(Topic ID: 255074)

Switching out to LED


By Canuck_pinhead

5 days ago



Topic Stats

  • 42 posts
  • 18 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 days ago by phillyfan64
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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#1 5 days ago

This is my first foray into owning a machine.
Recently bought a pretty original Lectronamo (1978 Stern) and was looking at changing out to LED lights.
Is it as simple as buying nee bulbs or is it much more involved than i think. May be a dumb question... But the machine is older than me. I attached a set of bulbs i was eyeing on Amazon.

Screenshot_20191107-140746~2 (resized).png
#2 5 days ago

Do you want to replace the GI or the inserts? Those bulbs might work for the GI, although I'd recommend getting some warm white frosted bulbs from a pinball led company.

Stern/Bally games of that era need special bulbs or boards for the controlled lights. I think comet pinball has the bulbs, if not you'd need to get an alltek lamp board or adapter board.

Personally I'd recommend not changing the controlled lights, and getting a set of comet 2smd frosted warm white for the GI

#3 5 days ago
Quoted from Canuck_pinhead:

This is my first foray into owning a machine.
Recently bought a pretty original Lectronamo (1978 Stern) and was looking at changing out to LED lights.
Is it as simple as buying nee bulbs or is it much more involved than i think. May be a dumb question... But the machine is older than me. I attached a set of bulbs i was eyeing on Amazon.[quoted image]

Quoted from zacaj:

Do you want to replace the GI or the inserts? Those bulbs might work for the GI, although I'd recommend getting some warm white frosted bulbs from a pinball led company.
Stern/Bally games of that era need special bulbs or boards for the controlled lights. I think comet pinball has the bulbs, if not you'd need to get an alltek lamp board or adapter board.
Personally I'd recommend not changing the controlled lights, and getting a set of comet 2smd frosted warm white for the GI

You will need different style bulbs (and a count on each style) along with a special daughterboard.

Contact comet pinball owner Ryan wanger here on pinside.
RYANWANGER

#4 5 days ago

Yeah, this is a taste thing. LEDs are great by IMO I cant stand the bright Natural white LEDs are they are blinding. In very few places they have their place.

I would highly recommend going to Comet's site and see their selection. They have a very good tutorial on different types and how they look. Clear, Frosted, Non-Ghosting, etc. And Non-ghosting is a must in the PF or anything that flashes quick, otherwise you will get an undesired lighting effect.

Good luck

#5 5 days ago
Quoted from wolfemaaan:

And Non-ghosting is a must in the PF or anything that flashes quick, otherwise you will get an undesired lighting effect.

Non ghosting doesn't apply to a stern. Only EMs and lamp matrix-based games.

#6 5 days ago

It's super easy. I'm partial to Comet. https://www.cometpinball.com/ Their site tells you everything you could want to know about it. You can buy them for under $1 each, get one's that match your inserts if you want, and get picture previews of the bulbs so you can make sure you get the right ones. Switching to LEDs is super easy and will make your machine run cooler, and theoretically last longer. Good luck!

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/comet-leds-are-better-here-is-why-they-all-work

#7 5 days ago
Quoted from zacaj:

Non ghosting doesn't apply to a stern. Only EMs and lamp matrix-based games.

a 1978 Stern doesn't use lamp based bulbs?

#8 5 days ago

I like LEDs that are bright... Just my personal preference... These LEDs are just that with 4 SMDs per bulb, in several different color options.
https://www.pinballlife.com/ablaze-4-smd-led-4447-bayonet-base-lamp.html
You can get frosted or other bulbs that are just normal light if you don't like bright LEDs, from these same people.

#9 5 days ago
Quoted from wolfemaaan:

a 1978 Stern doesn't use lamp based bulbs?

It doesn't use a lamp matrix, which is the only type of lamp driving circuit that suffers from ghosting.

#10 4 days ago

Pretty sure Lectronamo would suffer from ghosting without the extra resistor board.

#11 4 days ago

I'm a big fan of the Retro SMD Bullet Bulbs, Frosted, warm white. Since i can only do the GI in my breakshot in led due to the dimming in the rest of the bulbs, I thought these went well. Not too bright and a good color. I'd post pictures, but i have yet to take one that looks like it does in person.

https://www.cometpinball.com/products/retro-smd-bullet-bulbs

#12 4 days ago
Quoted from DNO:

Pretty sure Lectronamo would suffer from ghosting without the extra resistor board.

