(Topic ID: 139975)

To LED or not to LED that is the question.


By bicyclenut

4 years ago



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  • 33 posts
  • 26 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 years ago by Boatcat
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    #1 4 years ago

    I'm a collector of Gottlieb EM's (I have 6). I've always been a fan of trying to keep it as original as possible. In restoring my games I like to buy new posts, roll through guides, pop bumpers with skirts and if drop targets are worn really bad, I'll replace those too. In my restoring process, I always clean the light sockets and replace the bulbs with new 47 bulbs, until now. I decided to try LED's in my Atlantis and love how it came out. LED's in the backglass brings out so much of the color and detail. As for the playfield, I would replace the bulbs in the top only. The bulbs underneath the playfield I would leave as 47 bulbs. Specials and pop bumpers I will put color LED's in. Ive been using the super bright, frosted LED's from Nifty LED. I know some people have problems with the ghosting, but I havent noticed anything .
    Anyways, this is just my opinion and likes. Im curious to hear what the rest of you collectors think.

    #2 4 years ago

    To me EMs just plain don't look right with exposed LEDs. I'll use them sometimes in places you can't see, to make a faded SPECIAL insert properly red again or something, but if I can see it then I want incandescent.

    I'm even mixed on it with my early solid states. Later DMD games are all LED.

    #3 4 years ago

    Me? I prefer incandescents throughout because LED's just don't look authentic but the choice is completely arbitrary person to person.

    I have no bad thoughts what-so-ever when I see a classic pin with LED's because the mod is completely reversible.

    #4 4 years ago

    Tried them in backglass, it just looked wrong. I have 6 EM's and 1 LED between them now. I put a bright red under the kickout hole on one that lights up for a special...that looks good.

    #5 4 years ago

    In EMs, I am on both sides.

    Depending on the Artwork, some just look better to me in Incandescent, no matter what LED I use.
    (on this, Ill stick my neck out and say Ive likely tried every bulb)

    I think those look better Incandescent.

    Having said that, It is possible to do a Brilliant job with the others using the "right bulb" for the game.
    I wish I could say its just one bulb, but from all vendors, I believe, there is 6mm, 8mm, 10mm, Flat top, Concave, and 2 LED frosted
    being the brightest to use IMO.

    Which looks best is often personal, but theres a line where we may mostly agree when its wrong.

    To add to this topic, I am expecting 2 LED and Flat tops in Sunlight, giving a 3rd choice of white,
    and some warm white strips, with brightness, that when turned down, can look pretty cool on an EM.

    So, on the fence, I love them left alone too, with Incandescent.

    Maybe throw up a poll.....I will guess 68% say leave incandescent.

    #6 4 years ago
    Quoted from OLDPINGUY:

    So, on the fence, I love them left alone too, with Incandescent.

    Im torn too. I like them both ways. Maybe its just a phase for and I'll go back to 47 bulb. However evertime I look at my Atlantis and Jacks Open backglass, it makes me smile at how good they look.

    #7 4 years ago

    I think it is worth trying for the added benefits of lower voltage and brightness as long as you go with the right bulbs that keep the vintage look.

    #8 4 years ago

    I really like the Comet warm white frosted bullet ones (8mm) or the retros and then strategic placement of color ones in the backglass or certain inserts.

    There are some really great example pictures and references on the site:
    http://www.cometpinball.com/category-s/1825.htm

    To really make the backglass colors pop I like natural white, but I think it makes the playfield look wrong, it loses a bit of the EM feel.

    #9 4 years ago

    Picked up this Buccaneer. Great shape. But clown puke LEDs throughout. It looked hideous, in my humble opinion. Different strokes, I guess.

    image.jpg

    I now have a bag full of Cointaker LEDs to put in my WPC games, because they all came out before I even fired the game up. #47s to the rescue.

    Rob
    Creditdotpinball.com

    #10 4 years ago

    I like the lower power consumption and less heat that LEDs put out. There's so much less stress on plastics and the backglass with the cooler LEDs but I do realize in a home enviroment people probably don't leave their games on for 8 hours at a time. LEDs can look really similar to incandescents if you find the right one.

    #11 4 years ago

    I like the classic look of #47s in my EM games but its such a easy reversible mod that people should not get all pretentious about LEDs in another persons pinball machine.

    #12 4 years ago
    Quoted from Pinplayer1967:

    such a easy reversible mod that people should not get all pretentious about LEDs in another persons pinball machine.

    Agree 100%

    #13 4 years ago

    Warm white LED's give the closest look of incandescent bulbs.

    #14 4 years ago

    Always led...unless it looks better without!

