Installing Replacement LED Displays

by , 03/28/13.
Copyright 2006 - 2015, all rights reserved.


The old plasma displays used in pinball machines wear 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 about $250.

There are many advantages to replacement displays. One is that they do not require the problematic high voltage to operate. The second is that they last longer and do not burn-in like plasma displays. Third, 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.

Pinscore and X-Pin make virtually identical units. Displays are also made by Rottendog and PinLED. 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.

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.

Open the package
The display may arrive in a bubble wrap like this. Carefully cut the tape holding it together.

Package contents
This package comes with two boards (in the bubble wrap), a translucent piece of plastic, a foam ring, and a package containing brackets.

Insert bracket into LED board
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.

Tab all the way through.
Insure that the plastic tab goes all the way through and both "legs' are sticking out.

Tabs facing down.
After both brackets are installed, swing them so that they face down to make the next step easier.

Insert PCB board
Carefully insert the pins from the LCD board into the bottom board. Be careful that all pins are entering the connector properly.

Press down to complete insertion.
Carefully press down on the top of the LED board until the pins are completely inserted into the bottom board.
Connect bracket to the bottom.
Connect the brackets 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.
The assembled display board.
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).
Insert foam around LEDs
Insert the foam around the LED's.
Place translucent cover over display
Place the translucent cover over the display. This will give the display a "like the original" look.
Assembled display.
This is the assembled display. Note the brightness control in the lower right.
Jumper removal.
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.
JP2 Jumper removed
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.
Install in machine
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 install backwards.
Push all the way to the rear.
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.
Connected display.
This is the display installed and operating. Note the brightness control on the lower right. This control allows the brightness to be adjusted to match the other displays and look like the original.

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