Mentoring Needed! I have a 12 pack of beer, a pinball machine, and RGB LED's

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by THREEX5X7, Jan 13, 2013.

  1. THREEX5X7

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 13, 2013
    Hello to all!

    I have and idea for one of my pinball machines, and I'm going to need some help.

    Before we get started I feel a disclaimer is required. Some things that may help you understand me:
    1. I am not smart when it comes to Electronics or Electrical Stuff.
    2. I will not understand alot of the technical stuff. Please talk to me in a way a child would understand.
    3. I am a product of the Pennsylvania Public Education System.......
    4. Odd's are that I will be drinking beer while working this project. If you have moral objections, please don't tell me. I don't care.
    5. I have been shocked before. I didn't like it.
    6. I don't spell too good. Sorry if that is upsetting to folks.
    7. I'm bound to ask a stupid question. Sorry in advance!
    8. I have common sense, and a sense of humor.
    9. This project is intended to be a fun way to spend some time, not stressful.

    The project idea:
    I have a 1978 Bally Strikes and Spares pinball machine ( )that I would like to add RGB LEDs around the cabinet underside and behind the backbox in-order to create a lighting effect in my gameroom.

    This is a pretty simple idea, but never fail.....i have a way of over-complicating things....

    I would like to be able to have a color when the machine is 'powered on', a color when i get to 'shoot again', and a color when the ball hits the 'spinning target'.

    Project details and issues:
    1. The source power for the LED's is no issue. A 12V power adapter plugged directly into the pinball's service receptical under the playfield.

    2. The 'powered on' and 'shoot again' colors are my first problem. The lights that I would like to wire into are 6 volt bulbs. Is there something i can splice into a 6V light circuit that could 'trigger' the 12V led to turn on and off? If so can you please include a brand name or a part number in the response?

    3. Along the same lines as #2 above,my second problem is the 'spinning target' color....the intended effect is to have the led rapidly turn off and on, creating a flashing effect. When the ball hits the spinning target in Strikes and Spares, a chime in the cabinet makes a tone each time the target spins....coupled with a lighting effect should be enough to make me dizzy and fall over.....

    The issue with the 'spinning target' is that circuit is 48V. Again, looking for a simple way to rapidly 'trigger' the12V LED on and off in the 48V 'spinning target' circuit....

    First and foremost, thanks in advance for taking your time to read and reply.

    I understand that I am very limited with electrical things, and smart enough to ask for help after I almost burnt down the house the last time I fooled with electricity (my wife was VERY upset).

    If you need me to clarify anything, just let me know. I will try to check this page often.

  2. PackratKing

    Well-Known Member

    Jul 13, 2008
    No moral objections, whatever floats your boat -- keep in mind that impaired judgment and electronics can cost you more than you might be willing to pay.......
    ""after I almost burnt down the house the last time I fooled with electricity (my wife was VERY upset) "":D
  3. tubeguy

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 3, 2012
    Welcome to the forum !

    You provided a lot of good info.

    But we will need to know what particular RGB LED's you have and qty.

    LEDS usually need a current limiting resistor in series, so you don't want to connect them directly to 6, 12 or 48 volts as you would a light bulb.
    They need DC voltage, not AC. That's easy.
  4. THREEX5X7

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 13, 2013
    PackratKing and Tubeguy,

    Thank you for the replies.

    I purchased the LED kit from Amazon. Here are some of the specifics:

    Brightness: 5050 Tri-chip Brighter than 3528 single chip Brighter than 2050 single chip

    Brand NEW Premium Quality - 12v Super bright 5050 Tri-chip SMD LED strip

    Length: 5M or 16ft. Thickness: 2mm. Width: 8mm. 150 LED diodes per reel. IP67 Waterproof, for indoor/outdoor use. 3M adhesive sticky backing

    50,000 hrs, 12v DC Input voltage, 2A/current. Allowable cut every 3 diodes

    Kit comes with it's own power supply.

    Amazon Link (,+kit )

    I would like to bypass all the color changing features of this kit, and wire the Red, Green, and Blue into the spots in the original post. i don't think that is possible because of the voltage differences, so i'm thinking of some type of switch maybe? how can i turn these led's on and off with the different voltages?

    Thanks again for your patience and understanding!!
  5. vk6zgo

    Active Member

    Jul 21, 2012
    I would drink the beer,play the machine,& forget about the LEDs,but that's just me!:D

    If you have a circuit diagram of the machine,you should be able to find points which change their voltage when the various functions occur.
    The trick then will be interfacing them to whatever circuit you use to operate your LEDs.

    PS: There's not much wrong with your spelling!
  6. THREEX5X7

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jan 13, 2013

    Thank you for taking the time to reply.

    I will pull out the schematic when I get a few moments. I suspect that the voltages drop somewhere on the circuit card that controls the lights. If that is the case then the entire project is not practical for me to do at my very unskilled level.

    Does this idea below make any sense:

    The interface between the different voltages is what i'm struggling with, so......

    Is it possible to Y splice the 48V circuit with a resistor to step the spliced voltage down to 12V? That way when the 48V circuit is energized, the 12V splice can be used to turn the LED on and off?

    Along the same there a generally simple way to Y splice into the 6V circuit and 'step up' the voltage to 12V? Then the stepped up voltage can be used to turn the LED on and off?

    Just thinking out loud here, i hope my questions aren't too simple. :(



    P.S. I'm not a pinhead by any means, but Strikes and Spares is one cool old school pinball. :D
  7. tubeguy

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 3, 2012
    A suggestion would be to use a Solid state relay as below.

    The input with diode could be connected across one of the 6v lamps, so no need to dig into circuit boards. 48vdc could be handled with a diode and resistors.

    Output would be in series with a 12vdc power supply of proper rating to switch the LED's.

    This isolates the game circuits from the LED circuit.

    I'm making the assumption the lamps might be on AC volts, if on DC no input diode needed.
    Last edited: Jan 14, 2013