Upgrading to LED lighting: Bally Mystic

The other day as I was working on my Bally Mystic, I decided to upgrade the lighting in the backbox to LED and document what I consider to be a “tasteful” way to migrate from traditional incandescents to LED lighting. Some people complain about this but I think if you do it right, it’s a dramatic improvement, and in some ways is hard to tell from older style lighting. Let’s take a look!

Here’s the game as it was before work. Traditional bulbs in the playfield and the backglass. You will notice that this is not your typical game. This is an early production/prototype that has a different cabinet color and a special 3-dimensional version of the center eye/pyramid imagery for the crystal ball.
Here’s a close up of the original backglass lit with incandescent 44/47 type lights. Really beautiful artwork. NOTE that there’s more light shining ON the backglass in this picture, when compared with the last one below. This is probably due to the LEDs being brighter and my camera compensating by reducing the aperature or shutter speed.
After removing the backglass I replaced the incandescent bulbs with LEDs. I used a combination of cool and warm white frosted 2SMD LEDs from Comet pinball. I put cool white over areas with the following colors: white, blue, green, and warm white over areas dominated by: red, yellow, amber. In this case I went more heavy on cool because they make the image “pop” a little more as you’ll see…
And here’s the finished product. The whites are much whiter. The blues are bluer. I choose cool white for the crystal ball eye, and warm white for the pyramid (not pictured). NOTE that this is a mirrored glass, so there are only a few non-opaque areas so this isn’t the best example of how vivid and bright these LED-backed images can get. But IMO, a noticeable yet tasteful improvement.

Pinball flipper doesn’t work? Here’s a checklist of where to look.

As soon as I thought I had the game operational, I waxed the playfield and got ready to put it back together only to find out one of the flippers was out. This was a rather tricky issue that took a little bit to figure out — not your typical flipper problem, so I thought I’d do a video of it and go through the process of diagnosing why a flipper might not work (on a Bally-35 early solid state game).

Replacing a DMD on Williams Slugfest Pitch and Bat game

I’ve had this game sitting around for awhile and finally got around to looking at it. I shot a few videos awhile back and forgot to publish them, so here’s a useful short video on how to access the DMD in Slugfest. It’s nowhere near as easy as you’d expect as it is in a regular pinball machine.

Tilt/Switch-matrix problems on Bally-35 Flash Gordon

I was going through some old videos that had been uploaded to YouTube that for some reason were not made public and found this one. It’s a short video on how to go through the diagnostics on these 80s era Bally pinball machines and track down switch matrix issues. I don’t go into how the matrix works in this particular video, but I do demonstrate how a stuck switch can cause odd behavior. In this case, the tilt triggers when a certain target is hit.

How to test bridge rectifiers (in pinball machines and elsewhere)

The other day I was working on a game and traced the problem back to a blown bridge rectifier, so I thought it might be nice to produce a short little video on how to test/check bridge rectifiers in pinball machines, as well as a little info on what they do.