Action Pinball Logo LED Lighting Guide
Salt Lake City, Utah, USA
Search:    Search Tips...   
Quick Links:
- Home Page
- Game Parts & Supplies
- Game Service & Repair
- Games for Sale
- Ordering Info
- Technical Articles
- Contact Us
Information on this page is subject to change without notice, and may not necessarily be current. All prices are in US Funds.
LED Lighting Guide

We carry replacement LEDs for most types of pinball light bulbs. All LEDs we carry come in a variety of colors.

Page Sections:
  1. LED Bulb Product Guide
  2. LED Recommendations

LED Bulb Product Guide:

This is a brief listing of the types of LEDs that we carry.

Each section below lists standard incandescent light bulbs at the top of the section, along with the LED replacements we carry for them underneath, along with other general information & recommendations for use.

Look for your bulb type below, then choose the LED you like for your application. Don't forget to read our LED Recommendations section below for vital installation info and notes.

Click any LED image to see specifications/measurements, and to order online.

Bulb Type: Bayonet Base, 6-Volt: #44, #47, #51, #55
Bulb Type: Wedge Base, 6-Volt: #147, #159, #259, #447, #555
Replacement LEDs:

3-Element LED
Bayonet Base
Part # LED3044

3-Element LED
Wedge Base
Part # LED3555
Lower cost / economy LED. Not as bright as other LEDs below. Narrower LED, so can fit in some openings where others can't (click image to see specs). Directional light (more of a spotlight than a floodlight). Recommended for any area where you need directional light.

4-Element LED
Bayonet Base
Part # LED4044

4-Element LED
Wedge Base
Part # LED4555
Very bright LED. 4 surface-mount elements per LED. Directional light (more of a spotlight than a floodlight). Recommended for any area where you need directional light. Good for use under translucent playfield inserts where the bulb is not visible through the plastic insert. Sample images:

Dome LED
Bayonet Base
Part # LED044D

Dome LED
Wedge Base
Part # LED555D
Very bright LED. Frosted dome with single surface-mount element underneath disburses light evenly in a 360-degree radius. Non-directional light (more of a floodlight than a spotlight). Recommended for any area where the bulb will be visible (easier on the eye), or where you need an even spread of light. Good for use under playfield plastics for general illumination (GI) lighting, behind backglasses and translites, or under transparent playfield inserts where the bulb is clearly visible through the plastic insert. Sample images:

Flexible-Lead LED
Bayonet Base
Part # LED044F

Flexible-Lead LED
Wedge Base
Part # LED555F
Very bright LED. Single surface-mount element with flexible wire leads, allowing for custom-positioning of the LED light. Directional light (more of a spotlight than a floodlight). Recommended for tight spots or places where you need to direct the light in a specific direction. Sample image:

Bulb Type: Bayonet Base, 12-Volt: #67, #89
Bulb Type: Wedge Base, 12-Volt: #904, #906, #912
Replacement LEDs:

Flashlamp LED
Bayonet Base
Part # LED089

Flashlamp LED
Wedge Base
Part # LED906
Replacement for most types of large flash lamps that go off briefly (but brightly) during game play in mostly later-model games from the late 1980s and up. Very bright LED. 8 surface-mount elements per LED. Directional light (more of a spotlight than a floodlight).

Flashlamp LED
Bayonet Base
Part # LED089F

Flashlamp LED
Wedge Base
Part # LED906F
Same as above, but a flexible-lead version that allows you to position and direct the light where you need it. Great for use in lamp sockets that are mounted perpendicular to playfield inserts, allowing you to bend the LED to shine right at the playfield insert. Very bright LED. 8 surface-mount elements per LED. Directional light (more of a spotlight than a floodlight).

Specialty LEDs:

Self-Blinking LED
Bayonet Base
Part # LED455CW

Self-Blinking LED
Wedge Base
Part # LED545CW
Replacement for #455 (bayonet base) and #545 (wedge base) self-blinking incandescent lamps. These LEDs blink at a regular interval like their original incandescent counterparts. Great for adding some flash or animation to your backglass, pop bumpers, or other areas on your playfield. Very bright LED. Single surface-mount element. Directional light (more of a spotlight than a floodlight).

