(Topic ID: 49434)

LED lights in Bally 1978 SS game - new board required??????


By rufessor

6 years ago



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#1 6 years ago

Hi All-

Just acquired a Bally 1978 Playboy. I am thinking of going with LED everywhere and see kits that include a new driver board. Is this really necessary, I typically just custom order my LED's from coin taker so I can do the colors as I would like... do I really need to also change the power supply board? Seems totally not required, Coin Taker has LED's that are designed to deal with the flicker issues that were common early on. So- if I use LED's designed specifically to avoid the flicker, can I just put in new bulbs and leave the power supply/board alone?

Thanks-

If the answer is that I do not need to get a new board... ca you can explain why it is that the kits come with a board - I would appreciate it as a knowledge building exercise.

#2 6 years ago

For early Bally SS games you need a new driver board. Alltek makes a very nice one that most folks use. Either that or you need to solder components on each and every lamp socket.

http://ksarcade.net/driver-boards-1/alltek-systems-lamp-driver.html

This board also eliminates the 'flicker' issue and so you can just use the cheaper Pinballife or CointTaker LED's without worry.

#3 6 years ago

I had leds in my evel knievel. you don't need a special board.

#4 6 years ago

The issue is not with ghosting or the inherent flicker in an LED. Rather, on Bally's, the controlling transistors (SCRs--silicon controlled rectifiers specificially) they used require a specific amount of current running in order to stay latched (on). If the current (amp) draw falls below a threshold, the scr turns off, then turns back on, causing a very noticeable and random flicker of the LED.

There are multiple fixes:
1) Use a big enough LED array within a single lamp that causes enough current to be pulled. You'll find that most cheap LED's draw 10 to 20 ma vs the 150 to 250 ma of a #47/#44 incandescent. If you find a LED lamp that has multiple sub-leds that increase amp draw they won't cause the SCR to unlatch. However the side effect will be extra cost and way too bright for the insert, so not doable for most.

2) Cause additional current to be pulled without creating light (or heat) to the level the SCR needs at a minimum. This is as simple as soldering a single, 470 ohm resistor across every single switched lamp socket underneath. A resistor costs 1 to 5 cents each in bulk depending on your source, and just need time to solder. This fix simply 'sinks' some of the power from the +5.9V lamp line to ground through the SCR at the socket making it appear more current than the LED uses is being drawn when the SCR is on. The nice thing is this doesn't prevent you from using an incandescent lamp as the resistance is higher than the lamp, so electricity will follow the least resistance--the lamp. The only bad thing about this is you have about 60 sockets to solder 2 wires to and makes it 'non original'.

3) Buy a new $100+ board that uses newer transistors to not require such high current draw.

I am working on an alternate solution costing much much less than a $100 board or soldering 120+ wires underneath the playfield. I have a prototype completed, tested and working, and am considering offering something up if there is enough interest. It would be completely plug-n-play and not require removal/replacement of any board or soldering or underplayfield access. The cost to fab the boards would be significant so would need to judge demand before I take the plunge LMK if anyone is interested, and I may consider this this summer.

BTW--This only affect switched lamps. GI / Backglass lamps are not affected because they either use mechanical relays in some cases or there are enough lamps on a single SCR to maintain enough current.

#5 6 years ago

Luke, your game would be unplayable to me. The LEDs flicker very bad in a Bally game.

#6 6 years ago
Quoted from barakandl:

Luke, your game would be unplayable to me. The LEDs flicker very bad in a Bally game.

I didn't think it was that much worse than the flicker I already had with the regular bulbs.

#7 6 years ago
Quoted from Pac-Fan:

2) Cause additional current to be pulled without creating light (or heat) to the level the SCR needs at a minimum. This is as simple as soldering a single, 470 ohm resistor across every single switched lamp socket underneath.

^ this is for controlled lamps only
I just solder chip resistors across the LEDs themselves - keeps the game original to easily go back to incandescent bulbs. If you don't have the soldering skills to do this then you will have to solder the resistor across the sockets. Never had a problem with ghosting or flicker.

If you have flicker on the GI in old Ballys this is totally different, this is the GI AC supply from the transformer that causes this. I think the "No-Flix" brand bulbs might help this.

#8 6 years ago
Quoted from Pac-Fan:

I am working on an alternate solution costing much much less than a $100 board or soldering 120+ wires underneath the playfield. I have a prototype completed, tested and working, and am considering offering something up if there is enough interest. It would be completely plug-n-play and not require removal/replacement of any board or soldering or underplayfield access. The cost to fab the boards would be significant so would need to judge demand before I take the plunge LMK if anyone is interested, and I may consider this this summer.

I would be quite interested. Probably 7+ boards depending on cost.

