Discussion:
Things breaking on Stern games
(too old to reply)
T***@gmail.com
2007-10-08 17:52:17 UTC
Permalink
Not to beat a dead horse, but my uncle owns a vending company. He
used to be big into pins, until the late 90s. We played a broken F-
Guy, and his thoughts were that he bought SEVERAL NIB High Speed, Pin-
bots, F-14's, and games of that era. Last game he bought NIB was
TAF. He would clean them, do maintenance as far as bulbs that were
out, and check the switches and flipper strength on a regular basis.
But aside from that, he never had to update software, or 'replace a
Stewie playfield' because it broke after 2 weeks. The games came out
of the box 'ready to go'. And in the years and years he had the
games, the worst thing that ever totally would break would be a
flipper or a pop bumper.

That was his thoughts as an Op, and why he doesn't buy pins anymore.
frenchy
2007-10-08 18:07:40 UTC
Permalink
But aside from that, he never had to update software, >>
You don't 'have to' update the software on a Stern either, unless it's
a rare game-killing bug that's involved. Williams and Gottliebs had
revisions too, Stern has just made it easier and basically cost-free
to do, which unfortunately gives them less urgency to release the game
with all the i's dotted and t's crossed. Just something that tends to
go along with game software that is now much more soft, as it were

<<or 'replace a> Stewie playfield' because it broke after 2 weeks.>>

What would have to break on one of those pfs that would require the
whole thing to be replaced?
That was his thoughts as an Op, and why he doesn't buy pins anymore.>>
Is he still 'big into pins' except only non-Sterns? If not, I'd
venture to guess the decision has a lot more to do with other factors
that are hurting pinball.
So what was broken on that Family Guy anyway?
Lloyd Olson
2007-10-08 18:14:27 UTC
Permalink
Your Uncle probably remembers things a bit different. He never updated
software ? Lots of games had it available and he didn't bother ? The games
came out of the box ready to go ? He was either very lucky, or didn't bother
checking them over good. And the first week or two always turned up stuff
that needed tweaking. If you have a major component fail, like the pirate
ship on my POTC, Stern Fed Ex'd me a whole new one the next day, in those
good old days, call Williams and tell them you needed a major assembly,
they'd kick you back to your distributor where it was up to them if anybody
cared or not. We always tend to remember the past as the good old days, but
while they were happening, they often weren't as good as we remember them.
LTG :)
Post by T***@gmail.com
Not to beat a dead horse, but my uncle owns a vending company. He
used to be big into pins, until the late 90s. We played a broken F-
Guy, and his thoughts were that he bought SEVERAL NIB High Speed, Pin-
bots, F-14's, and games of that era. Last game he bought NIB was
TAF. He would clean them, do maintenance as far as bulbs that were
out, and check the switches and flipper strength on a regular basis.
But aside from that, he never had to update software, or 'replace a
Stewie playfield' because it broke after 2 weeks. The games came out
of the box 'ready to go'. And in the years and years he had the
games, the worst thing that ever totally would break would be a
flipper or a pop bumper.
That was his thoughts as an Op, and why he doesn't buy pins anymore.
phishrace
2007-10-08 18:30:31 UTC
Permalink
Post by T***@gmail.com
Not to beat a dead horse, but my uncle owns a vending company. He
used to be big into pins, until the late 90s. We played a broken F-
Guy, and his thoughts were that he bought SEVERAL NIB High Speed, Pin-
bots, F-14's, and games of that era. Last game he bought NIB was
TAF. He would clean them, do maintenance as far as bulbs that were
out, and check the switches and flipper strength on a regular basis.
But aside from that, he never had to update software, or 'replace a
Stewie playfield' because it broke after 2 weeks. The games came out
of the box 'ready to go'. And in the years and years he had the
games, the worst thing that ever totally would break would be a
flipper or a pop bumper.
That was his thoughts as an Op, and why he doesn't buy pins anymore.
The mini playfield problem only needed a minor software tweak to
correct. The hardware was fine. Did you even read the replies to the
other thread you started? If you paid any attention at all here you
would've known that even before the software was fixed, a power cycle
on the machine would immediately clear the problem. Software updates
have become so ridiculously easy that a 5 year old could do them.

Stern's overall quality, especially hardware, has been outstanding for
the last 3 games. Too bad your uncle is missing out.

