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(Topic ID: 159817)

My first pin - STTNG too much for me?


By ibjames

4 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 93 posts
  • 46 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 years ago by Zitt
  • Topic is favorited by 4 Pinsiders

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There are 93 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
#1 4 years ago

Hello,

I'm looking to buy my first pin, doing research on this is crazy. I like STTNG but I read about how hard it is to maintain and what a pain it is, is this too much for a person new to pinball like myself? I'm pretty handy, I hope I could learn how to tech these things. Are they that hard to fix?

My wife wants star pro, is it better to just go for a newer game? We like them both equally. Of course I would like to save some money though and get STTNG

HELP!

#2 4 years ago

Dealing with the cannons can be an issue, but once you have them right, it's no different than any other game in maintaining. I would say that st pro from stern is simpler, though.

#3 4 years ago

Newer = possibly more reliable, but also parts than even some experts probably couldn't fix (due to modern design making it difficult), and would need to be sent back to the factory and purchased anew if not under warranty. Keep in mind, these warranties (obviously) and factories (less obvious) don't last forever and some day they will go away too and I think a lot of people will be stuck.

Older = More repairable, cheaper as you said, etc..

As long as you're willing to take the leap into repair (you'll need some tweaking on either at least anyways), go for the old one! Otherwise it will be just like having a brand new game where you can't really repair anything. If you get a nice solid working example you probably won't have to go into board repairs for quite a long time.

Might as well get used to repair now as you'll probably need it for the next 10 games you're bound to own after owning one. Happened to every single one of us.

#4 4 years ago

If the wife wants Star Trek Pro...GET THE STAR TREK PRO. Happy wife=happy life.

#5 4 years ago

Hello! My STTNG has been a handful for me. My wife and I bought it as our first pin, as well as Batman Forever. Both beautiful examples of these pins. I can post my maintenance logs here, to give you an idea of what I'm doing. Keep in mind, we are playing STTNG a lot, which works out all the kinks. I don't think they previous owner played it a lot. Logs:

3/31/2016 Inspection: Tested ALL optos, all are good. All subway diverters move freely. All coils move freely. Connectors secured. Tie-back has not been done on this pinball machine, but solders are in great shape.

4/1/2016, Ordered from http://www.marcospecialties.com :
STAR TREK NEXT GEN (WMS) Alpha Guards RG-11 1 $19.95 $19.95
STAR TREK NEXT GEN (WMS) Ramp Alpha PR004 1 $124.00 $124.00 (got a $35 rebate because of scratch on the ramp)

4/27/2016: Tom Grobe (tech) checked the main board. Cap and bridge are not original and seem fine according to meter. Also, pins in the 12v connector have been replaced by Tom (the whole connector, actually). Same circuit as F116 that keeps blowing. Still blowing on cold-start. FIXED: The left lighted flipper board was being ground by the playfield metal, and was causing a short.

5/7/2016: Tom Grobe (tech) replaced the left launcher coil and sleeve. He also replaced the Borg ship diverter coil, sleeve and shaft (bottom left of under playfield). Both coil springs were also replaced. Tom also adjusted some LED lightbulbs and also adjusted the flippers.

Ordered: Star Trek the Next Generation increase ferengi jackpot plastic, 31-1803-10
Plus (Your order number is: MS633236):
03-7066 tubing coil
ae-25-1000 coil
02-4831 shaft
10-395 spring
31-1803-10 ferengi plastic

OUT OF STOCK a-13270 armature assembly (Equivalent A-17767 according to marco specs)
10-135 spring
03-7067 tubing coil
ae-23-800 coil

5/12/2016: Ordered:
Battery remote mount - solderless RBM 2 $16.95 $33.90
Armature assembly - Williams cup - no hole A-17767 2 $7.95
Armature assembly ordered because they were rounded at the top on both launchers. This wastes energy. As it stands now, the left launcher still doesn't always load. Talked to Tom and it might be the bridge(and diodes) "leaking", which would explain why it loads at the start of a game, but doesn't always load as the game progresses. Cheap parts to replace on the board($8). That's the next job.

So this is an example of STTNG work. Perhaps this stuff is common maintenance on 1990s pins?