#9 6 years ago
Quoted from wayout440:

easily go back to incandescent bulbs.

You don't have to remove the resistor to go back to normal incandescent. The lamps work fine with it still in place as they have lower resistance than the resistor.

Quoted from wayout440:

^ this is for controlled lamps only

Yep, as I stated at the bottom of my message

Quoted from Pac-Fan:

BTW--This only affect switched lamps. GI / Backglass lamps are not affected because they either use mechanical relays in some cases or there are enough lamps on a single SCR to maintain enough current.

-----------

Quoted from Xenon75:

I would be quite interested. Probably 7+ boards depending on cost.

Wow.. Okay, 7 sets (each game would require 3x mini boards to interface with the connectors/harness) of boards would probably cover my first PCB fab run. I haven't priced things out, but a friend who does a lot of fab-ing for some battery charger projects thought there would be no problem in doing this for about $30 for a set of boards (PCB fab, installed components soldered in, testing). Is that within a reasonable range -- $30 per game?

#10 6 years ago

Ok... glad I asked this cause its not as simple as I thought-

I will probably look at some higher power (draw) multi LED lamps for the switched LEDs. They are mostly under the playfield under inserts and since much of the light on a multi socket is distributed to the sides (if you get the right one) it should not be too bright. In fact, I have some extras. This should answer the question as to if I will need to fix the sockets with a solder mod for the switched bulbs. I will check this and post back if it works.

I believe the flicker on the LEDs in GI is probably due to the DC rectifier and a voltage dip - the No flicker LEDS probably solve this with a capacitor in there or similar ... The no flicker LEDS should solve any GI issues as the draw would be plenty I would assume.

#11 6 years ago

Also, want to add explicitly (I touched on it above) -- Ghosting is NOT an issue with the old Bally's. Since a separate wire from a separate transistor is sent to each lamp socket with a common wire across the other side, there is no 'matrix' of rows/columns to deal with, so turning on other lamps cannot cause another lamp to have a phantom/ghost light.

Therefore once you solve the current draw limit of the old SCRs (for switched/controlled ones), and then optionally attack the overall GI issues with their power supply design causing other flicker, you can apply any LED to the game without having to pay more for non-ghosting/etc...

#12 6 years ago

Well... this is the easy part... but I can tell you that replacing about 1/2 of the bulbs behind the back glass with LED from coin taker, cool white I cannot remember exactly which one but at least a generation 2 bulb... and its works fine- I need warm whites for the colors but I had about 12 coin takers left over from the last project I did a total conversion on and so I just tried it out. Of course things could be different once they are all LED but I doubt it... seems rock solid stable light.

Will continue to update with programed pulsed lights being the most interesting to try to convert without the mods to the latch circuitry. . . this is phase 0.1

#13 6 years ago

GI is not an issue. There is more than enough amp draw on a chain of 10 LEDs controlled by a single SCR on a PF GI or backbox GI circuit... that pulls 2.5A if #44 incandescent normally which equals or .20A if they are 20ma LED's. At most any flickering that ever is noticed there is caused by the overall design of the power supply that on some machines drops the voltage to the GI when solenoids are firing/etc..

When you start witching to programmed/controlled/switched ones where there is one LED per SCR is when you will see the random flickering; and badly so. Since .250 A of a #44 is a lot more than a .02 A of a single LED for the latch to sense.

#14 6 years ago
Quoted from Pac-Fan:

You don't have to remove the resistor to go back to normal incandescent. The lamps work fine with it still in place as they have lower resistance than the resistor.

Yep, as I stated at the bottom of my message

-----------

Wow.. Okay, 7 sets (each game would require 3x mini boards to interface with the connectors/harness) of boards would probably cover my first PCB fab run. I haven't priced things out, but a friend who does a lot of fab-ing for some battery charger projects thought there would be no problem in doing this for about $30 for a set of boards (PCB fab, installed components soldered in, testing). Is that within a reasonable range -- $30 per game?

Yep, count me in also.

#15 6 years ago

I too would be interested... how much mod would need to be done to incorporate them into the game?

#16 6 years ago

The installation will take under 1 minute by anyone who at least knows how to change a fuse No soldering, no cutting, 100% removable in under a minute as well. Compatible with both incandescent and LED (can mix them together, don't have to remove to still use incandescent).

I have a prototype (non PCB based for now) working, and am pricing out a small test sample size PCB fab so I could get a couple made and send out for someone to test after I verify on my Bally. (As it took about 4 hours to wire strip, cut, crimp, solder all the components for the prototype set :(so I'm not going to hand make these!)

