Aero City Marquee LED "Upgrade"

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NoAffinity
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Aero City Marquee LED "Upgrade"

Postby NoAffinity » December 25th, 2017, 12:04 am

The starter in the original fluorescent fixture finally kicked the bucket today. It had been sputtering for quite some time, and finally today the light would not come on at all and a bit of troubleshooting confirmed it is indeed the starter. I ordered up a couple replacements - $8 shipped. :awe: But, those won't be here til possibly after the New Year. And I've got some mates coming over next weekend for one last 'cade session for 2017. And well, we can't have the man cave only partially lit up.

So, I determined that I would do a temporary fix with an LED. Now, there are certainly more elegant ways to do even this. A quick search on youtube, and you will find plenty of how-to videos on modifying a fluorescent fixture's internal wiring to accomodate an LED light of the same size, fitment, etc. This would have been my first choice, but such a LED tube is not to be had locally, and would get here with about the same quickness as the starter. After all, I much prefer original when it's an option, but again, we can't have the ol' AC's marquee unlit for next week's session.

So, a quick trip to home depot got me a standard light socket fixture for less than $3.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Leviton-600 ... ZAodssMJkw

I targeted the 2-wire connector that interfaces with the cab, and desoldered it from the light fixture. This section of the circuit is basically the 2-wire plug that marries up with the cab wiring, the 2 wires, and a couple butt connectors. I would have just undone the butt connectors and avoided desoldering, but the butt connectors are crimped.

I then fluxed and tinned the socket's prongs, and soldered the 2-wire connectors wires to it.

Plugged it into the cab, fired it up. It works great. I tried a few bulbs because they tend to get hot, and there are speaker wires in close proximity (don't want to melt/damage them), and of course the marquee is irreplaceable. I finally settled on a 9W bulb that is intended to be a replacement for a 60W standard bulb. It gets mildly warm with any length of operation, but nothing that could cause any damage.

Lastly, I used an adhesive-backed "mounting base" for a zip tie, and secure the light where it would not be in direct contact with the marquee or speaker wires. Probably unnecessary, but an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. ;)

One final note: the complete marquee/light/speaker housing has to be removed from the cab in order to get access to the 2 screws that secure the light fixture within that housing. If anyone needs help with how to remove that, it's not hard but I can certainly save you 15 minutes or so by telling you exactly which bolts and screws need to be removed so it can be pulled off the cab. Just shoot me a PM.

I hope this is helpful, and I'm sure this same concept could be applied to just about any cab out there.

:edit: the light is not as intense as it appears in the picture below...that's just a function of my phone camera. The LED bulb is slightly brighter than the native 15W fluorescent tube, but provides the same overall appearance of light distribution behind the marquee.

Image
Image
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arcadista
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Re: Aero City Marquee LED "Upgrade"

Postby arcadista » December 25th, 2017, 6:18 am

I don't know how to explain well enough in english, but there are many led "fluorescent lamps" replacement that fits both the original fluorescent fixture or can be directly connected to 110/220v. They come in a number of sizes and actually, I use them in my cabs.


They look like this:
Image
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Re: Aero City Marquee LED "Upgrade"

Postby NoAffinity » December 25th, 2017, 4:18 pm

arcadista wrote:I don't know how to explain well enough in english, but there are many led "fluorescent lamps" replacement that fits both the original fluorescent fixture or can be directly connected to 110/220v. They come in a number of sizes and actually, I use them in my cabs.