#6 4 years ago

A few questions to help respondents to you:

1. Are you skilled at soldering?

2. Do you already know how to use a multi-meter and have understanding of capacitors, transistors, diodes, ICs and have other strong electronic skills and knowledge?

3. Are you willing to read a lot, watch Youtube videos, and learn about areas you don't know much about?

4. Are you okay if almost everything is working but maybe a few minor issues aren't working sometimes? Or only would be content if everything works 100% all of the time?

ST:TNG does have some fairly frequent repairs and maintenance challenges and can be difficult to get and keep working 100%. Depends on how much use and abuse of course the one you might buy has undergone. It's still a reasonably decent bang for buck pin and is quite fun. If you already have lots of skills from hobbies or from job settings especially re: electronics and mechanical skills it could be a decent first pin. And lots of folks here have lots of knowledge and advice available.

It would have been a terrible first pin for me to work on because I could barely solder and didn't even know how to use a multi-meter or which way to install a diode when I started in this hobby. Wishing you the best whatever you decide!

#7 4 years ago

I bought a ST:TNG three years ago. I fixed a couple issues and cleaned it up. I haven't had a problem with it since.

I've found the two Bride of Pinbots I've owned to be bigger basket cases than the Star Trek.

#8 4 years ago

Pins area crap shoot. If you're handy and are comfortable with tools...buy whatever you want. If you're green and hate tinkering, go with the Pro.

#9 4 years ago

You'll have some maintenance to do on either one but odds are you'll have less trouble with ST Pro. Common things on that game are the Warp ramp optos, the drop target not dropping (or dropping/raising multiple times on one hit) and a flipper that makes a loud buzzing noise. These all can be fixed except the drop target may always be a little finicky. You also may have to dial in the position of the Warp ramp to allow for multiple loops.

On STTNG, the most common problem is optos: cannon optos can malfunction from the twisting of the wire looms, and the trough optos can go bad from vibration. Bad flipper optos cause a flipper to overheat and get weak. It's common to see a new topic where someone asks why they get two balls launched at the start of a game, or have an extra ball launch in the middle of play. Same answer, optos. I've replaced my trough opto boards and replaced one of the flipper opto boards. Also had wires come loose on the IDC connector going to the trough board. The game also has two Eddy sensors, one under each inlane. My left one is bad. Usually it's just the wires going from the board to the resistor, and pinbits sells a replacement part. My cannons rotated slowly after adding a ColorDMD, so I had to change out BR4 and a cap on the power driver board, that worked. Sometimes the game would give me resets when you press both flippers together. There's an adapter you can buy that fixes this *most* of the time from kahr.us (had one reset even with it). I've fixed cold solder joints that caused inserts to not stay lit. I've had corrosion damage on my CPU board from old batteries. Some switches require a lot of ramp disassembly to get to.

So there ya go, be scared, be very ascared. If you get a STTNG, make sure it's all in 100% working order and that the boards look clean, especially the CPU board underneath the battery holder. It's a much more physically complex game than ST. Also, STTNG can be very frustrating because of the outlanes so expect to get some extenders if they're not already on there. But when it is all working, it is a great game and IMHO the best layout ever. Its flippers are much stronger than ST so it's faster vertically but slower horizontally from the extra width. I have both and think they're both great. STTNG was my first and I figured it out from reading online so I'm sure you can manage. Make sure you have a multimeter and soldering equipment for STTNG.

#10 4 years ago

I'm a tinkerer, I do wood working, all the work on my house. Have watched many youtube videos to fix things. That is how I learned how to do solder copper. I don't know anything about resistors, transistors or flux capacitors. Though I'm a cheap ass and would be willing to learn on any pinball I get to fix it myself. I have remedial soldering skills, but I have a project ahead of me to replace a battery bank on my bluetooth speaker that requires me to solder them and I am ok with that.

#11 4 years ago

I have to admit, it seems like pinball people are the nicest around, I did do a search before this to try to find a similar answer, and see a lot of other beginners asking similar questions, and people are answering them. Pretty cool.

#12 4 years ago

Bought my near dead STTNG last weekend. Already it's playable and now ready for a good clean. There's a lot to be said for the satisfaction of repairing/maintaining your own pin. Just jump in.

