(Topic ID: 171298)

First Pin Advice- Star Trek Next Gen

By chewbaccadog

7 years ago


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  • 30 posts
  • 21 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 7 years ago by Wickerman2
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#1 7 years ago

I am planning on going to see a pin listed in the forum. It's the one for 3500 and shows some wear. I have no mechanical experience shopping for Pinball machines so I am only armed with common sense and good working knowledge of this specific game.
I would love any tips on what are "red flags" and if the valuation is good on this game. and, based on the pictures if this is something that is a candidate for restoration if I end up wanting to that in the future.
doing the market research on this bad boy it does look like It's listed for less than pristine copies but I have point of reference on what refurbishing this would cost.
Lots of cosmetic flaws ect.
Any and all advice is appreciate and thank you!

#2 7 years ago

My advice is to make friends with someone familiar with home pinball repair. You are picking a game with a lot going on and will probably have a lot of issues cropping up. Some can be difficult to debug.

Since a normal version with some wear goes for around $4K you had better hope it has more wear than issues. If you do not know the person you are getting the game from you may want to find out if people here have dealt with them and can give a recommendation or warning.

#3 7 years ago

As much as I love STTNG, and is one of my favorite games, I wouldn't say for a first timer to buy this title. It takes knowledge and patience since it is such a complex game. Start off with a simpler game and learn how the machines work and how to repair them. You don't want this beast yet.

#4 7 years ago
Quoted from chewbaccadog:

Any and all advice is appreciate and thank you!

if you alone are going to have to repair it and don't have experience, don't start with sttng. If you have help/have money to pay someone if a problem arises, go for it. Mine has given me less problems than the average game actually.

#5 7 years ago

I love and own an STTNG. It is definitely a great pinball machine. Loads of fun and extremely challenging. Challenging in all aspects. With that I mean both gameplay and repair. It's not a matter of "if" your game will have issues,it is when. The "when" part will come sooner than later. That's simply the nature of the WPC games. Common problems are the opto switches and reset problems. Both of which Inhabe been through and repaired. Last week I lost all of my controlled lamps. 18volt circuit in the power driver board had a trace go bad between The two caps on the positive side.

My advice to you would be if you are willing to learn and are extremely patient than you might be ok with this machine. Don't expect to fix things quickly If not and you want to learn from the ground up start with a beat up and barely working EM machine. That will teach you some mechanics principles and build a foundation for understanding relay logic....all of which will help you with microprocessor based repairs down the road. Learn how to read schematics. You will need this to fix STTNG. The schematics are everything in repair. The schematics detail exactly how a machine works. You can't fix something if you don't know how it works.

Best of luck and most importantly have fun!

#6 7 years ago

Great advice. I don't mind paying for repair but I would have to factor this in the cost. More importantly, if this is the type of game that breaks down allot, not having it for extended periods and no good "repair guy" option makes this hard to swallow.
What about the Shadow? There was one of those but I would have to drive practically to Iowa to just look at it. I love that game but the travel with no guaranteed pay off has me hesitating.

#7 7 years ago

If you are in the Chicago area you should be able to get a paid technician without too much trouble. You will learn to do a lot of the little things, it is part of the funfun. But having the a tech to get you out of trouble is a nice safety net to have.

#8 7 years ago
Quoted from chewbaccadog:

More importantly, if this is the type of game that breaks down allot, not having it for extended periods and no good "repair guy" option makes this hard to swallow.

I had a couple issues with mine at first, ended up putting in new driver board, haven't had an issue since. It does not break down any more than any other machine...if it does, it's just a little more complicated to figure out but I have had minimal issues.

#9 7 years ago

Credit dot is worth $500 off the price.

#10 7 years ago

My buddy bought a STTNG. So far it has been nothing but a nightmare. Cool looking game, so much crap can go wrong. My buddy and I are also people that get our hands dirty fixing these things. Board issues, switches, all kinds of stuff. You name it.

On the other hand, I own a shadow. It is much simpler game tech wise and loads of fun. It is a pin that will never leave my collection. Awesome fast game.

