(Topic ID: 249870)

Continued playfield issues with JJP and Stern

By f3honda4me

59 days ago

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  • Latest reply 53 minutes ago by TomDK
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#88 59 days ago

I hate to say this but I advise everyone buying a used pin made in the last 3-5 years to ask if there is any PF pooling/bubbling or chippping. That way you are covered if you receive a pin with these issues. If the pin manufacturers think people are mad now just wait till a lot of these defective machines hit the used market and people don’t want to buy them even at a big discount. So much for pins holding their value. To me this PF issue is the worst thing to hit modern pinball. Going to get ugly.....

#115 59 days ago
Quoted from Vinnie:

I doubt the washers will prevent the pooling/bubbling. It might make it take longer but I think it will still happen. I have bubbling on posts that have washers installed on my Iron Maiden Pro.

I,ll take it a step further and say these manufacturers are only putting down those ugly washers because they are well aware of the pooling. Trying to hide the problem long enough to get out of warranty maybe. Give me a break. I,m going to get my pitchfork......

#154 58 days ago
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#166 58 days ago

“Hey they are noticing the bad clear on our playfields “
“ They are?”
“Yes I bunch of pooling and chipped PF pics are going up online”
“ Just release a new code update to distract them”
“Will do”

#171 57 days ago
Quoted from jgentry:

Dang, look at that shiny clear!!!!!

Yup high quality wood and clear still exists. Question is do you pay for it.......

#210 56 days ago
Quoted from Extraballz:

“Hey they are noticing the bad clear on our playfields “
“ They are?”
“Yes I bunch of pooling and chipped PF pics are going up online”
“ Just release a new code update to distract them”
“Will do”

And JJP’s new WW code update just dropped.....

#249 55 days ago
Quoted from John_I:

Yes and no. If there is some way to complete the curing process quickly and completely, maybe the damage will be not get worse. People have reported that the clear seems to be still soft.

If the mix/process is not correct the clear will never cure to a hard surface. I doubt this is a curing issue.

#264 55 days ago
Quoted from Saveleaningtower:

I was big in the hobby - 30 ish A List pins from 2000-2016. Sold 90% off and did great on every sale. Kept an original MB and MM and of course, Tron LE.
The thing I’m thinking is will any of these games be desirable in the second hand market? Also, forget about making some money like in the past. I would think every model from base to super duper CE LE won’t get back 75% of their purchase prices.
If I do comeback, I’ll only be looking for the pins that have a clean history.
Furthermore, you guys really need to stop buying these inferior products since it gives manufacturers no desire to fix issues.

This is similar to my story. I was big into pinball in the mid 80s to early 2000s. I come back in after being out 15 years and see all these quality issues with pins. The clear issue was the kicker. A game of physics played with a steel ball crashing around can only be watered down so much as far as quality materials. Obviously manufacturers have ignored this and now will probably reap what they sow.

#429 53 days ago
Quoted from Dr-pin:

This is just speculation. I think it's an automation problem.
They are spraying on the playfields and need the solution sprayable thru nozzles. Hence they want a thinner fluid.
It's like concrete, the more water you mix in, the easier distribution, however it will not be strong enough.

I wouldn’t be surprised to hear that huge dollars where spent on new tech and equipment for a new way to clear PFs. So much money that it would be hard to admit it doesn’t work and walk away. This is the type of situation in business when you might keep putting defective product out the door. All the while knowing it is not working. Pinball R&D certainly has gone backwards in recent years.

#482 52 days ago
Quoted from zaphX:

Yeah but those things are awesome [quoted image]

Your post is quite ironic in that just because a pin is pretty doesn’t mean the hood won’t always be up. Like in your pic.

#519 52 days ago
Quoted from BMore-Pinball:

According to the TWIP podcast - they had on people from Poor Man's Podcast and he actually works in the industry
- washers may help, but underlying issue is still there and could get worse in other areas
- if it's not cured and hard by the time we get them - they are never going to get hard and most likely clear was not mixed correctly
- if it's soft now, it's always going to be soft

I’ve been saying for three months it’s a mix/process issue.

