(Topic ID: 97834)

Lighting mod question...

By MoSeS_1592

5 years ago

Topic Stats

  • 14 posts
  • 7 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 years ago by Tmezel
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders


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    #1 5 years ago

    I want to add some EL wire to my machine to enhance the GI. I found new stuff called 'Chasing EL wire' in which the lighting in the wire has somewhat of a candycane pattern that animates, almost as if fluid is moving through the wire...

    Anyways, my problem is that there is a tiny controller (with an IC) in the battery box (2 AA's at 3V). I don't want this to run on batteries in the machine so I purchased a 3V AC/DC wall wart converter. When I use this as the power source the controller doesn't work properly, it flickers off and on at random and is very unstable. I'm guessing it's because the DC power coming from the adapter is noisy and unfiltered, unlike the AA batteries. If this is the case, is there a way to stick a capacitor in the mix somewhere to clean up the power?

    From what I understand (and I may be very wrong) an unregulated power supply is simply a full-wave rectifier that converts the AC current to somewhat of a pulsing DC current, and I figure a capacitor could filter this if used properly. My knowledge on how to do this is limited.

    Any advice? Does this sound correct or am I way off the mark here?


    #2 5 years ago

    Hmmmmm, definitely requires someone smarter than me... Bump... Oh, and its definitely a pinball question, you might change the topic and get some quick response... Lighting mod question should get vid in here or someone...

    #3 5 years ago

    The wall wart (unless it's a piece of garbage) should provide clean enough power. Can you link to the specific wall wart you purchased? Also a link to the EL wire you're using would help.

    Are you plugging it into the service outlet in the game or the wall? If it's the service outlet I would try a wall outlet. Probably not the issue, but worth a try.

    #4 5 years ago

    There is no ID on the wall wart or the EL wire... I bought them from China cheap on ebay. Probably get what you pay for, and it's probably a piece of garbage. The adapter is 3V 1-amp. I attempted to set up the circuit outside the machine plugging directly into an AC outlet, so its not service outlet that is the problem.

    #5 5 years ago

    I am sure the smart guys will chime in, but you probably don't have enough amps from that power supply. I think you need at least 2 amps.

    #6 5 years ago

    No idea how much you need without seeing the EL wire specs, but would guess 1 amp is not enough since I seriously doubt if voltage is the problem (unless it's a really crappy wall wart). In any case get a good power supply and make sure it will provide at least 3 amps.

    #7 5 years ago

    I pair of AA's can't pump out that much amperage so I don't think that's the issue.

    Have you put a meter on the 3V to see what you are actually getting? It could be the case you are just getting too much voltage from the wall and the controller can't handle it.

    #8 5 years ago

    It should be possible to pull voltage from somewhere else. Maybe at the coin door or where bill accepter plugs in.
    If you are using AC you could rectify this to DC as mentioned. I do not think it is necessary. Someone can chime in who has done this.

    #9 5 years ago
    Quoted from MArmour:

    I pair of AA's can't pump out that much amperage so I don't think that's the issue.

    Actually they can. An Energizer Max, for example, is rated at 2.85 amp hours max (that's for a single battery).

    Just to be clear running an EL wire off two AA batteries is a bad idea to begin with and it all goes downhill from there. Get a good power supply and the problem should go away.

    #10 5 years ago

    The meter reads 3.3V on the wall wart. Just to be clear the El wire came with a wire connector and battery harness (see photo). I thought, if anything, maybe voltage would be a bit too high if the EL wire uses a very small milli-amperage. I thought that those unregulated wall warts always tended to output a slightly higher-than-rated voltage unless the current draw was near what the wart was rated for. Strange though that it works perfect with the batteries. Anyone think that shorting (parallel) the circuit with a resistor (of unknown ohms) to draw more current would work?

    #11 5 years ago

    Reference to this site:

    The EL Wire works off of AC, most likely the ic in the battery is a small DC/AC converter.

    Power Voltate: 120V @ 1KHz - 1.8KHz
    Power Rating (3ft) : 20mW @ 1KHz - 130mW @ 1.8KHz

    So, you might be able to get away plugging it directly into a wall outlet,
    or maybe connect the wall adapter up to the IC circuit where the main +/- battery contacts are.


    #12 5 years ago

    Thats initially what I tried doing, I soldered the wall wart wires directly to the battery terminals in the battery pack. I'll check out the link you posted. Thanks!

    #13 5 years ago

    Well, for anyone interested I figured out a somewhat unusual workaround. I recently made a post in the mod-ing forum regarding using an Arduino Microcontroller to power coils in a ¾-sized pinball machine. I had bought a few extra generic controllers since they were cheap. The controllers are USB powered and I realized they have built-in voltage regulators for both a 5V and 3.3V (50mA) output. I tried connecting the +/- battery terminals of EL battery pack to the 3.3V/GND on the Arduino and it works perfectly!

    After some tweaking I ended up sticking a 5-Ohm resistor in the mix to drop the voltage a bit (so the brightness of the EL wire matches what the batteries output – not very scientific but it works for this application).

    Furthermore, with a spare TIP102 transistor and 2k-Ohm resistor I was able to wire the button leads on the battery pack to one of the Arduino I/O’s so it can simulate a button click through a few lines of code. Now I have the Arduino ‘click’ the button so the animation pattern of the wire changes every three minutes automatically.

    My original plan was to add the Chasing EL to my PinBot ramp and connect a mechanical switch to the visor so each time the visor opened the animation pattern of the wire would change. This could still easily be accomplished but I think I may just let the controller switch patterns every three minutes. Now I can just plug the controller into an AC/USB charger internally for power and problem solved!

    #14 5 years ago

    Send me a note at support@mezelmods.com to send you one of our rectifiers to see if works on this. It may be a cheap alternative too. It can then be be hooked up to anything about 3v to 12v.

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