(Topic ID: 215604)

PinballPCB - What Happened?


By mcluvin

1 year ago



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  • 52 posts
  • 27 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 60 days ago by SarverSystems
  • Topic is favorited by 5 Pinsiders

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    There are 52 posts in this topic. You are on page 1 of 2.
    #1 1 year ago

    This looked like a promising alternative to the Rottendog stuff. Anybody know what happened?

    http://www.pinballpcb.com/

    #2 1 year ago

    I had a order in when they closed up but he still got my sound/speech boards shipped. I have those boards in 3 Williams machines and they are great boards. Guess he wasn't making enough money to make it worth his time. Shame too.

    1 week later
    #3 1 year ago

    Idk but I wish they had stayed around . I need a sound speech board for my Firepower. ..

    #4 1 year ago
    Quoted from oilspot:

    Idk but I wish they had stayed around . I need a sound speech board for my Firepower. ..

    Email him. You never know?

    #5 1 year ago
    Quoted from Travish:

    Email him. You never know?

    Yup, I did the same and got their last Sys 11 MPU

    #6 1 year ago

    Just grabbed a used one from a "laser cue" system 7 game off Fleabay. Fingers crossed ..

    #7 1 year ago

    That's too bad they closed. I had ordered a couple of the sys 9 speech boards in the past.

    #8 1 year ago

    Bummers . .their system 11 boards were better than Williams'

    #9 1 year ago

    I bought the six power board some time ago. Excellent board and well built. Very sad to see them go.
    I wish someone would take over the design and continue selling them.

    #10 1 year ago

    Their speech board fixed my weird problem on Comet. Wish i would have grabbed a couple sys 11s as well.

    #11 1 year ago

    A lot has changed in the pinball PCB world in the last 3-4 years. It's a lot more competitive. I'm sure the rest of the pinball products are that way too as prices on machines have gone up and there's more cash flowing into the hobby. People see potential opportunities to make money and "perceived profits." I say perceived, because the profits aren't actually as great as people think.

    Subtract material costs and fees, and maybe that $100 sale turns into $70 net profit (before taxes). Now the fun part, subtract 35-45% in taxes from that profit (combined federal, state, local taxes and 15.3% social security/medicare) and you're looking more like $40-45 take-home profit depending on tax brackets you're in. If you had a few hours time into assembling the product, the picture doesn't look near as great as it does from the outside. Sure there's ways to not pay as much in taxes, some that work short-term (inventory fudging) and some that are perfectly acceptable deductions.. but if you're being honest for the most part with inventories, material costs and reporting sales -- taxes hit VERY hard. The constant cycling of new sellers on eBay or in a hobby like this that aren't considering themselves a business and see a larger profit than actually exists, creates the tough competition that makes it hard for anyone actually operating as a business to stick around long-term. Eventually reality sets in, but there's always someone new entering the market without having a handle on all the numbers involved to replace them.

    What's changed IMO is manufacturing and ease of creating a storefront / conducting business online and finding wholesale/cheaper importing of items. You can easily prototype 3d models, PCBs, etc much cheaper whereas years ago it would have costs hundreds or thousands of dollars just to order up a small number of units. All of this has allowed more people that otherwise may not have found those sources, tried out an idea or had the technical know-how to create a website/shopping cart to get up and running quick. More competition often means lower pricing (usually what's used to gain attention or market share). If you can't adapt or can't hit the pricing you just watch sales eventually become non-existent.

    Some of the people that have been providing the community with products are also getting up there in age. Pinlogic, Two Bit are two that come to mind... those guys were pretty well known years ago. I was surprised to see Two Bit website links broken, but someone told me recently that the business was sold off.

    So to sum up, beyond loss of interest, I'd imagine the reason we see people come and go is either age related or the ever changing market conditions.

    Just my 2 cents.

    #12 1 year ago

    Sad to see them go as well. I've got their boards in my Firepower, and it runs rock solid I wanted to use them for my Black Knight also - but it was too late. Instead, I went with Rottendog - and their most recent boardset DOES NOT work with Black Knight. And as far as I know right now, there is no viable new replacement boardset for Black Knight.