Also the game itself is amazing, ramps, modes, toys, star trek. Love it.

#13 4 years ago

are you a trek fan? I'm not, but the game is awesome

#14 4 years ago

I have experience with 2 STTNGs. One was a disgusting, filthy, hacked up piece of shit re-import from Germany. After putting about 80 hours worth of work into it and cleaning/fixing everything, it performed like a champ. My current STTNG was NIB, and I've put over 1000 plays on it...and it hasn't had one problem. So, if you buy one that you know has had common issues fixed already, you really shouldn't run into many problems. It's the ones that were routed heavily and never maintained that'll likely have the documented issues. At the end of the day - with Pinball, something *will* break eventually...and I don't think STTNG is that different than any other 90's game when it comes to things that go wrong and level of repair required.

#15 4 years ago

the one I'm looking at has no codes, what are some good questions I should ask for this? (I have a feeling I might be running into a "you should do a search" territory and for that I apologize

#16 4 years ago
Quoted from ibjames:

the one I'm looking at has no codes, what are some good questions I should ask for this? (I have a feeling I might be running into a "you should do a search" territory and for that I apologize

What do you mean "no codes"?

#17 4 years ago

that it isn't showing any codes on the DMD, that it is in working order (I guess you can do that)

#18 4 years ago

Still not getting the codes thing...is the DMD just blank, is that what you mean?

#19 4 years ago

No I think he means no dot and no BONG BONGS when started... hence no error reports.

#20 4 years ago

Great game! I bought mine around 1997 and it's still here, no problems

#21 4 years ago
Quoted from Manic:

No I think he means no dot and no BONG BONGS when started... hence no error reports.

Ooooooh yeah....yeah, he PM'd me....credit dot! Gotcha!

#22 4 years ago

STTNG is a great game but impression has always been the same in that they are error prone. I guess any game packed with features will have more issues than a more basic game. The key would be getting one in good shape that has been well taken care of. Always a challenge given the age of the machine. Stern's ST pro is an awesome machine. Mine has been very reliable but that is expected with a newer pin. I would recommend getting the pin you like playing the most. The true problem is that you will quickly be wanting more and more pins.

#23 4 years ago

I would take the plunge on it. Not a major Trek fan myself but it's a great game. Better than the newer stern one, imo. A somewhat more complicated game for your first can seem intimidating but its totally worth it because it's only downhill from there (my first dis/reassembly was a WH2O...damn that sucked).

Actually, i have another friend who's considering a STTNG as his first pin right now as well, so that's the same advice i gave him.

#24 4 years ago
Quoted from ibjames:

hard it is to maintain and what a pain it is

Put in a new driver board shortly after getting mine, haven't had a single issue since...zero. It's no different than any other game, if you get a nice maintained one you'll have the typical pinball issues...

#25 4 years ago

Are you a big fan of STTNG, the tv show? If yes, then it's worth the trouble.

I've had mine for 2 and a half years and only had minor problems that have just arisen lately... Mostly optos that need to be cleaned or replaced. That's what I plan on working on this weekend.

I don't think the ST pro compares. Maybe the STLE comes close, but I loved the STTNG show, so I'm biased.

Good luck whatever you decide. Both pins are fun.

#26 4 years ago

STTNG was my second game. I think it's fine for a first game, since you've already said you're handy and willing to learn. It's obviously one of the greatest games ever made! Is it a little more maintenance than a lot of other pins? Sure, but that's mostly due to its physical complexity. Any game with that many mechs is gonna require occasional maintenance. And all pins require maintenance from time to time!

Honestly ... Simply cleaning the subway prevents most of the issues, which are usually opto-related.

Hold out for a really nice one, from a private collector and not a retailer, that is my advice. You don't want one with chronic problems or one that is dirty (which causes intermittent opto problems). The advantage of finding one that's been in a private collection for a while is it is more likely to have had its various problems dealt with in a more thorough way. Retailers get a game in, clean the visible parts of the playfield (neglecting the filthy subway), and play a few games to see if anything is blatantly broken. They simply won't know if it has long term restart issues or anything that isn't immediately obvious. A collector will have months or years of knowledge about what it's issues are, and has most likely addressed them. In my experience, most games leave collectors' possession in better shape than they entered.