-phish
T***@gmail.com
2007-10-08 19:01:58 UTC
Permalink
Post by phishrace
Post by T***@gmail.com
Not to beat a dead horse, but my uncle owns a vending company. He
used to be big into pins, until the late 90s. We played a broken F-
Guy, and his thoughts were that he bought SEVERAL NIB High Speed, Pin-
bots, F-14's, and games of that era. Last game he bought NIB was
TAF. He would clean them, do maintenance as far as bulbs that were
out, and check the switches and flipper strength on a regular basis.
But aside from that, he never had to update software, or 'replace a
Stewie playfield' because it broke after 2 weeks. The games came out
of the box 'ready to go'. And in the years and years he had the
games, the worst thing that ever totally would break would be a
flipper or a pop bumper.
That was his thoughts as an Op, and why he doesn't buy pins anymore.
The mini playfield problem only needed a minor software tweak to
correct. The hardware was fine. Did you even read the replies to the
other thread you started? If you paid any attention at all here you
would've known that even before the software was fixed, a power cycle
on the machine would immediately clear the problem. Software updates
have become so ridiculously easy that a 5 year old could do them.
Stern's overall quality, especially hardware, has been outstanding for
the last 3 games. Too bad your uncle is missing out.
-phish
I do see the point. My uncle probably was 'lucky' in one respect with
things not breaking, but he just swore up and down that whenever
something went 'wrong' with an 80's Wms game (High Speed, Pinbot), it
was minor. It wasn't like there were 'known issues'. Those were
resolved BEFORE the games got into the customers hands.

I guess the end result is a mix of various responses. One person said
that the production has gotten way more complex, as is evident with
the Stewie pinball. So, I guess the price of a more complex,
entertaining game is such.
I must say that on POTC & Spidey I have played many, and have only
seen TWO mechanical issues, at all. One was the ship not registering
hits, which is just a bad switch and can happen anywhere, anytime.
The other was at Jilly's in Ocean City, the Tortuga disc didn't spin.
But it still seemed to award the proper value, so no big deal. I've
seen ZERO mechanical issues with Spidey, not a target, not a flipper
that wasn't PERFECT, nothing. The software aside, the worst thing
I've seen phyisically on a Spidey is the ball-hang on the upper ramp,
which can be easily tweaked.

Agreed 100% on Spidey & LOTR hardware. Agreed like 80% on F-guy
hardware, due to spending hours and not being able to play a properly
working one on location, but encountering 3 with issues, that were NOT
there a few weeks ago.
Cliffy
2007-10-08 19:57:34 UTC
Permalink
Indeed your uncle did get lucky as Williams DID have problems with games
that went out to customers (distribs and then operators) Just take a
peek at the service bulletins put out on many system 11 games *after*
they were already in customers hands. Since you mention F-14 it makes
the point well, eg; the bulletin to remove one upper pf flasher due to
possibility of shorting to ground and blowing fuses and transistors. I
think, as has been suggested, your uncle only remembers the good things
and has more than just one reason for not buying NIB Sterns.
Post by T***@gmail.com
I do see the point. My uncle probably was 'lucky' in one respect with
things not breaking, but he just swore up and down that whenever
something went 'wrong' with an 80's Wms game (High Speed, Pinbot), it
was minor. It wasn't like there were 'known issues'. Those were
resolved BEFORE the games got into the customers hands.<snip>
--
Cliffy - CARGPB2
A passion for pinball!
http://www.passionforpinball.com
fawdown
2007-10-08 22:35:42 UTC
Permalink
I thought it was the system 11 A games not B/C that had issues.

The one thing notable for me about the good old days is original
theming that could sell a game. As for the new Stern games, I like
what I have played for the most part. In regard to maintenance, there
are a lot of moving parts and things get pounded on. But I have yet
to play a TSPP on route where the garage door worked.
J. Weaver Jr.
2007-10-09 07:09:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by T***@gmail.com
I do see the point. My uncle probably was 'lucky' in one respect with
things not breaking, but he just swore up and down that whenever
something went 'wrong' with an 80's Wms game (High Speed, Pinbot), it
was minor. It wasn't like there were 'known issues'. Those were
resolved BEFORE the games got into the customers hands.
...like the TZ clock, which suffered a "heat death" on pretty much every
"route" machine I've ever seen? -JW
--
Posted via a free Usenet account from http://www.teranews.com
Jeff (JAW)
2007-10-09 12:04:52 UTC
Permalink
My kids just want an indoor pool.

Jeff
Jeff (JAW)
2007-10-09 12:06:18 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeff (JAW)
My kids just want an indoor pool.
Jeff
Sorry wrong post. This was supposed to be the Expo location post.
pinballwiz
2007-10-09 13:10:02 UTC
Permalink
Post by Jeff (JAW)
My kids just want an indoor pool.
Jeff
That would be too cost-prohibitive on a pinball. The bean counters would
never let that thru.

Rob
frenchy
2007-10-09 18:31:43 UTC
Permalink
Post by J. Weaver Jr.
...like the TZ clock, which suffered a "heat death" on pretty much every
"route" machine I've ever seen? -JW>>
The only good news about that was the game played the same without
it : )
Probably the most troublesome toy ever.
seymour-shabow
2007-10-09 12:15:59 UTC
Permalink
Post by T***@gmail.com
I do see the point. My uncle probably was 'lucky' in one respect with
things not breaking, but he just swore up and down that whenever
something went 'wrong' with an 80's Wms game (High Speed, Pinbot), it
was minor. It wasn't like there were 'known issues'. Those were
resolved BEFORE the games got into the customers hands.
A lot of distribs used to check out the games for their customers (the
ops) especially if they could count on them to buy regularly or when the
distrib needed some receivables - not so sure that's happening anymore.
Pins are mechanical, they always need some kind of maintenance......
if you read operator magazines from the 70s, there was ALWAYS a problem
with dirty machines, not working stuff. I don't think
maintenance/proper repair knowledge has ever been a priority for 80% of
the operators over the years.

