(Topic ID: 250430)

Drop targets vs spot targets - reliability and long term durability


By Kaytrox

5 months ago



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  • 28 posts
  • 11 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 5 months ago by Kaytrox
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    #1 5 months ago

    I am currently shopping for Gottlieb late 60's through the 70's EM machines, to start my collection. For me, collectibility and 'coolness' just don't matter. I want a few of my old time favorites to play in my game room. I'm not at all tech savvy, and I certainly don't want tinkering with them, and general maintenance, to become a life-consuming hobby. So in my mind, I've reasoned out that spot targets would be more durable, and need less maintenance than drop targets, as they merely rock back and forth, rather than drop and reset. Is this correct, or I am naive on this issue?

    #2 5 months ago

    You are correct. However once drop target assemblies are taken apart, cleaned, and dialed in, they can be fairly trouble free.

    But a lot more involved and more moving parts than a standup target for sure.

    I like standup targets myself, and prefer single drop target banks in games that have them.

    #3 5 months ago

    I have never had a problem with either drop or fixed targets. For home use particularly I do not see a problem.

    #4 5 months ago

    I have lots of drop targets in almost all my games, and they've rarely been a problem. I don't think I've ever had a target break on me, for that matter. Lots of them are still original, too. I obviously love drop targets and i would say if anything, don't let reliability determine whether or not you go for them in a game--they are generally well-built mechs to begin with.

    #5 5 months ago

    I've never busted a gottlieb drop target until I DC rectified the flippers on my Fast Draw - that snapped 2 of the original targets almost immediately. Pull the rectifier out as that game doesn't need it.

    Gottlieb drops are the most reliable drops out of any manufacturer. The only flaw they might have is if the foot on the bottom breaks they can reset too high, but if you replace them all with new, that probably won't happen in home use (the foot gets busted when people maladjust the reset stroke).

    Also, if you change drops to standups, the reset circuit won't work, and the gameplay will be completely different as you could reactive the spot-as-drop target. I'm all for laziness and easy of maintenance but replacing drops with standups is not the formula for that.

    #6 5 months ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    You are correct.
    I like standup targets myself, and prefer single drop target banks in games that have them.

    What about the drops on this fella?

    58C8C103-731D-416C-8E29-EE60581BA43C (resized).jpeg
    #7 5 months ago

    Drop targets rule. And the fact that good old Bally drops are a PITA before break in is part of Pinball. Solid hit and bounce is frustrating but almost expected. And it opens the ability to put stand-up behind the drop bank for a different rules / scoring opportunity (Royal Flush and others). In-line drops are awesome and the use of them in the middle of a playfield is great (like Cactus Canyon or even 24) for and up / down hurry-up mode.

    #8 5 months ago

    Drop targets are more expensive to replace should you snap one, but that's about all, in my opinion. Set up properly, they are a good feature to have. But there again, targets are nice too. 'You pays your money and you takes your choice'

    #9 5 months ago

    I had no intention of replacing drop targets with stand-ups. Just a factor as to what particular machine I buy. Most of the machines that I really love have drop targets, but there are also quite a few, that I like almost as well, which have stand-ups. Right now, I'm looking at a Top Card machine, with all stand-ups, and a Big Indian with upper drops and 2 lower stand-ups.That would make for a total of 20 targets, 15 stand-ups and 5 drops over the 2 machines. Which leads me to a new question. Are stand-ups relatively maintenance free?

    Quoted from slochar:

    Also, if you change drops to standups, the reset circuit won't work, and the gameplay will be completely different as you could reactive the spot-as-drop target. I'm all for laziness and easy of maintenance but replacing drops with standups is not the formula for that.

    #10 5 months ago

    I think that I should also add that these machines will be seeing a lot of playtime, and taking as much as a beating as they'll stand, without setting of the tilt mechanism. I don't see any way that the amount of time that I spend playing them will ever be less than 20 hrs per week. There's nothing that I like to do more than playing pinball.

    #11 5 months ago
    Quoted from Sea_Wolf:

    What about the drops on this fella?[quoted image]

    What about them? I've owned a Crescendo for 4 years. I've never had any issues with them that couldn't be fixed just like any other drop target. Fun fact, that was the first game for Gottlieb that had drop targets. Haven't even touched them in 3 years, still work fine. It doesn't get a ton of play, other than being at TPF twice.

    (oh, I can't see who you quoted...lol..)

    #12 5 months ago
    Quoted from Kaytrox:

    without setting of the tilt mechanism

    That's a great way to screw yourself over from improving your skills. Can't tell you how many years it took me to adjust to having to deal with tilts on location or in tournaments because my wife insisted on not having a tilt set at home. It sucks. You don't have to set it super tight, but don't remove it entirely. If the designers intended for you to slide the machine 8 feet every time you play the game, they would come with teflon feet on the legs.