Without the extra board or special Leds, they will flicker and not stay on, but that's different from ghosting, which is caused by other lamps in the same row/column being on

#13 4 days ago
Quoted from zacaj:

Without the extra board or special Leds, they will flicker and not stay on, but that's different from ghosting, which is caused by other lamps in the same row/column being on

Been through this with my Bally Star Trek (basically same lamp driver setup), if I can offer some tips.

1) There is no bulb that can fix this aside from incandescent.

2) Your choices are add a 470 ohm resistor to each controlled socket OR get the Altec board with LED support OR solder resistor blocks to your current driver board OR get the add on resistor boards which install over your current driver board and the lamp connections plug into that.

I did resistors to all my sockets which allowed me to repair loose socket connections at the same time. For most people I don't recommend that option.

3) GI bulbs that stay always on need nothing, add LED as you see fit. Great way to lower amp load on the GI circuit connections. On my Trek the connectors and pins were toasty brown.

Running an LED in a MPU controlled non-resistor socket gets you an irritating erratic flashing that would set off an epileptic fit. Its that bad.

Adding the LED's was well worth it in my opinion. All the insets are now evenly lit and look crisp.

#14 4 days ago
Quoted from gdonovan:

Been through this with my Bally Star Trek (basically same lamp driver setup), if I can offer some tips.
1) There is no bulb that can fix this aside from incandescent.
2) Your choices are add a resistor to each controlled socket OR get the Altec board with LED support OR solder resistor blocks to your current driver board OR get the add on resistor boards which install over your current driver board and the lamp connections plug into that.
I did resistors to all my sockets which allowed me to repair loose socket connections at the same time. For most people I don't recommend that option.
3) GI bulbs that stay always on need nothing, add LED as you see fit. Great way to lower amp load on the GI circuit connections. On my Trek the connectors and pins were toasty brown.
Running an LED in a MPU controlled non-resistor socket gets you an irritating erratic flashing that would set off an epileptic fit. Its that bad.
Adding the LED's was well worth it in my opinion. All the insets are now evenly lit and look crisp.

This is good info.
My opinion for solving the controlled lamp flicker is that the add on boards are reasonably priced and easy.

https://www.siegecraft.us/presta/index.php?id_product=44&controller=product&id_lang=1

As noted above, general illumination lights are fine with LED, no changes needed.

OP, if you didn't pick up on it, Stern and Bally games of that era use identical electronics.

#15 4 days ago
Quoted from zacaj:

Personally I'd recommend not changing the controlled lights, and getting a set of comet 2smd frosted warm white for the GI

Thats what i did. Worked well!
Thanks!

#16 4 days ago
Quoted from gdonovan:

1) There is no bulb that can fix this aside from incandescent.

https://www.cometpinball.com/products/1flux-bulbs are specifically designed to work with bally/stern games

#17 4 days ago
Quoted from RCA1:

This is good info.
My opinion for solving the controlled lamp flicker is that the add on boards are reasonably priced and easy.
https://www.siegecraft.us/presta/index.php?id_product=44&controller=product&id_lang=1
As noted above, general illumination lights are fine with LED, no changes needed.
OP, if you didn't pick up on it, Stern and Bally games of that era use identical electronics.

Those are pretty cheap!
Easy to install you say... Come with instructions... Or will I be back here?

#18 4 days ago
Quoted from zacaj:

https://www.cometpinball.com/products/1flux-bulbs are literally designed to work with bally/stern games

I love that Ryan even says that running the anti-flicker board with standard bulbs is cheaper than using those bulbs. That's how great Comet Pinball is!

I'm the ultimate cheapy and solder resistors onto each socket, since most games of these era need some attention at the sockets anyway. I've used Seigecraft boards in the past and they work great as well for a plug 'n play option.

#19 4 days ago
Quoted from Canuck_pinhead:

Those are pretty cheap!
Easy to install you say... Come with instructions... Or will I be back here?