If all goes well with a sample and beta test, then I could then do a large run and make them available. ETA is this summer. Right now I'm trying to figure out the best design (board layout) both in terms of quick assembly on my side, and quick and solid installation on a game, plus optimizing size for highest yield as PCB fab is pretty spendy.

Thanks for the interest! The more stating interest, the higher I will prioritize completing this over trying to get my Bally acquisition fully working

If you are interested, send me (or post here) a list of machines you would consider putting it in, and if possible, a picture of the back side of the backbox lamp boards on them (showing any aux driver board positions) so that I can verify a couple of assumptions about positions of those boards. Thanks!

#17 6 years ago

Interested- need to see what in fact it is your making but price seems right and its needed. Maybe let us know whats up or show a pic.

On same topic. Just to illustrate the difference between switched bulbs with LED replacements and standard GI/Backglass always on lights. Here is a link to a video I took last night. I replaced all the lights behind the top of the back glass with coin taker LEDs and then also replaced the "recent High Score" lights, which are switched with LEDs. And this is a "best case" scenario, as there are TWO bulbs that are in the switched circuit so the current draw is additive for both LEDs- yet the flicker is amazingly annoying. Remember, the middle art work on the backglass is standard lighting, the top row lighting behind the words PLAYBOY and the pink bunnies are Coin taker Cool White LED, and the two bulbs under the high score are also the same LED but switched... and they flash super bad.

You tube video I uploaded... link

#18 6 years ago

"Is that within a reasonable range -- $30 per game? "

Yes, would buy it right now for Future Spa.

#19 6 years ago

Agree- good price

#20 6 years ago
Quoted from rufessor:

Interested- need to see what in fact it is your making but price seems right and its needed. Maybe let us know whats up or show a pic.

It will be a set of 3 mini boards with circuitry that will interface between the connectors and the wire harness off the lamp board, along with another much smaller board to interface with the square Aux Driver board elsewhere to pick up an additional signal. (I'm making an assumption that every backbox has at least one AS-2518-68 Aux. Driver GI Flasher or an AS-2518-82 Aux Driver TRIAC Lamp flasher mounted behind the backbox sockets---if that is not the case, then I need to look for alternatives (or require a single solder connection by the user)). I need to spend time flipping through some manuals or pictures but not a lot show the back side of the backbox lamp board so I can see where they are positioned.

Once I get the actual boards fab'd, I will post a video of the installation and results (with and without them installed). Given current interest, I will try to get these fab'd in the next 6 weeks.

#21 6 years ago

I haven't had a chance to pull out the board from Future Spa to take a pic of it, but I will get around to it and send you a link!

#22 6 years ago

I have 7 Bally machines of this era, from Strikes and Spares through Centaur. Do all of them have this issue and will this board set address the issue in all of them? I was hoping to convert them all eventually to LEDs.

Do other manufacturers from this era have the same issue? For example, I also have a Gottlieb Devils Dare and Williams Pharaoh and Solar Fire. Will they take LEDs fine or would they exhibit a similar issue?

Ultimately, I would take one of these for each applicable machine (up to 10).

#23 6 years ago

i convert my bally playboy because i wanted pink leds.

alltek board will fix this problem.
if you put leds in g.i in early ss, no problem but if it's a control lamp, you need the board.

game look amazing with leds.

#24 6 years ago

I haven't had a chance to pull out the board from Future Spa to take a pic of it, but I will get around to it and send you a link!

I am not looking for pictures of a particular board. I'm looking for a picture of the back side of the hinged wood panel that holds all of the backbox lighting. I'm trying to determine where the little 2"x2" AUX DRIVERS (not Aux Lamp Drivers--a different thing) are located on various ones. Attached is a sample of the type of picture I'm looking for.

I have 7 Bally machines of this era, from Strikes and Spares through Centaur. Do all of them have this issue and will this board set address the issue in all of them? I was hoping to convert them all eventually to LEDs.

As long as they are late 70's / early 80's Bally (or Stern) Solid State systems using the AS-2518-23 / AS-2518-14 or STERN LDA-100 lamp driver boards utilizing SCR's of type MCR-106 and 2N5060 / 2N5064, then they will exhibit this problem.

Ultimately, I would take one of these for each applicable machine (up to 10).

Awesome! Looks like I have enough requests, even if only 50% follow through, to make this a go. Finalizing layout, and then need to pick the right fab and get some of the adaptor boards produced. Thanks for everyone's interest!

