Replacing LEDs on your VCI-100 - is it worth it?
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  1. #1
    DJTT Tankard fullenglishpint's Avatar
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    Default Replacing LEDs on your VCI-100 - is it worth it?

    I had to replace some of the LEDs on my VCI-100 after a couple of the blue ones stopped working for no apparent reason (both headphone cues, both syncs, sampler) and this got me thinking about replacing the stock green ones that are virtually impossible to see in daylight with a more visible alternative. I'm half way through the job and I thought I'd post about my experiences so far to help anyone considering doing the same thing.

    I have no prior experience of soldering but I do have a good friend who happens to work in electronic engineering

    Replacing the blue LEDs to start with was relatively straightforward, particularly with the help of this blog post and the arcade mod video tutorial. Having also done 2 firmware updates I now have a pretty intimate knowledge of the inside of my VCI! However, the blue LEDs are easier to replace since they are raised up off the front PCB by a small plastic spacer.

    The green LEDs are flush to the board and since I do not have a solder sucker, getting the new LEDs (I'm using white ones) all the way through is quite difficult. I've destroyed a couple by pushing too hard when they've been warmed up by the soldering iron.

    I started by replacing the top left 3 LEDs, those assigned to Juggle and Fader FX modes on the DJTT mapping. I had no problems with the first and second apart from difficulty getting the hang of heating both sides of the LED at the same time (one side has much better heat sinking so it's harder to melt the solder).

    The first major problem I encountered was the 3rd LED, specifically the grounding connection (the left hand hole when viewed from the front). I replaced it no problem, but when i tested it there was no output. A bit of poking around with an Ohmmeter (resistance meter) showed that the ground was still connected to its nearest via hole (where the connection passes from one side of the board to the other) but not to the other grounds on the board, so something was broken somewhere! I decided to hijack the ground on the LED above with a short piece of thin insulated wire (I used one of the strands from the inside of a telephone wire) and after a lot of fiddling it eventually worked.

    I then replaced the Loop Active LEDs with no further problems. Overall I'd say that I'm very pleased with the results, the buttons are now a lot brighter (I can take a few photos if anyone's interested), but it has taken a lot of time and has been very frustrating at times! I'm planning to do the LEDs in the transport section across the bottom next but I doubt I'll be doing every LED on the VCI.
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  3. #3
    DJTT Tankard fullenglishpint's Avatar
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    I have some of the copper wick, but since my soldering iron is woefully underpowered (25W) it doesn't seem to work very well. Anyone got any technique tips on using it?
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  4. #4
    DJTT Tankard fullenglishpint's Avatar
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    BTW 'jojo thanks for your vid on the blog, always wondered what was inside those jogwheels!
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    can i see some pics? i was considering doing something similar
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  6. #6
    DJTT Tankard fullenglishpint's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by jdog667jkt View Post
    can i see some pics? i was considering doing something similar
    I'll take some when I've put it back together, I'm in the middle of doing the transport LEDs atm. I think I've come across pretty much every hitch it's possible to find while soldering so I'll be very glad when they're done!
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  7. #7
    DJTT Tankard fullenglishpint's Avatar
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    Default Photos

    Photos as promised. The usual apology for dodgy phone camera quality! Overall view, detail of juggle and fader FX buttons and detail of transport section.

    The best method I've found for attaching the new LEDs has been to add a little solder to the back of each connection pad after removing the old one, cutting off the majority of the LED pins to avoid the lump near the top and getting a friend with pliers to push the LED in as I hold the soldering iron to the freshly soldered pads on the back. it slides in nice and easily and means that the connections are nice and firm as soon as the LED is in place.

    Edit: I think these show pretty clearly the improved brightness.
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  8. #8
    DJTT Tankard fullenglishpint's Avatar
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    And here it is where it's happiest
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  9. #9
    Tech Convert Sleeps41's Avatar
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    If I were to purchase the se or arcade edition, could djtt do the led mod and loose those green ones?

  10. #10
    Tech Mentor Wickedsight's Avatar
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    Check the LED color part.
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