Buying/owning your first pin - things you wish you had known

(Topic ID: 227693)

Buying/owning your first pin - things you wish you had known


By SheriffBarclay

4 months ago



Topic Stats

  • 40 posts
  • 35 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 months ago by northerndude
  • Topic is favorited by 2 Pinsiders

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    #1 4 months ago

    Title says it all. Probably picking up my first one soon and want to hear your thoughts on:

    Protection for future resale value (cabinet, playfield, etc)
    Maintenance
    Pitfalls
    Etc.

    #2 4 months ago
    Quoted from SheriffBarclay:

    Title says it all. Probably picking up my first one soon and want to hear your thoughts on:
    Pitfalls
    Etc.

    You’re gonna think you don’t need that many and you won’t have the space or the money, but suddenly you’ll own half a dozen with no place to set them up

    Seriously, you’re gonna start buying more and have more pins then space. I’ve started redoing my entire basement completely, simply because it’s the fastest way to squeeze in more pins.

    #3 4 months ago
    Quoted from Isochronic_Frost:

    You’re gonna think you don’t need that many and you won’t have the space or the money, but suddenly you’ll own half a dozen with no place to set them up
    Seriously, you’re gonna start buying more and have more pins then space. I’ve started redoing my entire basement completely, simply because it’s the fastest way to squeeze in more pins.

    Yup,,, ohh that sweet nectar

    #4 4 months ago

    Protect the shooter lane. They seem to wear quick even in a huo environment. Not sure why they dont spray more clearcoat there. And yes start making room cuz your gameroom gonna be like the good old USA with a long line of pins waiting to get in.

    #5 4 months ago

    Learn to do basic soldering. It's inevitable, wires and diodes break off switches, lamps, coils etc. Also learn how to replace connectors, especially if you're planning on buying any solid state games from the late 70's-90's.

    19
    #6 4 months ago
    Quoted from SheriffBarclay:

    Protection for future resale value

    The farthest I would go for protection would be to lie down some mylar around magnets, or ball drop zones, as that'll help premature wear in areas that get hammered; otherwise don't buy a game thinking about holding it's value. It won't. Buy it, play the snot out of it, enjoy it. Do some basic maintenance to it, obviously, but these are commercial machines that I assume you'll be using in your home. It'll be fine.

    If you're talking about an EM game, it's often a good idea to seal the backglass with Krylon Triple Thick to keep it from flaking.

    Change out the pinballs as frequently as you can. That'll keep 'em looking shiny, and save the playfield from a ton of premature wear, as an old dull ball is basically sandpaper. They're cheap, and you honestly don't need the ultra super shiny ones unless you really want them. They ship with a film of oil on them, so make sure they're clean before dropping them into your game.

    Clean with a non-water based cleaner (naphtha is my go-to), and wax with a high quality carnauba wax every so often.

    While it really does boil down to personal preference, I think white rubber rings is the best go-to for all games new and old. Black rings last longer, but they don't bounce as much, and they leave a black residue everywhere that sours a game's cleanliness. White rubbers get dirty faster, but they'll still last years, and they clean up nicely with Naphtha, and won't leave a residue everywhere.

    Buying too many unnecessary things for them. If, say, a coil locks on and the driver board fries something, I've seen people drop the original board like a hot potato and go right to buying a brand new aftermarket board. Totally unnecessary. Making repairs yourself isn't terribly difficult, but if that's not your speed, you can always send your boards out for repair for far less than the cost of a new board.

    Finally, my high horse:

    As you make your way through the hobby and pinside, based on other people's desires and collections, you may start to feel like you either need A: A ton of pinball machines or B: Your pinball machines to be perfectly restored with all new parts.

    It's easy to feel insignificant when everyone's talking about their Monster Bashes and Addams Family, and you're maybe just looking for a $200 beater Jubilee for the garage. Ain't nothin' wrong with that. Don't get swept into all the hype, just go with your own personal flow, and enjoy the ride. You like what you like, and don't let some internet person persuade you otherwise.

    #7 4 months ago
    Quoted from mbaumle:

    Finally, my high horse:
    As you make your way through the hobby and pinside, based on other people's desires and collections, you may start to feel like you either need A: A ton of pinball machines or B: Your pinball machines to be perfectly restored with all new parts.
    It's easy to feel insignificant when everyone's talking about their Monster Bashes and Addams Family, and you're maybe just looking for a $200 beater Jubilee for the garage. Ain't nothin' wrong with that. Don't get swept into all the hype, just go with your own personal flow, and enjoy the ride. You like what you like, and don't let some internet person persuade you otherwise.