Note: by collector, I'm referring to pinball hobbyists, not people who buy one or two pins to decorate their basement and then neglect them. I don't think it's too hard to tell the difference.

But yeah, condition makes a big difference with this game.

#27 4 years ago

Another neat thing about STTNG is that it is one of the most fun games to mod. There are the domed cannons, laser cannons, upgraded versions of the bird of prey, warbird, and shuttlecraft, people love to paint the Borg ship, put in mirror blades, LEDs (and special LED OCD and GI OCD boards), ColorDMD, custom toppers ... The list goes on and on. The theme really lends itself to being blinged out in my opinion.

#28 4 years ago

Here are a few of the mods I've done to mine. These pics are old, I've done work since then, but it gives you an idea:

First of all, you need a place to put your beer:
image_(resized).jpg

I've replaced the shuttlecraft with a much more detailed hallmark ornament and rigged it to light up when Shuttle Simulation is lit:
image_(resized).jpg

ColorDMD:
image_(resized).jpgimage_(resized).jpg

Mirror Blades:
image_(resized).jpg

Cannons with dome and laser pointer upgrades:
image_(resized).jpg

Topper:
image_(resized).jpg

Translucent Flippers:
image_(resized).jpg

LEDs throughout:
image_(resized).jpgimage_(resized).jpg

#29 4 years ago

You boys got me all amped up to play some STTNG now. Wish there were one around.

#30 4 years ago

Gorgeous, Pez !

Quoted from pezpunk:

First of all, you need a place to put your beer

Gotta love a guy that knows how to prioritize.

#31 4 years ago

Dang Pez, that's a sweet looking STTNG! All you need now is a working holodeck

#32 4 years ago

And a painted Borg ship

It looks awesome though.

#33 4 years ago
Quoted from bigbadmiker:

And a painted Borg ship
It looks awesome though.

The ship's been painted. Those pics are like 2 years old.

As for the Holodeck, I just can't seem to get those darn safety protocols to stay online. I understand it's a common problem...

#34 4 years ago

Cool. I like the shuttle mod. I have the Hallmark ornament, but haven't swapped it out. I remember seeing the directions to wire it up and seemed like a lot of work. I have the other 2 ship mods.

#35 4 years ago

I will give you the best advice I can and I hope everyone here agrees. Every pinball is going to have problems. Most problems are maintenance related. Taking the machine apart and cleaning everything will help immensely. While your cleaning you will find almost all of your broken or damaged parts. Spend the cash and replace them. Don't cheap out as you will usually be taking it back apart again to fix the same part again. Take lost of pics, ask lots of questions, and take your time.

I have had old Bally machines that have been a bigger pain in the ass then STTNG. If you like the game then buy it.

#36 4 years ago

I owned STTNG for over two years when I first got into the hobby in my early 20's. I really had way less issues with it than my BSD. Only issue was the Borg ship wouldn't fire the locked balls during multiball. That was a simple opto problem. It's a great pin to learn on. Don't be afraid of the complexity. It'll prepare you for future pin purchases.

#37 4 years ago

I always suggest that first time buyers get an early SS game. You can get some experience learning repair and maintenance. Also if you accidently overpay it won't hurt as much as overpaying on a newer game. If you're set on a STTNG, it might be wise to have someone more experienced look at it with you if you don't know the seller. Good luck and welcome.

#38 4 years ago

Hey PEZ, are those purple leds in the GI?

#39 4 years ago

If you want a pinball machine that never breaks, don't buy a pinball machine.

Get an sttng that is 100 percent working and you are fine. When something breaks you'll either be able to fix it yourself or you'll need to hire help. That's really your choice. But it's gonna happen regardless of which game you buy.

#40 4 years ago
Quoted from Dopes214tx:

Hey PEZ, are those purple leds in the GI?

Around the perimeter, yeah, but stuff that lights up the middle of the playfield and the flipper area I kept cool white. (Cool white helps highlight all the blues and purples in the artwork)

#41 4 years ago

STTNG was the first game I have bought back in 2000.