#11 7 years ago

If you are mechanically or electrically inclined... then STNG is fine.
STNG was actually my first Pinball machine; and I still love it. But then again; I'm an electrical Engineer and a Maker so... this isn't an issue. I would not recommend this machine to anyone as a first pin unless they have a lot of electronics experience.

#12 7 years ago

Oh boy, I agree with the folks here that say this may not be a good first pin. It will be trial by fire for sure. Be honest with yourself about your mechanical ability as it will be a challenge. On a positive note there are a lot more resources for answers these days than even a few years ago.

#13 7 years ago

Owning a STTNG is a bit like owning an old 1960s era European sports car. They look cool, and are awesome when they work but you had better be prepared to do some work on it.

#14 7 years ago

Create a want list by "adding a game to your wish list" under the map on the right side of a games pinball profile on Pinside.
This is too keep focused on what games you like or really want to try.

Buy a game from a local collector who loves pinball, cares for his or her games and would take it as a personal insult to themselves to sell a person who is new to pinball a game that has issues without fully disclosing it. Look at the sellers past forum posts. Are they helpful? Do they seem to buy a game and sell it the next day? Will they help you after the sale with a question or two? I bought my first 2 games from one of these collectors and mine never broke down. I have sold some pins to newbies and have helped them fix things months later and did not even think of it. Last month a new guy who bought my ST bought a wrong part to fix a flipper. The guy contacted me and I was able to figure out what he needed and happened to have a friend who had the part who lived near him and he was able to pick the part up from my friend and fix ST the day before he had friends over. He was super impressed how we all helped each other.

It is ok to put yourself out there and introduce yourself to other locals and don't be surprised if some invite you to their house to play. It is very normal and if you are genuine and love pinball you will fit right in.

Good luck!

edit - TS may be a tough one on the repair side also. TZ also. You have good taste though.

#15 7 years ago

It is not recommended that a first time buyer with little pinball experience purchased a STTNG.

Cosmetics are not the issue.

This specific title has substantial numbers of opto controlled switches which can cause game problems and a exceptionally large number of under playfield assemblies and complicated components. This title can be a real beast for repairs, if the game is not properly maintained.

If you require specific "achilles heels" for this title you may PM.

If your heart is set on this game, find a local collector with proper WPC experience to go with you for assistance. Preferably a person who owns or has owned this title.

Other games of this same complex category are TZ, IJ:TBA, and RS.

#16 7 years ago

Eh, there's a lot to it, but few games are better documented or better understood. with Piniside at your disposal, as long as you can work a soldering iron you shouldn't have too much trouble. None of it is rocket science.

Honestly, keeping the whole game (including the subway) clean eliminates most opto problems, which are the most common issue.

if you make sure your game isn't hacked up and the boards are in good shape, doesn't reset, DMD is clear, and the cannons work, then anything else is probably a pretty easy fix.

STTNG was my second game, and it wasn't bad. But yeah, that's with the caveat that the game you get is in good shape.

#17 7 years ago
Quoted from pezpunk:

Eh, there's a lot to it, but few games are better documented or better understood. with Piniside at your disposal, as long as you can work a soldering iron you shouldn't have too much trouble. None of it is rocket science.
Honestly, keeping the whole game (including the subway) clean eliminates most opto problems, which are the most common issue.
if you make sure your game isn't hacked up and the boards are in good shape, doesn't reset, DMD is clear, and the cannons work, then anything else is probably a pretty easy fix.
STTNG was my second game, and it wasn't bad. But yeah, that's with the caveat that the game you get is in good shape.

How is he gonna know if it's hacked or not? How is he gonna know if it's "clean." He's a newbie.

It's an sttng. Expect issues. I've owned three of them from average to very nice shape. All developed odd, difficult to diagnose issues.

#18 7 years ago

I agree with others who say it is not a good choice for your first pin but my reasoning is totally different . Since StarTrek the Next Generation is th greatest pinball machine ever made anything else you buy afterwords will be inferior and a let down to you .

#19 7 years ago

"New pinball buyers do not want to spend countless hours properly repairing pinball machines that were not maintained."

This is being bought as a $3500 project?
This seems unlikely.
Are the proper tools even available by the OP to do work?
This also seems unlikely.