    #15 4 years ago

    There are many types of LED's. My boss brought me pics back from hall of fame in vegas, all em's were LED'd, looked amazing. I like comet LED's with 2 smd but depends what and where. Experiment but use LED because your machines are burning up. And for those who need that old style yellow tented lights, they got them in LED! Old lamps burn up inserts, melt plastics, fade backglass and melt boards in SS cases.

    #16 4 years ago

    47's... till death do us part.

    #17 4 years ago
    Quoted from dmbjunky:

    but I do realize in a home enviroment people probably don't leave their games on for 8 hours at a time

    I think you cut to the chase of the question right there and answered it perfectly, most machines aren't in an arcade environment now days and probably aren't turned on for more than a few hours at a time.

    #18 4 years ago

    There's something to be said for the professional look off of the production line, when color decisions for the backglass and playfield have already been evaluated by the artist who knew the lamps would be all (incandescent) white. What I'm trying to say is that the after-factory look of colored LEDs so often lacks that professionalism.

    An EM game with over-coloring shows it.

    #19 4 years ago

    I haven't seen many examples with LED's, but what I saw, made EM backglasses look too blotchy. Too bright in some areas, dull in others. They added them at the Pinball Museum in Asbury Park and I thought they looked rather poor, certainly not as good as the #47's. I'm with vanilla, the games look overdone.....All games, not just EM's.

    #20 4 years ago

    Both Posts above can be correct.

    A day doesnt go by where I dont get an email with, "What bulb is best for my EM"

    The answer generally is..."one of the ones in this list"

    With so many titles, manufacturers, and years.
    There are variations in art screening, and white backing thickness from one game to the next.
    Even the same title, can have variations.
    Distance of art from tip of bulb varies a few mm and this is big too.

    People like the look of the 6mm Retro, but would prefer a taller bulb.
    The taller ones can spot, sometimes.

    I, personally have enjoyed the Clear Warm Retro in most, but also 2 LED Frosted in Warm, for about a 50% brightness increase.
    In some cases, Ive mixed them. A dark area with one incandescent, where the bulb isnt seen can glow beautifully, with the right brightness.

    I know...next one, Ill need to start taking more pictures!

    Spotting or Haloing....Bad....Frosted first, then go shorter.
    Use less color, or tastefully.

    #21 4 years ago

    Im not a big fan of the yellow light, I prefer cool white. All my games range from 1980 to 1983 and I think LED adds a modern touch to them which makes them look like a more modern machine. I think regular bulbs are more suited for EM's because they have that antique look to them and should stay that way. One thing that should never be done with LED is to over do them with different colors. I dont want to look at a rainbow when playing a pin.
    The beauty of the LED vs bulb argument is they can be changed easily. Its a great way to personalize the machine to the individuals taste.

    #22 4 years ago

    Until such time that LED 44/47 replacements are indistinguishable from the real thing, I'll stick with the original.

    The only exception is for illuminating BGresto backglasses. If you want the same brightness as what 47s provide with a screened glass, then it's necessary to use LEDs to compensate for the ~ 20% deficit in translucency (a result of their double print process which now provides beautifully rich color saturation like screened glasses - a trade off I gladly welcome)

    Having said that, it would also be great to hear what *type* of LEDs people have found to be best simulate a brighter #47 from the perspective of color spectrum and dispersion. Intuitively, it would seem that a warm white (bulb style) would be the closest, but would frosted be better than clear? Perhaps "Sunlight" better than "Warm white"?

    As a side note, I also heard that sometimes you may get a batch of LED 44/47 replacements that don't fit all that well into the socket or are too high etc. and some vendors are more "return-friendly" than others to swap these out.

    Once I get into experimenting with some different LED varieties, I'll report back but, meanwhile, it would be great to hear from anyone who's already done some of these types of comparisons.

    -1
    #23 4 years ago

    If you have more than one pin, LED all bulbs. It keeps the heat down in the room.

    A little trick...purchase inexpensive clear LED's and use colored sharpies to get them any color you need. Always hate when I order the wrong colors. I've used this method a few times--color the bulbs as needed and only stock good quality clear (ablaze) bulbs!

    #24 4 years ago
    Quoted from Drumdink:

    A little trick...purchase inexpensive clear LED's and use colored sharpies to get them any color you need. Always hate when I order the wrong colors. I've used this method a few times--color the bulbs as needed and only stock good quality clear (ablaze) bulbs!

    Ahhhh good idea. Never thought of that.

    #25 4 years ago

    Whether tis’ nobler in the pin to suffer
    The slings and arrows of outrageous ghosting
    Or to take arms against a sea of incandescents,
    And by opposing end them.

    (Sorry, couldn't resist. Great thread title!)

