Joined: 29 Sep 2011
Last Visit: 11 Nov 2017
|Posted: Fri Nov 10, 2017 4:26 pm Post subject: MGA Pac-Man Color FX2, modded with white LED backlight
|MGA's Pac-Man Color FX2, from the early 2000s, plays nicely and has a neat color LCD display. However, the game has one big design flaw - it's backlit with green LEDs, giving everything a dim, vomit-green cast. Far contrary to the bright colorful screenshot on the toy's packaging.
A few years ago I spoke with someone who managed to modify their game and replace the green LEDs with white ones, making the display far more colorful, brighter, and easier to see. Last night, I finally performed the mod to my own example, and the results are astounding. The game is so much more enjoyable now.
The mod was easy - remove the rear half of the case, take out four screws that anchor the display assembly to the front of the case, and pivot the display assembly upwards (the display itself is glued to the front of the case, so you need to use a bit of force to separate it). There is a small circuit board on each side of the display, each held on with one screw. Each board has two through-hole flat-top 3mm green LEDs soldered to it. The replacement through-hole flat-top 3mm white LEDs were inexpensive on eBay.
I was worried that the higher forward voltage of the white LEDs would make them dim on the provided voltage (which happens to be two of the AA cells in series), but it turned out not to be a problem. While the higher forward voltage is evident (the brightness lowers more quickly as the batteries discharge), the white LEDs are far brighter than the green LEDs were.
It surprises me that MGA promised such a beautiful colorful display on the toy's packaging, when the real thing turned out to be a dim, ugly palette of different shades of green. I wonder how many kids were disappointed back in the day? It's especially surprising considering that at least one other Color FX2 game from the same time period - Solitaire - was backlit with white LEDs.