BackSideOfBackboxLampBoard.jpg

I think this is the specific list of games that use the lamp driver boards:

Ali, Big Game, Black Pyramid, Centaur, Centaur II, Cheetah, Cosmic Princess, Dolly Parton, Dracula, Eight Ball, Eight Ball Deluxe, Elektra, Embryon, Fathom, Fireball Classic, Fireball II, Flash Gordon, Flight 2000, Future Spa, Galaxy, Gold Ball, Harlem Globetrotters On Tour, Hot Hand, Iron Maiden, Kings of Steel, KISS, Lectronamo, Lost World, Magic, Mata Hari, Medusa, Memory Lane, Meteor, Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man, Night Rider, Nine Ball, Nitro Ground Shaker, Nugent, Orbitor 1, Paragon, Pinball, Bally Playboy, Power Play, Quicksilver, Rolling Stones, Silverball Mania, Six Million Dollar Man, Space Invaders, Speakeasy, Spectrum, Spy Hunter, Star Gazer, Star Trek, Stars, Stingray, Strikes and Spares, Vector, Viking, Viper, X's & O's, Xenon

#25 6 years ago

Oh, okay, gotcha. I'll have to look...I don't remember seeing those boards.

1 month later
#26 6 years ago

This thread is exactly what I've been looking for. I've been working on putting LEDs in my Bally Star Trek. Backbox and GI have been no problem and work fine. It's the controlled lighting in the inserts that I had the flickering problem. I read somewhere else that a 1K resistor across the socket will work so I dug through my box of resistors and found a 470 ohm, a 1.8K, a 3.3K which all worked and stopped the flickering. Also tried a 9.1K and a 22K but they did not work. I guess they had too much resistance.

I've been trying to figure out how and why using a resistor across the socket would work and this thread finally answered my question. Now I understand what's going on with the circuitry on the lamp driver board. Thanks for the explanation!

I've now gone ahead and ordered 100 1K resistors off of ebay. Set me back an entire $1.49 including shipping! Once I get them I'll fire up the old soldering iron and get to work. It will also give me a chance to fix a few of the loose sockets that have been bugging me too.

What I don't get is why the guys like Cointaker don't offer a bulb with the resistor already built in? They offer non ghosting bulbs that have some type of circuit built into the bulb. What is it that they put into a non ghosting bulb anyway? It would seem really easy to put a resistor into an LED and would make it real easy on those that don't feel comfortable in soldering or adding another board to their pin. It would be a great new money maker for the LED sellers also.

Thanks!

#27 6 years ago

I have a few old Bally and Stern games that I plan to convert to LED over the next year or so and would be interested in buying atleast one set to try and if it works, I will probably buy enough to cover all of my early Bally/Stern pins. Thanks!

Bally Mata Hari
Bally X's & O's
Bally Centaur II
Bally Space Invaders
Stern Star Gazer
Stern Pinball

-- Shawn

#28 6 years ago
Quoted from Jags:

found a 470 ohm, a 1.8K, a 3.3K which all worked and stopped the flickering. Also tried a 9.1K and a 22K but they did not work. I guess they had too much resistance.

Thanks for the information. I wondered myself, at what level the SCR actually needed to stay latched. I hadn't gotten around to trying multiple sizes, since 470K was the semi-standard published by enthusiasts.

Quoted from Jags:

Once I get them I'll fire up the old soldering iron and get to work

If you're willing to wait a few months, my kit will hopefully be done and save you all that soldering under the playfield But yeah, that the cheapest (money) but most expensive (labor) fix for it.

Quoted from Jags:

don't offer a bulb with the resistor already built

Because that would be extra power draw across the socket and would negate some of the benefits of LEDing in many games -- slightly increasing heat; etc. -- not useful if the game doesn't have the problem to begin with. It would be an extra cost to assemble each bulb as well to address only a small subset of Bally/Stern games from the late 70's/early 80's (as compared to where most of their income comes from -- Mid 80's to now. Plus; as with the non-ghosting ones, there are a very limited sub-set of lamps that use them, limiting your choices.

Quoted from Jags:

What is it that they put into a non ghosting bulb anyway?

A capacitor is used to require a certain level of power to flow in to charge it up before it allows it to go onward to the bulb. Ghost voltages will slightly charge the capacitor but not allow the LED to light. If you've got a EE and CS background, here's a site that details the ghosting problem on later pins: http://emmytech.com/arcade/led_ghost_busting/index.html

Quoted from DallasPinball:

would be interested in buying atleast one set to try and if it works, I will probably buy enough to cover all of my early Bally/Stern pins. Thanks!

Awesome!

Short update: Between work, and acquiring another pin / things have slowed a bit on the project but I still am looking at summer to get the boards fabed and tested. The only small roadblock I've hit is that I have found that not all backboxes' light panels have a AUX DRIVER attached to them. That was a key point to providing a power signal without requiring the buyer to do any soldering. With the cost of wire (and neatness), I'm not looking forward to having someone run it all the way under the PF to a random location either. I'm going through some schems and pics to see what is 'common' across all the Bally games to see where I can make a single plug-though connector to gather the signal I need making it fully plug and play in all circumstances.