Pretty easy. Just install the anti-flicker board onto the corresponding header on the lamp board, then plug in your connector into the board. Use the alligator clip and clip it onto a 5V line (back board GI is easiest). All of the boards are daisy chained to each other.

#20 4 days ago
Quoted from FatPanda:

I love that Ryan even says that running the anti-flicker board with standard bulbs is cheaper than using those bulbs. That's how great Comet Pinball is!
I'm the ultimate cheapy and solder resistors onto each socket, since most games of these games need some attention at the sockets anyway. I've used Seigecraft boards in the past and they work great as well for a plug 'n play option.

Yeah, seigecraft is definitely the best option.

Well, besides just using incandescents in the inserts

#21 4 days ago
Quoted from zacaj:

https://www.cometpinball.com/products/1flux-bulbs are specifically designed to work with bally/stern games

And multiple people report they don't work that great. It even states on the page the following.

"These type of bulbs > try < to counteract that with a capacitor that stores a charge between the flickering."

I looked into all options when doing mine, they were not even worth mentioning. For the extra $1 per bulb you would spend you would exceed the cost of resistor boards rapidly.

#22 4 days ago
Quoted from zacaj:

It doesn't use a lamp matrix, which is the only type of lamp driving circuit that suffers from ghosting.

This is not correct.

Either buy a Weebly lamp driver or the siegecraft boards and then buy Comet LEDs.

I have tried all 3 in my Stern Ali and my Mr.Ms. pac-man as a test and have had zero problems at all.

#23 4 days ago
Quoted from FatPanda:

I'm the ultimate cheapy and solder resistors onto each socket, since most games of these games need some attention at the sockets anyway.

It is the path I took because the sockets needed attention but not for everyone. Lost two lamp drivers which I had to replace due to a splash of solder in a bad spot in one case and a resistor that got bent over near the edge of the playfield that got shorted in another.

The seigecraft boards are the best option for the casual pinhead.

#24 4 days ago
Quoted from zacaj:

Yeah, seigecraft is definitely the best option.
Well, besides just using incandescents in the inserts

I just can't do incandescent bulbs. They get really hot and aren't that bright. In a lit room, it's hard to see that the insert is even lit. They do fade off/on, which I do like the look of, but they're old dinosaur technology (which one could argue belong in old dinosaur games lol).

#25 4 days ago
Quoted from gdonovan:

It is the path I took because the sockets needed attention but not for everyone. Lost two lamp drivers which I had to replace due to a splash of solder in a bad spot in one case and a resistor that got bent over near the edge of the playfield that got shorted in another.
The seigecraft boards are the best option for the casual pinhead.

It's not hard, just time consuming. And yes, they can cause problems like you said, but if you take your time, it's definitely the cheapest way to get LEDs into a classic game. Resistors can be bought by the 100s for a few bucks. It's time vs $$$. At $50 for seigcraft boards, it's definitely worth the money, but then again, I'm cheap and I don't mind doing some soldering.

#26 4 days ago
Quoted from FatPanda:

I just can't do incandescent bulbs.

I tried on my Trek, even popped for new 47's which are utter junk and have a huge failure rate. I'm LED guy all the way now, though I go to pains to make it look stock as possible.

#27 4 days ago
Quoted from gdonovan:

I tried on my Trek, even popped for new 47's which are utter junk and have a huge failure rate. I'm LED guy all the way now, though I go to pains to make it look stock as possible.

Splurging on new incandescent bulbs!

I'll keep my flashers as incandescent, but everything else is LEDs if I can help it. It's one of the first things that I do when I get a game that doesn't have them already. In conjunction with the "Off or On" thread, I would never leave a game on all day with incandescent bulbs. I've seen enough roached backglasses and messed up inserts due to heat from the bulbs.

https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/off-or-on

#28 4 days ago
Quoted from FatPanda:

It's not hard, just time consuming. And yes, they can cause problems like you said, but if you take your time, it's definitely the cheapest way to get LEDs into a classic game. Resistors can be bought by the 100s for a few bucks. It's time vs $$$. At $50 for seigcraft boards, it's definitely worth the money, but then again, I'm cheap and I don't mind doing some soldering.

fatpanda What size resistor did you use?

