How to add flashers to your Creature From The Black Lagoon
Questions and answers from the general public

HTML, plans, and bad (sic) drawrerings done by: TheKorn at

Last modified date: August 13, 2002.
Page is freshest if read before: August 13, 2084

ADA Notice: Although I normally code my pages with alt tags for screen readers, doing so on these pages would make no sense. These pages detail how to add flashing lights to a pinball machine, which doesn't make a whole lot of sense for blind people to do since they can't see where the ball is anyway. Heh heh heh!

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I decided to add this page after a number of questions came up after the publishing of the CFTBL pop bumper modification page. They're either insightful, intelligent, funny, or just call me an idiot. :)

So here, in no particular order (mainly the order in which I remember them!), are questions that people have asked about the mod, and what I belive are the correct answers. (Hey! I could be wrong, you know! :))

Do the lighting bolts still work after this modification?

This has been asked to me a few times. I'm not really sure where the question comes from, since in the example MPEG, they're working just fine! :)

But for the sake of clarity, yes the lightning bolts still work after the modification. The board is only moved out of the way during construction so that work in the area can be done easier; it's not removed from the game completely. In fact, I didn't even bother myself with disconnecting the wiring from the board when I was putting in the mod! I just pushed it to the side, out of the way, and when I was finished I move it back into the original position, and screwed it back into place.

Why did you use two resistors when a 60 ohm resistor is available from Mouser?

The reason is because I prefer to source parts from The (sic) Shark whenever possible. I'm an instant gratification kind of guy. Plus, this mod went from idea to working prototype in one day; can't do that via mail order! :)

Don't get me wrong; there's no problem with buying your parts from Mouser. If it floats your boat, go with it! Since I'm in a big metro area, I could have easily sourced the parts cheaper the same day through Zack Electronics or similar.

But that wasn't the feel I wanted to give to people. I wanted people to read the page, crack open a cold one, and come to the realization that, "Hey, I could do this.... TODAY!"

If I listed mouser parts, then people would tend to think (for better or for worse) that they have to have those exact parts. Since there's a Radio Shark in just about every two-bit town in America (and I profess my genuine sorrow that I know nothing about parts availability outside of the USA!), I'm happier referencing their parts and making the mod more accessable to everyone.

Besides, those CARGPBs out there will just order their parts from Mouser, anyway! :)

So I can use that 60 ohm resistor from Mouser?

Sure! Go ahead! From the light bulb's standpoint, it's exactly the same.

Then what do I do with the two wires that have nothing to connect them?

Uh, tie them together. No, I'm not kidding, that's actually what you'd need to do! OK, it's picture time...

If I wanted to compensate for the weak first flash, what would I do?

First, you'd hire an engineer with a proper EE degree, and some time on his hands. :)

What, you're still here? Oh, OK, fine... Check out the blather I wrote on google here. It's too much to repeat here (especially since it's conjecture) and 99.9% of the people reading this are going to throw in the towel way before that point.

Can you use smaller wattage resistors?

The answer to this is probably. I tend to error on the side of caution, which is why I went for the 10W resistors. The reason you can most likely get away with smaller resistors is because the amount of time that the light bulb is actually on is very short.

Let me explain that better. Resistors are rated so that a 10W resistor can dissipate 10W continuously. It's built to dissipate 10W worth of heat from now until the end of life for the part. But we're not using this resistor continuously; if you really think about it this resistor is off 99% of the time, so there isn't any heat build up.

Think about a standard incandescent light bulb. If it's been on for an hour, it's hot! But when you first switch it on, it's at room temperature. If you only switch it on for a fraction of a second, you'd generate some heat, and that heat should immediately get released to the room and the resistor should effectively be at room temperature again.

Same idea applies to the resistor; it's usually off, so usually it's not generating heat. The only time it's on is when the light is actually firing, which is a very small amount of time.

The danger here is using a resistor that's too small. For example, I'm pretty sure if you used the 1/8 W resistors available from The Shark, you'd have a crispy mess on your hands in no time flat. I figure if you have the space, might as well make it the resistor too large, rather than too small; you can't go wrong that way.

Can I do this to a machine other than CFTBL?

Sure! This mod will work for sure on all WPC games. I belive it will work on system 11 games also, but I'd take a voltage reading on the pop bumper just to make sure before I tried it.

(I'm going to measure my High Speed soon and re-write this answer definitively for Sys 11.)

What other mods have you done? What's on the drawing board?

Now, it wouldn't be any fun if I told you the answers to those questions, now would it? :)


If you haven't seen the first page (or if someone has directly linked you to this page), click here to go back to the beginning.

If you want to skip back to the electrical discussion, click here.

If you want to go back to the how to info, click here.

These pages have been accessed times. Aren't I special?

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