#526 51 days ago
Quoted from YeOldPinPlayer:

Everyone knows exactly what the warranty is on playfields. They are not covered.
Any remedy is outside of warranty. You should have a conversation with your distributor and discuss your concerns and how a problem might be handled BEFORE you have an issue. Get it in writing if you're the cautious type.

Thing is Stern has sent out populated PFs for similar issues. Now there is precedent on the matter. So now Stern and JJP have to show their response to the clear issue around the same time. What do you think JJP customers are going to do when they see Stern send out populated PFs? They will lose their ****. And for good reason. At that point I would mention lawsuit cause JJPs lawyers would tell them they have no chance of winning this one.

#529 51 days ago
Quoted from YeOldPinPlayer:

Not under warranty. People looking for resolution need to remove that word from the conversation. The warranty is printed in every manual I've looked at and it doesn't cover playfields.
Yes, companies have 'taken care of' customers outside of warranty. Without that written warranty we're all left mostly guessing what is covered, for how long, and under what conditions.
It might be helpful to get organized. Decide what to call the defects, document who has them, how many, and on what machines. Affected purchasers could post photos, your distributors could refer to those when dealing with the manufacturers.

Agreed. Though not technically under warranty the optics of Stern resolving this issue by sending populated PFs while JJP doesn’t will absolutely kill JJPs reputation. I know Stern has sent out some populated PFs in the past and it didn’t ruin JJP but this time it is front and center in the Pinball world. Many seem to be affected and how could those people be expected to forgive JJP if they don’t get what Stern offers to its customers. In some cases JJP pins are double the price of Stern.

#533 51 days ago

I think I see enough in there to expect coverage. The PF is a part. And it is defective.

#537 51 days ago
Quoted from Esoteric_rt:

Unbelievable, as soon as Stern regains the confidence of the community after the Ghostbusters saga, it starts happening again!

Here’s an idea. How about Stern gets its quality back up to say Lord of the Rings. And JJP gets its quality back up to the Hobbit. That’s a start. If I am being honest these quality issues with JJP and Stern really have me rooting for Spooky,CGC,American etc to take a bigger piece of the pie. Now better quality might be something those pin companies can tout over the top two.
Competition is good. It breeds innovation, builds better quality and holds accountable those who take advantage.

#604 50 days ago

Seems crazy to me that I can’t seem to get a Stern with a PF that has the quality of Lord of the Rings. And a JJP with a PF that has the quality of the Hobbit which I think was their best PF attempt overall. Think about that for a minute. Going backwards on purpose. Why would they do this. I’m guessing to save money. For those who say it is not the manufacturers fault because you can’t make a good PF today due to regulations well Spooky just proved that theory wrong. Those with machines on route and tournament players will let the pin companies off the hook for poor build quality. I hope these pin companies have the numbers with those two groups to make their business model work because they are going to lose a lot of collectors if this is the new level of quality in pinball. They are way behind the quality they had just 7-10 years ago. Something is very wrong when that happens.

#615 50 days ago
Quoted from YeOldPinPlayer:

I think you're way of base thinking it's on purpose. Can you tell me how you decided that?

I guess because it’s obvious that cost cutting for more profit has been going on for some time now. Especially for Stern. The manufacturers know what things are inferior to what they once were. So you have good clear on Hobbit and you change something? Smells like more cost cutting. So yes I feel the drop in quality including PFs is on purpose. They think. How far can we push the envelope on cost cutting to increase profit. Well guess what. That ballon just popped. People aren’t even asking for better quality really. That are asking for the build quality they had 10 years ago. We all know we could have at least that if the manufacturers wanted to put quality over highest profit margin. They must think people are dumb. It’s time for the chickens to come home to roost. These manufacturers have been pushing their luck for years.

#629 49 days ago
Quoted from Rum-Z:

I think the right term is "blistering". Sounds nasty. That's because it is.

I just call it DEFECTIVE

#685 48 days ago
Quoted from YeOldPinPlayer:

Thank you for your response. I disagree on several points. Cost cutting and more profit are not things that happen once in a while. They are an everyday part of doing business. They are neither bad or unusual, all successful companies do both of them routinely.
I think what you mean is this quality issue can be directly attributed to a specific decision to lower quality to save money. I don't think anyone has a good reason to believe that. If you have evidence, please present it.

