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Author Topic: Using LED buttons (NovaGem) that have resistors on an iPac Ultimate I/O?  (Read 4630 times)

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DaddyLongLegs

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I am finally just about completed with my control panel that I have been working on and off on for about 7 years :)

Back when I first got started, I bought NovaGems from GroovyGameGear for one major reason: they were (and still are) the only translucent LED pushbuttons that are concave. Just a personal preference; I way prefer them over convex or "flat" buttons. Simply because it's what I remember them feeling like when I was a kid.

Anyway, I have read that with the iPac Ultimate I/O, it is possible to use these LED buttons even though they have resistors. However, I read an old post here by someone who said they had trouble using different LED buttons from GroovyGameGear that had resistors. He or she said the buttons were way too weak in lighting when the resistors are in. With the resistors out, it looked better, but the brightness fluctuated between buttons giving everything an uneven look, and worse yet, all the LEDs eventually burned out. Supposedly they weren't exactly compatible with the Ultimate I/O.

Does anybody know if this is the case with the NovaGems as well? It's hard to find any information on them since they've stopped selling them for quite a long time. I just want to know if I should be worried that the LEDs are all going to die, or if taking out the resistors is going to make the wiring harnesses useless as they will no longer "reach" (the other poster said this happened when taking out the resistors).

And I do have two more questions about the Ultimate I/O if I may (unrelated to lighting). I have a 4 player control panel, players 1 and 2 have 7 buttons each (6+1 for "start", also I am not counting the coin door as an input even though it is one), and a joystick each (obviously). I am using 4 buttons for players 3 and 4, not including the coin door which would use a button, or the start button which also uses an LED slot (I want the start buttons to light up when enough credits are reached). How do I do this if there are no spots for start or coin on the Ultimate i/o for players 3 and 4? Will it still be possible for them to only light up when active like I can do for player's 1 and 2?

As for the trackball and spinner, I have 1 of each, which I will not be able to hook up to the iPac. This is not the end of the world as I do not have LEDs for them. Should I just hook them both up as a regular USB mouse on my PC? Or is there a better way? I also own a j-pac, pretty much only using it so my arcade CRT can be hooked up to my PC. I am not using any of the inputs on it. Since there's a bunch of free terminals on it, can I use those for the spinner and trackball?

Sorry if this is such a lengthy post, but I really do appreciate any help you fine and wonderful folks can provide! Cheers!

AndyWarne

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LEDs with resistors can be used with the I-PAC Ultimate I/O (or PacLED64). The LEDs need to be standard types drawing up to 20 milliamps.

The outputs of the board are current-controlled thus avoiding the need for resistors but if resistors are present it wont matter.

We also stock RGB concave buttons. The new ClassicRGB are an improved design and come pre-wired for direct plugging into our LED controllers.

RandyT

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The NovaGem pushbuttons used a very bright LED, which needs about 100ma to light properly.  It's the equivalent of about 5 normal LEDs.  The Helio9's are similar in this regard.  You won't burn them out by feeding them only 20ma, but they won't be nearly as bright as they could be.

The reason another individual had issues when they removed the resistors is that our lighting is shipped with the properly selected resistors in place to ensure accurate lighting and long life.  Constant current controllers which are fixed at a specific ma output, expect a specific load which conforms to that output, and it may or may not be what is optimal for any given LED.  If they do not conform, they will probably still light, but their longevity, or their output capabilities, may be reduced.
« Last Edit: July 19, 2016, 10:58:01 am by RandyT »

Nephasth

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Back when I first got started, I bought NovaGems from GroovyGameGear for one major reason: they were (and still are) the only translucent LED pushbuttons that are concave.

Incorrect.
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RandyT

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At that time, the NovaGems were the only ones which were concave, and they came with our Nova lighting module, specifically designed for those buttons.  The buttons were the same IL buttons others were selling, except that ours were pre-modified to accept the lighting module.  Since then, others have followed suit, and are modifying them in the same way for their own lighting.

Nephasth

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Down boy, down. He stated, "and still are." Which is incorrect for two reasons.
1) There are currently other options.
2) The Novagems aren't currently available from your site.
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RandyT

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Down boy, down. He stated, "and still are." Which is incorrect for two reasons.
1) There are currently other options.
2) The Novagems aren't currently available from your site.

