Medieval Madness Catapult Plastic Mod Page

Welcome to my page on how to add LEDs underneath the dark catapult plastic on my Medieval Madness. This page will show you my mod to illuminate the normally dark catapult plastic. Using just a few components, I was able to put together a couple of LEDs to successfully illuminate this area powered by the G.I. circuit in the game. Please read on!

First I took two superbrite "white" LED's. The negative side is typically indicated by a shorter leg or a flattened section on the LED itself, or both. I marked the negative side with a sharpie. I am going to use two LED's to get enough dispersed light to look like there is a lamp under the plastic. The LEDs are pictured below.

Next, as pictured below, I soldered the positive lead of the left LED to the negative lead of the right LED together and added a resistor to that leg. I jumpered the negative lead of the left LED all the way over to the positive lead of the right LED. Power will eventually be tied to the lead with the resistor and the far right lead.

This is a great configuration because in an A/C circuit, power goes positive and negative 60 times a second. LED's are really diodes that emit light. Therefore, as the positive portion of the A/C cycle starts to go up, one of the LED's will go on. Once it reaches it's peak and starts to go down, the opposite LED will now be biased on and light. Therefore, we have a lamp on for every cycle of the A/C waveform. Our eyes cannot detect the off/on state due to it going so quickly. Therefore the LEDs look as if they are both on.

Pictured below is a close-up of the resistor, the jumper wire and the LED's. Please note, I did change from this 100ohm resistor to a 110ohm resistor later in the building of the circuit. I wanted to dim the output a bit and adding a little more resistance did the trick. The resistor color you will look for will be brown-brown-brown for a 110ohm resistor.

In the picture below, I have pictures a quick test of the LED's. I connected 5v DC to one side of the LED circuit as a test. Notice that only one side will work at a time due to the way we have the LED's connected. You have to reverse the polarity of the power leads to get the other portion of the circuit to light.

The next step was to figure out how to mount the LEDs to the playfield and get them powered from the G.I circuit. This was a tough dilemma due to the tight space under the catapult plastic. I also did not want to drill a hole in the playfield. I came up with the idea of using the tab off of a light socket. Below is a picture of the pieces before I modified them. Also notice that I added some heat-shrink tubing to the resistor area to ensure I did not get a short circuit.

In the next illustration, you will see that I started off by cutting the metal tab off of the lamp. What I wanted was the flat piece of metal for my circuit to attach to, and the hole through the metal to use as an attachment point to an existing hole in the catapult area on the playfield.

The next picture below illustrates how I insulated the portion of the tab that will hold my circuit. I simply used electrical tape. Also a quick note that I have wires attached now. These wires came from a flat computer ribbon cable that I had laying around.
The next picture illustrates how I was able to use my  daughter's hot glue gun to secure the circuit to the lamp tab.
Below you will see a picture of the existing hole I used in the catapult area. You can see the catapult sitting under the circuit and paper. There is a long metal rail that runs along the length of the left side of the playfield. There is a screw here that holds a portion of that rail down. I am going to use this screw and my lamp tab to achieve the mounting of the LED circuit.
Next I have included a couple of pictures showing the circuit attached. The wires are run through the back portion of the hole used by the catapult. There is plenty of room for the catapult to work and the wires to fit. I will secure the wires under the playfield in the next few steps.
Once again I grabbed the hot glue gun from my daughter and secured the wires to the playfield. This method is great because if you want, you can easily remove the hot glue from the playfield without any damage or residue. However, the hot glue is strong enough to hold these wires in place even when tugged on. See pictures below for a better look. The picture on the left is illustrating the wire coming out of the catapult hole. The second illustrates the wire running down the length of the playfield towards a G.I. light I used for power.
 

In the next picture, you will see how I attached the above wires to an existing G.I. lamp. Look for the small wires attached along with the large white/red wires.

The next picture illustrates the initial test of the circuit in the game. The LED's give off quite a bit of light and with two of them working, and bent in different directions, it really covers a wide area. The benefits of using LEDs instead of a #44 or #47 lamps are that LED's give off no heat and use a fraction of the power that a lamp would use.
Finally, a shot of the catapult plastic lit up. This area really does benefit from having a light source underneath since it is a featured item in the game.

I hope this page illustrates clearly I used LED's to construct the light source under the catapult plastic. I am definitely not the first to put a light source under that plastic, but I think I am the first to use LEDs. A big thanks go out to others who have added lamps under their catapults plastic. It was this initiative that got me thinking about how I could accomplish this mod cooler and with less power consumption.

 

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