Hours, minutes and seconds – in glowing neon

This clock uses high voltage neon gas plasma displays. These were used for a few years in the late 1970s until they were replaced with 7 digit versions around 1980. They were used by both pinball manufacters Bally and Williams. The module I devised works in conjunction with the driver circuitry on the Bally boards.

The finished clock: the artwork is sandwiched between two pieces of glass, held in a wooden frame.

What it does

The clock is simple in function. While the clock is runnning one switch on the back sets the hours, while the other one sets the minutes and resets the seconds to zero.

New night mode

To preserve display life there is an option to switch the display off at night. The on time and the off time can be adjusted to suit the user. By default it goes off at 10pm and on again at 8am. The LED on the board continues to blink to reassure you that the clock is actually working.

Snooze feature

While the clock is in sleep mode either switch will wake the clock up for one minute to display the time. The adjustment function is locked out for five seconds to prevent the time being adjusted rather than waking the clock up.

Scrolling modes

The clock now has a variety of scrolling and animation modes which may be selected according to personal preference by holding a switch down on power up.

Laying it down

The disadvantage with the Bally display assemblies is that they are rather deep because the PCB is at right angles to the display envelope at the back. This inevitably leads to a rather chunky box if the unit is not modified in any way. If the Bally display is to be kept untouched there is little that can be done about this. My boards don’t actually add any depth of the box.

It is just possible to unscrew the plastic mount for the display, snip the plastic and bend the displays so they lies flat with the circuit board, without unsoldering anything.

However, I had such a quantity of these units that in testing them all I found I had some good displays with bad boards and I also had some good PCBs with broken or out-gassed displays. It seemed logical to unite the two and I was no longer restrained by the need to keep the display at 90º to the board. The result is a much flatter box and a larger area for surrounding artwork.

I decided to have a small quantity of professional PCBs manufactured. These are designed to fit either directly over the display pins, onto which they can be soldered, or the board can sit alongside the existing pin locations and bridged across with wire. They could also be attached to a suitable plug connector with no soldering to the original display.

In the picture below I chose to remove the pins to reduce the depth of the assembly and secured the display to the PCB with a hot glue gun.


I have built a few special commissions for those who have been prepared to pay for the time for me to devise suitable artwork and to build the case. Typically the cost will be around £180, depending on the complexity of design. Remember, you will be paying for my time, getting a unique design and obtaining a fully working pinball clock.

Designs produced to date:


For the history of these displays and the clock, please see the Pinball display clock – Version 1 page .

For sale

Complete working pinball display clock in square case

Pinball clock for sale

A fully-working clock in a square case.
Choice of white or black frame.
Available for immediate delivery.

Overall size of clock
  • Width: 25 cm
  • Depth: 4.5 cm
  • Height: 25 cm
Complete clock:
£90 + shipping

UK Power supply for above clock.
Please order separately.

Overseas customers please source a suitable supply in your country. This is a very common item.

  • DC 9v – 12v, unregulated
  • 2.1mm DC plug, centre positive

Neon Bally pinball clock module for sale

Assembled and tested
clock module

Ready for assembly in your own case. Includes the neon display.

Neon module:
£70 + shipping

UK Power supply for above clock.
Please order separately.

Overseas customers please source a suitable supply in your country. This is a very common item.

  • DC 9v – 12v, unregulated
  • 2.1mm DC plug, centre positive

Need a display?

Do you have a pinball with dull or burned displays and are looking for a new Bally display?

Why fit LED replacements when you can get the real thing in glowing neon?

I have a limited number of good used working displays.

I will not supply any displays with obvious burns or distortion of the segments. They may exhibit slight signs of use.

Refurbished for reliability

I remove old fractured solder from the connectors and replace it with fresh tin/lead solder, to ensure good connections. I also replace the under-rated 1/4w 100K resistors with 1/2w versions. These are often a cause of failure on these boards.

6 digit display and board

6 digit Bally pinball display for sale

Bally part: AS2518-21(most common)

Earlier Bally part: AS2518-15

Please state if you have a preference.

Good used Bally 6 digit display:
£25 + shipping

7 digit Bally display and board

7 digit Bally pinball display for sale

Bally part: AS-2518-58

Good used Bally 7 digit display:
+ delivery

Exchange or repair service

If you have a display that needs repairing, I offer a repair or exchange service on these 6 or 7 digit modules.

As long as the display has gas and the digits not burned beyond repair, the display module is repairable.

Please for details.

Please note

Payment through the cart on this site is by Paypal only. I am not a business, it’s just a hobby. When you complete the order you will be asked to pay the amount to my Paypal account, which is is the name of: js@jsdesign.co.uk.

You may to arrange payment by another method.

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