Since then, others have followed suit, and are modifying them in the same way for their own lighting.

You are a tough individual to agree with....  :D

And the originals won't be available from our site again.  They were deprecated in favor of these, which are leaf switch compatible and come in more colors:




... just need to get them on the store.  :banghead:



DaddyLongLegs

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The NovaGem pushbuttons used a very bright LED, which needs about 100ma to light properly.  It's the equivalent of about 5 normal LEDs.  The Helio9's are similar in this regard.  You won't burn them out by feeding them only 20ma, but they won't be nearly as bright as they could be.

The reason another individual had issues when they removed the resistors is that our lighting is shipped with the properly selected resistors in place to ensure accurate lighting and long life.  Constant current controllers which are fixed at a specific ma output, expect a specific load which conforms to that output, and it may or may not be what is optimal for any given LED.  If they do not conform, they will probably still light, but their longevity, or their output capabilities, may be reduced.

Thank you for the reply. So should I keep the resistors or take them out? It sounds like if I leave them in it will be a lot dimmer than they should be, but if I take them out I risk the LEDs burning out quicker? Is that correct?

Also I just received my iPac Ultimate i/o in the mail. Very cool-looking device. How would I wire up these to it though? The included harness for the LEDs is obviously not compatible so I am trying to work around that, but I am not sure where to plug in the two wires from each button.  :-[


Back when I first got started, I bought NovaGems from GroovyGameGear for one major reason: they were (and still are) the only translucent LED pushbuttons that are concave.

Incorrect.

OK so could you post a link to which concave translucent LED pushbuttons are available? I tried searching various websites and found none.

Titchgamer

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Ultimarc sell some I believe.

DaddyLongLegs

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Ultimarc sell some I believe.

Ah it looks like you are correct. However, I like the ones that aren't white/clear. I do like being able to tell what color they are even if they aren't lit up (if that makes sense).

Nephasth

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I don't like promoting one vendor over another these days, but since you asked... Paradise Arcade has a selection as well.
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DaddyLongLegs

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Thank you!

Now all I need to know is how to wire these LEDs to the iPac Ultimate because they are not RGB LEDs. I have no clue what should be wired to where, especially since the included wiring harnesses can't be used. Should I start a new thread for that?

RandyT

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Thank you for the reply. So should I keep the resistors or take them out? It sounds like if I leave them in it will be a lot dimmer than they should be, but if I take them out I risk the LEDs burning out quicker? Is that correct?

Honestly, I can't say for certain what the negative effects are, if any, of using the constant-current drive with resistors in the mix.  That would be best answered by the manufacturer of your interface.

But what I do know for sure, is that the NovaGem LEDs (or the Helio9s as well) will not be nearly as bright when limited to only 20ma, which is much lower than their rated current handling capability.  As such, no, you won't burn them out with a 20ma constant-current controller.

Now all I need to know is how to wire these LEDs to the iPac Ultimate because they are not RGB LEDs.

Shouldn't matter.  Just pick one and map your software accordingly.  Few, if any "RGB" controllers, are other than just a collection of outputs, which can be used for single or RGB LEDs.  At their heart, RGB's are just 3 LEDS of different color, in one package, sharing a common pin, which can be either the Anode or the Cathode.  Most controllers use the common Anode variety.

I don't like promoting one vendor over another these days, but since you asked...

I think he may be referring to a packaged product, where no DIY is involved (i.e. no holes to drill, hot melt, insulating, etc.)  From the information available, it's unclear whether those fit the bill.  Probably best to ask the vendor first, if this is a concern.

Nephasth

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I think he may be referring to a packaged product, where no DIY is involved (i.e. no holes to drill, hot melt, insulating, etc.)  From the information available, it's unclear whether those fit the bill.  Probably best to ask the vendor first, if this is a concern.