    #26 4 years ago

    Here's two videos of EM's that I put LED's into the GI. Not quite as warm as incandescent's but I really liked the brightness. In the end, they're just bulbs. You're not damaging the game for a future owner. One thing to note. The Liberty Bell has 3LED Pinball Life bulbs. The Target Pool has Cointaker Retro's. I prefer the Pinball Life ones.

    #27 4 years ago

    Personally I am nearly always against colored leds in EM games. At some shows you'll see an EM clown pule game or two with leds. Can't stand it. Throwing in all frosted warm white is pretty dang close and when walking by rows on EMs at shows isn't always easy to tell, imo, which has leds at first glance. Frequently you can tell because it is the game without burnt out bulbs

    Quoted from Drumdink:

    If you have more than one pin, LED all bulbs. It keeps the heat down in the room.
    A little trick...purchase inexpensive clear LED's and use colored sharpies to get them any color you need. Always hate when I order the wrong colors. I've used this method a few times--color the bulbs as needed and only stock good quality clear (ablaze) bulbs!

    Sharpies fade pretty harshly over time. How long does this usually successfully last for you?

    #28 4 years ago

    I've tried a few types of LEDs including warm retro bulbs in EM games and hated them. I love LEDs. I keep a large stockpile of LEDs and tinker with different layouts and styles on all my games and even I don't like the look of LEDs in EMs.

    However can't hurt to buy a bag or sample pack. The upside to buying LEDs you don't end up using is that it gives you more LEDs to toy with for future projects!

    #29 4 years ago

    For me the use of LED's for GI depend upon the playfield colors. Dark colored playfields look good with LED's. Lighter colored playfields don't look right with LEDs in my opinion.

    I used Comet's sunlight bulbs for GI in my Embryon and Space Odyssey and I think they look great. I kept #47's in the GI of my Jungle Queen. I also have #47's in the GI of my Taxi.

    I use LEDs under all of the inserts to reduce heat damage and I think they look better.

    #30 4 years ago

    44/47 incandescents all the way.

    I'm looking at a 40 - 50 year old pinball machine playfield (it's an antique you know) that I played as a kid - not at a modern rock concert stage with multi-colored stage lights. I want my game as original as possible to duplicate my playing days as a youngster. And, I'm cheap.

    Just my .02

    #31 4 years ago

    Hey, dtown,

    On your Target Pool, sounds like your A switches, (pulsing 5X per rev), are gapped too far apart, you're not getting the full 50 points on 2 of the 3 revs per full score-motor circle. There's 1 rev where you are getting the full 50 points, (because the motor cams are usually not perfectly round). Just something I caught while watching your vid. Perhaps you already took care of it.

    I'll stick with the incandescents. That backglass looked wayyyy too blotchy for my tastes!

    #32 4 years ago
    Quoted from Boatcat:

    Hey, dtown,
    On your Target Pool, sounds like your A switches, (pulsing 5X per rev), are gapped too far apart, you're not getting the full 50 points on 2 of the 3 revs per full score-motor circle. There's 1 rev where you are getting the full 50 points, (because the motor cams are usually not perfectly round). Just something I caught while watching your vid. Perhaps you already took care of it.
    I'll stick with the incandescents. That backglass looked wayyyy too blotchy for my tastes!

    Steve Fury (a hardcore Target Pool fan) pointed that out in my repair thread. It was the switch on the score motor that just didn't hold contact long enough to pulse the 50 and 300 point relays enough. It's a deep switch stack and tough to clean so I removed the stack above it, cleaned (again) and gapped the points a little closer. This fixed the issue. Trust me. The guy that bought the game was hardcore. He didn't even play it. Just tested switches and made sure it went through five balls into game over.

    Also, what didn't you like about the BG? The colored pool balls or the GI illuminated "people"? Or both? The title "Target Pool" was illuminated by regular incandescent blinkers. The video can show the game as a bit more bright than it actually was. Just a little.

    I always appreciate advice. Especially on scoring issues. Though I clean every switch and manually actuate it to what looks "proper" that doesn't always work once the game is running. I'm only 36 so I didn't play these wonderful machines growing up. Hell, my dad hadn't even graduated high school till 74 and Target Pool came out in 69. So, unless it's insanely obvious, I can sometimes not see scoring issues. Thanks guys.

    #33 4 years ago

    dtown,

    OK............Sounds like you're describing the switch on the score motor that controls any relays that need to be energized for the entire score motor rev. That switch breaks just before the end of each rev, de-energizing those relays. On a Gtb. Game, it's usually the switches that get pulsed 5X per rev. They take a beating and get very dirty. Just thought I'd mention.

    As far as the glass, I thought the girl on the right, observing the game of pool looked a little blotchy. I also thought the score reel area was appeared very shadowed in between reels. I just re-checked my games and I don't have that effect with the incandescents. Just my opinion.

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