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(Topic ID: 277533)

Moving to Europe


By EarlOfEgo

40 days ago



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  • 30 posts
  • 21 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 20 days ago by EarlOfEgo
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    #1 40 days ago

    My wife and I will be relocating to Belgium in the coming months and we would like to take all of our machines with us. The move is through the US Army, so I know that we can get them over there with few problems however, I have two major concerns.

    1. I have never switched over my power source before to accommodate for the 50 hz power grid in Europe. My understanding is that this is pretty simple on most games, however newer Stern games are more complicated. Does anyone have experience performing this switch over, and are there any issues I should be concerned about? I have also looked into transformers, however this gets pretty expensive when you have multiple machines.

    2. How easy is it to obtain parts and/or machines in Europe? One option available to us is to sell machines and buy new ones upon arrival. Is this practical?

    #2 40 days ago

    Not sure about the transformer thing but I think you move a few jumper cables in the metal power box connector thingy.

    Regarding spareparts, there are several good online stores in Europe to order from that delivers fast and reliably. Or just order from the US but be prepared for an expensive freight fee.

    #3 40 days ago

    If you have only pre-Spike games, that should be fine.
    However, Stern has implemented a software protection to prevent from parallel importation from US to Europe. At the first boot, the game save the frequency (50Hz or 60Hz) and this cannot be changed with future firmware update.

    Except if they can provide a special firmware to reset this information, the game will refuse to boot when plugged in a different frequency power.

    But I'm very interested, please keep us updated !

    #4 40 days ago

    For most solid state games, there are jumpers or jumper plugs you can change for EU electric.

    For some of the newer Stern games, there is something in the firmware that prevents 60hz games being used on 50hz and visa versa. If you have newer stern games, you may have to contact support about that.

    For games with a florescent blub, you might need to replace the ballast if it is a 60hz-only type, rather than a 50hz/60hz type.

    https://www.pinball.co.uk/blog/converting-a-usa-stern-pinball-to-230v-50hz/

    There are EU suppliers that should have most of the common parts you'll need. But if you're actively restoring games, you may still have to rely on US suppliers (they do ship internationally).

    https://www.pinwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=Pinball_Parts_Suppliers

    As for buying games in the EU, from what I've heard, US games are harder to find and are more expensive. However, you may encounter older EU games that don't usually show up in the US.

    #5 40 days ago
    Quoted from EarlOfEgo:

    My wife and I will be relocating to Belgium in the coming months and we would like to take all of our machines with us. The move is through the US Army, so I know that we can get them over there with few problems however, I have two major concerns.
    1. I have never switched over my power source before to accommodate for the 50 hz power grid in Europe. My understanding is that this is pretty simple on most games, however newer Stern games are more complicated. Does anyone have experience performing this switch over, and are there any issues I should be concerned about? I have also looked into transformers, however this gets pretty expensive when you have multiple machines.
    2. How easy is it to obtain parts and/or machines in Europe? One option available to us is to sell machines and buy new ones upon arrival. Is this practical?

    I’d probably be lazy and just buy a large converter/transformer that will let you plug in multiple games at once. If this is through the army, you’ll probably end up moving again in what, 5 to 10 years depending on how long you stay in?

    Machines cost an asston more in Europe. You could probably bring your games and make a ridiculous profit over there, so maybe buy some extra to sell

    #6 40 days ago

    I'm in Belgium. Welcome !

    Wpc games can be converted, but you should also replace the mov if you want to do it right.
    Stern spike games are protected, don't bother bringing them..

    Buying parts is no problem, many dealers in Europe.
    Also official Stern dealers from which you can order.
    Just keep in mind prices are more expensive, above the shipping there's 21pct vat.

    #7 40 days ago

    Are you really going to have room for 8 machines over there, or any for that matter? My experience in Europe says no, but I didn't live on a base or anything.

    Belgium is in the middle of everything in Europe and there is so much to do you shouldn't waste your time playing that much pinball.

    Sell your games, put the money in the bank. Buy them for a lot less when you get back. In the mean time, if you get over there and have room, buy a machine or two and leave them there when you come back.

    #8 40 days ago

    Dont go....we'll vote him out..........

