Saturday, December 21, 2013

learning the ins and outs of LEDs

My order arrived, brimming with LEDs to experiment with!   Rocky & Bullwinkle has some dim lights near the back, so I definitely wanted to give them a POP.
SF2 is pretty bright as-is, but I was hoping to play around with it a bunch.

First issue:  The manual for R+B is a terrible representation of the actual lighting.  Light type are WRONG in a bunch of spots, and a few lights are omitted.
I ordered coloured LEDs for the B-O-M-B targets, according to the manual, but oh hey, they are ACTUALLY 44s, not 555s.  grrrrr

Here is the lighting under the 8 WABAC values.  we have 6 #555 bulbs on the board, with the last 2 as #44s.  The blue and yellow upright target lights are also #44s.   The manual?  Said they were all #555s...  *uggh*

2nd issue:  A while back I had noticed that the left "Aesop" scoop can also be used to light the WABAC value, just like the shot up the center, but alas the light was out!  Now with LEDs in hand I went in to fix it and....  ummm.  Wait.
It looks like an insert from a distance,but on closer examination, it isn't!  Did they forget to cut it out?
 So, not REALLY an issue, but certainly a curiousity.

Underneath, you can see there aren't even any markings for it, but certainly there would have been enough room had they wanted to.  So weird.

I popped LEDs in to the WABAC awards, the rollovers at the top, and a few of the upper flashers, and at least those look good.
One thing to note is that after inserting they aren't as stable it seems, and I had to go back in 2 or 3 times too wiggle the connection.  I wonder if there will be intermittentcy issues with them due to repeated openings of the playfield?

I did finally get an LED in to the Boris button / plunge button.   The issue before was that the domed LEDs I had were a TOUCH too long to fit in to the chassis.  I swapped out a low-clearance LED from the Flintstones (popped a domed LED in to there and you can't tell the difference,) put that one in to the lamp socket and...  gah I had broken a wire.  The hack-ful button strikes again!  I had figured the capacitor had branched of it, meeting with the wire at the cabinet as part of grounding.  My multimeter confirmed otherwise:  their junction point wasn't connected to ground, despite being super close.  So I ended up stripping the wire a bit and soldering it direct to the capacitor that branched off of the launch button.
In the end?  It was cleaner and more accessible than what was there before.
And the Boris target button?  GLOWS.  :)

it doesn't look like much, but the domed one on the left just didn't quite fit.

SF2 gave me a sad discovery, learning what "ghosting was.  I had always assumed ghosting was a property of the electrical system that the LED didn't turn off fast enough, thus leaving a ghost impression.  But I was wrong.
When the LEDs were off, they were still on.  Barely.  Gah, so annoying.  So I will have to make another order for SF2 for specific non-ghosting LEDs.
For most of the PF inserts, much of it is bright enough with incandescent, so I might leave much of it and just replace the green and purple lights with LEDs.
SF2 has the potential to be comically blinding with full LED treatments...

Also picked up this cute guy, to wrap around parts and get lighting in hard-to-see places while working...

On the to-do list front, I'm going to give up on the line item of "try and reduce speaker hum" because with the high voltages and the inability to industrial shield the audio circuits, it's really not worth the bother to investigate.


adjust flippers to the dots
replacing the SAVED decals.
find a replacement ramps / repair ramps
deep disassemble-everything clean (including under-playfield trough)
add more LEDs

clean flippers
get/install a Boris button
reconnect CN1 connector to increase reliability
install new levellers + casters, level the legs
wire Lion to 32 V instead of 50 V
replace the back box hat trick padding
Replace plastic Lion in hat trick
replace ball drain kicker
Update ROMs to 1.3
remove pop bumper screw.
repair first left orbit (hat trick) switch so that the diverter can work
replace beer seal


install cliffy protectors
get non-ghosting LEDs (and replacing dead bulbs)
clean + adjust the flippers
adjust left extra ball center target
deep clean of playfield, removing all plastics + replace upper-playfield rubbers
cleaning the under-playfield troughs
clean car-crash mech and re-affix car
replace playfield glass
Replace car crash flipper rubber + glue car to crash mechanism

got flipper replacement kit (holding on to it, will use it when needed)
got stargate ramp coils (but not reason to do it yet though)
fix 2 out lights in backbox
secure coin door
solder diode across the right slingshot coil.  Replace Q3 transistor on driver board.
left VUK: new spring, new plunger
get replacement fuses for under the PF
 re-secured VUK mounts to provide extra-strong kicks + added extra screws
installed lower playfield rubbers
installed new power module
replaced Q3 transistor to solve right slingshot issue
reattached ground wires
replaced VUK solenoid to correct one
replaced fuse for stargate ramps
reattach tilt mechanism
bend left playfield bracket back in to proper place
new beer seal
Flipper rubber for Chun Li
Replaced flipper rubbers (except car crash flipper)
Cleaned backbox charring + replaced dead + charred lightbulbs
initial basic playfield cleaning


  1. I could have saved you some hassle about the LEDs in Bullwinkle. I went through the same discoveries about how WAY off the manual is. At any rate, I used almost entirely frosted premium LEDs from Cointaker. They work great in both inserts and G.I., and they don't burn the eyes when directly viewed. I found that warm white frosted premium works great for both white and yellow inserts, while direct-color frosted premiums work best for most of the other color inserts. The only one that was tricky was the orange value on the WABAC inserts. I found I had to up the power to a 2-LED (or super if you want) as Cointakers orange frosteds were not as bright as the other frosted colors.

