RetroBlast! LED Accessories Mini Review
Review by Bob Seidel
What good would have been the LED-WIZ review without a review of some of the accessories? During the LED-WIZ review, I used the following accessories:
GroovyGameGear RGB-Drive Pushbutton Lighting Module
Wiring up LEDs, resistors and mounting them can be a pain. RGB LEDs are 3 times the pain. The GroovyGameGear RGB-Drive Pushbutton Lighting Module makes all that pain go away. Using this module, you can literally have LEDs installed and ready to go in minutes. The RGB-Drive comes in a few options: bare board, board with resistors and RGB LED installed for use with 5V power, and board with resistors and RGB LED installed for use with 5V power and a 24" 4-conductor cable.
I opted for the package with everything including the cable. The board is very small and compact and fits the pushbuttons I used perfectly.
The RGB LED’s are very versatile and can produce a variety of colors. You can hook up all three legs as RGB LEDs, or just one or two legs if you need a smaller variety of color. GGG describes the LED’s as Ultra-bright wide-angle LED’s, 5mm in size, draws 20 mA per color (60 ma total), and have high luminous flux levels.
The only down side with the full package is the cable. The cable comes soldered to the RGB Module, but the gauge of wire is very small. The other side of the cable needs to be stripped and I had to go through a couple wire cutters to find one that supported that gauge. The other problem was using the cable with the LEDWIZ. If the cable is not aligned correctly it will slide right out of the screw terminals.
GroovyGameGear Electric Ice Pushbuttons
The GroovyGameGear Electric ICE Buttons are designed to use a bottom mount LED to the fullest. It comes predrilled to bottom mount a 5mm LED and easily mates with the RGB-Drive Pushbutton Module. The color is whitish with a kind of pearl like finish. At first I thought I might not be fond of the buttons while they were off, but they are really starting to grow on me and I think look really good. The button size and dimensions look to be the exact same as regular Happ Pushbuttons, but there is more play in between the plunger and the base then the Happ Pushbuttons. The material of the Pushbutton is also different then a standard pushbutton. Firing up a game and playing a few games I couldn't tell any difference then a regular pushbutton. The only difference I did notice was that if I pressed the button down and quickly release it while taking my finger off, the button rattled. Again, I didn't really notice this during game play.
Where the Electric ICE Pushbuttons really shine are when lit up with LEDs. The Electric ICE Pushbuttons light up really well. The light is distributed very evenly across the whole button. With the lights of the Electric ICE Pushbuttons, the colors are very vibrant.
With the lights on the color is very visible and uniform, but the color almost seems to be coming from the inside and you see the white on the outside.
Happ Translucent Pushbuttons
The Happ Translucent Buttons are just like the normal Happ Pushbuttons, but translucent. They come in a variety of colors: Clear, Yellow, Orange, Red, Blue and Green, but require a bit more work to light up.
There are a variety of ways to light them up and I chose to bottom mount them the same way as the Electric ICE Pushbuttons. Bottom mounting the Happ Translucent Pushbuttons means you also get to whip out the Power Tools for a brief time. First I removed the plunger from the Pushbutton, then using a 3/16” drill bit and drilled away a hole in the bottom of the Pushbutton. Happ was nice enough to include a template on the bottom of the Pushbutton, so it’s pretty easy to drill and only takes a few seconds.
Lighting up the Translucent Pushbuttons was a bit of a mixed bag. The green is a little dark compared to the other buttons. The LED’s I used were matched specifically for the Electric ICE Pushbuttons. The green really needed a stronger LED or multiple strategically placed LEDs. It illuminated, just not as well as the others. The blue and red were perfect and looked great. One thing to note is that using the RGB LED with the greed, red, and blue button is that if you use a color other then the color of the pushbutton it will have almost no effect. It's a weird effect and myself and others thought the LED was busted, but this is not the case.
The clear also looked really good and when used with the RGB LED’s produced the variety of colors perfectly. The yellow and orange are a little lighter by nature and light up well. I did find the orange a bit harder to light up orange. It takes some a bit of trial and error or the button looks a bit red. One downside to using a variety of the Happ Translucent Pushbuttons is that the lighting is not equal for all buttons. This could lead to some being brighter then others. There is also some concern about bottom mounting LEDs in a translucent button. Basically, it can be really bright if you stare down the barrel of the button. I never experienced this during testing or game play and only experienced it if I purposely leaned over and stared down the barrel.
What’s that you say? You can’t light up a regular pushbutton. I can and I did. I bottom mounted them the same way as the other buttons and gave them a shot. The buttons actually lit up fairly well. They didn’t illuminate like the other buttons, but you could tell they were lit and would work fine for indicating what buttons to use during game play.
The following shots and for reference so that you can seen all available Pushbutton unlit and lit with the RGB-Drive Pushbutton Lighting Module. Note: I turned the white balance down on my digital camera. I felt the cameras tend to show too much light and I felt this represented the shades of colors more like what you would physically see.
All of the LED accessories were great products. I would suggest all of them for anyone who is looking to add something to their control panel.
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