If there’s ever been an argument to “upgrade” or convert to LED’s then this is it. This driver board was burned so bad that it damaged the power output connector and the only way to make it operational again was to solder wires directly to it, which I hate by the way but this was the only alternative to replacing the board entirely, at least this tech added connectors to make future service easier.
Even though everything worked, it couldn’t be sold to a customer like that. Someone had actually soldered the fuses into their holders! Since the board was beyond repair I installed a Rottendog board we had in the shop. A total of four connectors needed to be replaced which wasn’t too bad since there was just enough wire and I didn’t need to add any extensions.
The problem with incandescent bulbs is they draw a tremendous amount of power compared to their LED counterparts. Incandescent bulbs draw about 70% more current than LED’s. Even with the G.I. strings being broken into four separate lines on William’s systems 3 through 11, and five lines on WPC and WPC-95 it’s still too much current for the connectors to handle in the long term.
This is also a good time to mention that if you do convert to LED’s you should lower your fuse ratings. The WPC system uses 5 amp slow blow fuses in the GI circuit. You can install 2 amp instead, but if you find they are blowing or slowly failing then up it to 2 1/2 amp slow blow. You want to use the lowest possible fuse that doesn’t blow or fail.
Other than having brighter lights and color matched insert lamps, this is the main reason to convert to LED lighting. I know some people don’t like adding colors but you can always use warm white LED’s to simulate incandescent lighting. Also some game’s color schemes don’t really allow for color adding to the GI in a way that benefits the game’s look, but cool white can be another option.
After the replacement driver board is installed it’s time to start rebuilding the power output connector. Always install a key plug to make sure connectors go to the correct locations and position. You don’t want to plug in a connector one pin off or you will blow things up!
If you just go down the line, one at a time, repairing the connectors isn’t too bad. It’s always helpful to have a manual handy so you can reference the wire colors with their respectful positions.
The last connector to repair is the GI power input. It’s a bit of a pain since there are several wires that have to be “jumped” to another pin. You will need to have some extra wire and patience, trying to crimp two wires into a single Trifurcon pin will be a test of that patience.
All of the connectors are repaired like factory and now the board can be replaced in the future if necessary. This is why it’s important to always properly repair connectors. Soldering wires or simply bypassing them is sloppy work and will make future service more difficult, not to mention it’s extremely unprofessional. Also now that the game has LED’s these connectors will never burn up again. Ever.
Below are some more pictures of the ruined driver board.
As I mentioned in the beginning, this is a major reason to consider upgrading your pinball machine to LED’s. As the years go on there are less and less of the classic games available. It’s nice when the games are restored but as time goes on games that are “survivors” will be even more desirable. This means they have original boards, mechanisms, plastics etc., and even better if they have matching serial numbers.
Be sure to take these points into consideration when deciding on using LED’s or not. Worse case scenario if you find a buyer for your game who insists on having regular bulbs, and is willing to pay you a lot more money, you can always take the LED’s back out.