strange science and really like them.

I ordered a CT safecracker kit and was pretty disappointed because your stuck with what they send you.
For example ALL of the backboard LEDs they send me were supers not frosted and it was blinding and it was a lot of bulbs I had to order new bulbs for.
Not to mention there is no map to the LEDs in that kit it's just three sandwich bags marked "inserts" "GI" and "backbox" from my experience. Plus your paying a premium for them to pick your bulbs for you.

If I could go back in time I would have ordered a small amount of different bulbs and tried them out then made a master list and just ordered what I wanted based on the trial order.

#15 8 years ago
Quoted from Pdxmonkey:

Not to mention there is no map to the LEDs in that kit it's just three sandwich bags marked "inserts" "GI" and "backbox" from my experience. Plus your paying a premium for them to pick your bulbs for you.

That is one concern I had about getting a kit! I may just get a few samples at this point and see what they look like before dropping a lot of cash on them.

#16 8 years ago

eXpecially if you're buying the kits with LED Flashers, which I feel like are almost a complete waste, and pricey.
Although people have said they work better in the newer games.

Personally these days I like to go insert only LEDs & Backbox. And backbox you only need to fill 1/2 the sockets so it isn't blinding.

#17 8 years ago

I ordered a CT kit of GI and PF led's for my waterworld. It was perfect. But now that I've seen led's and have a better idea, I would order my own "kit" of led's that I wanted.

#18 8 years ago

I'd like to offer another angle on the 'kits'. I am partially color deficient so I do not see RED the way most people do. I do not trust my judgement on what looks bad and what looks good. It's nice to be able to select a kit and know that it was picked out by someone who has some type of good judgement on color placement.

#19 8 years ago

I would prefer to buy individual color leds in bulk and then experiment...personal taste should be the deciding factor.

#20 8 years ago

Since you only own the one game, I would get the kit
Play around withe placement of the different colors
When you find out what you like and/or buy a second game, then buy the LEDsindividually

#21 8 years ago

It's game by game for me, and I do 100% my own mixes on games. I got a game that had a kit from a popular LED company in it, and I freaking HATED how it looked. I have spent probably an additional $100 on swapping out the LEDs on this game specifically to tone it down and make it more like I like it.

At the end of the day, LEDs majorly change the look of your machine, and that change is a VERY personal one. For me, I like to mostly mute the LED color popping. Certain games I don't do it in because I haven't found a way that I like it. I can say though that every game I do switch out the flashers on just in case they get locked on, it's way cheaper to pay the $20 or so per machine to swap them out than the $500+ to swap out the playfield from melted plastics.

I also do like their heat saving properties. I generally swap all of my backboxes with LEDs to keep the game a little cooler, although honestly if the game survived 16+ hours a day on straight at an arcade, I can't imagine the 20 minutes at a time they get turned on hurts them much

I'd suggest buying a couple sample packs and seeing what you think of them where to see if it is for you or not.

#22 8 years ago

Only kits I would buy would be the ones from Pinballbulbs.com. Besides just putting leds in the inserts and gi's (which can just make the center of the PF look even blacker in the dark) they include multiple led spotlights, led light strip for the trough to light up the flipper area (very cool) and a big led strip for above the back of the PF.

Look at the pics of some of the kits they offer to see if you like any... it can save $$$ from buying leds to experiment with and then end up not using. As mentioned if the game does a lot of GI dimming effects you will lose these when you turn off GI dimming (a la Wms) If you can't turn off the dimming then leds in the GI will be quite different than you're used to...

I don't know about other kits but the one I am talking about has a complete chart where every bulb is supposed to go...
you also learn how using a pink 555 behind a yellow or orange insert actually makes the color POP more than a plain white 555. Pretty fun transformation for some of your machines.

#23 8 years ago

I'm considering a LED kit for my RFM from Macro. Anyone have experience with a kit from them. I thought I saw that they come with a map. I was also gonna pick a new rubbers kit as well.

#24 8 years ago

Oops that should be Marco specialties. I'm obviously new. Never changed a bulb. Sorry.

#25 8 years ago
Quoted from Miniflipper:

I'm considering a LED kit for my RFM from Macro. Anyone have experience with a kit from them. I thought I saw that they come with a map. I was also gonna pick a new rubbers kit as well.

Might as well change the rubber as you'll be taking some stuff apart to swap the lights. Get a decent magnetic nut driver (1/4 I think) for pulling the GI lights from under the PF. You'll need a small set of those anyways for the machine to get off the slingshot plastics to change the rubber rings. You can get these at the hardware store but they usually don't have the magnetic ones so Marco may be a good bet for these also. Also get one of those extending magnets (like a car antenna w/a little magnet at the end) for when a screw tumbles down into the dark innards of the machine

You'll want to put together a little kit w/all the tools you'll need for your pin. You'll learn what you need as you go - rite of passage and all. Take your time and enjoy it.