    #13 1 year ago

    I like the combo board Rotten Dog has for level 3 to 7 . Worked fine in BlackOut. But to be able to buy separate boards always a plus.

    #14 1 year ago

    Their quality is excellent, sad to see them close. I have their MPU, sound board and flipper board in my High Speed. Works perfectly, fixed multiple issues that the game had.

    #15 1 year ago

    Always meant to buy sound/speech and PS boards so I had a full set for my BK. Sorry to see them go. Boards are top notch quality.

    #16 1 year ago
    Quoted from Axl:

    I bought the six power board some time ago. Excellent board and well built. Very sad to see them go.
    I wish someone would take over the design and continue selling them.

    I reached out and made them an offer.

    #17 1 year ago

    It seems odd to close and not sell the business?
    Im sure someone would take it over as a sideline if it has only partial profitability.

    #18 1 year ago
    Quoted from acebathound:

    A lot has changed in the pinball PCB world in the last 3-4 years. It's a lot more competitive. I'm sure the rest of the pinball products are that way too as prices on machines have gone up and there's more cash flowing into the hobby. People see potential opportunities to make money and "perceived profits." I say perceived, because the profits aren't actually as great as people think.
    Subtract material costs and fees, and maybe that $100 sale turns into $70 net profit (before taxes). Now the fun part, subtract 35-45% in taxes from that profit (combined federal, state, local taxes and 15.3% social security/medicare) and you're looking more like $40-45 take-home profit depending on tax brackets you're in. If you had a few hours time into assembling the product, the picture doesn't look near as great as it does from the outside. Sure there's ways to not pay as much in taxes, some that work short-term (inventory fudging) and some that are perfectly acceptable deductions.. but if you're being honest for the most part with inventories, material costs and reporting sales -- taxes hit VERY hard. The constant cycling of new sellers on eBay or in a hobby like this that aren't considering themselves a business and see a larger profit than actually exists, creates the tough competition that makes it hard for anyone actually operating as a business to stick around long-term. Eventually reality sets in, but there's always someone new entering the market without having a handle on all the numbers involved to replace them.
    What's changed IMO is manufacturing and ease of creating a storefront / conducting business online and finding wholesale/cheaper importing of items. You can easily prototype 3d models, PCBs, etc much cheaper whereas years ago it would have costs hundreds or thousands of dollars just to order up a small number of units. All of this has allowed more people that otherwise may not have found those sources, tried out an idea or had the technical know-how to create a website/shopping cart to get up and running quick. More competition often means lower pricing (usually what's used to gain attention or market share). If you can't adapt or can't hit the pricing you just watch sales eventually become non-existent.
    Some of the people that have been providing the community with products are also getting up there in age. Pinlogic, Two Bit are two that come to mind... those guys were pretty well known years ago. I was surprised to see Two Bit website links broken, but someone told me recently that the business was sold off.
    So to sum up, beyond loss of interest, I'd imagine the reason we see people come and go is either age related or the ever changing market conditions.
    Just my 2 cents.

    I can see that but only if there are multiple people making the boards that were sold. I don't think anyone else is making new Williams system 3-7 sound/speech boards and probably some of his other ones either. Maybe a opportunity for someone else to step up?

    #19 1 year ago

    There are some out there actually, by a place called Swemmer, or something like that.

    -Hans

    #20 1 year ago

    I can't find Swemmer system 6 sound/speech in stock anywhere. I'll keep looking.

    #21 1 year ago

    Wonder if they'd be interested in selling the rights/designs to their stuff. These guys were actually local to me but I never figured out who they were..

    16
    #22 1 year ago

    PinballPCB did indeed make nice replacement gear. Sorry to see them go.

    That said I am working on WMS replacements now including the sound and speech boards like used in FirePower and Black Knight. The first prototype has some issues and I have been so busy the project hasn't been worked on much. I am going to finish it up after I get the WMS 3-6 full size power boards up and for sale which are coming soon. I got the sound and speech in the same physical space as just the sound board. No ribbon cable connecting to the speech board. Here is a peak of the sound+speech board.

