(Topic ID: 233902)

First time pinball owner - to be expected?


By slikrik98

1 year ago



Topic Stats

  • 11 posts
  • 7 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by slikrik98
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#1 1 year ago

Hey Folks,

I just bought my first pin for the home, a NIB The Walking Dead (Premium/LE). I have one at my office (a Pro model) and my 4 year old son has become obsessed with it when he visits me at work. Granted, it's not the most family-friendly theme, but he loves killing the "bazombies" (as he calls them) .

I bought one for the home for several reasons, but the primary reason is because when I grew up, I was a tinkerer with computers and electronics which led to an engineering career for me and I was hoping that as my son (and daughter) get older, they will enjoy tinkering, fixing, modding a pinball machine since, compared to today's home computers, they are relatively "low tech" and good from an instruction point of view. I grew up during the Nintendo/Genesis/Street Fighter heyday and so the arcade experience for me rarely included pinball. But since having one at work over the last few years, I've really grown to appreciate them more, how deep their gameplay is, and as a good balance to the ever-increasing computerization of life.

I therefore knew what I was getting myself into (or at least I thought I did), and expected that I would have a certain level of upkeep needed to keep the pin playing well over the years. We haven't had any service to the machine at work, and we've had it for 4 years now so I was surprised by the things that needed attention from the machine I unboxed last week:

1. The launch button (only present on the Premium/LE models) didn't work (the metal contact of the switch was simply too far away from the plunger on the button). This of course affects not just the primary launch, but also the crossbow mode which was one of the main benefits to me of the Premium model. This wasn't a minor adjustment - the metal band had to be bent a fair amount so that it would come in contact with the plunger. I can't imagine this *ever* worked given the distance and this doesn't seem like something that happen during shipping.

2. The 4th ball switch in the ball trough was high enough that at least once per game, a ball's weight/momentum was not enough to allow the ball to pass over it. This meant that on every game played, we had to suffer through the "finding ball" routine which take about 30 seconds. It took me quite a while to identify that it was a switch in the trough leading to this problem - I couldn't understand why the game kept "missing a ball"

3. There was a loose plug that powered a light which was not plugged in. I figure this is a pretty common shipping issue and fortunately the plug was labeled so I knew exactly where to plug it in.

4. A metal wire that powers one of the two stab targets on both sides of the prison was simply not soldered and was loose. Its counterpart was soldered, but this one was not and thus the stab target was not functioning.

None of these issues were difficult to fix - and in fact I enjoyed the "debugging" effort. However as I think more about it (and compare it to the experience we've had with the machine in the office), I guess I'm surprised that at least #1 and #2 above made it through quality control. Are these "normal" things to experience on a brand new Stern machine (manufacture date of 11/17)?

If the answer is yes, then I'm a happy camper - like I said, I fully expected this to be a life long "project" to keep this thing running through the years. I'm just a little nervous I bought a "lemon" (if there is such a thing).

-Rick

#2 1 year ago

Every machine has a few issues once you get it home - even new-in-box. Good to hear that you got things fixed and know that Stern or your distributor would stand by you if something serious was wrong right out of the box.

It won't be long till you are buying fixer-uppers that have much more debugging!

#3 1 year ago

Unfortunately, stuff like this is not uncommon. Well done debugging the issues: get used to it!

#4 1 year ago

Unfortunately that is pretty standard for a pinball machine. A lemon for me would be a game where the inserts are all popping out, the playfield art just starts flaking off, or some other major issue that can't be tweaked away.

#5 1 year ago

Good to hear that this is not uncommon - thanks all! I think I've fixed all the easy ones. Now on to the crazy loud buzzing of the left flipper...

#6 1 year ago
Quoted from slikrik98:

Good to hear that this is not uncommon - thanks all! I think I've fixed all the easy ones. Now on to the crazy loud buzzing of the left flipper...

That's common on Sterns also, I play my games loud with an external sub so it never bothers me

#7 1 year ago

I wonder if the pinball you have at work passed in the hands of a distributor who checked it all prior to delivering it, this would explain why your NIB arrived with issues and once again advocate for buying through a local and caring distributor.

There is definitely a luck factor though, my WOZ spent a good half of his first month with the playfield up for maintenance, and has been working like a charm ever since, others got more lucky or less lucky. I guess it has to do with hand made stuff, transport and limited unit testing capabilities. But debugging is surely fun, at least as long as I can sort out the issue, after that it can become a bit frustrating.

#8 1 year ago
Quoted from slikrik98:

Are these "normal" things to experience on a brand new Stern machine (manufacture date of 11/17)?

If the answer is yes, then I'm a happy camper - like I said, I fully expected this to be a life long "project" to keep this thing running through the years. I'm just a little nervous I bought a "lemon" (if there is such a thing).

I have a 1966 Gottlieb Subway I've worked on less (in the 13 years I've owned it) than a Deadpool Pro I've had less than 2 months. They're pinball machines after-all. That means tinkering with them from the day you buy it until the day you sell it.

#9 1 year ago
Quoted from manadams:

That's common on Sterns also, I play my games loud with an external sub so it never bothers me

Turns out my wife doesn't love the growling zombie sounds and blood-splatter sound FX so turning it up so that it's louder than my left flipper is not presently an option

#10 1 year ago
Quoted from adol75:

I wonder if the pinball you have at work passed in the hands of a distributor who checked it all prior to delivering it

I'm almost certain it *did* get properly checked before we signed off on it. And we haven't touched it since, which bodes well, I hope, for the longevity of these once everything is put in its proper place.

I must say, I was surprised at how... ungraceful sliding the playfield out and putting it back in was the first time I did it, I was convinced I was doing it wrong and had a mild panic attack. So it would seem these things can take a beating.

#11 1 year ago
Quoted from adol75:

once again advocate for buying through a local and caring distributor

Unfortunately this was the only new TWD Premium I could find so my options were limited. The good news is if this turns into a habit and not a one-off, I'm only 15 miles from Stern HQ so I should be able to find a good supply of local distributors!

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