    For the G.I., I used cool white frosted premiums, with a few artistically placed blue ones (upper lane guides, lower lane guides).

    Let me save you some hassle on the flashers: Get Cointakers cool white Flat-8 FLEX 89s for the playfield. These pop just as bright, and have the added benefit of FLEX aiming to give you control over inserts and pass-through flash positions. The only flasher I had to leave as a filament bulb was the Aesop insert. The LED was picking up enough juice in the line to glow, and so I couldn't use one there. For the backbox, just the simple cool white Flat-8 906s work great, though you may have some problems with the socket wires being finicky. It took me a while to get all of them firing properly.

    In other news, I recently scored a pristine complete set of ramps from Norway, and then I just scored a complete set of NOS plastics off ebay. I'm starting to get to that showroom quality restoration I've been aiming for!

    1. One other thing: For the Start and Boris buttons, you're suppose to use "button LEDs". Cointaker sells them, but you have to scroll down their LED products page to find them. Never try to force a non-button LED in there. Most will not fit.

    2. OMG! That is amazing. So first, can you email me? (
      Are there any of those plastics you don't need? I have 2 broken ones. I was following that auction closely.
      Where did you find the ramps? I have been looking for the ramps, but might just get mine epoxy repaired.

    3. For the button I think the one I borrowed from Flintstones would qualify. Although I didn't realize their was a specific Button-designated LED.

      I am ordering those flex flashers soon. The only arty bit I did was follow the BOMB colours on the kickback lane rewards.
      I think I will leave much of the GI as-is, I do prefer some incandescence. Like in the backbox, I found a lot of LEDs was a bit much on mine.

      Good luck on your restore! I am justing getting mine to a reasonable point ,not top quality.
      Like I got some R+B Blue Cabinet paint, but am only doing obvious touchups, not restoring ALL of the cabinet art.
      i plan on trading/selling mine in the summer, I think. I have limited space, and so once there is nothing on it to tinker with, time for a new project! :)
      Nice to hear from you again!

  2. Hi Caitlyn!

    The ramps I found on a Norwegian site. They were very slow to process my order as they don't speak a lot of English, but eventually I got them in the mail and they were in superb condition. The ramps I had were mostly intact and functional, but the decals were worn out and the metal tongues were rusted. That simply wouldn't do for my needs, so i was very fortunate to find those Norwegian ramps. Unfortunately, those were the only set they had, so I suspect they were parted out from another machine. At any rate, I've got a couple of the old "return" ramps and one of the "entrance" ramps left over, though the "entrance" ramp has severe damage where the metal flap attaches to the lip.

    As for the plastics, somebody else already called dibs on my leftovers, but I did scan in the NOS plastics at 600 dpi for archival reproduction purposes. If interested, I can send you a link to the scans zip file.

    So the latest things I replaced were all the legs, trim, side armor, lockdown bar, lockdown receiver, etc. I ordered all new black crinkle-coated versions to restore the original look. My next step is to ship off the coin door to be sand-blasted and repainted. That will just leave the wood cab itself as the last big buggerboo to restore. That reminds me, my power supply board crapped out. I traced it to cold solders on the relay, but I decided it was best to just get a new board. That in and of itself became a wild goose chase. The only boards available were made by Rottendog, but after speaking with forum regulars, I found out those boards are shoddy and prone to frying display boards. Screw that! So I did some more googling and found the best boards are made by "Xpin". The problem was everyone was sold out of these boards. Finally I found one last online dealer by the name of K's Arcade, but when I went to order the board, someone bought the last one they had and I was cut off from my order attempt. I emailed K's and thankfully their web site did not have the proper stock count. They had 9 left and so I ordered one immediately. It arrived in a couple days, I swapped it in, and was VERY happy with the performance. The G.I. would do all sorts of blinking tricks that simply failed to work when the old board was still in the machine.

    Yet another thing I upgraded was the eprom set. I found a solo dealer online that sells the complete set for $30, so I bought one and swapped them all in. The version code on the display now reads 3.20 on boot-up. Supposedly this was the last version made by the original coders, and is similar to 1.3 with some added bookkeeping menu stuff.

    1. Almost forgot:

      If you want to see pics and trade restoration tips or just ask questions, I participate with a few others in a thread on pinside here:

      Be sure to read all the posts so you can check out all the little quirks and solutions we came up with. I am firebrandx on there. The OP is Russ Myers. He was fortunate to find a very nice machine that he restored to showroom quality.