I wish the OP the best in evaluation.

#20 7 years ago

Agree with above. ST:TNG is awesome but not a starter pin and I'd be wary of the price.

Start with a simple Late WPC or System 11. Nothing too loaded (no TZ, TAF, STTNG, WH2O)

#21 7 years ago

There's a lot of advice here not to get this as your first pin. It's decent advice but if its the pin you want I say go ahead and get it, assuming it's passed an inspection (get some help there if you can.)

I got the Indiana Jones of the same era as my first pinball, had no experience maintaining arcade equipment and extremely minimal electronics experience. I also had no local resources and there was no Pinside yet either. In the past ten years I have broken the machine countless times making mistakes while trying to repair things. However I've also ended up fixing every single one of those problems and doing so is always immensely satisfying.

If your main priority is simply to play your machines, get a newer Stern or a restored Bally/Williams. If you're okay learning how to repair and maintain a pin, Star Trek will provide you with everything from Kindergarten through PhD level problems to solve. If that sounds scary, skip it until you are ready.

#22 7 years ago

I've sold 3 or 4 STTNGs to first time pin buyers in the last couple years. Very few issues but these games were thoroughly gone over, power driver boards rebuilt, etc because I support them. STTNG can be made as reliable as any other game, but there is a lot to go over, perhaps only 2nd to TZ. But not for $3500. Sometimes you get what you pay for, especially on games like this.

#23 7 years ago

Lots of great advice. The assessment of - I want to buy a pin, play and enjoy it, is completely accurate. I know things happen but I think I am going to take the majority advice and look at other options.
Batman Forever local here is an option.
The Shadow is in Rock Island, 6 hour round trip is discouraging but I really like that game.
There is a fish tales local as well.
any of these hit the mark?

#24 7 years ago

Yeah, check out the fish tales. Great game and it's local.

#25 7 years ago

You're going to get 100 different opinions from 100 different people about where to start in this hobby. I would suggest keeping it simple...

Buy a game you really enjoy, with enough depth to keep it interesting.
Get a common game that you can get replacement parts for.
Accept you may lose 10% of the game price, its not an investment.
Be prepared to call a tech and spend a couple of hundred when something breaks. More if it is an exotic or expensive component.
Consider going cheaper and getting two machines. That way when one breaks you can still play the other. And you won't be as nervous when you try and work on them yourselves.

#26 7 years ago
Quoted from uncivil_engineer:

Owning a STTNG is a bit like owning an old 1960s era European sports car. They look cool, and are awesome when they work but you had better be prepared to do some work on it.

That's why I bought this 1960 US car when I was 19. Still looks ok after 30 years of neglect. She is still the only thing I love.
I have had the Hi Deal for about 35 years and it has needed little work. I too was worried when I was looking to by STTNG, but I have had a lot of fun with it and some frustrations that have been good learning experiences. It is my "grail" game.

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#27 7 years ago
Quoted from trilogybeer:

I agree with others who say it is not a good choice for your first pin but my reasoning is totally different . Since StarTrek the Next Generation is th greatest pinball machine ever made anything else you buy afterwords will be inferior and a let down to you .

Let me throw my 2 cent in too. Trilogy is correct about being able to fix damn near anything after getting a STTNG running and keeping it running. I bought a basket case parts machine ($1200) STTNG as my first pin. It took the better part of 18 months to get it back together and working properly. It still has a couple ticks that I'm ironing out as we go along but for the most part it's pretty rock solid now. I started with next to no experience with pinball games and no experience at all with WPC games. Since I finished up, I have worked on numerous machines and even repaired a few for other people. If your patient and read a ton, this game will be fine. If you have to have a game to play all the time every time, I would pass

#28 7 years ago

Just buy it fast so you can move on to the search for #2

#29 7 years ago

End up picking up the local Fish Tales from a super great Pinsider. Pics soon. Thanks all for the great advice! Fun times playing my first pin and fulfilling a 30yr old dream of owning one

#30 7 years ago
Quoted from chewbaccadog:

End up picking up the local Fish Tales

order the 3d translite from planetary

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