|Colorful LED's lighting up the ramps in a Black Knight|
Last week we looked at the "Modding" scene (pinball... not piercings *snicker snicker*) , specifically the different "physical" ways that pinball aficionados modified their games to suit their tastes. That included adding toys, changing game artwork, and personalizing bits of their games to make them specifically their own.
|LED's added to the inserts on a Stern: LOTR|
This week we're going to look at another huge side of modding, and that is the LIGHTING side. This type of modification involves the changing of lights in a game, most commonly from incandescent bulbs to newer, more versatile, LED types. This is done to suit the owners taste, and in many cases, improve the look of a game. There is also a huge benefit to LED's, in that they're cooler than older style incandescent bulbs, and they typically last thousands of hours longer. The added color potential of LED's also means one can change the look of the game, as old style bulbs only came in white, 99% of the time. The downside to using LED's is that in many cases they do not look the same as older bulbs, and pinball players like what they are accustomed to and find LED lighting to be ugly or negatively impact play. Also in earlier years, LED's were not as sophisticated and the results were less than promising, resulting in older incandescent bulbs holding favor until now.
|Incandescent 555 wedge bulb on the left, it's LED equivalent on the right (old school flasher up top)...|
LED's in pinball machines are nothing new, some games came with them (behind the scenes on pinball circuit boards) as early as the mid 70's on early Solid State games, and visible to the pinball player as early as 1987 (seen there in the shooter lane area on a Premier: Arena pinball game). Stern pinball has been messing with them to replace old style incandescent bulbs since at least 2004, but as you can see in the first 5 mins of that video (courtesy of mdclayton), LED's at the time were not quite as sophisticated as today and had issues, resulting in Stern continuing to use older bulbs until last year.
LED bulbs have gotten better lately, and are now available in many different colors, configurations, and brightnesses that can make older games really pop.
|Data East Rocky and Bullwinkle outfitted with Comet LED's|
|Metallica with custom LED lighting throughout|
|Black Knight plastic with blue LED underneath|
|Check out that moon! LED bulb ADDED to that spot for extra effect!!!|
|LED lighting on Stern's Star Trek: Pro|