Paradise has an LED option that doesn't require any modding.

http://www.paradisearcadeshop.com/button-leds/100-il-lumination-rgb-5vdc-led-.html

It's always a good idea to keep tabs on your competition, Randy.
« Last Edit: July 22, 2016, 01:30:57 pm by Nephasth »
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RandyT

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Paradise has an LED option that doesn't require any modding.

http://www.paradisearcadeshop.com/button-leds/100-il-lumination-rgb-5vdc-led-.html

Again, it's unclear whether the buttons are pre-drilled.  Ours were, and used an innovative lighting module to negate the need for any DIY.  It's unclear from the descriptions provided for either item whether this is the case with these, or whether IL changed their molds to incorporate the modifications we made to their buttons for the original NovaGems.  That's why I indicated that it is best to ask the vendor if folks don't wish to do this.   Bad advice?

For the record, we also supplied a proprietary diffusing element with the NovaGems, which is pretty useful when not using an opaque plunger.  ;)
« Last Edit: July 22, 2016, 02:05:38 pm by RandyT »

Nephasth

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There's nothing to drill on a translucent button...
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RandyT

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There's nothing to drill on a translucent button...

Heh, then I guess IL copied us again.  When we wanted to start offering lighted IL buttons, there were no holes in the bottom, and there were no IL translucent white buttons.  I couldn't even get IL to make them for us in those days.  And by "us" I mean not just GGG, but for the community as well.  So we moved on without them.  Good thing, I guess, or the CLASSX buttons might never have come to be.   :)

Nephasth

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The translucent IL buttons don't have holes for LEDs or any other mold modifications. So not sure how they copied you... Take a closer look at those pics of Paradise's LEDs.
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RandyT

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The translucent IL buttons don't have holes for LEDs or any other mold modifications. So not sure how they copied you... Take a closer look at those pics of Paradise's LEDs.

You're right.  I didn't study it, and it looked like a hole in the bottom.  Honestly, I'd have put one there for reasons I won't go into, but not my call.  Thanks for pointing that out.  So basically, any of the other lighting offerings which go inside those buttons (which is the best place for it, IMHO) will require user modification to get it there?

Nephasth

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Are suggesting someone mix match parts from various vendors? :o

Of course, Randy. If someone want to use your LEDs with IL buttons, they would have some modding to do. But if someone wanted to spend a little less for the same effect, they'd probably just buy all their parts from Paradise. It all comes down to personal preference.
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RandyT

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Are suggesting someone mix match parts from various vendors? :o

You mean like the OP for this thread?  Never happens :)

Quote
Of course, Randy. If someone want to use your LEDs with IL buttons, they would have some modding to do. But if someone wanted to spend a little less for the same effect, they'd probably just buy all their parts from Paradise. It all comes down to personal preference.

I guess you'd have to define "effect".  The difference between this solution and the original NovaGem (or more aptly, the Helio9s which are RGB), would be night and day in a side by side comparison.  But you are correct, it all comes down to personal preference, and the ideal solution has a lot to do with the effect any given builder is looking for, and the budget for the project.  As always, the only way one can know if any part fits an individuals desires, is sampling and testing.

Nephasth

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RandyT

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Rather than the dictionary definition, defining the degree and quality of the effect is more what I had in mind (but I think you knew that :))

Nephasth

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Degree of quality is in the eye of the beholder.
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RandyT

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Degree of quality is in the eye of the beholder.

Exactly.

Nephasth

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We agreed on something? Did we just become best friends?!


















No. ;D
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Titchgamer

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God ure a argumentative bugger tonight :p

Nephasth

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It's day. :P
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Titchgamer

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10pm this side of the pond :p

Nephasth

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That side doesn't matter. :P
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LOL I would love to but thats probably never going to happen!

I am going to a similar event next weekend though which is just down the road from me so I am rather looking forward to that!

DaddyLongLegs

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Now all I need to know is how to wire these LEDs to the iPac Ultimate because they are not RGB LEDs.

Shouldn't matter.  Just pick one and map your software accordingly.  Few, if any "RGB" controllers, are other than just a collection of outputs, which can be used for single or RGB LEDs.  At their heart, RGB's are just 3 LEDS of different color, in one package, sharing a common pin, which can be either the Anode or the Cathode.  Most controllers use the common Anode variety.

Thank you for the reply. So if I had RGB buttons, they would take up 3 spots out of the 96? Meaning in reality there would be 32 buttons you would be able to light up and not 96? Not that anyone has 96 pushbuttons; I am just trying to figure this out.

So for example, the row that says "46-48" on it, I would only wire up either 46, 47, or 48? I wouldn't use the other 2 pins? And I would do this for each individual button?