    #9 40 days ago
    Quoted from aeneas:

    I'm in Belgium. Welcome !
    Wpc games can be converted, but you should also replace the mov if you want to do it right.
    Stern spike games are protected, don't bother bringing them..
    Buying parts is no problem, many dealers in Europe.
    Also official Stern dealers from which you can order.
    Just keep in mind prices are more expensive, above the shipping there's 21pct vat.

    Great to meet a fellow pinballer in Belgium! My wife will be thrilled!
    How about Spooky and Jersey Jack games? Any issues with them? I was pretty sure Sterns weren't worth it... but still bought a Batman 66 last month I've had my eye on an Alice Cooper and a Shadow, so this may be the reason I need to buy more games
    I believe I get reimbursed for VAT while in Europe. One of the job perks.

    #10 40 days ago
    Quoted from pinzrfun:

    Dont go....we'll vote him out..........

    We better... the job is with NATO and he could make it obsolete by March.

    #11 40 days ago
    Quoted from Black_Knight:

    Are you really going to have room for 8 machines over there, or any for that matter? My experience in Europe says no, but I didn't live on a base or anything.
    Belgium is in the middle of everything in Europe and there is so much to do you shouldn't waste your time playing that much pinball.
    Sell your games, put the money in the bank. Buy them for a lot less when you get back. In the mean time, if you get over there and have room, buy a machine or two and leave them there when you come back.

    This is a possibility and something we are considering. I do think we will have more space than I was expecting at first glance. They probably wont get used much.

    #12 40 days ago

    Check the pinside map, there's a few collectors in Belgium. I don't believe I've ever seen a pinball machine on location in Belgium, just bingos.

    I'll see you next year, if Americans are allowed to travel to Europe again, and if Belgium is hosting Metal festivals again.

    #13 40 days ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    Check the pinside map, there's a few collectors in Belgium

    ThierryV is in Zemst and does some good work on older solid state games. Maybe he'll chime in here.

    I've played at a few location machines in Brussels.

    #14 39 days ago

    Have lived in waterloo before. Interesting experience, but the french under 60 seemed uninviting. The flemish love everyone, except the french.

    Plenty of parts in europe, just pricey.

    #15 39 days ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    For some of the newer Stern games, there is something in the firmware that prevents 60hz games being used on 50hz and visa versa. If you have newer stern games, you may have to contact support about that.

    I wonder why this is a thing? I mean, your Playstations and laptops and such they give you a second chance to change your "region" and they have region specific things probably for different laws....but something that detects frequency changes? I see those moving overseas much easier than pins.

    I recall even IGT slot machines will adapt via their power supply to work just about anywhere. I run with their similar Condor power supplies at my job and they'll take anything you throw at them within reason.

    #16 39 days ago

    First, you’ll almost certainly love Belgium!

    It has some of the nicest people and most attractive cities in Europe, and as someone else mentioned it’s right in the middle of the “action” and a relatively short distance to more great stuff to explore than you’ll be able to accomplish in 10 years.

    With that, I agree with the recommendation to store or sell your collection while you are abroad, as realistically you probably won’t play them often, and space will definitely be at a higher premium. If you want to play, there are several spots in Belgium, and some good places relatively close by in Rotterdam and Amsterdam too, for that matter (but you really shouldn’t waste your time on pinball when visiting either of those cities ).

    #17 39 days ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    Check the pinside map, there's a few collectors in Belgium. I don't believe I've ever seen a pinball machine on location in Belgium, just bingos.
    I'll see you next year, if Americans are allowed to travel to Europe again, and if Belgium is hosting Metal festivals again.

    Bingos are indeed found in almost every pub, pinball machines much less, but there are some.

    In the centre of Brussels recently a pinball museum has started (they don't have a website, are only on facebook (Brussels pinball museum).
    In Rotterdam there's a pinball museum (much bigger) and there's Free Play near the dutch border ( https://www.freeplaylanaken.com/ )
    In Paris there's also a pinball museum.. so enough pinball related places to include in visits.

    Quoted from EJS:

    I wonder why this is a thing? I mean, your Playstations and laptops and such they give you a second chance to change your "region" and they have region specific things probably for different laws....but something that detects frequency changes? I see those moving overseas much easier than pins.

    Stern introduced it with spike to stop grey import - there were many dealers in Europe who were importing games from the USA because it was cheaper than buying from the official dealer for the country. In the USA there are enough dealers you can select from and they buy directly from Stern, but worldwide Stern has a different model - they appointed one official dealer for each country/region and everything has to go through him, local resellers have to buy from them..