#29 6 years ago

I replaced the lamp driver board in my Xenon with the Altek board (either had to repair or replace it in any case) and it made a bit difference, recommend it. I am going to replace the board in my Centaur at some stage, tried a couple of LED's under the playfield and oh boy, the flicker would have caused an epilectic to fit!

#30 6 years ago
Quoted from Pac-Fan:

If you're willing to wait a few months, my kit will hopefully be done and save you all that soldering under the playfield But yeah, that the cheapest (money) but most expensive (labor) fix for it.

Yes your board looks very promising! But for less than $1 I don't mind doing the labor. That's half the fun owning these pins anyway! Plus I will also be doing the same to my Game Plan "Star Trip" cocktail table pin. It has the same problem as the Bally's as it also uses a similar circuit in the lamp driver board. The resistor fixes the problem for those units also.

Do you know what type of resistance a standard 47 or 44 bulb has? I would figure you would want to use just the right amount of resistance to keep that SCR latched other wise you would just be wasting more energy than needed. I guess the 1K should be just fine although the 3K seemed to work also.

Any thoughts? Thanks!

#31 6 years ago

With respect to the requested pics.... I can post one of my 1978 playboy. Seems like you all ready know there is an issue so if you want a pic just ask again. The Playboy has a limited # of controlled bulbs. But enough that I am not certain I want do that much soldering as it gets into removing original equipment and modding it, so let me know if you Make progress, just running a cable through a small aux board seems less intrusive and could be done with Velcro or something removable. still interested

4 weeks later
#32 6 years ago

Well I finished the LED job in My Bally "Star Trek" and I just would like to share how I installed the resistors on the sockets. First we all know that the Bally lamp holders are pretty bad. They get loose after time and start to go intermittent. To fix them you need to solder the socket to the bracket and solder the wire to the "nub". Also to make the LEDs work without flickering you need to solder a 1K resistor across the terminals of the socket. So I decided to kill 2 birds with one stone. Look at how I soldered in the resistor to the lamp socket:

// Error: Image 118977 not found //

As you can see I soldered the socket to the bracket at the edge where they meet. I also used this as one point to solder one end of the resistor. The other end of the resistor I soldered directly to the socket "nib" AND also the tab where the wire is soldered to. This creates a solid conection between the "nib", wire, and the other end of the resistor. Lamps are all now very solid and the LEDs work perfectly with no flicker!

#33 6 years ago

Cool... still on the fence about this- Currently working on what will be a very long restore process on my play field and have probably months before I will be installing LEDs in the game. This looks OK but I am trying to figure out a way to do this without quite as much modding to the game. I wonder if it would be possible to trace these wires back to the control board and somehow put a resistor in line there? Did you look into this at all?

Just thinking that if its an easy connection you could theoretically put a resistor in series there (just remove the wire from the board connector and add a resistor and a small wire to place back in the connector... in this way the original wire would not even be cut and you could simply just desolder the resistor and place the original wire back into the control board if you ever wanted it gone.

Anyone know where these wires come from- is it in fact 1 wire/bulb coming off a control board? Seems like it should be since they are in fact controlled independently. I just have not a clue where to look!

Reason I ask, is I will be rebuilding all the connectors, so this is a 1 minute mod at that point...

#34 6 years ago
Quoted from rufessor:

I wonder if it would be possible to trace these wires back to the control board and somehow put a resistor in line there?
...
so this is a 1 minute mod at that point...

That's basically what my boards will do. However it is not a 1 minute mod. It took me 3 hours to bend, wrap, cut and solder about 70 resistors across every terminal to the destination on a inline adaptor on each of the board on my prototype -- About the same time it would take to do it at each socket. (Dealing with .100 spacing and tiny SIP connector adaptor legs does take time to ensure no solder bridges are formed/etc.. -- definitely not the wide open space of soldering directly on the socket)

The final circuit will be on a PCB with SIP style resistor arrays that will be able to be soldered a lot quicker to make the product, and will work inline with the connectors. The problem is finding the common point to send all of the other ends of the resistors to without requiring end-user-soldering. In some games there are additional connectors nearby to hook into, others, it appears, from my looking at pictures and schems, it will require soldering. Perhaps I will just require that; and 1 connection soldered vs. up to 140 would be seen as a gain yet It still has the benefit of no 'damage' to any lamp socket or lamp driver board by soldering--especially by those that aren't that good and is 'instantly' removable in case you want to move it to another machine or something or need to replace the lamp driver board and not lose all that mod work.

