(Topic ID: 242087)

1974 Williams Big Ben as a first machine?


By PinHollow

5 months ago



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  • 14 posts
  • 9 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 months ago by timtim
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#1 5 months ago

Hi all, I'm new here and still learning the etiquette so please forgive me if I'm in the wrong spot. I'm sure it's the same for you all, but it's been in the back of my mind since I was a kid that I'd love to own a pinball machine or two one day. We've recently bought a new house and I've got the space now so here I am.

Being my first machine I wanted to ease in with something inexpensive. Looking around I found a 74 Big Ben for sale in my area for $250. According to the listing, it's in working order and has a clean playing surface. it also has all new rubber and lightbulbs. The seller says the ten point relay is stuck and that there's a small crack in the tracking plastic. Apparently, they have the replacement part for that though.

Looking on IPD it seems to have mixed reviews. It's either the worst machine ever made or a fun old school table. I was hoping to get some advice here. Thanks, everybody.

#2 5 months ago

I'm not exactly seasoned, but I'd say pass on that. Keep in mind I've never played it, but I was thinking of getting one as well. The reviews pushed me away.

Look for something with multiple targets and spinners would be my advice.

You may need to pay a little more as well. I think $500 and under could get you a decent starter.

#3 5 months ago

I think it's a great deal for a starter game. Nice shape with new rubbers and lights? And in your area? Sign me up. Pinball is all about finding the right game in the right place at the right price.

The 10 point relay is almost certainly a stuck switch behind a rubber. The person who put the new rubber on probably had no idea what they were doing and didn't check to make sure the new rubber wasn't closing a 10 point switch. This is very common.

Fix that issue ASAP or you will burn a chime coil and a score real coil. Should be a very easy issue to sort out. You can't play the game until you fix this.

I don't see why you'd pass on this. It's dirt cheap (worth more in parts easily) and it's local, and it sounds like it matches what you are looking for. I've owned a few Big Bens and it's a fine looking and playing EM pinball game, perfectly enjoyable and if you decide to dump it at $250 you'll have no problem getting your money back out of it.

Buying a dirt cheap EM that nobody likes as your first game was once a rite of passage in pinball, before entering the hobby meant spending $9,000. Bring back the tradition!

#4 5 months ago

A rite of passage you say?! How could I possibly pass the opportunity to carry on a tradition with that in mind?

I would definitely like something with multiple targets and spinners like RonSS mentioned, but it's tough to pass up a machine in good shape for $250. I had anticipated maybe spending more like $1,000. This seems like it would be a cheap way to get started and learn how to maintain an EM system. Also, thanks for the advice on what the relay issue could be. Good to know thoughts from someone who has owned it.

I've reached out to the seller.

#5 5 months ago

Big Ben is not one of my favorites to say the least BUT being so close to you and also a great selling price I would go and look at it.
My advice to you is: Being new to this hobby and wanting an EM pin as your first, buy a single player pin first (Big Ben works),
get a schematic and learn how they operate. As you learn from that pin, you can also start learning & understanding the workings of
2 & 4 player pins which at times can be frustrating to fix at times.
Good luck, have fun and welcome to the hobby.

#6 5 months ago

If you high tap this game, it definitely kicks it up a lot! Good first game to get your feet wet. I had one, and now my brother owns it.....

#7 5 months ago

Again, I appreciate the advice. I'm new to it all and still trying to get a bead on which EM games I should be keeping an eye out for. If this doesn't work out I'll be sure to look for single player games. There are a few SS games I'd love to get, but I just can't justify the price starting out.

I have no idea what high tap means...off to research a little.

#8 5 months ago

I had one, it was ok. The game is a bit more of a looker than a player but it was here for several months before moving on.

For $250 and if its in decent shape you can always sell it later and not lose money.

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#9 5 months ago
Quoted from PinHollow:

I have no idea what high tap means...off to research a little.

There is a movable wire on the transformer inside the unit, it bumps the voltage up making the flippers and poppers more lively. It is for locations that had low AC voltage so the game didn't play like a dog.

I almost bump all my games on high tap, gives them that extra snap. Easy to move from low tap to high with just a soldering iron.

#10 5 months ago

As pinball machines go, Big Ben is a dog. But what the hell - buy it, work on it it, play it, get bored with it, learn from it, and move on.

Welcome to the hobby and good luck!

#11 5 months ago

Go for it! It's a good deal, and since it's your first pin, I expect you'll fall in love with it. Just be aware that you're heading down a dangerous road. I decided I'd take the plunge and buy just one pin in the summer of 2017, and I'm going to buy my sixth this weekend...

#12 5 months ago
Quoted from BRW84:

Go for it! It's a good deal, and since it's your first pin, I expect you'll fall in love with it. Just be aware that you're heading down a dangerous road. I decided I'd take the plunge and buy just one pin in the summer of 2017, and I'm going to buy my sixth this weekend...

Hah, were on number 35 since 2017 and 1 is going out and 3 are coming home this weekend.

Total on site will be lucky 13. Better find another to buy this weekend to make it 14.

#13 5 months ago

So you’re saying buying one is probably not an option. Let’s just not tell my wife that part. Haha

Unfortunately I missed out on this one by a couple hours. I’ve learned a lot in this thread though so thanks all. Guess I’m back on the hunt. Hopefully I can track down something worth buying for less than $1,000!

#14 5 months ago
Quoted from PinHollow:

Unfortunately I missed out on this one by a couple hours.

This is also a right of passage

But levi hit it on the head.

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