In the heyday, when the machines were paying for themselves in 2-3
months I think they just threw them out or traded them in rather than
fix them.

-scott CARGPB#29
Lloyd Olson
2007-10-09 17:32:29 UTC
Permalink
A big distributor may uncrate them, but that is usually it. When you have
200 of one thing come in and they are all being picked up immediately, it
isn't possible to set up each and every game and go through it.

And no pin ever paid for itself in 2-3 months. Very few video games could
even do that. Gauntlet would be the only one capable of doing it, I can
think of. LTG :)
Post by seymour-shabow
A lot of distribs used to check out the games for their customers (the
ops) especially if they could count on them to buy regularly or when the
distrib needed some receivables - not so sure that's happening anymore.
Pins are mechanical, they always need some kind of maintenance...... if
you read operator magazines from the 70s, there was ALWAYS a problem with
dirty machines, not working stuff. I don't think maintenance/proper
repair knowledge has ever been a priority for 80% of the operators over
the years.
In the heyday, when the machines were paying for themselves in 2-3 months
I think they just threw them out or traded them in rather than fix them.
-scott CARGPB#29
frenchy
2007-10-09 18:30:16 UTC
Permalink
Post by T***@gmail.com
Post by T***@gmail.com
One was the ship not registering
hits, which is just a bad switch and can happen anywhere, anytime.
Thought the microswitches on Sterns seem to have lower reliability
than good old leaf switches, and if they are going to go bad they
usually do it rather quickly as if it's a manufacturing defect.
seymour-shabow
2007-10-10 11:42:20 UTC
Permalink
Post by frenchy
Thought the microswitches on Sterns seem to have lower reliability
than good old leaf switches, and if they are going to go bad they
usually do it rather quickly as if it's a manufacturing defect.
All microswitches seem to have less reliability than leaf switches -
they seem to last forever as long as someone doesn't file the gold off.

-scott CARGPB#29
Lloyd Olson
2007-10-10 17:54:36 UTC
Permalink
Micro switches are superior to leaf points. They are good for 2 to 3 million
hits, leaf points won't stand up to that, they fatigue and snap off. I
replace way more EOS points then micro switches. And leaf points need way
more adjusting then micro switches. LTG :)
All microswitches seem to have less reliability than leaf switches - they
seem to last forever as long as someone doesn't file the gold off.
-scott CARGPB#29
a***@madixinc.com
2007-10-08 19:31:41 UTC
Permalink
Post by T***@gmail.com
Not to beat a dead horse, but my uncle owns a vending company. He
used to be big into pins, until the late 90s. We played a broken F-
Guy, and his thoughts were that he bought SEVERAL NIB High Speed, Pin-
bots, F-14's, and games of that era. Last game he bought NIB was
TAF. He would clean them, do maintenance as far as bulbs that were
out, and check the switches and flipper strength on a regular basis.
But aside from that, he never had to update software, or 'replace a
Stewie playfield' because it broke after 2 weeks. The games came out
of the box 'ready to go'. And in the years and years he had the
games, the worst thing that ever totally would break would be a
flipper or a pop bumper.
That was his thoughts as an Op, and why he doesn't buy pins anymore.
Stern build quality has never been an issue for me. I have four of
their games and never had an issue minus flipper buzz. My TSPP I
bought in 2003 has well over 3000 games on it and I have had a half
dozen bulbs and one flipper fuse go out. I have never rebuilt the
flippers and they still throw the ball fast enough to go zipping
around the orbit and Moe's There must be 66- 68,000 flips on each one
and still as strong as ever. The garage door is not even drooping and
the couch shot is no problem either. And this was back when everyone
said they were bigger piles of crap.

I have pulled the last three games (POTC, FGY, SM thank you Jack.)
straight out of the box and they were plug and play. No issues with
the ship, the trunk, the mixmaster, Stewie PB, TV scoop, Doc Oc,
Sandman VUK, lock. Could not be happier. As I have posted before I
have sold A list William/Bally tiltles (CV, MB, WH2O), passed on
(CFTBL, MM, CC) to get these game and do not regret it for one
second. For those of you who want to consider STERN, do. I think you
will have the same experience I have had. You want some piece of mind,
Jack will give you that for 3 years. The only trouble I am having is
getting Jack to tell me what the next 18 months will bring us.

waving the STERN banner,
Alan
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