They look like this:
Image

Yes, I mentioned that. I would get a replacement starter or a led replacement tube in the same amount of time, but likely after our next arcade gathering, and I wanted to get this up and running as inexpensively as possible for the event. I also want to, and will, put it back to original as soon as the starters come in. Replacing with an led tube does require modification to the light fixture wiring, and can be done in a reversible fashion as was my mod. There are probably other ways to "skin the cat" as well. :)
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Re: Aero City Marquee LED "Upgrade"

Postby cools » December 25th, 2017, 5:04 pm

I need to get around to swapping the flo tube in my E3 to an LED one. Far healthier for the light cover.
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Re: Aero City Marquee LED "Upgrade"

Postby Jermz1 » December 26th, 2017, 7:03 am

I bet the led tube would look great. What if you face the bulb the other way so you don't have a circle of light in one spot?
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Re: Aero City Marquee LED "Upgrade"

Postby nem » December 26th, 2017, 1:18 pm

I put LED tubes in all my cabs. They run cooler, consume less power, don't flicker, last longer. I put the original ballasts inside the coin boxes, but honestly, I'm thinking of just binning them so some idiot doesn't put them back in.
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Re: Aero City Marquee LED "Upgrade"

Postby markedkiller78 » December 26th, 2017, 1:51 pm

Is there an idiots (me) guide somewhere? I’d like to swap mine over to try and get s more uniform illumination
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Re: Aero City Marquee LED "Upgrade"

Postby mufunyo » December 26th, 2017, 1:57 pm

NoAffinity wrote:Replacing with an led tube does require modification to the light fixture wiring

There are LED tubes that don't require removing the ballast or modifying the wiring. See my thread on the subject for the details. Only thing I have to do to return my Blast to stock is to put back the original tube and starter.
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Re: Aero City Marquee LED "Upgrade"

Postby NoAffinity » December 26th, 2017, 8:59 pm

mufunyo wrote:
NoAffinity wrote:Replacing with an led tube does require modification to the light fixture wiring

There are LED tubes that don't require removing the ballast or modifying the wiring. See my thread on the subject for the details. Only thing I have to do to return my Blast to stock is to put back the original tube and starter.


Ah, good info, didn't know there was such a thing. That's great! :awe:

markedkiller78 wrote:Is there an idiots (me) guide somewhere? I’d like to swap mine over to try and get s more uniform illumination

For what option? It seems mufunyo's suggestion is probably the easiest, with a little extra cost compared to my solution.

My solution:
    remove original fluo tube and fixture*
    Identify the wiring that connects the fixture to the cab wiring (on the Aero, it is an orange 2-pin plug and 2-wire "harness")
    Desolder the 2 wires from the fluo fixture
    Get a cheap "plug-in" light socket from local hardward store (see link in my first post), also get a low wattage LED bulb. Lumens is the measure of "brightness". Figure out what your orginal tube is rated, and get a bulb of same, more or less lumens, depending on what you want the end result to be.
    Flux and tin the prongs on the socket
    Solder the wiring to the prongs (doesn't matter which wire goes to which prong)
    Connect the wiring to the cab
    Place and secure socket/bulb so that it provides the desired lighting and doesn't cause unintentional heat damage to anything

*removal of the tube fixture may not be necessary if the remaining tasks can be completed with in remaining in place
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Re: Aero City Marquee LED "Upgrade"

Postby mufunyo » December 27th, 2017, 12:12 am

And for completeness' sake, my solution (because the thread is pretty long as it details the research/discovery process):

- Remove original fluo tube and starter
- Buy 100-240v LED tube with "LED starter"
- Buy E17 to MR16 socket adapter
- Crack open the LED starter plastic and cut out the fuse by its legs
- Put the fuse in the MR16 socket adapter, completing your "E17 LED starter"
- Put the LED tube and E17 LED starter in your cabinet

Finished mod (picture by nem):
Image

The only tool required for the above is a wire clipper. Don't go near the starter socket while the cabinet is powered on because the fuse legs are exposed and connected to 100 volts AC. You can cover the wires with shrink tube or hot melt if you don't like the potential shock hazard.
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Re: Aero City Marquee LED "Upgrade"

Postby nem » December 27th, 2017, 1:44 pm

I also took out the ballast. If you have a soldering iron, it's easy enough and totally reversible. Just unsolder the the two leads going in to the ballast and solder them together. An additional 30% in power savings.

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