    Damnit! Where were you 7 pins ago?

    This is GREAT advice. Take it slow and dont get in over your head.

    My other actual advice is buy a multimeter and a soldering iron now, as opposed to Thursday night at 11pm when you realize you need them.

    #8 4 months ago
    Quoted from Isochronic_Frost:

    You’re gonna think you don’t need that many and you won’t have the space or the money, but suddenly you’ll own half a dozen with no place to set them up
    Seriously, you’re gonna start buying more and have more pins then space. I’ve started redoing my entire basement completely, simply because it’s the fastest way to squeeze in more pins.

    Yep. I bought my first pin about four years ago and thought, "this is all I need, I don't have space or the money for any more." I just took delivery of an AFMr about a month ago, and I already want a third...

    #9 4 months ago

    Once you get your first one be prepared to get a second. You might think everyone is crazy for saying that but it won't be long and you'll be thinking about a second one. It's addicting.

    #10 4 months ago

    Get the one you WANT, not one that is simply available.

    #11 4 months ago

    Pinball can be a good outlet for ones creativity with all the possible mods out there, but it's expensive and once done the 'piece' is finished and all you'll want to do is make a new one into art. So consider the cost and don't be sentimental about the longevity- or lack thereof.

    #12 4 months ago

    Buy as many as fast as possible as these things are rising in price faster than a rocket in the sky.

    Looking back at 2012 prices vs now: absolutely insane.

    #13 4 months ago

    Most repairs are minor. Over 95%. The scoop stopped ejecting the ball? Wire fell off. The flipped stopped working? Adjust one of the leafs to make the connection. Game resets? Too many things plugged into the same fuse.

    These are all things that happened to me, and the solutions to those problems. I freaked out each time, and came to find that the solution was almost always really easy. My biggest fix was when my first pin actually died fully, with the fix being a new power board that I easily installed myself. I repaired everything by myself and had help through advice via these forums and friends. Good stuff.

    #14 4 months ago

    When you think you've found the machine you'd like to buy,read every post in the forum that's dedicated to that machine.You'll be better prepared, for when a common problem that your machine may have, pops up on your game.
    Well,that's all I got ,since I'm also new to the hobby.

    #15 4 months ago

    Most pins are fun and there is zero need to buy ay A listers.
    Go buy a nice soldering iron and multimeter now.
    Take time with your very first game and don't be afraid to do stuff. You will enjoy the game more if you do.

    Go buy a classic Bally now for your second pin! All roads leads to Bally and the sooner you get there, the sooner you find pinball heaven.

    #16 4 months ago
    Quoted from Classicgames99:

    Once you get your first one be prepared to get a second. You might think everyone is crazy for saying that but it won't be long and you'll be thinking about a second one. It's addicting.

    I have had my "first" pin on order (Alice Cooper) for months...the wait got to me so now I'm working on fixing a Bally Supersonic...now officially my "first" pin...

    I didn't even get to 1 before I bought a 2nd

    #17 4 months ago
    Quoted from mbaumle:

    you can always send your boards out for repair for far less than the cost of a new board.

    Where exactly would he send them?

    #18 4 months ago

    I wish I'd known how this shit was gonna take over my life - from the amount of time I'd spend searching for, acquiring, cleaning, fixing, and playing the damn things, to our collection actually being one of the driving factors in the kind of house we'd eventually get (ranch, big open basement to hold 20+ games easily).
    I wish I'd known how valuable the electronics degree would be, I'd have gotten it a lot sooner.
    I wish I'd known how many great times I'd have, and great friends I'd meet in over 25 years of expos, shows, pinball leagues, and forums like this one. How many great parties we'd have, seeing people light up when they walk into the gameroom, explaining the gameplay and history of this incredible piece of history we're all keeping alive.

    Yeah, I sure wish I'd known. I'd have bought my first game sooner.

    #19 4 months ago

    My advice that I would give. First know what you are buying. Research and browse price listings.
    I would say don't buy anything for at least a few months of searching... Some deals will pass you by, but that's fine, because you want your first pin to be the right one and not just any "DEAL".
    Always play before you buy a machine if possible. There was a minor red flag when I bought my Breakshot. Not blaming anyone... Or if anyone gets the blame it would be me. The issue with my MPU board which is fried was slightly apparent when I first bought the machine, but I was too dumb to notice or know about it.
    But, that also brings me to another point. I would recommend most people to buy a popular machine. That way you know there will be parts and that you can service it and replace it. A rare machine, by a rare company, the parts can be hard to find. But, even a special mech for a low selling machine can be hard to come by.

