(Topic ID: 202513)

LED Playfield Lighting: Kit vs A la Carte

By Jason_Jehosaphat

1 year ago

Topic Stats

  • 17 posts
  • 13 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by nikpinball
  • No one calls this topic a favorite


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    #1 1 year ago


    I want to put LED's in my WPC89 pin.

    I would like to hear opinions as to whether or not the convenience of an LED kit justifies the expense. Sure, there could be a hundred bulbs in a kit. I get it. It's not easy to identify them all and package them in a kit. Still, can it be done a la carte? As in, can you simply identify what kinds of bulbs you need and order their equivalent in LED's *without* driving yourself crazy? Is that too much hassle, or is it commonly done? A kit for my pin is c. $200. That's a lot of scratch for a few fistfuls of LED's.


    #2 1 year ago

    First machine I ever did this with I used a kit. Ended up changing 25% of them straight away. There is no accounting for taste, and lights are a particularly personal choice. Get a bunch of everything, have too many, and don't worry about it because you will always use them and one day you are going to run out, more than once, lol.

    #3 1 year ago
    Quoted from TimeBandit:

    First machine I ever did this with I used a kit. Ended up changing 25% of them straight away. There is no accounting for taste, and lights are a particularly personal choice. Get a bunch of everything, have too many, and don't worry about it because you will always use them and one day you are going to run out, more than once, lol.

    I concur with Michael. Buy a bunch and do it yourself.

    Works out way cheaper in the long run.


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    #4 1 year ago

    Go a la cart. My favorite product is: http://www.cometpinball.com/product-p/2smd-ct-ft.htm

    Frost caps in natural white, warm white, sunlight white, red, green, and blue (and a few purples) for both 555 and 44.

    Yellow and orange colors just suck. For inserts, I use sunlight or cool for yellow inserts, and warm for orange inserts. If on the playfield, I use the same aforementioned bulb colors and put a yellow or orange light condom on the bulb.

    #5 1 year ago

    For things like GI lights (warm white, cool white, super brights, ect) I order packs of 100. For common colours I usually order 25-50 depending on the game. For more rarely used bulbs I’ll order a handful of each. Some places will have sampler packs with flashers colour changers and unique bulbs.

    Kits are convenient, but you’ll find that you might want to change a couple bulbs here and there. It’s best to order extra.

    Here’s my kit.
    image (resized).jpg

    #6 1 year ago

    You might see some good sales in 2 weeks to help.

    #7 1 year ago

    Big fan of Comet. I bought a kit for my first machine and wouldn’t do it again. As others have said, it’s a matter of taste. I also didn’t realize in the beginning that you can use all whites on a lot of machines, which matches the original aesthetic and looks great.

    #8 1 year ago

    Keep it simple- I use cool white for all playfield inserts.
    I use warm or cool white for general illumination, depending on the pin. I rarely use colored bulbs. This keeps it simple and looks great. Also buying one type of bulb in bulk saves money.
    Cointaker gives good discounts when buying 100 at a time.

    #9 1 year ago

    Heres my kit, i try to keep enough colored for a few game inserts and a ton of clear for g.i. all comet

    Screenshot_20171112-092543 (resized).png

    #10 1 year ago

    An easy way is if you are doing one game only in plans, order 50pc 44/47 in frosted Sunlight, and if your backbox is #555, 100 pc #555 frosted sunlight.

    Look at your inserts and decide if you want any darker/richer...Color match those, or just add those colors to try.

    You can tweak it as you go.

    If the game is dark, and you want lighter....tweak with better spotlights, strips, or Op-Max.

    Around $100 per game Ala carte.

    #11 1 year ago

    Make it easy on yourself. Color match inserts and use warm whites in gi and backbox. Can't go wrong and it's way cheaper.

    #12 1 year ago

    Thanks a bunch, all of you, for your helpful responses! I really appreciate your input!

    I'm emboldened to buy the bulbs a la carte, but I will need to read a primer - if there is one - on the bulbs themselves. There seem to be many intensities, in addition to the various colors. And there is the mount, too, to consider - wedge base, bayonet, etc.

    I will have to inquire on the BSD owner's club thread to learn which bulbs are the most appropriate and then order a sampler pack or two from, say, Comet or Cointaker and go from there. I do like the idea of using color-matched bulbs on inserts, but the ideal intensities are sill unknown to me. Perhaps there *is* no variation: a 44 is a 44 is a 44, etc. (As you can see, I need to read that primer!)



    #13 1 year ago

    I found someone in the owners thread who had purchased a kit and I asked them to send me the paperwork. Then I just went and bought all those colors myself and saved some money

    #14 1 year ago

    Couple of other considerations....

    We just got finished LEDing our 11th game. We used a kit on one of our early games - it came our pretty good but we still ordered a number of extras to get it just the way we wanted.

    After that one, every game we've performed the "LED audit" with the legal-pad and the PF up. It is not just color and intensity, but also "base type" (44 or 555 (and both are in every game)), lens type (maybe no lens, clear lens, frosted lens) - so when you are done, you'll have this list. Then you have to go to a website and enter in each color/type/style. And there are also "flex bulbs" or "bendies" for when the socket is perpendicular to the insert. There are flashers and they can have differing bases and colors and number of SMDs - and those can be "bendy" also.... We have placed all our individual orders from Comet and we love them.

    When you are entering in this long order of +/- 20 items sometimes they are out of stock or whatever. Then you get to decide if you will take an alternate style or wait. Invariable I always seem to miss something (although now I have my own "tackle-box" full of extras) then you have to place another order.

    The last machine we just did we actually just ordered a Cointaker kit. It would have cost at least $100 (I always spend at least $150) to do it a-la-carte and the kit was $200 but it worked out pretty good and saved the time of "auditing" and placing the long order. I will customize it some but it turned out really well right out of the box and they give you a little map/list so you can check-off as you go. They probably know about that hidden GI that you might have missed (even if you checked the manual).

    PS - When I quote $100 to $150 a-la-carte, that assumes you buy the nice .69 cent LEDs, not the .38 cent variety. I tried those and was not interested in using them again.

    #15 1 year ago
    Quoted from Duvall:

    After that one, every game we've performed the "LED audit" with the legal-pad and the PF up.

    Sounds like a convoluted way to do it ... why not just buy a stack of LEDs (you know what you like by now) and have them on hand and just go for it?

    No list required ... no complicated ordering either. LEDs are there when you need them. By the time you make the list, you could have the whole job done.


    #16 1 year ago

    Well - then it really depends on how many games you plan to do. Even if you knew you were going to do 10 of them, to stock every variety, (I need a Green 44, Green 555, Green 44 Bendy, Green 555 Bendy, etc etc etc)

    If I had stock of every type I thought I'd need it would be *far* less expensive to use a kit every time.

    If you just want to do white-frosted, you could buy a ton of those in both bases and be OK I suppose.

    #17 1 year ago

    Forget the kits. They typically throw too much color GI in there. Just do sunlight comets up top and color match or throw whites in the inserts and let the lens color do the work. I used to spend a ton on kits and realized I valued whites up top above all because what it really comes down to is- I want to see the ball and the flippers etc clearly!

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