    #13 5 months ago

    Drop targets CAN give problems such as breaking (old brittle plastics are prone to breakage), and not resetting/scoring correctly. I just finished restoring a Bally Freedom, and the drop targets will all pop-up as they should upon reset, but occasionally one or two will drop back down. Could be weak springs, play in the mechanism, or ???

    Brought a Gottlieb Genesis back from the dead, and it broke two drop targets within the first 25 games. They must have become brittle with age. They were hard to locate as well, even PBR didn't have them, so I had to substitute drop targets from another Gottlieb pin.

    But these types of issues DO OCCUR with drop targets.

    #14 5 months ago
    Quoted from PinPilot:

    Drop targets CAN give problems such as breaking (old brittle plastics are prone to breakage), and not resetting/scoring correctly. I just finished restoring a Bally Freedom, and the drop targets will all pop-up as they should upon reset, but occasionally one or two will drop back down. Could be weak springs, play in the mechanism, or ??? But these types of issues DO OCCUR with drop targets.

    Weak springs, easy fix.

    #15 5 months ago
    Quoted from gdonovan:

    Weak springs, easy fix.

    Easy for you and me maybe, but a bit daunting to someone not so mechanically inclined.

    #16 5 months ago
    Quoted from PinPilot:

    Easy for you and me maybe, but a bit daunting to someone not so mechanically inclined.

    Not to sound arrogant, pinball ownership requires some degree of being mechanically inclined.

    They are complex electro-mechanical devices with a steel ball(s) whizzing around at high speed with lots of vibration to cause mischief. You will get mechanically inclined or be good friends with a repairman, regardless of design.

    That is just the reality.

    #17 5 months ago
    Quoted from Kaytrox:

    I am currently shopping for Gottlieb late 60's through the 70's EM machines, to start my collection. For me, collectibility and 'coolness' just don't matter. I want a few of my old time favorites to play in my game room. I'm not at all tech savvy, and I certainly don't want tinkering with them, and general maintenance, to become a life-consuming hobby. So in my mind, I've reasoned out that spot targets would be more durable, and need less maintenance than drop targets, as they merely rock back and forth, rather than drop and reset. Is this correct, or I am naive on this issue?

    If I may proffer an opinion; if you are worried about reliability you are focusing in the wrong area (drop targets vs spot) though when it comes to EM's I have never seen a broken drop target or spot target. I'll grant you spots will be more trouble free than drops due to simplicity. Less moving parts and fewer switches too.

    I'll garner some hate for the following, but frankly don't care. Gottlieb's EMs (of which I currently own 4, Melody, Hearts and Spades, Domino and King Pin) tend to be less reliable than Williams and Ballys EMs. The relay contact arms are much shorter, some of the relay designs are VERY problematic (I'm looking at you AS and AX) and some of the stepper units seem to be more fussy than Williams.

    Williams drop targets from this time period tend to be steel with plastic faces, "unbreakable" is a pretty fair description.

    If you have your heart set on a particular Gottlieb title, I totally understand. I spent 2 years looking for Melody and Hearts and Spades. Great playing machines that sounds delightful. Well worth the occasional hiccup, which will happen with any EM.

    #18 5 months ago
    Quoted from Frax:

    What about them? I've owned a Crescendo for 4 years. I've never had any issues with them that couldn't be fixed just like any other drop target. Fun fact, that was the first game for Gottlieb that had drop targets. Haven't even touched them in 3 years, still work fine. It doesn't get a ton of play, other than being at TPF twice.
    (oh, I can't see who you quoted...lol..)

    I was wondering what people on here thought about the layout of the drops on Crescendo, not their durability. It looks like a fun game when all 5 pop bumpers are functioning at their best.

    I had a chance to buy a nice looking one that came up on Craigslist for $325 but they sold it to the first guy who called. I was hoping he passed on it but he grabbed it. Just missed.

    #19 5 months ago
    Quoted from Taxman:

    Drop targets rule.

    I don't know man. I was playing my favorite EM last night, Pit Stop, with no drop targets, and I really like the rebound you can only get with a standup target.

    Drop targets used sparingly are OK in my book though. Very sparingly.

    #20 5 months ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    Drop targets used sparingly are OK in my book though. Very sparingly.

    Personal opinion, I'm in the same boat. Not sure why, I think design wise once a large number end up in a game they seem to be the overwhelming goal rather than "part of an overall design" if that makes sense. I prefer variety of target types in a game.

    #21 5 months ago
    Quoted from gdonovan:

    I prefer variety of target types in a game.

    That’s me too. Space Mission is the most fun EM I’ve ever played and it has no drop targets or return lanes and only one standing target but it does have a spinning target, 4 kickouts, a spinner and a horseshoe to go along with a beautiful playfield. It just plain feels good to play.

    #22 5 months ago
    Quoted from gdonovan:

    I prefer variety of target types in a game.

