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(Topic ID: 263656)

Stranger Things UV Lighting Kit Review


By flynnibus

9 months ago



Topic Stats

  • 19 posts
  • 12 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 months ago by AmishPinball
  • Topic is favorited by 5 Pinsiders

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#1 9 months ago

Today I installed a Stern UV lighting kit on a Stranger Things Pro and figured it was worth sharing some photos and experiences..

Total time: about 80mins
Difficulty: 2 out of 5
Quality: High
Resulting Value Opinion: Good

Well, let's get into it. Most should know the UV kit is a optional upgrade for Stranger Things Pro, Premium and LE models. It's been controversial because it's accessory Stern is selling AFTER the game's launch, that clearly was designed as part of the game's development, and given the lack of features in the shipping game, many are rubbed wrong that this feature wasn't included in the base game. But do you want it? Let's find out..

The kit includes
- Two rails of UV lights that mount along the ramps
- A replacement Apron (plastic in this one due to being a Pro kit)
- 8 replacement plastics
- Power Board w/wiring harnesses
- All needed screws, washers, and a handful of zipties
- Printed Installation Instructions

First Impressions:
The kit is packed very well. The UV rails are wrapped separately in bubble wrap, the apron is wrapped, and the box's contents were amply cushioned in large bubble wrap as well. The UV rails are built from brushed stainless that is very thick. Maybe a full 1/16th thick? They looked very nice and professional.

rails1 (resized).jpg
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The rails are the metal guides, with a flexible strip of LEDs screwed to them from the back. The strips are nicely labeled, and have a wrapped 2 wire harness soldered to the back of the strip.
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The apron has the LED strips pre-mounted, and each side has a 2 wire harness pre-wired. The entire assembly is pre-fabbed and is done with proper mounts. No sticky mounts here...

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The power driver board
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The driver board comes with the harnesses attached and bundled... and with nylon standoffs pre-installed.

Overall the build quality looks great. Everything is hard-mount. Everything is proper connectors. Materials are sturdy.

Installation
The kit comes with written instructions that include diagrams and limited printed pictures. The instructions are very good when you contrast them to what Stern has been putting in their game manuals for the last 8 years or so. There were a few points I would point out could be improved, but really just about clarity points. There were no glaring issues, and they did a good job of laying out a sequence with no double backing or bad order, etc. Simply follow them in order.

Installation requires (not necessarily in order..)
- Replacing the inlane and sling plastics (usual stuff)
- Unscrewing the left and right ramps (very easy on Stranger Things)
- Replacing the left and right side plastics that were under the ramps and shooter lane plastics
- Swapping out the apron
- Mounting the LED rails to the ramps, and reinstalling the ramps
- Mounting the Power PCB to the bottom of the PF
- Routing harnesses from the PCB to each UV harness connector
- Connecting the existing PF wiring to the PCB
- Enabling the feature in the game software (0.84 and newer)

Random 'in progress' photo...
inprogress (resized).jpg

Notable things about the installation:
- The ramp design where the 'return' portion of the ramp is separate makes it really easy to take the ramps off
- Not mentioned in the guide, but I found I had to unplug the left ramp flasher from the PF harness underneath to have a chance at getting the left ramp moved
- All wiring goes through existing holes in the PF. There is no 'hard to fish' spots either
- The PF harness has 3 connectors already wired in for the new power PCB - There is no need for jumpers or z-connectors
- The PF is already dimpled where to install the PCB making spacing easy
- The included harness wiring is ample to run to each spot. The only one that kinda floats around is the cross PF one to the right ramp.

Spot where the power PCB is to be mounted
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PCB installed
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View of PF after install
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The PCB takes power on a 5 pin connector, and then has two lamp driver inputs on 3 pin connectors. The two 3 pin connectors from the PF are interchangable and the instructions don't specify an order. One controls the left side lamps, one controls the right. The game just alternates between the two in flashing effects, so it doesn't matter which is which.

The one big 'gotcha' from the installation was really just a 'duh' moment. After install, you are instructed to test the lamps using the UV flasher test under Lamp test in the Diagnostics. You do this... and notice 'OMG, only one side of the lights are lighting... what did I do wrong?'. Don't panic... look closely at the UV test screen on the display... notice it says UV1. The test actually lets you drive the two lamp drivers separately. So just toggle the test and you can see both UV1 and UV2 strings being lit.

Installation Tips!
- Tip - Remember the plastics have protective film on top AND bottom - don't forget to take that off.. and be careful to not scrape the ink off when trying to free the plastic on the white printed side. Your fingernail is the only tool you need there!
- Tip: The UV rails are not labeled left or right.. you figure it out by looking at the shape of the rails vs the ramps. A simple picture or illustration showing the orientation of the rails (bracket UP) would ease some initial questions. But the L shape brackets should be on the upper side of the rail when mounting.
- Tip: when installing the rails, the guide is kind loose when talking about where to use the new screws. On both rails, use the new short screws to mount the tabs of the rail to the plastic ramp at the upper two positions. The lowest position that also shares the ramp mount to the slingshot should re-use the long screw used in that spot previously
- Tip: When connecting the PF harnesses to the PCB note there are THREE to connect. In our game, the second 3 pin connector was tie wrapped in a little further away from the PCB location and I missed it initially
- Pro Tip - When tiding up the connectors with zip ties - make sure you leave slack so the wire going to the stuff on the top side of the PF can be moved without cutting all your zip ties. Don't zip tie the connector+wire going top side. Just zip tie the yellow harness below, and leave slack so you can unplug the top side portion if needed.