AndyWarne

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So for example, the row that says "46-48" on it, I would only wire up either 46, 47, or 48? I wouldn't use the other 2 pins? And I would do this for each individual button?

I think this has already been answered but you can wire single-color button LEDs to any channels, so you can use 46, 47 and 48 for 3 buttons if you wish to.

Then LEDBlinky is configured to match the way you have connected the LEDs.

Titchgamer

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For each LED you need one + and one negative.
2 connections.
RGB LEDs are basicly 3 LED's shareing a common + so you have the 3 negative connections and one positive.
Total 4 connections.

DaddyLongLegs

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Re: Using LED buttons (NovaGem) that have resistors on an iPac Ultimate I/O?
« Reply #36 on: September 19, 2021, 02:14:35 pm »


Hey Randy! I know this thread is a million years old, but some of the LEDs on my NovaGems started dying. I am using an LED-Wiz; not sure if that's somehow related as I thought these LEDs would outlive me :)

Do you remember exactly what LEDs you used in the NovaGems so I can get identical replacements?

RandyT

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Re: Using LED buttons (NovaGem) that have resistors on an iPac Ultimate I/O?
« Reply #37 on: September 20, 2021, 08:22:16 am »
Hey Randy! I know this thread is a million years old, but some of the LEDs on my NovaGems started dying. I am using an LED-Wiz; not sure if that's somehow related as I thought these LEDs would outlive me :)

Do you remember exactly what LEDs you used in the NovaGems so I can get identical replacements?

There are many things which can affect LED longevity, including the actual voltage output of the power supply, duty cycles, on-time, temperature, resistor health, etc...  It looks like they have been in service for at least 10 years, so that's quite a long time for a high-output LED.

They are special LEDs which are quite uncommon due to the high output and standard package size.  We do have some leftover stock, so the best thing to do would be to contact me directly in email with the colors you need so that I can see what is possible.

DaddyLongLegs

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Re: Using LED buttons (NovaGem) that have resistors on an iPac Ultimate I/O?
« Reply #38 on: September 20, 2021, 09:23:08 am »
Hey Randy! I know this thread is a million years old, but some of the LEDs on my NovaGems started dying. I am using an LED-Wiz; not sure if that's somehow related as I thought these LEDs would outlive me :)

Do you remember exactly what LEDs you used in the NovaGems so I can get identical replacements?

There are many things which can affect LED longevity, including the actual voltage output of the power supply, duty cycles, on-time, temperature, resistor health, etc...  It looks like they have been in service for at least 10 years, so that's quite a long time for a high-output LED.

They are special LEDs which are quite uncommon due to the high output and standard package size.  We do have some leftover stock, so the best thing to do would be to contact me directly in email with the colors you need so that I can see what is possible.

Thank you so much! E-mail sent!

Also could you describe the exact specs of the LEDs for posterity sake? So in the future, people who Google this issue, will be able to fix it? So like the exact mm size, the thickness, brightness, etc that are unique to the LEDs in case me or anyone else would ever need to order more?

I would hate to be unable to figure out which replacement LEDs I would need in 20 years from now after you've retired! :)

RandyT

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Re: Using LED buttons (NovaGem) that have resistors on an iPac Ultimate I/O?
« Reply #39 on: September 20, 2021, 11:14:55 am »
LEDs have a tendency of "evolving" over time.  Different manufacturing processes and manufacturers, etc.  Then there are the chemical compositions which have an effect on the color, longevity, and so on.

The chances of finding exact replacements for virtually any LED you have had in use for years is pretty slim, as even the exact LED will have different functional properties when new.  The best analog I can think of is trying to perfectly match paint for a large door ding on a car that's been sitting in the direct sun for 5 years.  It's probably not going to happen.  At minimum, replacement of all the LEDs of the same color on a panel, will have the best chances of getting them to blend back in, as they would be uniform.

All of that said, the LEDs we used in those earlier buttons are the standard 5mm variety, but are rated at a very non-standard 500mw output.  Typically, a 500pc minimum order was required for each color, and they are not the typical inexpensive LEDs you see offered everywhere.  This is one of the reasons we chose to go a different route with the Helio-style lighting, which uses multiple, more easily-accessible high-output LEDs.