When I ve got it it had a melted lock target coil. In 16 years of owning it (and after tons of plays) I ve had to:

- replace one GI connector
- replace the lock target activator (made my own one out of thick stainless steel)
- replace one slingshot rubber
- adjust one ribbon cable in the backbox
- replace some bulbs

I ve made my own ramp entrance protectors and neutral zone protector in 2001 and upgraded cannon domes to look like on prototype games.
I would own it as my first game again in a heartbeat.

#42 4 years ago
Quoted from ibjames:

I'm a tinkerer, I do wood working, all the work on my house. Have watched many youtube videos to fix things. That is how I learned how to do solder copper. I don't know anything about resistors, transistors or flux capacitors. Though I'm a cheap ass and would be willing to learn on any pinball I get to fix it myself. I have remedial soldering skills, but I have a project ahead of me to replace a battery bank on my bluetooth speaker that requires me to solder them and I am ok with that.

If you are the type that is mechanically or electrically inclined and likes to take on projects, repair cars, home improvement etc. you'll be fine. If something breaks the internet is your friend to research and try out repairs. I'd strongly recommend joining Clay's pinball ninja site for access to his repair videos and repair guides.

#43 4 years ago

I've had my STTNG for 1.5 years now and have had zero problems with it. Same with my Stern ST.

#44 4 years ago

Mine is broken again. Opto issues. The machine has been a headache for 5 years. Fun when it works which is not often. Get the new Stern le or premium. A better and more reliable machine.

#45 4 years ago

I had a STTNG for almost 5 years with only minor issues. The person I purchased it from took fantastic care of his pins. Even if it goes down with some problem, you can post here and get answers for most issues you can't fix on your own.
That being said......if your wife wants a ST Pro I might just go with that. If she's happy, everyone is happy.

#46 4 years ago

All pinball machines will need maintenance. I have a STTNG and it's not been any worse than my other machines. I recently got a NIB GoT LE after 10 plays the castle black opto stopped working. I had to remove the upper playfield and diagnose the issue. Turned out to be a bad solder joint on the opto, now it works fine. Point is, expect these types of issues regardless of the machine you chose.

#47 4 years ago
Quoted from rygar:

STTNG was the first game I have bought back in 2000.
When I ve got it it had a melted lock target coil. In 16 years of owning it (and after tons of plays) I ve had to:
- replace one GI connector
- replace the lock target activator (made my own one out of thick stainless steel)
- replace one slingshot rubber
- adjust one ribbon cable in the backbox
- replace some bulbs
I ve made my own ramp entrance protectors and neutral zone protector in 2001 and upgraded cannon domes to look like on prototype games.
I would own it as my first game again in a heartbeat.

Pinball is pretty big in North Korea I bet.

#48 4 years ago

Was my first DMD in 2002, still in my collection.
Fixed the tieback, cleaned all optos an mech's, right of the bat.

Been a steady machine ever since

#49 4 years ago
Quoted from spidey:

Pinball is pretty big in North Korea I bet.

Unfortunattelly not as big as it used to be .

#50 4 years ago

I think this game would make an outstanding first game!

Why? First off, I feel this is the the single best game you can buy in its price range, others may feel differently about it, but this is my opinion.

Just to touch on the maintenance aspect for a minute, even NIB machines will break and require maintenance so no matter what you get, you will need to fix it; even the newer Stern Star Trek I purchased NIB was not trouble free; I had problems with the drop target, the Vengeance ship, a ball popper, the CPU board, and a light board.

There is a single reason that people say STTNG can require a ton of maintenance and the sole reason for that is the massive amount of features this game has. The playfield has three ball diverters, 23 optical switches, two proximity sensors, two gearbox assemblies with motors and linkage, a drop target, and three VUK assemblies. There are so many solenoids in the game that an additional driver board had to be added. Nearly all of these machines were on location and were maintained by an army of technicians with vastly different skill sets and whose solitary goal was to make the machine work again, this often times meant that the "temporary fix" used to get the machine operating became permanent; a single game can have many of these hacks causing several unrelated intermittent problems.

On the positive side ... it's all fixable and when fixed properly, this game will play as reliable and trouble free as any other game out there!

The side bonus of having a STTNG is that you will be exposed to nearly everything a pinball machine can have from a maintenance perspective so that when you get your 2nd, 3rd, 4th+ machines you will already know how to fix them.

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