Difficulty:
The install is not difficult at all for anyone who regularly does minor disassembly of plastics, ramps, etc. It's not as easy as a 'stick on' mod, but requires no modifications, and has plenty of stuff pre-staged to make it easy for you. Plus the kit includes everything you need except for your nut drivers and screw drivers. The most fiddly part was actually just dealing with the snap-in stand-offs used on the shooter lane plastic.

Overall the job took about an hour and 15 mins, just taking my time as I went.

#2 9 months ago

Impression after install:

TLDR - This kit is worth it for the light show changes if nothing else.

In 0.86, the flashing happens during various light shows, during demo hits, and during the upside down. It really adds to the light show. I was playing in a sunlit room during the day, and its still quite noticeable the change in effects. The upside down difference is significant and very attractive. Now.. I'm not trying to say the UV itself is knock your socks off - but the package together is what makes it. When you play it, the game really feels so much more. The game felt barren before this.. now the game feels like it has character.

This is going to be one of those mods like the light pipes on TRON - you will look down on any example of the game that doesn't have it. The game will feel lacking without it.

The upside down really feels like it's own 'feature' now. I liked the effect.

While $300 or whatever sounds like a lot.. it doesn't come off as a cheap bolt on. I do wish Stern would just include the apron in all games which maybe would knock a good bit off the cost of the kits.. but I still think it's a recommended buy for any Stranger Things owner.

I say.. DO IT!

#3 9 months ago

Thanks for the write up! Installing mine this week.

#4 9 months ago

Thanks for the write up. My kit arrives wed and looking forward to installing.

#5 9 months ago
Quoted from C0untDeM0net:

Thanks for the write up. My kit arrives wed and looking forward to installing.

Go check it out at Ocelot

#6 9 months ago

Thanks for posting. I’m debating buying the kit for my pro on location. Will the added features justify the $279 and make more money? Will having the kit help the resale of my pin if I sell it? What do you think?

#7 9 months ago
Quoted from Coz:

Thanks for posting. I’m debating buying the kit for my pro on location. Will the added features justify the $279 and make more money? Will having the kit help the resale of my pin if I sell it? What do you think?

Everyone will have their own view on how to attract players. The owners of this example like to keep their location on the leading edge, so 'latest and greatest..' fit the MO.

Clearly this won't attract a walk-by beyond the title itself as it's basically invisible to the person who walks by. I didn't spend enough time to see if there was any attraction mode that highlighted the feature. That's a great point though if this could make it self more attractive. Do it stern!

As for increasing coin drop from a player that already stepped up... This is total speculation since it's day 0 of the install.. but I think it will. It will be one of those 'woah.. did you see that?' moment for players.. it's something they can achieve.. and it's something everyone can enjoy.

I really did think it made the game feel like 'there is more there'.. just through upside down and the demo bashes. I think people will pick the title to play once they know it's there. It doesn't change the game, but it does make it alot more interesting and adds to the fun IMO.

3 weeks later
#8 8 months ago

Stern Stranger Things Pinball UV Lighting Kit Installation and How-To Adjust Projector

#9 8 months ago

Any of the LE/premium kits available from places that are still shipping? Not sure if I ordered the wrong one or Stern shipped me the wrong one but I got a pro kit.

#10 8 months ago

Zmeny,

I really liked your video. I am a little anxious about attempting this install. My machine works great. I am worried that I will screw up the ramps and kill my machine. I will be really sad if I break my machine right now. I am enjoying the game even more after the last update, but I really want that UV lighting.

#11 8 months ago
Quoted from 2000man:

Zmeny,
I really liked your video. I am a little anxious about attempting this install. My machine works great. I am worried that I will screw up the ramps and kill my machine. I will be really sad if I break my machine right now. I am enjoying the game even more after the last update, but I really want that UV lighting.

It’s pretty easy to do. Just some screws. The ramps are very well built and unless you plan to smash things with a hammer for no reason, not sure what could go wrong. Just take your time, use Zach’s video and sterns instructions and you’ll be fine.

#12 8 months ago

If I was a Stranger Things owner I'd be all over this. I think it adds a lot of wow factor to the game. I would still be annoyed it wasn't included with the LEs, but I wouldn't let $300 stop me.

#13 8 months ago
Quoted from 2000man:

Zmeny,
I really liked your video. I am a little anxious about attempting this install. My machine works great. I am worried that I will screw up the ramps and kill my machine. I will be really sad if I break my machine right now. I am enjoying the game even more after the last update, but I really want that UV lighting.

I'm pretty hesitant to do anything on the playfield and remove ramps but this was pretty straight forward. The ramps are just segments so it's not like removing huge sections. The effect is great when installed. Between the UV and the projector, this game really needs a dark room.

1 week later
#14 7 months ago

Installed this up kit yesterday. Wow!! Must have mod, I highly recommend

1 week later
#15 7 months ago

Stern is out of these. Has anyone purchased one from 3rd party retailers?

#16 7 months ago
Quoted from 2000man:

Stern is out of these. Has anyone purchased one from 3rd party retailers?

Lots of people. Try little shop of games in FL or flip n out pinball. They may have them in stock still.

1 month later
2 months later
#18 3 months ago

Did this on a friends yesterday.

The only complaint was the screws to attach the ramp lights .... 3 out of 4 just would not screw into the mount points. Like the threading was wrong - in the end had to use different screws.

Oh and in the instructions we had it does not mention that *before* you go into the Test options you first need to go into Adjustments and find the option for UV Lighting, switching this to YES then opens up the UV Lighting test in the lamp tests option. Luckily mentioned in the video above , which we checked out after we were scratching our heads trying to find it in the menus

#19 3 months ago

Installed my UV kit today. Thanks @Meny the video was a huge help, there is no way I would have installed it successfully using the instructions that came with the kit. It was my first mod and I appreciate all the help.

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