    20180509_215101 (resized).jpg

    New replacement type 1 rectangular shape sound boards (like what Flash and Timewarp use) are ready and for sale.
    https://pinside.com/pinball/market/shops/1055-nvramweeblycom/01521-wms-type-1-a-amp-b-rectangular-shape-replacement-sound-board

    #23 1 year ago

    Sweet.

    #24 1 year ago
    Quoted from Frax:

    Wonder if they'd be interested in selling the rights/designs to their stuff. These guys were actually local to me but I never figured out who they were..

    People doing pinball PCBs are more likely to just create their own design than somehow figure out a royalty setup for someone else's work. Just how the mindset goes. In my experience it's rare for someone that knows how to design a PCB to pay someone else for PCBs they feel they can make themselves. It's a shame the assets aren't worth more to some people. I'm sure in some cases with these types of things, something can be worked out.. but probably more of a hassle than it's worth. Plus where's the liability fall if someone does buy the assets if a design had an issue? Back to the person that originally designed the boards or to the person that just bought the rights to use the designs?

    It's more likely that any deficiencies in the market for boards that were being sold by PinballPCB will just be picked up by others in time as any demand is felt. It's good for the community, in that if one supplier dries up, there's usually someone to take their place. Just not all sunshine-and-rainbows behind the scenes with creating these types of products. Lower price wins the crowd more times than not, and it's a compromise of your own ethics and desire to maintain quality to stay in the race -- while still being able to sell enough to make it worthwhile.

    We're all vessels creating things or providing services until we're too old for it to be worthwhile or continue. Ashes to ashes and whatnot. The neat thing with PCBs though is someone, somewhere will likely still find it when you're dead and gone.

    So in the year 2525, if man is still alive, if woman can survive, they may find..... your pinball PCB

    #25 1 year ago
    Quoted from acebathound:

    Plus where's the liability fall if someone does buy the assets if a design had an issue? Back to the person that originally designed the boards or to the person that just bought the rights to use the designs?

    If you're stupid enough to buy a board design with intent to reproduce it, and not willing to take the risk for that liability... pfft...you deserve whatever comes your way IMO. When you buy the rights, and you sell the product, I'm not sure how anyone with half a brain would say that would still be the problem of the original designer, who sold the rights and has nothing to do with it at that point.

    I'm sure there's plenty of trash humans out there that would try and foist that responsibility back to the originator, but don't you think that's a pretty big DICK MOVE? Just to not take any responsibility for what you're selling? <boggle>

    #26 1 year ago

    Looks like that board went haywire; Ha, just kidding. Little nerdy engineering joke, very little.

    Keep up the great work!

    #27 1 year ago

    Well that brings up another aspect of PCB design.. seems enough people aren't thinking about liability and assume the perfect end-user customer that knows exactly how to connect everything and won't injure themselves or make any mistakes using a product. There's a ton of products I'd love to have put out there, including a high voltage plasma display tester.... but it's not worth it from the liability standpoint. There's customers buying things that are very technical, but also customers where connecting a wire harness is advanced for them.

    It's pretty easy finding ways to make money. Produce what there's demand for and don't concern yourself with liability nonsense or infringement. Heck, sell things on Etsy or Ebay that use branded logos, characters, etc. Sell emulators with all the games loaded. Modded game consoles. You'll make crazy money until copyright holders come after you.

    It's a bit harder when you're aware of liability aspects and potential risks you're opening yourself up to. Even if it's not your own product. Privately labeled products on Amazon.. tons of money to be made. Except when something happens, like the hover boards blowing up. Amazon has clauses to push some of the financial/legal responsibility of those products onto the sellers. They can't go after the Chinese manufacturers, so they'll go after whoever they can and Amazon will just claim they were providing a marketplace to sell products.. and put the responsibility on the seller.

