In-case you didn’t notice, we have a very active forum with loads of amazing posts and discussions. One of our forum members, fa5ky, published a short tutorial over there on how to change your VCI-100 LEDS to a different color (this applies to almost all equipment). It was so good we decided to post it on the blog! He writes:
You might be wondering why in the world would I take the time to do an almost purely cosmetic mod. Well in my opinion its more then cosmetic- its a major functional upgrade. I had serious problems seeing the LEDS on my regular VCI outdoors or even indoors on a sunny day. This might not seem like a serious problem but when you are jamming out, you want to be able to know what deck is playing, what effects are on etc, at a glance. The boring green and yellow that comes on VCI’s (except the SE version from djtt) are just that, boring, and they don’t have much of a contrast in a daylight setting. So I decided to switch mine to white, blue and red for their contrast and the brightness ( and droooolllzz factor). This tutorial will also come in handy if you just want to replace some dim or dead LEDS. Do this mod at your own risk as I am assuming you have some soldering experience and won’t burn up your circuit board.
3mm LEDS-I bought mine from ebay ($6 for 100 leds) and you can choose how many of each color you want. I went with 40 x Blue, 40 x White, and 20 x Red.
Soldering iron and a solder sucker or just a de-soldering iron
Clamp– or extra set of hands to hold the circuit board steady while you remove the LEDS
STEP 1- DIS-ASSEMBLE
First off you need to take your vci-100 apart. If you are doing the arcade mod, now is the perfect time to do this LED mod also since you already have everything dis-assembled. Here is the video on how to do the arcade mod and it basically shows you how to disassemble your VCI in a safe way.
STEP 2- DE_SOLDER
Now it’s time to de-solder your LEDs. you will want to use a clamp or the “helping hand” to keep your circuit boards firmly in place while allowing front and rear access.
First add solder to the 2 LED contacts on the back of the circuit board.
This will help evenly spread the heat between both contacts so you can remove the LED
While heating up the leads pull on the LED with the pliers
(don’t pull to hard or you might break the led or worst the circuit board, it should come out with some wiggling and a tiny bit of force)
You should be left with this once the LED is removed.
Using a solder sucker or desoldering iron suck up the remaining solder so you can put your new LED in
it should look like the picture bellow
STEP 3- LED REPLACEMENT
Make sure you cut the LED above small flat section, you may also want to keep the longer leg (positive) so you can identify the sorter leg (negative).Snip the led with a light amount of pressure and bend it to break, otherwise you may end up with a pinched end that is hard to insert. Make sure you have the polarities (positive and negative) correct or it wont light up. Take note of which way the positive and negatives face before you take out your original LED. The following picture will help you identify which side is what.
You should be able to push the LED through the bottom and easily re-solder the connection.
Your done- enjoy the results!
Hey all, this thread is clearly very old. Would anyone here recommend against modding my VCI400 in this same fashion? Itching to give this a try (I hate the green and yellow LEDs).
is there any way you can do this without a soldering iron?
could someone answer me if the industry standard is 3mm leds or 5mm for the buttons between eqs and in the cue buttons.
[quote comment=”21537″]I’ve been thinking about this a lot. SO what you are saying is that if the LEDs of a stock VCI are replaced with the blue and white LEDs that you can get from the eBay link that fa5ky used for LEDs, that then the current resister would continue to protect the board and the results would be only slightly brighter lighting?[/quote]
I’D REALLY LIKE THE ANSWER TO THIS QUESTION!
I’ve got a load of LEDs sitting here that I ordered from Fa5ky’s eBay link, but I want to be sure that everything works as it should.
Please can someone advise?
Fa5ky – is your VCI-100 still performing well?
what about the vci 300? can you show us how to take that apart? i unhooked the buttons thinking that it would loosen up the board for me to take out but it’s still stuck. i can’t even pull out the knob. so i need help getting my buttons hooked back on to the board. help!
Your right. It’s ver difficult and better to give the unit to some electronics guru who has the right tools to do the works. I messed up 4 LEDs and connections and was able to trace and jumper them with tiny electronics wire. Its all fine now and all back together. I’ll never do that again…
I would just like to add that this project is not for amateurs. After performing the arcade mod with ease (and thoroughly enjoying it), I thought this would be a breeze and yield great results.
