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How-To: Mini-cabinet LCD mod
08-21-2011, 03:59 PM (This post was last modified: 08-26-2011 06:36 PM by Tilt.)
Post: #1
Information How-To: Mini-cabinet LCD mod
Things you'll need:
  • Windows PC
  • uLCD-144 (GFX) screen [link]
  • USB programmer/cable [link]
  • 4D Workshop3 IDE [link]
  • Attract mode source code [link]
  • 555 UV Super LED bulb [link]
  • Decals [link]
  • Decal paper [link]
  • Soldering iron
  • 22 Gauge wire
  • 3-Pin, 0.093" Molex plug connector & male pins (product ID 03-09-2032 & 02-09-2118) [link]
  • 0.093" Molex pin extractor [link]
  • Crimper

  1. Program the screen
    •     Start up the Workshop IDE software and load the .4DG file. Take a moment to admire the work Eli did writing it. Connect your uLCD-144 to the computer via the USB programmer. Choose the proper COM port from the drop down menu. You should see a blue dot next to the COM port when a connection is established. Hit the "Comp 'n Load" button. Your LCD should reboot and start playing the Tron attract mode. Disconnect the LCD. That was easy!

  2. Dismantle the mini-cabinet
    •     Remove the mini-cabinet from the game by detaching the flasher connector under the playfield and the screw holding the cabinet to the playfield plastic. Remove the screws from the left and right side of the cabinet. The cabinet is now held together by glue and delicate plastic tabs. Insert a flathead screwdriver into a seam and gently separate one side of the cabinet, sliding the driver up and twisting as you progress. Once you've removed one side, you'll also need to remove at least the "screen" and top parts as well. Just patiently wobble and pull at the pieces so as to break the glue but not the plastic, and they should come loose.

          Remove the vinyl decal from the face of the "screen" to reveal a clear plastic beneath with a trapezoid bezel screened on the front. Clean this plastic and set it aside. Save the decal only to remind you of how awesome this mod is.

  3. Reconfigure the bulb
    •     Remove the 555 wedge socket from inside the cabinet and save the screw/nut. Remove the 555 bulb. Using pliers, bend the metal bracket on the back of the socket 180 degrees so it's pointing up, parallel to the socket, forming a U shape. Insert the 555 UV LED, and reattach the socket to the cabinet. At this point you may want to reconnect the bulb under the playfield to test it in the game diagnostics and make sure it's working.

  4. Solder the LCD
    •     Cut two pieces of wire about 7' long and strip the ends leaving about 1/16" wire exposed. Tie these wires together. Solder one end of the wire pair to the power and ground pins on the LCD, as shown in the photo. Power is pin 9, and ground is pin 6. Make sure to angle the wires so they lead off to the side, since they will later have to route around the LED bulb. Obviously take care not to short two pins together, but do leave the pins intact as they will help support the LCD later on.

          Crimp pins onto the other end of your wires, and insert them into the Molex connector so that ground in on the end with the pointy tip and power is in the middle. The last pin in the Molex connector is not used (it's 12V, and the middle is 5V). At this point you should test your screen by plugging it into the unused Molex connector in-game below the right flipper. The screen should turn on a few seconds after powering up the pinball game. If it doesn't, check for a shorted pin on the LCD.

      Once everything works, use the pin extractor to remove the pins you inserted so you'll be able to feed them through the playfield later. Alternatively you can add 2-pin 0.062" Molex connectors to the wire pair about 8" from the mini-cabinet, which is more professional and allows you to remove the cabinet from game without tools. These are available at Great Plains Electronics, like the other Molex connector.

  5. Rebuild & apply decals
    •     Replace the mini-cabinet "glass" plastic. Remove the protective film from the uLCD-144 and place it behind the "glass" with wires running down, around the LED. When held upright, the LCD should rest on top of the LED. (You may want to cover the pins or cabinet braces with electrical tape, but I haven't run into any problems leaving them non-isolated.) Finally, place a piece of styrofoam behind the screen to brace it. Now replace the top and side plastics, and you've assembled your cabinet!

          If you're going to add the new decals, don't replace the side screws quite yet. Simply print out the image onto decal paper (you can fit three sets on a standard sheet), cut them out, and stick them on. Use the wax paper the decals came off to slide over and firmly press the decal onto the cabinet. Find the side screw holes by sliding your finger over the area and pressing in to make an indentation. Insert the screws, and you're done!

  6. Plug 'n Play!
    • Slide the wires back in, through the large hole in the blue playfield plastic, and down through the playfield hole. Replace the screw holding the mini-cabinet to the plastic. Plug the flasher LED into its power source, and then feed the LED power cable down the playfield along other existing wire bundles, keeping in mind the necessary slack it will need when lowering the playfield. Zip-tie the wires as needed. As mentioned before, it plugs into the unused 3-pin Molex connector under the right flipper.

      Now turn on the game and enjoy your new and improved mini-cabinet!

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08-22-2011, 11:59 PM (This post was last modified: 03-03-2012 02:46 PM by Tilt.)
Post: #2
Kit For Sale
UPDATE 1-27-2012: All kits have been sold. Thanks to everyone who purchased one. The company making the LCD screen has put the product in a "end of life" phase, so no more LCD kits will be made for Tron.

I have designed a replacement arcade cabinet that uses a different (OLED) screen. It is available in very limited supply. Details are available here:

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