(Topic ID: 288890)

First Pin Advice: EM, SS, or does it matter?

By topper

3 years ago



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    #1 3 years ago

    Hi all! I'm new to the forums and I'll apologize in advance because I suspect you all get asked this kind of question a lot.

    I'm considering making my first pinball machine purchase. Because of budget, it's bound to be a well-loved (but hopefully not abused) older machine. I'd like to be able to learn to do as much service and upkeep on it myself as possible. There is a local pinball parlor with some great folks who I can call on if need be. But I like to tinker, am fairly handy, and learning to do basic maintenance and even minor restorative work will be part of the fun for me.

    The local market for used pins is pretty small and I may not end up with many options to choose from. But in general, would you say I'm better off with an electro-mechanical or solid state machine? Is one generally easier to learn/work on than the other? Or does that not really matter so much as the individual pin cab itself?

    Or am I barking up the wrong tree entirely and all maintenance and restoration is best left to the experts?

    To give a few examples, there's both a 1976 Aladdin's Castle and a 1979 Genie table that appear in reasonably good condition, are advertised as fully functioning, within a reasonable driving radius from me, and priced around what I'd be willing to spend.

    I've also seen machines like SuperFlite and Funfest come up in the local market. I'm not ready to pull the trigger on any specific machine yet. But these are the kinds of machines I've seen locally that seem to be in my price range.

    #2 3 years ago

    you are in Charlottville, there is a healthy pinball community there

    what do you like to play?
    go out, play as many different types of games as you can, then we can guide you better
    there is no point in buying an EM only to find it slow and boring
    no point buying the latest stern if you hate dinosaur rock bands

    #3 3 years ago
    Quoted from PopBumperPete:

    you are in Charlottville, there is a healthy pinball community there
    what do you like to play?
    go out, play as many different types of games as you can, then we can guide you better
    there is no point in buying an EM only to find it slow and boring
    no point buying the latest stern if you hate dinosaur rock bands

    LOL! Yeah, don't worry, I won't buy a table I don't find fun to play. The local pinball arcade (Decades Arcade) is fantastic and their techs would be available for hire if I get in over my head. I guess I'm just trying to make sure I don't get in *too* far over my head.

    I've also got the advantage of a virtual pinball cab I built last year, so I can try out just about any game before I go to see it in person. I know it's not the same, which is part of why I want a real pin, but it'll help me be sure I don't buy something I won't enjoy playing.

    #4 3 years ago

    If you're not afraid of digging in and learning some basic maintenance, there's nothing wrong with an EM. Especially when dealing with projects, you don't need to worry about things like boards being bad, etc. Ems are only slow if they're badly maintained or set up that way; they can play just as fast as a solid state.

    SS is going to vary a lot of manufacturer/system. Williams or gottlieb system 1 you might want to avoid, unless they have repro mpus, in which case there's no real issue. In general, with ss games the boards are the single biggest source of issues, and the biggest possible money Sink to repair/replace, so do a bit of learning about any given system/board set when considering purchasing one. Know what's in the game currently, what replacements are available, how much they could cost, etc

    #5 3 years ago

    It doesn’t matter...they are all great fun...

    #6 3 years ago

    Buy a machine you like to play and want to own. Don’t worry about what era it’s from. Buy in person with cash if at all possible.

    #7 3 years ago

    Have u checked with Decades Arcade to see if they might have pins for sale? Like all arcades they have been hit hard by the pandemic.

    #8 3 years ago
    Quoted from topper:

    LOL! Yeah, don't worry, I won't buy a table I don't find fun to play. .

    Hint, do not call them 'tables'

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