    If anyone wonders why I haven't gone crazy creating tons of PCBs, repro boards, etc..this is why. Some people just ignore the liability risks and go nuts. Lots of money to be made in PCBs. Buy low, sell high, produce what people want. You just have to be a very lucky person to never have anything come of it the more you open yourself up for risk. I've already had enough times where life has shown me I'm not lucky 100% of the time to be a bit more cautious in directions I go

    #28 1 year ago

    Hoooooo boy, you aren't kidding about the pitfalls in all of this. A lot of people also don't even look into the FCC compliance, RoHS II and CE for selling in Europe. A lot of hurdles to jump through, or at least be aware of and how to avoid.

    And the discussion about necessary profit margins also hit things square on. Sure, you're making xx percent from the cost of parts and material, but there's a lot more overhead than people realize. It's not just parts and labor. Taxes, yes, oh yes. Product packaging, Shipping materials, Tooling, Consumables, Workspace, Storage Space, Software. Development, even for simple things, can sometimes be time consuming and expensive. Licensing, when applicable, gets spendy quick too. God help you if you ship a product that has problems. And you WILL ship a product that has problems, because I don't care how good you are, NOBODY knows all the little quirks that Bally or Williams or Stern or Gottlieb has in all their machines. But sure as hell, the ONE machine you didn't test in, and you're SURE it's not popular....... you'll find out everybody has one, and they're all mad because the thing doesn't FIT.

    Then the TIME required can be a real bear. Owning your own business means your boss is a real a-hole sometimes. He makes you work holidays, weekends, nights, whatever it takes to get those orders out the door. Hell, I even got a purchase order from one of my larger re-sellers at about 9:30pm on Christmas night!

    All of us smaller guys are in the same boat, busting our behinds to make this work, because we love what we do. Sure as hell isn't because it makes me rich.

    #29 1 year ago

    It's also going to get interesting to see where the trade wars go I think. So much keeps changing and wouldn't be surprised if practically any imports of electronic components (big or small) get nailed with tariffs. Going to come as a shock to some people as product pricing on anything that had small margins will HAVE to adjust upward.

    If sales tax has to be collected and reported for all states and many of the localities within them at some point, that's going to be a huge game-changer. There's net neutrality, GDPR (general data protection regulation), more regulations in general.. all creating more hoops to jump through and paperwork when conducting business online. They're trying to fix problems with people cheating taxes, stealing or using other people's data.. but ultimately it just makes it hard for a small business to stick around as the changes are geared toward large businesses with more people to throw at the compliance side of things. There's A LOT to do besides just creating and selling the products when you're a one-man shop.

    Pricing for many of my products are at or near wholesale pricing, only I'm selling direct to consumer. Not my original intent, but forced to go that way when others are selling direct as well and not factoring in distributor deals. I still get occasional emails from distributors asking if they bought volume of XYZ what price I could do. Can't discount an additional 25-30% on things that already have tight margins as that would erase any and all profits. Distributor deals sound awesome if you get excited about getting an order in for $1000+...until you spend 2 weeks getting the order ready and realize in the end, after Paypal fees and taxes you made about zero profit.

    Meanwhile, what the general public sees.. is a high price and huge profit on what's being sold. That's not the case when factoring in 35-45% taxes on net profits IF doing things on the up-and-up. I figure maybe 20-25% of what the item is priced at is my actual take-home profit on many items, but that's being generous in some cases. That's not factoring in assembly time or packaging time. It's not like the products I'm selling show up on the doorstep all packaged, soldered together and ready-to-ship.

    Competing on volume as many people try to do is tough too. Selling a lot of $10-15 orders can choke things up and suck up a huge amount of time. I've had days where I spend 4-6 hours just in packing smaller orders and in the end made about $50-75 take-home profit. Factor in assembly time and it really feels like peanuts.

    It's no wonder people come and go. Definitely a labor of love in many cases, depending on what you're selling.

    7 months later
    #30 10 months ago

    Anyone know where I can find a sys7 mpu and driver (combined or seperate is fine)?

    Rottendog does not work in Starlight so looking for another option and seems pinballpcb and swemmer are NLA?

    #31 10 months ago

    AFAIK, Williams video game sound boards can be used in system 3-7 pins. I had my Flash speaking with a Sinistar board. Never tried a rom change or anything else. Might be a place to start if you need a soundboard

    Sorry if this is old news.