    And this is my last bit of advice. Know your home, and know your pins replayability. Most people do not have a huge home. I bought a Hardbody and a Raven as I like the themes... But, the gameplay while fun, does not hold my interest past 10-30 minutes of gameplay. While I can play my Iron Maiden for hours on end. Yes... Iron Maiden is newer. But, I think you should always try to buy deep games for home use. If you can have a 4-5 pin collection, then all means get a few more shallow games. Something like a Sorcerer or Space Shuttle I would consider a fun shooting, but shallow game.

    Knowing what I know now, I wouldn't have bought a breakshot to be my first pin(and I love breakshot), I also would never have bought Hardbody or Raven and I enjoy both of those. I kind of wish I hadn't as I could have almost bought a Ghostbusters for what I paid for those. And it would take up less space in my house.
    So really be mindful of your space.

    #20 4 months ago

    Don’t buy off of eBay. Buy from someone who has a good reputation on Pinside. Don’t worry that you have to buy a pin now or you’ll miss out - another equal or better deal will come along. If you're buying an older game, focus more on condition than saving a few bucks upfront.

    #21 4 months ago

    Learn to read schematics. It's the road map for your pin.

    #22 4 months ago
    Quoted from timab2000:

    Where exactly would he send them?

    Search on here. There are several vendors/members who repair boards for a very reasonable cost. Send them the board or board set and they will turnaround pretty quick. Most of the time it’s a common issue. They will also perform general maintenance or “bulletproofing” of the boards by beefing up common failure areas.

    #23 4 months ago

    Don’t worry about resale value on your first pin, just make sure it’s the one you truly want. I would say don’t spend more than $3K for first game or maybe no more than $5k if decide to go for a 90’s era DMD game or if you can set a price a little higher find a game you like that over this over $5k to under 6K maybe a Stern in 2000 era and up. Make sure to study the game to the best of your knowledge if anything missing compared to pictures. Buy in state and avoid shipping on first game. Enjoy as there will be times you play a lot and a little and things will break that you will not know how to fix.

    #24 4 months ago

    I wish I didn’t hire a tech to help me out. I got him to help me with the shadow ramps that where broken. It cost me more than two brand new ramps plated with unobtanium.

    And that normally things are simpler to fix than you think.

    #25 4 months ago

    Don't read other peoples reviews, judge for your self.
    There is a lot of fun games out there that get a really bad wrap and are still reasonably priced!

    #26 4 months ago

    Don't obsess and spend weeks/months investigating what is the best game to buy as first game and focus on only getting that one specific game.
    It isn't that important.

    It's not permanent (although many keep their first game), it won't stay with one game, if you're really bored you can sell it and get another, ..

    Just get a fun game, have an open mind (dozens of games are fun for you, especially if you don't know them all well)
    Make sure it's in good condition and the price is reasonable.

    #27 4 months ago
    Quoted from SheriffBarclay:

    Title says it all. Probably picking up my first one soon and want to hear your thoughts on:
    Protection for future resale value (cabinet, playfield, etc)
    .

    Forget about future resale value : you're not buying this to invest, you're buying it to play.
    The best way to minimise potential losses when you come to sell is, if you feel the need to add any mods to your machine ideally they should be completely removable so that you can return the game to the state you bought it in.
    Don't think because you've spent £300 on mods that you can add that to any future resale value - you can't. Rather you can, but others won't necessarily see your 'improvements' as improvements.

    Maintenance has already been covered. The vast majority of problems are very easily fixed - assuming you know what the problem is.
    If you do find something you can't fix and have to call someone out to fix it, don't just leave them to get on with it. Ask questions, what are they doing, how are they doing it, etc.?? That's how you learn.

    Pitfalls.
    The biggest pitfall is believing half of the stuff on here. You'll see people swearing that the way they clean a playfield, or the frequency they change the balls, or which manufacturer is better than another; and anyone who disagrees with them is wrong and stupid for doing it that way.

    By all means read peoples OPINIONS, as that is all they are, but make your own mind up. Go with YOUR opinion on whether you want to buy a certain game, or put LEDs in or whatever.