I still am working on the project and hope to get the boards fab'd soon with more details later. Please hold out a little longer

#35 6 years ago

I'm still game for one, that's for sure... I haven't replaced all my LEDs yet in Future Spa, but I have them in hand...will let you guys know how that goes lol.. still have the original driver board in my game.

#36 6 years ago
Quoted from rufessor:

I wonder if it would be possible to trace these wires back to the control board and somehow put a resistor in line there?

Quoted from Pac-Fan:

That's basically what my boards will do. However it is not a 1 minute mod. It took me 3 hours to bend, wrap, cut and solder about 70 resistors across every terminal to the destination on a inline adaptor on each of the board on my prototype -- About the same time it would take to do it at each socket.

Yes, you can put the resistors in at the board but, if you don't want to spend two evenings like I did soldering 50+ resistors then I would definitely consider Pac-Fan's board. Each lamp would need it's own resistor so you would still need to be soldering a lot of resistors either at the board or on the sockets. For me I needed to do solder work on most of my sockets anyways because most of them were loose and giving me problems. Soldering in the resistors at the same time was easy to do and solved two problems at the same time.

Quoted from rufessor:

Anyone know where these wires come from- is it in fact 1 wire/bulb coming off a control board?

That is what the lamp driver board does in your pin. Yes it is one wire per bulb and the control circuits and connectors are all found on that lamp driver board. If you don't know what you're doing however, I wouldn't be messing with that lamp driver board! Just get Pac-Fans adapter board or spend the time to solder in the resistors at each socket. Lot easier and safer than messing with the lamp driver board.

#37 6 years ago
Quoted from rufessor:

Here is a link to a video I took last night

Rufessor, Just noticed in your video that you have a buzzing sound in attract mod that changes with the changing of the display from hi score to last score. I had the same problem with my Bally "Star Trek" machine. Seems that it is a ground loop problem with the sound board as once I unscrewed the sound board mounting screws the buzz went away. Decided to isolate the sound board from the mounts by using a thin nylon washer as a spacer and also 8-32 nylon screws to mount the board. Solved the buzz problem. I'm an audio engineer and I'm very familiar with ground loop buzzes. You may want to try that and see if it works for you.

#38 6 years ago

Thanks for the tip on the sound board. I noted it but didn't really think much of it. Being so old I kinda assumed it was normal. Now I can check that... in a few months or more when it starts to go back together.

As for the lamp boards, I have zero issue basically rebuilding a board from scratch with chips and a soldering iron so I have no hesitation about diving in and adding some resistors. However, if the pricing is right and its real easy- would still consider purchase of adapter. Only reason I asked was that I have not in fact begun any type of restore on this part (I am dealing with play field first as thats the worst part and if I can make it shine... the rest of the game will be fully restored- but not until then). So I just wanted to be sure that I had this correct. Since I will be rebuilding the connectors and even replacing some of the CAPs on the power supply board I figured I would ask if there was a good reason not to do the mod there.

Will keep an eye out here to see if you get a board out and the price and then decide, but for now its no rush on my part.

Thanks

#39 6 years ago
Quoted from rufessor:

Since I will be rebuilding the connectors and even replacing some of the CAPs on the power supply board I figured I would ask if there was a good reason not to do the mod there.

You keep referring to the "power supply board". Do you mean the Voltage Regulator/Solenoid Driver board or the power supply board located above the transformer? Neither of these boards are related to the work you would need to do on the lamp driver board regarding adding the resistors to stop the LED flickering. The mod cannot be done on either of those boards.

Quoted from rufessor:

Anyone know where these wires come from- is it in fact 1 wire/bulb coming off a control board? Seems like it should be since they are in fact controlled independently. I just have not a clue where to look!

I assumed from this statement that you had really no experience in electronic circuitry. But then you make this statement:

Quoted from rufessor:

I have zero issue basically rebuilding a board from scratch with chips and a soldering iron so I have no hesitation about diving in and adding some resistors.

This is very conflicting information. If you have no issue in rebuilding a board you should have the expertise to read schematics and understand what board does what. If you don't even have a clue where to look how can you go about rebuilding a circuit board successfully?

Moding the electronics of a circuit board is not an easy thing to do unless you now what you're doing and understand basic electronics. You said:

Quoted from rufessor:

you could theoretically put a resistor in series there

Soldering a resistor across the two contacts of the lamp socket is not putting it in series. It is putting it in parallel with the bulb. To do the same on the board you need to do what Pac-Fan has done. Make a resistor array that taps into each lamp's circuit on one end and connects them to a common point on the other. That's the problem that Pac-Fan is having with offering his board. It may be difficult to find a common point that is easily accessible and can be connected to without soldering. Also different games are set up differently so it can be difficult to find the correct common point. He wants to make it as easy as possible to use his board especially for those with no electronic skills.