    #18 39 days ago
    Quoted from EarlOfEgo:

    One option available to us is to sell machines and buy new ones upon arrival. Is this practical?

    you gonna learn US buyers should not complain about prices!

    #19 39 days ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    There are EU suppliers that should have most of the common parts you'll need. But if you're actively restoring games, you may still have to rely on US suppliers (they do ship internationally).
    https://www.pinwiki.com/wiki/index.php?title=Pinball_Parts_Suppliers
    .

    none can equal marco with stuff and it is hard to find all you need in a single shop.

    #20 39 days ago

    I moved to the Middle East last year. Threw my favorites in storage. Sold the rest. Flew two nib’s over, and bought a new stern locally. Your shipping may be free from the Army, so maybe pick 2-3 of your favorites and bring them. Sell or store the rest. Climate controlled of course... I’m used to a big lineup, but I find three is the magic number where I don’t grow bored too fast. I’m building a virtual pin to satisfy the variety itch, and give me something to do.

    #21 39 days ago

    Off topic...lived in Nederland a few years ago. Best thing we ever did was take Celebrity’s Baltic cruise. We’re not cruise people but it covered a ton of ground by water. Copenhagen, Helsinki, St Petersburg, Tallin, others. Don’t miss the Vasa museum in Stockholm.

    Have fun!

    #22 39 days ago
    Quoted from slcorrado:

    Off topic...lived in Nederland a few years ago. Best thing we ever did was take Celebrity’s Baltic cruise

    Haha! Cruises... Classic.

    #23 39 days ago

    Welcome to Belgium!
    Will you be stationed near Mons? I heard some plans were made for that area.

    Your only solution is to have a frequence transformer between your machines or other hardware in them (cpu, ..). WIthout it will not operate.

    Normally we have the belgian open pinball, belgischeflippercompetion and next year (if planned because of covid) the european pinball championchips.
    There is a pinball museum in Brussels opening soon and otherwise we meet up with friends a lot.

    #24 39 days ago

    Bought a Williams Stellar Wars that a guy bought in France and brought back to USA 10 years ago. Sat idle in his garage because it was wired for 220. I bought it and only had to change the jumpers on the transformer (shown on the schematic) and change the varistor to 130V. Have been enjoying it ever since. Only thing I never changed were the coin chute plastics as shown (200 LIRE), but the coin acceptors inside are 25¢.

    IMG_6327 (resized).JPG
    #25 39 days ago

    Old games can be rejumpered. New Sterns nead frequency transformers.

    You also have local pinball places in
    Gent - comic sans (6 machines)
    Tournai - Internaute (6 machines)
    Oostende - reflex arcade (6 machines)

    #26 39 days ago
    Quoted from radial_head:

    ThierryV is in Zemst and does some good work on older solid state games. Maybe he'll chime in here.
    I've played at a few location machines in Brussels.

    Amazing ! I'm famous on Pinside

    And to OP , welcome to Belgium ( as well too all other pinsiders )

    #27 39 days ago

    If you are avoiding VAT, you could consider buying NIB sterns in Europe and selling when you leave. VAT is about 22% and the machines may not depreciate that much during your stay.

    This board will work for the Stern SAM system.
    https://www.rtbb.com.au/product/50-60hz-conversion-board/

    B/W and JJP games are relatively easy to convert and would be worthwhile taking with you.

    #28 35 days ago
    Quoted from DavidPinballWizz:

    Welcome to Belgium!
    Will you be stationed near Mons? I heard some plans were made for that area.

    We will be splitting time between Mons and Brussels, so I'm not entirely confident where we will end up living. Glad to hear there are tons of options for playing.

    #29 35 days ago

    I am at the Detroit Arsenal, and would be happy to hold any of your games while your deployed OCONUS I would keep them clean, and well played at the low cost of some Cantillon beer..

    Really though, check out Cantillon if you like good beer! https://www.cantillon.be

    2 weeks later
    #30 20 days ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    For some of the newer Stern games, there is something in the firmware that prevents 60hz games being used on 50hz and visa versa. If you have newer stern games, you may have to contact support about that.

    I got info back from the distributor in Belgium, which is who Stern corporate directed me to. They stated that the entire CPU would need to be replaced to switch the Stern games over to 50 hz.

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