Ask operators like ltg if things overall are inferior.

Not necessarily. They may be working with a vendor that provides playfields or clearcoat services. Those vendors may have a common supplier that made changes to THEIR formula, unannounced. One possibility why you're seeing issues with multiple manufacturers.
It's absurd to think both JJP and Stern decided to cut costs and purposefully lower quality on playfields. Beyond ridiculous. No businessperson would make such a change without thorough testing. To suggest multiple manufacturers did so, on purpose, to save tens of dollars on a playfield defies logic. More likely there is a new process that was a lot faster but has unforeseen issues.

The above is just rhetoric. This is a quality issue (probably multiple issues with different causes) with ZERO evidence to suggest it's a purposeful move done to save money at the expense of quality. You're trying to whip yourself into an emotional frenzy. You're not a mob. Put away the pitchforks and the hangman's noose. There will be no lynching here today.

So you are saying all these quality issues we are seeing on modern games including clearcoat are a result of bad luck in new processes and not a direct result of cost cutting? Cheaper wood, cheaper metals, cheaper plastics. These are things we know are inferior to past machines and they are because of cost cutting. Maybe the clearcoat issue was bad luck but they knew about it and did nothing. You can only lower quality so far until you reach a breaking point with customers. You are witnessing that now. I am looking at manufacturers other than JJP and STERN because of their dropping quality. Cost cutting leading to obvious lower quality is why I am looking elsewhere. It is possible you are too close to this to be objective.....or good at lying to yourself. Either way you are not talking me and others out of our positions. They are logical reasonable positions. Truth is some like you just don’t want to hear it.

#689 48 days ago

Collectors are a fickle bunch. Push your luck too much and you can lose a lot of them and fast. Also high quality is important to a lot of collectors. They like lots of things built with high quality and have a good eye for quality. The notion that you had to be an operator of pins in the 90s to understand the quality of the machines today is quite silly to me. People who know quality can easily see where something has been downgraded over time. If and it’s a big if another pin company comes along with a higher quality product a percentage of collectors will go there. That’s in some collectors nature. If some of these companies don’t mind losing people that’s fine. But they better hope the percentage isn’t too high or it will really effect their bottom line and kill all that profit gained by cost cutting. Good luck to Stern and JJP but I am out until they bring their quality back up.

#893 44 days ago

Still waiting for the Steve Richie in sunglasses video saying this is normal and has always been acceptable. Again.....

#1033 42 days ago
Quoted from BMore-Pinball:

BINGO. Winner winner chicken dinner!
Right from the horse's mouth
If it's not done right, your game is kinda worthless....
Down the line if we accept the current situation, what happens when it chips and peels.
I don't want jjp or stern to go out of business, but they need to be liable for defective products. The size of your company doesn't give you a pass on manufacturing defects.
I do trust that they will get these issues fixed now that the community has made a stand. But, it's how they take care of those already effected that sort of matters more to me.

That video is incredibly damning for Jack. He said the PF is the whole machine. Backing up those who call the PF the heart of every machine. That video alone would sink Jack if there ever was a court case. I would tell Jack I wanted a populated PF or refund on my whole machine. And I would send that video clip to him. These manufacturers are unbelievable. And it looks like it finally caught up to them. Good for the customers. I would keep pushing to be made whole by JJP.

#1081 41 days ago
Quoted from Tranquilize:

Plus the business was booming in the early 90's. They were selling 20k machines for some models. They could afford to build them better.

You could buy a NIB Adams Family for around 2K. I find it very hard to believe a 90s W/B quality pin couldn’t be made for 10K.

#1233 38 days ago

Well I am glad this clear issue on Sterns isn’t widespread like they said. Geez.

#1271 38 days ago
Quoted from C_Presley:

Called my distributor yesterday when he wanted final payment for jp2 LE. I asked him his position and what he’s heard. Stern is STILL saying 7 or 8 documented cases.....

Stern must have meant they only had a documented clear issue on 7 or 8 Machines.


I miss any? Crazy what these manufacturers have been trying to get away with.

#1404 35 days ago

I won’t even think the issue has been resolved until I see machines going out without those f****** washers on it. It is an admission of guilt having those washers under the posts.