Since you are doing a restore project on your playfield I don't see what the problem is adding the resistors to each lamp socket. If you may be removing all the sockets off the board anyways, it would be real easy to add the resistors at that point of time. Plus, as Pac-Fan mentioned, you can still revert back to incandescents at any time even with the resistors there. If you are trying to keep your game "original" any type of modification to the board would even be a worse thing to do. Best bet for you would be to go with Pac-Fan's board once he has them available. Looks like it would be an easy plug-n-play option with maybe just one solder connection needing to be done at the common point of the controlled lamps.

1 month later
#40 5 years ago

Indeed my prior post is conflicting.

I have a little bit of circuitry knowledge but not on the level that these boards require to fully understand. I am basically a beginner electronics hack, I figure out what I want to do, ask questions with usually incorrect terminology and learn as I go. What I should have said, is that I can figure it out given a little time and some help and have no problem with the mechanics of the required skills, I can solder PCB components (not production level but not overly sloppy either) I can do some basic tracing etc and identify common old school components like resistors, caps, diodes, zenner diodes etc and know what these do and how to for instance make a bridge rectifier and other common uses for these components... and I have some relevant experience in building LED lighting systems... but its all hobby level type stuff. Sorry if it sounded like a complete hack. When I said I didn't know where to look for the origin of the wires I should have said I do not have schematics and my skill level in reading them leaves MUCH to be desired so it would possibly be unclear to me where they physically resided even if I had them locked down on the schematic...

Just trying to get my head around what the actual technical challenges to this mod are... your information was very helpful and I appreciate it. Indeed it would appear that the basic path is either through the sockets or what has or is being developed and discussed here.

Here is a question then....

If I do this...
is the reason it would not work this...

If I were to disassemble the wiring harness from the light control board, and add a resistor to the end of each independently controlled light (which must be a single unique wire- correct) and then simply solder a connector onto the other end of the resistor and plug it back into the harness...

Would the LED now NOT function because of the induced voltage drop associated with this resistor? Cause although I do not know what the latch current is, perhaps you could choose a resistor that would pull that current while leaving enough voltage to power the LED... LEDs can be some what flexible with respect to input voltage so long as its above their threshold...

This (if I am not now over my head and exposing further ignorance) would be a fully reversible mod that would actually be pretty easy)

But it depends on

A) my actually understanding this (shaky at best)
B) if A is affirmative - the lost voltage being insignificant with respect to the LED operation.

#41 5 years ago

If I were to disassemble the wiring harness from the light control board, and add a resistor to the end of each independently controlled light (which must be a single unique wire- correct) and then simply solder a connector onto the other end of the resistor and plug it back into the harness...

That description is called wiring in series. That will not work to solve your problem. The LED may or may not light depending on the resistance and would do nothing to fix the flicker problem. You need to wire the resistor in parallel with the bulb to make it work. Look at my diagram below and it should clarify the difference immediately!

PS.jpg

#42 5 years ago

Thanks-

I apologize, I understand the difference between series and parallel in nomenclature, but what I had asked was why it would not work.

I think I can reason this through- the total current draw through a series circuit is the same at any point... current is basically just the number of electrons moving and we don't "use them up" anywhere....

So if you place a resistor in series its basically just acting to either drop voltage or limit current, and the LEDs all ready must have a current limiting resistor in series.... so there would be no change to the latch current seen by the board.

If you put it in series then additional current can flow... and the latch circuitry will now see enough draw to remain open and the light will not flicker. What I now am thinking about doing is shown in the following post-

Basically, simply add a resistor in series to each post of the wiring harness for the controlled lamps.

#43 5 years ago

Like this

wiringHarness.jpg

#44 5 years ago

Where each pin is shown connecting to both the resistor and the LED in the game-

I guess if no one argues with this and since the playboy has a very limited set of controlled boards, all I would need to do is get a schematic and figure out which wire from which harness is running the controlled lamps. I might be able to trace with a continuity meter but that may or may not work.

Schematic indicates that basically all used pins on J1, J2 and J3 would need to be modded to go full LED... GI seems to come out J4 although I am unsure what J4 pin 8 labeled KEY is...

This will be a little work, but cost is negligible and I was going to re-pin these anyways... so really almost no extra time on top of that.

Ugly.. but perhaps functional and no one will see it anyways. At least its all sitting right there in front of you.