Instead I have butchered my VCI-100. When removing some of the LEDs (I’ve only changed 6), I seem to have broken some of the printed metal tracks and short circuited the PCB in other places. Now some lights don’t come on and others are going wild.
The VCI is fluctuating between power on and off.
It seems that the holes that were milled for the LEDs were very tight, so really needed some force to remove.
Does anyone live near London and want to help me try and remedy this?
I’ve been thinking about this a lot. SO what you are saying is that if the LEDs of a stock VCI are replaced with the blue and white LEDs that you can get from the eBay link that fa5ky used for LEDs, that then the current resister would continue to protect the board and the results would be only slightly brighter lighting?
[quote comment=””]When replacing LEDs by ones of a different color, shouldn’t you take the different voltage drop (Vf) into account and also change the resistor?[/quote]
in general- yes you should know what the combo is but this requires a lot of complex information about the LED voltage draw and the current on the machine. That stuff is too complex the explain here- so by using the same one you would just get a lightly different brightness depending on the color of LED chosen.
When replacing LEDs by ones of a different color, shouldn’t you take the different voltage drop (Vf) into account and also change the resistor?
Thats the right one. There are some things you can change once its selected. Direct, toggle etc. Just switch it to output and you should be set.
thats the right one. There are some other options once you select it. Direct, toggle, etc. There will be one that says output. btw the post above was me lol. I was trying out opera 10 and forgot to add my sn.
I’m having trouble finding play in midi-mappings. I see play/pause under transport but it doesn’t lead to anything else.
On another note…cool mapping upgrade. I’m sure others like myself will want to have this added to the next .tks file. Any other cool LED ideas? And where under add do I find play so I can set my led for a playing deck?
DJ lp thats the norm but you can change it so that it stays lit. Just go to your midi mappings and
add a play->output->led and select the corresponding deck and map the output.
I also got the lights to flash to the beat which is pretty cool and helps a bit if you are new to manual beat matching.
add->output->beat phase meter->corresponding deck->map the button you want lit.
So I plugged up my VCI-SE. On mine, all of my transport buttons are white led’s. My trnasport buttons turn blue only as I’m pressing them (except sync…no blue there). Otherwise, if I’m not pressing them, they’re just glowing white. Is my VCI operating properly or is that the norm?
If so, back to my wish. An led visual on which deck is playing. Any suggestions?
GOOD JOB fa5ky !!!! WHAT UPPP EAN !!!!! I have an idea with using LED’s and maybe clear arcade buttons …. sounds like a good idea guys ? And where can I find Clear Arcade buttons ?
There are 3mm LED’s for stock in the uk on ebay.. and I am defo gonna get some and turn mine into a white and blue monster! The soldering looks pretty simple ( I used to do alot of cables etc in a previous job).
Thanks for the article! I’ve been looking to change my LED’s for a while due to the same problem of the stock LED’s being too dim for use in daylight.
Just a suggestion…..is this a service that djtt can provide? people can send in their stock boards(or entire vci-100) and payment, and select LED colors? I’m sure a lot of people would want this, but don’t have the skills to take on such a challenging soldering job.
On another note, I didn’t realize the stock play buttons lit up when active (sorry…I’m sure I was focused on the screen and/or other VCI buttons). I still have the stock SE buttons. I need to hook it all up and take notice so you still answered my question. Thanks!!!
Now if NI could come up with something similar on the actual full browse Traktor screen, we’ll be 100%.
Thanks fa5ky (and Fatlimey);
I agree, a “deck playing” led assignment on the VCI would be great. I think all of us can probably remember when we lifted the needle off of the wrong turntable at least once in our lifetime. The fullzize song browse is great and personally I made my settings only allow a song to be loaded into a stopped deck but as a time save, a “deck playing” LED would be great!
nevermind i found it. heres the link if anybody is interested.
btw has anyone here read about making the leds flash to the beat? I remember reading it somewhere but i cant find it.
Sorry for the confusion but i meant if you still had the stock play buttons you could see since they light up if activated. But now that i think about it, ever since i did the arcade mod, I’ve had a couple of times where i forgot which deck is playing. It would be nice to have an indicator showing which deck is playing, like maybe the load buttons light up or something. I will have to look into that.
