WARNING-LONG DETAILED ORIGINAL POST. YOU MAY WANT TO POP SOME POPCORN!
I've been in the hobby for about 2-1/2 years, only buying EMs. I'm pretty comfortable working on them, and I certainly like the lower price tags they have. I play SS and EM pins at expos, but I tend to gravitate to EMs even then. But I figured one day I'll make the jump into solid states.
Then I recently walked into a deal on a Taxi I felt I couldn't refuse. The seller had it working, and I bought it. Other Pinsiders I know had encouraged me to get into solid states, and I had finally arrived.
The strap I had to was too short to secure the folded-down Taxi head to the cab, so I asked the seller for something to use. He produced some twine, with which I tied down the head. Back at home, I slid the Taxi out the back of my Ford Escape and then stood it on its back--SLAM! The twine had broken and the head swung open onto my driveway. Somehow the translight glass hadn't broken, but I knew this wasn't good.
Then my poor wife and I got the Taxi on my dolly in the house and down to the bottom turn of our basement stairway only to find out that my measurements forgot to include the large tires of the dolly, which wouldn't let the pin get all the way down. After holding the pin in place on the stairway, I eventually did the only thing I could think of: I heaved the machine to slide it up and off the dolly to rest on a landing, pulled out the dolly, and then slid the machine on its bottom down the metal-front wood staircase to the bottom landing, losing a small piece of wood below the coin door.
At the bottom landing, I had to tip the machine onto its side onto my Harbor Freight hydraulic lift, and with difficulty eventually get the machine on its back on the basement floor.
After getting the machine set up, the sound was either staticky or else usually only playing the character voices (Gorby, Drac, Marilyn--yes it was even a Marilyn Taxi).
I played it with some family members a day or two later, and a pop bumper solenoid fried. No problem, just ordered a new coil from Marco and installed and soldered it. But now all 3 pops didn't work, and the fuse was fine. A transistor on the board had apparently also gone bad. I'm just getting decent at soldering a wire to a lug--NOT circuit board work.
A Pinsider friend who has SS machines came over to look it over and run the diagnostics, but the diagnostic test buttons weren't working properly. After we closed the head and put the face parts of the head back in place, now 2 of the displays had stopped working!
At that point I was past disappointed. I want to be able to work on my machines myself, and now it looked like I had three board issues I would need someone to fix, all within about 10 days of purchase. I sold the machine for a little more than I had paid for it, and for the foreseeable future, I'm back to being an EM-only guy. (I replaced it with a Spirit of 76 that I just purchased.)
Congrats if you read through the entire saga! I want to know if any other Pinsiders have had a bad SS experience that drove them to being EM only.