#26 8 years ago

Here is a post I just made in a related thread. I think you are better off putting together your own selection rather than buying a kit. It will save you a lot of money also. I recommend Comet Pinball LEDs as they are the best deal out there. And the product and service is top notch!

From my experience here is what I have come up with regarding some basic ground rules in LED choice and use:

1. I prefer the frosted 1SMD 5050 for almost everything as it gives a nice bright smooth dispersed light for inserts, under plastics for GI, and behind the back glass. Only exception is using Retros when you want that pinpoint of light showing as with an incandescent.

http://www.cometpinball.com/product-p/1smd5050.htm
http://www.cometpinball.com/product-p/1retroled.htm

2. For back glass and under playfield plastics use warm white LEDs behind warm colors such as yellow, orange, and red, and use cool/natural white behind cool colors such as blue, green, and purple. You can use a colored LED for a "special effect" in some areas if desired. Again the frosted 1SMD 5050 works great here.

3. For inserts you can also use the frosted 1SMD 5050 but match the color of the LED to the color of the insert. The only exception is for yellow inserts. Do not use a yellow LED under a yellow insert. Instead use a warm white LED. Yellow LEDs are not bright enough and are only useful behind white inserts.

4. Use different color LEDs under white inserts to give you a more colorful playfield if that is the effect you want.

5. Use colored LEDs under playfield plastics to create a more modern colorful look if that is the effect you want.

6. Use specialty LEDs such as color changers and flex heads for those areas that may need them. Flex heads are good for where you have a sideways mounted bulb under an insert but I have found that the regular frosted 1SMD 5050 LEDs do put out enough sideways light to work just fine also.

http://www.cometpinball.com/product-p/1smdflex.htm

7. Another very useful specialty bulb is the older style "Bullet" LED with a frosted lens. These are great to use if you have a bulb that "peaks" out from under a plastic and shines right in your eyes. This style of LED shines very little light to the sides so it reduces the brightness that hits your eyes. Just use a frosted warm or cool/natural to match the other LEDs in that area.

http://www.cometpinball.com/product-p/1ledbullet.htm

8. Every game is different so feel free to experiment with different color and type combinations. It is always a good idea to purchase a few extras so that you can experiment.

9. The most important rule sometimes is to not follow any rules. If you think it might work give it a try. If you think it won't work give it a try anyways! You will never know what works until you try. It's only a bulb and it can easily be changed out if it doesn't work for you.

So my suggestion to get started is to get a bulk pack of both the warm and cool/natural in the frosted lens style found here:

http://www.cometpinball.com/product-p/1smd5050.htm

The bulk pack pricing of 59 cents is great! These LEDs can be used everywhere and will be a good start. Just remember to use the warm white behind warm colors and the cool/natural white behind cool colors. You then can also pick up various colored LEDs to match your inserts and for any "special effects" you may want to experiment with.

Just remember it's your pin and what looks good to you is what is most important!!

#27 8 years ago

Thanks for all of the info guys. I am looking at the LEDs from cometpinball.com. I found a youtube video of Strange Science and liked the look of the LEDs they added -

#t=53

Watch somewhere around the 50 second mark if it doesn't start there.

#28 8 years ago

cointaker.com for mine. I love my kits from there. Great customer support too.

#29 8 years ago

I still love the Optiflux LEDs but you need to make sure you never are going to sell the machine or that you take them out when you do sell it. Best LEDs out of all the ones I have tried but again pricey.

#30 8 years ago

Cointaker for me as well.

#31 8 years ago

I have converted two pins and used Cointaker kits for both with GREAT results. The first pin I did was a Data East Star Wars and then I did a LOTR. What I like about the kits is that they are going to get you a great new look that you can then customize. After playing the pin for a week or two, you get to make your personal changes and touches for just a few dollars by switching out a handful of key LEDs. So, I may have spent an extra $30 making each of these machines look like a million bucks, but it is well worth it to me!

#32 8 years ago

Unfortunately, we don't currently have a strange science kit, but of all the kits we do have there is no markup for simply being a kit like some of the other kits out there. You also get the spotlight and LED no solder kits within the main LED kit. No one else is currently carrying the no solder LED strips and no solder Spotlight kits since we came up with those and they work really well for lighting up the entire playfield. Our kits are designed to look great and be a really helpful guide as well, hence the no markup. It is the same as buying the bulb and LED strips/Spotlight kits individually on the site. All our bulbs have the same lifetime warranties and we're happy to replace them. Plus, you can still use your pinside 10% off code on any kits at any times, so it is an overall fantastic value Also, all of our kits are non-ghosting. Meaning, if they need non-ghosting bulbs then they come with them by default. No need to upgrade.