#29 4 days ago
Quoted from gdonovan:

It is the path I took because the sockets needed attention but not for everyone. Lost two lamp drivers which I had to replace due to a splash of solder in a bad spot in one case and a resistor that got bent over near the edge of the playfield that got shorted in another.

I have added 750 Ohm resistors to all of my controlled lamps on Mr. & Mrs. Pac-Man and a Harlem Globetrotters On Tour. These worked great but had one short out the lamp circuit and fry the MCR106. Not a problem if you know how to replace the SCRs/MCRs, but even if you are careful this can happen.

#30 4 days ago
Quoted from Pecos:

I have added 750 Ohm resistors to all of my controlled lamps on Mr. &amp; Mrs. Pac-Man and a Harlem Globetrotters On Tour. These worked great but had one short out the lamp circuit and fry the MCR106-6. Not a problem if you know how to replace the SCRs/MCRs, but even if you are careful this can happen.

I started out with 1000 ohm and swapped to 470 ohm, much better results.

#31 4 days ago
Quoted from FatPanda:

Splurging on new incandescent bulbs!

Had to break $100 so I can get that 10% discount from PBR!

Quoted from FatPanda:

I'll keep my flashers as incandescent, but everything else is LEDs if I can help it.

Almost all my pins with flashers have LED units, several different ones available to tune the light output and not be obnoxious.

#32 4 days ago

Siegecraft adapters (only $35- why waste all that time soldering resistors to LEDs?) And comet LEDs. The end.

#33 4 days ago
Quoted from metal-mods:

Siegecraft adapters (only $35- why waste all that time soldering resistors to LEDs?) And comet LEDs. The end.

If your lamp board is riddled with bad SCRs siege raft won’t do you any good. That’s why I just do the full board replacement from weebly or alltek

#34 4 days ago
Quoted from chuckwurt:

If your lamp board is riddled with bad SCRs siege raft won’t do you any good. That’s why I just do the full board replacement from weebly or alltek

All going to depend on what you are starting out with and skill level.

#35 4 days ago
Quoted from chuckwurt:

If your lamp board is riddled with bad SCRs siege raft won’t do you any good. That’s why I just do the full board replacement from weebly or alltek

replacing board components isn't bad if you have the proper tools (desoldering gun IS A MUST). Especially if it's just bad SCRs. Some boards are too far gone (ones that have bad battery damage) where a replacement board would seem more fitting. Like I said, I'm the ultimate cheapy

#36 4 days ago
Quoted from snyper2099:

This is not correct.

How is it not correct?

#37 4 days ago
Quoted from FatPanda:

replacing board components isn't bad if you have the proper tools (desoldering gun IS A MUST). Especially if it's just bad SCRs. Some boards are too far gone (ones that have bad battery damage) where a replacement board would seem more fitting. Like I said, I'm the ultimate cheapy

I’ve done the resistors, piggy backs and the full board replacement. Since I’m not having to buy these left and right (once a year maybe), I just replace the board and be done with it. Just under $100 for piece of mind. Well worth it.

By the way, I have a stack of semi working to working lamp boards from various early stern and Bally games for sale if anyone wants them. Haha

#38 4 days ago
Quoted from chuckwurt:

I’ve done the resistors, piggy backs and the full board replacement. Since I’m not having to buy these left and right (once a year maybe), I just replace the board and be done with it. Just under $100 for piece of mind. Well worth it.
By the way, I have a stack of semi working to working lamp boards from various early stern and Bally games for sale if anyone wants them. Haha

So THAT'S what you were setting up for! lol

#39 4 days ago

I’ve been using the Comet 1SMD warm white frosted with color matched inserts. Might be time to upgrade to the 2SMD.

#40 4 days ago
Quoted from phillyfan64:

I’ve been using the Comet 1SMD warm white frosted with color matched inserts. Might be time to upgrade to the 2SMD.

The 2SMD are rather bright, I tend to save them for jackpot style inserts, something you really want to pop and catch an eye.

#42 4 days ago
Quoted from gdonovan:

The 2SMD are rather bright, I tend to save them for jackpot style inserts, something you really want to pop and catch an eye.

This is exactly my thinking. I only have older games. Mata Hari, Eight Ball Deluxe and World Fair. I always thought the 2SMD type were too bright for these games.

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