Thanks Fatlimey, I’ll be a little more specific…
My question was as a result of this line in the post…
“…when you are jamming out, you want to be able to know what deck is playing, what effects are on etc,”
As far as what I mean, I just use decks A & B. As far as the crossfader is concerened, I’m ok with that visual. The line referenced above in the post put me under the impression that as I’m searching the maximized/full page song browser, there might be some visual indicator on the VCI (that I wasn’t aware of) that lets you know which deck is playing. I’m not sure if he (fa5ky) meant that in a general sense or if the VCI has an indicator/LED that shows which deck is playing.
[quote comment=”21194″]Can we get a spec on the LEDs and perhaps a weblink to buy ?[/quote]
They are 3mm leds. 5mm would fit also but they dont fit under the jogs.
I got mine from ebay(http://cgi.ebay.com/100-Pcs-3mm-Red-Blue-Green-Yellow-White-Amber-LED-Lamp_W0QQitemZ110375816625QQcmdZViewItemQQptZLH_DefaultDomain_0?hash=item19b2e94db1&_trksid=p3911.c0.m14)
. But it took close to 3 weeks to get here since they are based in hong kong. If you order before hand it shouldn’t be a problem though.
[quote comment=”21192″]There’s a way to tell what deck is playing on the VCI?[/quote]
Define what you mean by “playing”? Say you have deck A producing sound, but the crossfader is 100% over on Deck B. Is deck A now playing? What about if decks A and C are mapped to the left side of the crossfader, but only Deck C is making sound. Is deck A now “playing”? What if the crossfader is 51% towards deck B, both decks are making noise buy deck A is filtered out 100% using the lowpass filter. Is Deck A still “playing”?
It’s not an easy question to answer, especially when you have four decks playing at once, each with arbitrary assignment to the crossfader.
Can we get a spec on the LEDs and perhaps a weblink to buy ?
…and please forgive my spelling errors.
This may be the dumbest questionon the post but I have to ask it. There’s a way to tell what deck is playing on the VCI?! Forgive me if it’s something obvious that I don’t know. And I definitely conside myself a “slightly” above average VCI user. My question may demote me but hey.
Anyway, it’s important because now that we have the song browser maximized, I can’t tell which deck is playing while scrolling to find my next song. Yes, 9 times out of 10 I remember or I can of course glance at the crossfader but I am facinated that there may be an LED that tells us what’s up. Again forgive me for missing it but just what is that way we can tell which deck is playing (aside from the crossfaded) when we have the maximized browser up?
fuck what if you wired up two different colors for the effects banks, and when it was on Deck A it was Color A, and Deck B it was color B. That would be way tight.
Its not a problem if the leds heats too much? What is the limit of power a led can have?
any suggestions about:
After picking up a de-soldering Iron I decided to practice on the LED’s from the old buttons I cut out of the vci for the arcade mod.
The first few were very rough, i melted a little of the board the 2nd time, but after 30 minutes of practice I got it down flat, cant wait for my LEDS to get here.
Just practice a minute, its not that hard after you do it a few times.
Yes,it is very easy.
I love DJTT you make my life so much easier.
With a desolder it may be “easier” than “sucker” machine.
This part is the worst (and not so hard at least) but if you don’t have “any” background, just try other easiest project before like cannibalizate old stuff (for desoldering learning and issues) or just try to do a “simple joy” controller (cheap, easy and useful).
Then when you have skills, upgrade your equipment.
The most important: Don’t upgrade your “basic” stuff if you don’t have another stuff for play/work. One example; I’m building my arduinome and I’m doing step by step because I have my Roland SP555 for play/gig/work… mixers, players and so on in the same way (is my advice of course).
Build your set step by step.
just a thought to those who might not have soldering experience, or are afraid to mess up their VCI (this would include myself):
why not apply colored clear tape over the buttons? (yea yea.. its super ghetto i know.) I’m thinking this would probably work best for those who have the white/blue LED’s as opposed to green/yellow.
changing LED color is definitely appealing, towards the top mostly to visually separate browser navigation, loops, and effects.
I could totally see myself doing the arcade mod, but this is a little extreme. I do not trust myself with some led’s. although the black overlay, with white buttons, and all white leds would be so sexy. Fuck!
Awesome, I was planning on modding my LEDs tomorrow while the VCI case is at my schools machine shop. DJTT comes through again with a perfectly timed article to guide my project. I love DJTT you make my life so much easier.