Installing Replacement LED Displays

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, 03/28/13. Copyright 2006 – 2018, all rights reserved.

The old plasma displays used in pinball machines burn out. Usually, it is the display itself that goes bad. Unfortunately, these displays used in early solid state (SS) games are not available anymore. Fortunately, several manufacturers make replacement LED displays. They are not cheap as a set can cost $150 to $300.  The more expensive ones have brightness controls that make machine existing plasma displays easier. 

There are many advantages to replacement displays.

  • They do not require the problematic high voltage to operate.
  • They last longer and do not burn-in like plasma displays.
  • They slide in just like the original displays and connect to the same plug as the original.

Some can replace a single display, while leaving the old displays in place. Others may require the entire set to be replaced. See the manufacturer for specifics.

If replacing all displays (recommended), then be sure to remove the fuse in your power supply for the high voltage section with the power off and unplugged from the wall.  Always remove the fuse located near the transformer.  Some games have a second high voltage fuse in the driver / power supply board.  It is fine to remove that one too, but important to keep that potentially deadly voltage from getting out of the transformer area.  So first, remove that fuse next to the transformer.

Pinscore and X-Pin make virtually identical units. Displays are also made by Rottendog and PinLED.  Wolffpac has introduced kits, which have a low price point.  They are also available assembled for a small fee. All of these displays are pretty simple to assemble and put together. These photos show Pinscore and X-Pin displays, although Rottendog and PinLED show some similarities. Rottendog use through hole components and include a circuit diagram which may make them easier to repair. One supplier, Pintech, makes a replacement for burned out displays.  This installs new LED displays on the old circuit board after removing the broken plasma display.  These also do not require the high voltage. Because of their price, we have recently used many Wolffpac displays.

This is intended as a general guide. Prior to proceeding, consult the cautions on the home page. Always consult the manufacturers instructions prior to installations and follow those first.

Click on these photos for a larger picture.

Unwrapping The display may arrive in a bubble wrap like this. Carefully cut the tape holding it together. Many of the displays do not have the translucent piece of plastic. Package contains This package comes with two boards (in the bubble wrap), a translucent piece of plastic, a foam ring, and a package containing brackets. Note: Not all displays have these metal brackets to connect the two sections.  Many of the boards are held in place by just the pins between the two boards. Unwrap Unwrap the LED board. Locate the brackets and plastic tabs. Connect the brackets to the circuit board as shown. Note, the manufacturer shows the tabs installed in the opposite direction, but this worked better for me. Swing brackets down. After both brackets are installed, swing them so that they face down to make the next step easier. Carefully insert the pins from the LCD board into the bottom board. Be careful that all pins are entering the connector properly. Press down Carefully press down on the top of the LED board until the pins are completely inserted into the bottom board. connect brackets Connect the brackets (if supplied) attached to the LED board to the bottom board using the same plastic connectors. Make certain that the “legs” are all the way through. During this process, be careful not to stress or flex the two boards to prevent damage to the connectors between the boards. Assembled boards The assembled display board. The two boards are at right angle to each other (this photo makes it look a bit off of right angle).

Foam around the LEDs

Attach the foam around the LED displays.

Cover over LEDs Place the translucent cover (if supplied) over the display. This will give the display a “like the original” look.

Brightness control This is the assembled display. Note the brightness control in the lower right (not on all displays from all suppliers).

Jumper JP2 Check your board for the presence of jumper JP2. Contact the manufacturer if yours is in place. In my application, the Eight Ball Deluxe pinball machine would not boot after installation. Removal of this jumper fixed the problem.

Jumper for commas This is the board with the JP2 jumper removed. There is a second jumper that controls the displays of commas. Do not remove or install jumpers with the power on.

Caution

Installation and working with these new displays must be done with the power off.  It is highly recommended that the fuse to the high power be removed from the power supply.  Installation should be done only by qualified personnel. 

 

Connector This is the display being installed. Note to carefully place the connector over all of the pins. There is one pin missing. That is the key and it aligns up with a solid key on the wire connector so that it cannot be installed incorrectly.

Slide in holder After the display is installed, make certain that it is pushed all the way to the rear of the holder. Otherwise, the display and backglass may come into contact and damage one or both. Be certain that the plug is all the way down.

Brightness This is the display installed and operating. Note the brightness control on the lower right (not on all displays). This control allows the brightness to be adjusted to match the other displays and look like the original.

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