    Try and find people near you who have machines, they'll likely have experience and knowledge you'll find invaluable. It's also a great way to play more machines. Over 2 thirds of the machines I've owned have been swapped, either temporarily or permanently, without any cash changing hands.

    Most of all enjoy whatever game you end up with.

    #28 4 months ago

    I would ask yourself a question. Do you like trouble shooting and fixing stuff or would you rather just plug and play. I personally have very little time to enjoy pinball, so I would rather purchase a machine with lower plays, that typically has little to zero maintenance. When I first started I would buy anything that appeared to be a good deal. I bought a ton of heavily routed machines. I had constant issues and felt like I was always fixing something. Now I have all newer low play machines and all I do is play them and enjoy them. If I had any advise I would say buy what you enjoy playing and buy a machine that does not have a ton of plays(you pay for what you get), unless you have the time and enjoy fixing things. My .02

    #29 4 months ago

    As others have said don't go by what other people think are good games. Go to a location or a game auction and play different machines from different eras before deciding "that's the one". Games I thought I would like suck and games I thought would suck are great fun.

    #30 4 months ago

    Definitely solid advice here. Nothing much to add, but as said in a few posts get a good soldering iron and multimeter now. I actually bought one of these (amazon.com link ») to practice soldering first, then got a broken CPU board to practice changing some components before I had to do any repairs in my first pin. I think I would have been much more nervous if I hadn't done that, it's inevitable that at some point you do have to pull out the soldering iron to do something.

    I got a Hakko FR888 soldering iron and FR300 desoldering tool, both excellent IMHO. There are a lot of threads on that on Pinside, just search for soldering iron

    #31 4 months ago
    Quoted from timab2000:

    Where exactly would he send them?

    If I found myself over my head, I used to send my boards out to John Wart Jr, but as I understand it, he hasn't been taking on any new work recently. Other great options are Chris Hibler (pinsider here), and Coin Op Cauldron. They usually have flat fees for any amount of repair (so long as it isn't alkaline damage) for certain boards. While I haven't personally worked with either, I know they both come highly recommended.

    http://www.coinopcauldron.com/brepairs.html
    http://chrishiblerpinball.com/contact/

    #32 4 months ago

    I wish I knew pins were more addictive than crack or meth!

    #33 4 months ago

    Kind of obvious but these things are heavy, have a plan for moving it. Call a friend, buy a 2 wheeler, get some furniture sliders. Measure doorways, it sucks to get up the steps to the door in your garage only to find out the opening's 1/2 inch too narrow and you have to go in through the front door.

    #34 4 months ago

    I learned that Pinside is a resource filled with smart people who have been there.

    I also learned that Pinside is filed with people whose opinions are not always fact.

    If it's available for cheap, go for it. Go for it. Always go for it.

    #35 4 months ago
    Quoted from SheriffBarclay:

    Probably picking up my first one soon and want to hear your thoughts on:

    Don't do it. These things multiply like rabbits and no matter how hard you try, you can't neuter them.

    Before you know it they will be everywhere. You'll be finding them in spare bedrooms, the dining room, the basement, etc. Then the wife starts bitching because they are all over the house. Next you know, you're buying your wife a new house so you can get them out of the dining room. Ask me how I know.....

    #36 4 months ago
    Quoted from mwong168:

    I wish I knew pins were more addictive than crack or meth!

    I always tell my wife.....”at least I’m not addicted to drugs, “just” pinball “

    Ha!

    #37 4 months ago
    Quoted from northerndude:

    I always tell my wife.....”at least I’m not addicted to drugs, “just” pinball “

    Drugs are probably cheaper at this point

    #38 4 months ago

    It's definitely an addiction, and you'll end up buying almost anything pinball related. I had to buy this six pack yesterday just because of the label, and I'm not a fan of double IPAs

    20181024_193612.jpg
    #39 4 months ago

    Just pick up my first machine this past weekend and everyone saying that it’s addictive is absolutely right. I’ve already started looking for another. It sucks that everything is so high though. I’m hoping things start leveling out soon with all the remakes

    #40 4 months ago
    Quoted from jsm172:

    Just pick up my first machine this past weekend and everyone saying that it’s addictive is absolutely right. I’ve already started looking for another. It sucks that everything is so high though. I’m hoping things start leveling out soon with all the remakes

    That’s only helping out the four titles that have been remade. Won’t do much for the other thousand

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