Color-Changing LED
Bayonet Base
Part # LEDCG44

Color-Changing LED
Wedge Base
Part # LEDCG555
Fits in place of #44/#47 (bayonet base) and #555 (wedge base) incandescent lamps. These LEDs slowly change colors about every 3 seconds (fades from one color to another). Cycles through multiple colors- red, green, blue, purple, yellow, etc. Recommended for constantly-on lamp sockets (general illumination). May not work properly in switched (cpu-controlled) light sockets in some games. Medium-bright LED. Single surface-mount element. Directional light (more of a spotlight than a floodlight).

LED Recommendations:

Helpful recommendations, suggestions, tips, and other info regarding installations of LEDs in your pinball machine.

Recommendations given below for types and colors of LEDs for different locations in your game are based on our experience and personal preference. Ultimately, you can go with whatever you prefer. Some people like a lot of colored LEDs in their games. Some like all white LEDs. And so on, and so on. It's entirely up to you.

Technical info and tips are strongly recommended reading to help you avoid possible problems with some types of LEDs in some brands of games.

AC or DC Operation:
LEDs we carry can be used in AC or DC circuits without any regard to polarity.

General Illumination (GI) Lighting:
GI lighting consists of light bulbs that are typically "always on". They're used to light up the playfield and backglass in many games, and you'll find them around the perimiter of your playfield- under plastics, in pop bumpers, etc. And also behind coin slots in the coin door. They're also found behind backglasses and translites in games that use individual light bulbs in the backbox.

For GI lighting, we prefer to use warm white dome LEDs as they give a shade of white light that is slightly yellow ("warm"), and somewhat similar to the shade of light produced by original incandescent bulbs. Dome LEDs disburse light more evenly (in a 360-degree range) and are easier on the eyes in areas where the LED bulb is exposed (such as sticking up under playfield plastics, behind targets, and under pop bumper caps. They're great behind backglasses and translites as they disburse light very well, and don't give a "spotty" look to the backglass artwork that some directional LEDs do, such as 3- or 4-Element LEDs, or flexible-lead LEDs. Some sample images are provided in the LED Bulb Product Guide above.

Some people like to use cool white LEDs for general illumination, but these are more "pure" white in color- much like a fluorescent light fixture. A lot of cool white LEDs installed in your game can make you feel like you just walked into a WalMart store. We think warm white LEDs look much better for GI lighting. But ultimately the choice is your's.

Non-dome LEDs used for GI lighting (such as 4-Element LEDs) tend to be overly-bright, glaring, and can be very hard on the eyes. We've had many service customers over the years ask us to change these out for dome LEDs for a better, softer look.

Playfield Inserts:
These are the plastic "lenses" in the playfield surface that lights shine through from underneath. Such as the bonus lights in the middle of your playfield, the extra ball light, "when lit" lights, etc.

For playfield inserts, we strongly recommend matching the color of the LED you are installing, to the color of the playfield insert. For example, a red playfield insert should have a red LED installed under it. A blue insert, a blue LED. Color-matching this way gives a more crisp, vibrant color to the playfield insert.

We have seen some customers games where all white LEDs have been installed under playfield inserts. This tends to give a washed-out, or faded look to the insert color, and doesn't make it "pop" like a color-matched LED would.

For transparent inserts (where you can clearly see the light bulb through the insert), we recommend using dome LEDs as these have the shape of original incandescent light bulbs, and look more "normal" when the LED is on or off. You can of course use any other LED if you prefer- such as a 4-element LED- but these tend to look less natural, and less like a light bulb. Again, it's all personal preference, and recommendations given here are simply our own opinions.

For translucent inserts (where you can't see through the insert), we recommend using 4-element LEDs. These are nice and bright and light up the insert very well, while not allowing themselves to be seen through the translucent plastic of the insert. 4-element LEDs are also directional (like a spotlight), so are great for use where the lamp socket is pointed right at the insert.

