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.

Building replacement LED displays (from a kit)

This is a fun series of videos of me trying something new. Let’s replace the old gas plasma displays in a Bally 35 solid state pinball machine with new low-voltage LED displays. This reduces the power consumption of the pinball machine and cuts out the high power portion of the power supply board for the display – a whole area we don’t have to worry about any more by switching over to LEDs. The price for this as a kit is quite reasonable (and cheaper than replacing them with used displays usually). But it takes some time and skill to populate your own circuit boards. I’m going to give it a try. Let’s see how it goes!

Here is a time lapse of me doing the lion’s share of the board work:

And here’s the finished product!