#45 5 years ago

This is not difficult at all - I modified a 19777 Bally Strikes and Spares in an evening with a soldering iron and a magnifying lamp. A few dollars in chip resistors, no special add on board. I modified the LEDs so to keep the game original and it WORKS PERFECTLY. The original reference doc is below:

"Once upon a time there was a led that flickered when it was installed
in an older Bally or Stern pinball machine. The LEDS flickered on any
machine that used a Bally As2518-14, AS2518-23, or Stern LDB-100. These
lamp driver modules were used from 1977 thru 1989. These boards use SCRs
to switch # 44 Lamps on and off in pinball machines. This has worked
well for many years, until someone tried to use a led instead of a #44
lamp. The LED flickered. I discovered that the reason the led flickered
was that the LED drew no current below it’s forward bias point that it
would not hold an scr latched. If a resistor is added in parallel with
the led, it would draw enough current to keep the scr latched and there
was no flicker. (Life is Good). Through testing I found that a 470 olhm
resistor was more than enough to keep any of the scrs that I tested
latched. The 470 olhm resistor can be added in the socket of the led,
soldered across the lamp socket, or soldered on the lamp driver module.
The electrons don’t know or care where the resistor lives, as long as it
will cause a 1ma load to the anode of the scr. All 3 ways have been done
and they all work well." - text by Ron Googe."

#46 5 years ago

Cool.. I think I will just mod the connectors... Since I am re-pinning anyhow this is no trouble whereas re-pinning plus dealing with sockets is 2x the work and a more permanent mod and I have no interest in dealing with the LEDs themselves. Great quote...

SORRY for the confusion, I had not THOUGHT through my proposal to put it in series... my bad... Thank god my day job does not involve circuit design (who would have guessed?!)
Simple-stoopid but I stand corrected and happy to have an easy, viable, mod to accomplish.

THANKS EVERYONE.

#47 5 years ago

Yes you can do it as you pictured. But to do each bulb circuit it would be a lengthy process. As you said you would first have to figure out which wire from which harness is running each one of the controlled lamps. You then could remove that connector from the harness, cut of the wire, strip the wire, add one end of a resistor, crimp on a new connector and insert it pack into the harness. Once you have done that for each of about 30-50 lamp circuits you would then need to tie all the other ends of the resistors together and wire them to the common point which you would still have to find somewhere.

What you end up with is a very time consuming process that leaves you with a mass of resistors protruding from the wiring harness which would really look like a massive circuit board hack job! And, if you somehow made a mistake and connected a resistor to an incorrect wire, you risk damaging something else on the board.

In my opinion it is a lot easier to simply solder a resistor across each bulb socket. It takes less than 2 minutes to do per bulb, it's easy to locate the bulbs you need to do, there is lots of room to solder, once it's done you barely can even see the resistor is there on the socket and it looks like it supposed to be there just like the diodes and capacitors found on the switches and solenoids under the playfield. If you want to revert back to incandescents you don't have to do anything at all and if you really want to restore the machine back to original all you have to do is snip out each resistor off the socket. As a bonus the solder job on the sockets will probably improve their reliability especially on the cheap Bally sockets. Most important when you open the backbox it won't look like a massive hack job has been done to board.

Hope this info helps with your LED mod!

#48 5 years ago
Quoted from rufessor:

Cool.. I think I will just mod the connectors... Since I am re-pinning anyhow this is no trouble whereas re-pinning plus dealing with sockets is 2x the work and a more permanent mod and I have no interest in dealing with the LEDs themselves. Great quote...
SORRY for the confusion, I had not THOUGHT through my proposal to put it in series... my bad... Thank god my day job does not involve circuit design (who would have guessed?!)
Simple-stoopid but I stand corrected and happy to have an easy, viable, mod to accomplish.
THANKS EVERYONE.

Yes, dealing with the LEDs themselves is a bit of a PITA. My eyesight is getting worse with age and spending an evening under a magnifier with chip resistors to solder them on the LEDs is a hassle. It was worth it though. Good luck.

#49 5 years ago

I am going to try to do this in a way that does not look like a massive hack! I will post pics! Here.. but its going to be a good long while until I get to this.

#50 5 years ago
Quoted from wayout440:

All 3 ways have been done
and they all work well

Yes any of these 3 techniques will work.

Quoted from rufessor:

I am going to try to do this in a way that does not look like a massive hack! I will post pics!

What ever works for you is the best for you!! I would love to see pics when you get it done!

For me in my situation since I had to access each lamp socket anyways to install the LED I figured it would be the perfect time to also service each socket. Power down, remove the original bulb, clean socket with a "socket eraser", solder to fix bad socket design and also install resistor, install new LED, power up and check for proper operation. Each socket about 2-5 minutes depending on how hard the socket was to get to. Clean looking mod and very easy to do! The LEDs look great in my Bally Star Trek!

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