    #32 10 months ago
    Quoted from Chuck_Sherman:

    AFAIK, Williams video game sound boards can be used in system 3-7 pins. I had my Flash speaking with a Sinistar board. Never tried a rom change or anything else. Might be a place to start if you need a soundboard
    Sorry if this is old news.

    I’ve us d several video game sound boards in pins. One in a system 4 and two in system 11s

    #33 10 months ago

    my sound board is all good.

    I am looking for a sys7 MPU and driver.

    Rottendog makes a MPU327 but it does not seem to work in Starlight.

    #34 10 months ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    my sound board is all good.
    I am looking for a sys7 MPU and driver.
    Rottendog makes a MPU327 but it does not seem to work in Starlight.

    Just by a good used original one.

    #35 10 months ago
    Quoted from arcademojo:

    Just by a good used original one.

    Would be happy to. Do you know of any available currently?

    #36 10 months ago
    Quoted from Whysnow:

    Would be happy to. Do you know of any available currently?

    Not off hand but can say the guys that always sells at the shows with Mayfair Amusements always have nice condition boards for sale. You can also try seller Linkpete on eBay. He’s been repairing and selling boards for about 20 years. Or on the other hand. I’ve always had good service with Eugen Moss on Facebook if you need yours repaired.

    2 months later
    #37 7 months ago

    http://pinballpcb.com/ is back

    I just received a system 6-7 speech board.

    Very good quality product.
    One of the only places to get SYS 6-7 sound/speech boards.

    #38 7 months ago

    Great News!

    #39 7 months ago
    Quoted from Budwin:

    http://pinballpcb.com/ is back
    I just received a system 6-7 speech board.
    Very good quality product.
    One of the only places to get SYS 6-7 sound/speech boards.

    Really glad to hear this! The boards I’ve purchased from them have been excellent

    #40 7 months ago

    Good news to hear, Jeff always did good stuff.

    -Hans

    1 month later
    #41 6 months ago

    Just got my speech board from jeff and it's top notch. The whole thing is actually a bargain. Get roms, ribbon cable and board for $68 shipped. The roms themselves are $50 from k's.

    IMG_0084 (resized).JPG
    4 months later
    #42 64 days ago

    I just ordered this same board on Sunday (it is now Tuesday), but I am little worried because I haven't heard back from the seller. First time ordering from them.

    I did get an order confirmation email.

    I also sent an email asking if the speech board comes with a ribbon cable, but I did not get a reply.

    Should I be worried?

    #43 64 days ago
    Quoted from SarverSystems:

    Should I be worried?

    It's only been 1 business day.

    #44 64 days ago
    Quoted from ForceFlow:

    It's only been 1 business day.

    Oh, I know. I'm not complaining or anything. I'm just worries because I never heard of this company until I needed the board. Its not like a MarcoSpec or GPE or something.

    I'll cool my jets and pray for the best.

    #45 63 days ago
    Quoted from SarverSystems:

    I just ordered this same board on Sunday (it is now Tuesday), but I am little worried because I haven't heard back from the seller. First time ordering from them.
    I did get an order confirmation email.

    Since you received an order confirmation email, I would not I worried.

    #46 63 days ago

    It's a home business, and the boards aren't his main line of work, so they don't have the speed of a place like Marco.
    But they're legit and have well made products.

    -Hans

    #47 63 days ago

    +5 I have always received my orders from them. No need to worry at all.

    #48 63 days ago

    Thank you everyone, this is exactly the type of reply I was hoping for.

    I totally get the home business aspect of it. I am in the same boat, trying to repair pinball machines, arcade games, work a full 40hr work week, 2 kids, and a wife who does not like to sit home on weekends.

    #49 63 days ago

    I ordered a board last week, it came within a few days. 100% good stuff

    Just happy there are qualified people to still make these..

    #50 60 days ago

    Good news, I got shipment confirmation. Still no response to my email asking if a ribbon cable was included or not.

    I guess I'll wait for the surprise when I open it.

    I expect it to be delivered today with any luck.

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