We only can make a kit after we have LED'd the machine personally so it usually comes down to that we simply haven't had the machine in the shop recently. If you have any suggestions let us know as we get machines in frequently to shop and work on and can make a kit for you.

All our current kits are at http://pinballbulbs.com/led-kits

1 week later
#33 8 years ago

Well I ordered the cointaker kit. I will post pics when I get it done. Thanks for all of the advice guys!

#34 8 years ago

ebay for me. $65 for 100 1-led frosted bulbs.

#35 8 years ago
Quoted from thedefog:

ebay for me. $65 for 100 1-led frosted bulbs.

Wow that's expensive for the old style 1 led bulb. These bulbs are the better 1 SMD 5050 bulb and are only $59 for 100. Check them out!

http://www.cometpinball.com/product-p/1smd5050.htm

if you like the older style 1 led bulb they are only $26 for 100 here and come in 2 styles!

http://www.cometpinball.com/product-p/100-pack-led-bullet.htm
http://www.cometpinball.com/product-p/100-pack-led.htm

#36 8 years ago

Yeah that's what everybody needs... 100 of the same color Start breaking them up and the price goes up.

#37 8 years ago
Quoted from Manic:

Yeah that's what everybody needs... 100 of the same color Start breaking them up and the price goes up.

Of course they are cheaper in bulk but the individual price is only 69 cents for the superior 1 SMD 5050 and only 38 cents for the regular 1 led bulb.

If you have more than one pin to do getting 100 in warm and/or natural white is no problem as these can and will be used in many places.

#38 8 years ago

I bought the cointaker kit with the 20% discount. Thought it the best option for a first timer. The second machine (whenever that happens) will be custom.

By the time I would have gone through the troubles of buying different samples etc probably would have the same cost involved.

#39 8 years ago

I have 13 pins and just bought the premade kits for all of them. Very happy with the results. Oh and CoinTaker also.

3 months later
#40 7 years ago

My avengers pro looked like crap next to my star trek. I ordered a LED kit from cointaker. 2 words can describe it. I'm blind. I thought the star trek playfield was bright, Now it is the one that looks dim. I kind of like my cointaker kit in my xmen the best. It is inbetween the two in brightness.

#41 7 years ago

if you're on a budget, you can do it for way cheaper if you do it yourself and skip the flasher bulbs. flashers are about 10 times the price of your general 44 bulbs, which is the bulk of lighting in most machines. also, sometimes you just have to experiment with what works best (frosted vs clear, concave vs regular, single LED vs multiple LED).
i've mostly used ablaze LEDs from pinballlife.com. they a nice an cheap, but don't seem as bright as others, especially the frosted. 555s sometimes need some tweeking on the leads to get them to work right.

#42 7 years ago

Alot of time there are local Mechanics that service and sale pins that have the best LED's and seeing that they buy in bulk can get them at a better cost and you can experiment with different colors and looks. I have all of my pins with LED's and love the way it makes them pop. Only on my TAF when it is in Mulit ball mode does some of the flashers get to bright. Someone had asked about RFM with LED's so here you go as well!Ipad 1.24.14 022.JPGpins 2.27.14 013.JPGpins 2.27.14 034.JPG

#43 7 years ago

After seeing other pins I really like the way the guy has his POTC set up with all blue around the outside really makes it look like water all around.

#44 7 years ago

that's the other thing about kits, you get what they give you. if you want to tweek and adjust stuff, you'll just have to buy more bulbs.

#45 7 years ago

I don't like to go overboard with LED's. Saw 2 Iron Mans sided by side at the NW Pinball Show a couple years ago...one stock and one totally done in LED's. The LED one hurt to look at. I agree with others here that I like to add them selectively. My favorite pins are early Bally SS. I like the LED's behind the back glasses to eliminate heat which can cause then to delaminate. I mostly like the frosted whites (not the retro whites) for playfield illumination and then to experiment with the back glasses to enhance the appearance. The Fathom had the white frosted just in the playfield. Have not done the back glass but I will, and you can see the difference in light between the back glass and the playfield. The Rolling stones has the frosted white in the playfield for general illumination then all LED's in the back glass. Combination of just cheap orange and blues then super bright reds behind "Rolling Stones" and then frosted whites in the center.

IMG_0298.JPG RS BG LED.JPG RS Lit BG.JPG
#46 7 years ago

So on Fathom... do you need a repro light board to successfully use LEDs?

#47 7 years ago

You only need the light board upgrade if you want to do the feature lights. Not required for the GI.

#48 7 years ago

A little too bright on the Avengers for me.

IM000925.JPG

#49 7 years ago

Comet pinball non ghosting LEDs are outstanding !

Hey there! Got a moment?

Great to see you're enjoying Pinside! Did you know Pinside is able to run thanks to donations from our visitors? Please donate to Pinside, support the site and get anext to your username to show for it! Donate to Pinside