#1421 34 days ago
Quoted from tbutler6:

That sounds like an easy fix... only thing i would say is don’t expect the playfield to be bulletproof. CGC/Spooky used a higher quality wood and process than is too be expected of stern

Does CGC/Spooky really use better wood in their playfields? If so good for them. Competition is good for quality. Step it up Stern.

#1454 33 days ago

So same clear but it will be tougher to notice around post? What about the rest of the playfield? Why do I have bad feeling someone invested big money in a new clear system and they don’t want to abandon it. I still don’t feel confident. Would be nice to actually hear what they are doing formula wise. I know...I know. Admitting guilt.

#1456 33 days ago
Quoted from AUKraut:

I really don't think it's a clear issue, to me it has always looked like an adhesion between artwork and wood. Things that support that theory:
- Pictures of bubbling/pooling/ripples always show the artwork coming up with the clear
- Stern & Mirco(JJP) both having this issue, using a direct artwork digital print technique
- CGC not having the issue, and last I've seen is they still use screened printing
While I can't find the reference, I've also seen posted on here where Stern quit using CGC for the playfield printing about 18-24 months ago to do their own, and the timing of these issues starting around the same time.
All these point to the digital ink having some kind of adhesion issue from the digital process, probably due to the specific type of ink being used by these digital printers. That digital ink is probably not designed to such a high stress usage printed onto a surface that continues to contract & expand over it's life.
I do agree with you it would be nice to get some kind of confirmation of what actually did happen once the smoke clears (no pun intended)....

It very well is an ink adhesion and clear issue. The clear is soft and you can put a nail in it. That’s not correct for clearcoat.

#1511 31 days ago
Quoted from Jvspin:

Yeah, I thought DPs were supposed to be good, darn.

But Stern said this wasn’t widespread.............

#1558 30 days ago
Quoted from o-din:

I was thinking of a simpler solution.
Go back to using quality materials and the tried and true method.
[quoted image]

Seems like this is what Spooky did which is bad optics for those who decide not to do so and still have subpar PFs

1 week later
#1959 24 days ago

Pooling without chipping still denotes a clear that is too soft and not up to the reasonable standard in PF clear through the years of pinball. That would mean the clear is defective/bad/wrong. Use whatever word you like but customers should not have to settle on a NIB machine with clear not meeting a common sense standard based on many many years of pins with good clear.

#1973 23 days ago
Quoted from Chambahz:

He accused me of it earlier so I’m just having fun with it.
Thinking more about your view point, I’ll say this:
You have an unrealistic level of expectation from Stern.
They have clearly stated that playfields are not under warranty.
You insist on a perfect playfield.
Neither of you is “wrong” but you have not agreed on this matter.
You appear to feel that Stern is obligated/indebted to provide perfect playfields and that anything less than 100% should be replaced at their expense. Remember that this is Stern pinball we’re talking about. It’s not Sony, Apple, or Toyota.
Yes, they are the biggest pinball manufacturer, but this is an industry that most people don’t even know exists.
There are no Ferrari’s in the parking lot.
Given this inability to agree on a perfect playfield, it’s really best for you to avoid buying new in box, and instead to wait and buy a second hand game that you can inspect, ensuring it’s to your satisfaction.
There’s nothing wrong with that, and it’s not meant to belittle or insult you so I hope you can appreciate the observation.
Quite frankly, it shouldn’t matter one bit to me. But I get annoyed when some people (not saying you), can’t understand that Stern is already offering more than they have committed to, and then try to call them out for lying, sweeping things under the rug, etc etc. They may not be operating to your level of expectation, but that doesn’t mean that they’re deceitful or doing anything wrong.

In all fairness your avatar pic does look a lot like Steve Richie from behind.

#2023 23 days ago

Not covering the playfield under warranty will only hurt Stern long term. Many,many people just won’t buy NIB from them. That’s not going to hurt Sterns bottom line. I doubt that.

1 week later
#2364 11 days ago

It is completely reasonable to expect a pin I buy in 2019 has at least the quality of one made in the 1990’s. These companies making subpar pins these days are an embarrassment to what made in USA used to mean.

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