I'm an EM noob, and my first EM is a 4 player Target Alpha. Looking at the side-by-side above, if you were to ask me which one I would be more comfortable working on, I would definitely say the Pop-a-Card vs the Grand Prix. You have to remember that I am coming into the EM world with very little understanding of the "base" function of these machines, as some of you more seasoned experts say. The difference between the 2 machines above, is that layers and layers of relays and switches. For a noob, it is much easier to see and understand when there is LESS to keep track of, especially for someone with very little understanding.
My first problem with Target Alpha cropped up just a few weeks ago. Played perfectly the night before, then the 4th player score reel was getting slow, then the game wouldn't "end." I observed the machine and thought initially that there was something wrong with the score motor. I didn't know what or why, but I thought the problem was there. I started a thread, detailing my problem, and a couple of very helpful Pinsiders chimed in, and took me through several troubleshooting steps. This, in turn, took me further and further away from the source, until one of them, with the urging of myself, took a step back to see what was going on.
Turns out there was a NC switch that was opened, just right there, staring me in the face. Dont get me wrong, it was an incredible learning experience, for sure.
I guess my point is that, I think people with more knowledge and experience take that for granted, and sometimes offer a new person something more complicated than he/she understands. Every time I get overwhelmed with something, I always try my best to go back to the KISS method. Keep It Simple Stupid. So for all of the experienced techs out there, especially for noobs like me, we appreciate the laymans terms and the simplest method to understand. I like things spelled out for me, and when I give advice, I try to keep it simple too. Not in an offensive way, just in a way that doesn't make assumptions.