    I try to keep a variety of targets, layouts, and features in all my games. I've had games with 15 drop targets and they are long gone. Come to think of it I only have one EM with a drop target left, and it has only one.

    #23 5 months ago

    What I really like is the swinging target.

    No vari targets for me.

    #24 5 months ago
    Quoted from o-din:

    No vari targets for me.

    I won't say the worse feature on a pin playfield, but pretty darn close.

    Roto-targets on the other hand are pretty cool.

    #25 5 months ago
    Quoted from Sea_Wolf:

    I was wondering what people on here thought about the layout of the drops on Crescendo, not their durability. It looks like a fun game when all 5 pop bumpers are functioning at their best.
    I had a chance to buy a nice looking one that came up on Craigslist for $325 but they sold it to the first guy who called. I was hoping he passed on it but he grabbed it. Just missed.

    I like it a LOT, but the lack of active slings and inlanes on the bottom is going to turn a lot of people off. It's pretty unique in that it's definitely an EM where you can live catch and trap the ball that way. The side shots that hook around ARE actually shootable from the bottom, and it's really much preferred to try and hit them for a lit flower to get up top and back in the top pops than shooting through those posts.

    The only major flaw with the game as I see it is really that it NEEDS super bouncy white non-silicone rubber by the bottom pops or it's an instant drain, and also the flower value carries over from player to player. I want to stick one of those randomizer spinners from another EM into the circuit for the flower value advance, and tie it to those side loop shots. The difference between 10 points a target and 500 points a target is crazy. There's needs to be something to randomize it at the start of a ball as well as give players some bonus for shooting those sides other than just a lit flower. Having that thing move 5+ steps up would be a huge incentive to make those more skilled shots.

    *Edit* I should mention my playfield is cleared and I use a Glo-ball....it's SUPER fast at times...

    #26 5 months ago
    Quoted from gdonovan:

    Not to sound arrogant, pinball ownership requires some degree of being mechanically inclined.
    They are complex electro-mechanical devices with a steel ball(s) whizzing around at high speed with lots of vibration to cause mischief. You will get mechanically inclined or be good friends with a repairman, regardless of design.
    That is just the reality.

    I got friends who can help me a lot. Especially if I have the schematics

    Quoted from Frax:

    I like it a LOT, but the lack of active slings and inlanes on the bottom is going to turn a lot of people off. It's pretty unique in that it's definitely an EM where you can live catch and trap the ball that way. .

    Concerning the Crescendo machine. There is currently one available in my area, but the double outlanes with no inlane are a real dealbreaker for me. Plus, there are a very limited number of titles that I could live with the older, shorter flippers.

    Quoted from gdonovan:

    I'll garner some hate for the following, but frankly don't care. Gottlieb's EMs (of which I currently own 4, Melody, Hearts and Spades, Domino and King Pin) tend to be less reliable than Williams and Ballys EMs.

    And as far at that goes. I have a post somewhere on the site, about how Gottlieb are the only machines that I can master. For some reason, Bally and Williams machines just eat me up. with the exception of the Bally 8-ball game, and that Williams game with the 5 balls in the center, that you loop back and forth.

    #27 5 months ago
    Quoted from Kaytrox:

    And as far at that goes. I have a post somewhere on the site, about how Gottlieb are the only machines that I can master. For some reason, Bally and Williams machines just eat me up. with the exception of the Bally 8-ball game, and that Williams game with the 5 balls in the center, that you loop back and forth.

    I totally get it; while I do appreciate Gottlieb EM's and own a few I gravitate towards Williams EM. They tend (but not always) have a distinctly different flavor of play in the ways you obtain goals during play which I enjoy. Gottlieb is king of sound though, nothing sweeter than a set of their bells or chimes sounding off.

    My 1967 Williams Magic Town bell/chime sounds so poor I'm seriously contemplating making my own chime box for it, already made up a print and have aluminum stock on hand. Just a matter of getting some free time in the next month or two and start experimenting.

    #28 5 months ago
    Quoted from gdonovan:

    Gottlieb is king of sound though, nothing sweeter than a set of their bells or chimes sounding off.

    I imagine that this could actually be a factor. Although I really don't consciously pay attention to the sound, it is possible that it gets into my head, and that could actually make my subconscious stay better focused.

    And, as usual, I posted something that got misunderstood. LOL

    Quoted from Frax:

    That's a great way to screw yourself over from improving your skills. Can't tell you how many years it took me to adjust to having to deal with tilts on location or in tournaments because my wife insisted on not having a tilt set at home. It sucks. You don't have to set it super tight, but don't remove it entirely. If the designers intended for you to slide the machine 8 feet every time you play the game, they would come with teflon feet on the legs.

    I had no intention of disabling the tilt mechanisms on my machines. Part of the game is knowing how far you can push it, and get away with it. But this convo is going way off course, so I'll post my farewell to this one, and thanks to all for the opinions and advice.

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