For tight spots, or inserts that have a lamp socket that is perpendicular to the insert (ie: shining ACROSS the bottom of it rather than directly at the insert), we recommend using flexible-lead LEDs. These LEDs have flexible wire leads that can be bent/twisted to direct the light of the LED in any direction you want it. Some games have a few tight spots where these are really handy for use. Keep in mind that a dome LED can also be used under an insert with a perpendicular lamp socket. Use either one, depending on the available space around the insert in your particular game.

Flasher LEDs:
Replacing flash lamps with LEDs generally uses most of the same recommendations we've given above for smaller LEDs, but in some older Williams games, changes to the flashlamp wiring is required in order for the flasher LEDs to work properly. These are generally late 1980's and earlier games including such titles as F-14 Tomcat, Millionaire, Cyclone, PinBot, and similar others.

Due to the way these games are wired, installing LEDs in place of incandescent flasher bulbs will cause ALL of the flashers to go off at the same time, whenever ONE single LED flasher is activated by the game.

To overcome this problem, all of the black ground wires must be removed from the individual flash lamp resistor boards underneath the playfield. If you own one of these games, you have probably seen the small PC boards that have large white or tan ceramic resistors on them. Each of these boards will have 1 or 2 black wires connected to them that serve as a ground, tying all of the boards together. Removing these ground wires from each resistor PC board (and of course, insulating them and tying them out of the way safely), will allow the LED flashers to work properly.

If you still have LED flashers going off ALL at once, then you still have some ground wires to remove...

Another symtom you may see is LED flashers flickering briefly whenever you activate the flippers. This indicates one or more diodes on one or more flipper coils are missing (broken off or electrically "open") and need to be replaced to remedy the problem.

Use of LEDs in Older Bally and Stern Games:
Vintage electronic solid-state (SS) Bally and Stern games that used the -17, -35, -133 Bally MPU board, or MPU-100 and MPU-200 Stern MPU board, may exhibit rapid flickering problems with some LEDs after installation. To cure this problem, your lamp driver board will need to either be replaced with a new aftermarket board that is designed to run LEDs, or an adapter board set installed on the original lamp driver board to remedy the problem.

Use of LEDs in Bally/Williams Pinball 2000 Games: (Revenge From Mars and Star Wars: Episode 1)
LEDs can be used in these games, but the lamp diagnostic test in the menu system will report that bulbs are burned out wherever functional LEDs are installed. The game will also generate a Test Report error message as a result of this. LEDs will still operate properly and won't cause any other problems with these games.

Wedge-Base LED Bulbs:
When installing wedge-base LED bulbs we strongly recommend bending the wire leads on the wedge base LED outward slightly before you install the LED in the lamp socket. This helps the LED make better contact with the terminals in the socket, and helps insure the LED bulb stays working. Without doing this, you may get intermittent operation (flickering), or no operation at all. Usually one bare wire lead on either side of the wedge base of the LED will be moveable, so you can bend it outward slightly for more reliable operation.

Ghosting and Non-Ghosting LEDs:
Ghosting is a symptom that some LEDs may occasionally exhibit when used in certain places in some electronic pinball games. It is the partial-illumination of an LED bulb, when it is supposed to be completely off. For example, if a games 1000 bonus LED is lit, another LED elsewhere on the playfield that is supposed to be off, may glow dim at the same time. This is caused by electronic characteristics of some types of LED bulbs and the unique matrix-style wiring/switching used in some pinball games. It is a purely cosmetic symptom and will not cause damage to your game.

Ghosting is sometimes noticeable, and sometimes not- it all depends on the type of LED, color, visibility, and where it is located in the game. If you do have any LEDs that are ghosting, and prefer to eliminate the effect, you can use a non-ghosting type of LED in place of the problem LED.

Most LEDs we carry are non-ghosting. Some are ghosting. This attribute is described in the item description of each LED listed on our site, so you can see if it's ghosting or non-ghosting before purchasing.
If you have a question that isn't answered here, feel free to send us a message.
Back to Home Page