(Topic ID: 317096)

PinHead Electronics Classic Bally/Stern Rectifier Board DIY kit.

By PinHead_Electron

64 days ago


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  • 20 posts
  • 10 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 48 days ago by jj44114
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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    #1 64 days ago

    Hello fellow Pinsiders,

    I wanted to reach out and see if there would be any interest in producing a DiY kit for my rectifier boards. I have currently been holding off on doing this in the past for two main reasons. The first reason would be for the simple fact that it is inevitable that someone will install the parts incorrectly and smoke the board or even something else in the machine and then possibly blame the board for it. The second reason is the solder will not look as good which lowers the over all quality of the board and I have always strived to make my product with the highest of quality standards. I am starting to see more companies offer this option and I have always wanted to provide the option but never pulled the trigger due to the reasons already mentioned. One idea was for me to make a DiY kit logo in the flooded copper region of the board to let second hand buyers aware that this was a kit. Please let me know your thoughts on whether this would be a great option or if it wouldn't matter one way or the other? I would also like to know if you would be disappointed if you were buying a used machine with a kit in it, wishing it would have been a preassembled unit instead and whether or not you think this option lowers the over all quality of the product?

    Thanks,
    Cory

    #2 64 days ago

    I think two other people have done kits before.

    Some people enjoy them, others just want a completed board that they can install.

    No doubt that a kit has its customer service challenges.

    Personally, as long as a replacement board works properly, is serviceable, and has schematics for troubleshooting, it doesn't really matter much who does the actual soldering (as long as it's done well).

    #3 64 days ago

    Nvram-weebly sells a $30 DIY kit.
    https://nvram.weebly.com/

    #4 64 days ago
    Quoted from bluespin:

    Nvram-weebly sells a $30 DIY kit.
    https://nvram.weebly.com/

    You misread my post, I mentioned that I have seen a few companies offer DiY kits and I am asking the community if I should add a kit to my lineup or stick with the preassembled product I currently offer.

    PinHead Electronics
    Cory

    #5 63 days ago

    I'd say if you sell yours for less than $30 then go for it.

    #6 63 days ago
    Quoted from JethroP:

    I'd say if you sell yours for less than $30 then go for it.

    Can you explain your reasoning for that price point?

    #7 63 days ago

    I think because it would be a compelling price below the already attractive price Andrew sells his board for.

    #8 63 days ago
    Quoted from Xenon75:

    I think because it would be a compelling price below the already attractive price Andrew sells his board for.

    Is Andrew the one who sells the nvram-weebly version mentioned above?

    #9 63 days ago
    Quoted from PinHead_Electron:

    Is Andrew the one who sells the nvram-weebly version mentioned above?

    Yes

    #10 63 days ago
    Quoted from PinHead_Electron:

    Can you explain your reasoning for that price point?

    Exactly. Andrew sells a very nice, high quality board (kit) for $30. I've seen a few in machines and I've put one kit together. $30 is such a great price. You asked if you should add your kit to the marketplace. I am suggesting you add it if you offer a better price to what is already available. Doesn't seem like there is much profit to be made at $30, but I suppose you could make it worthwhile with high sales volume. I wonder how many new rectifier boards are sold each year? Can you answer?

    #11 60 days ago
    Quoted from JethroP:

    Exactly. Andrew sells a very nice, high quality board (kit) for $30. I've seen a few in machines and I've put one kit together. $30 is such a great price. You asked if you should add your kit to the marketplace. I am suggesting you add it if you offer a better price to what is already available. Doesn't seem like there is much profit to be made at $30, but I suppose you could make it worthwhile with high sales volume. I wonder how many new rectifier boards are sold each year? Can you answer?

    Sorry for the late reply its been a busy week. So in response to the first suggestion offering a better price then $30. So the Nvram and PinHead boards are very different products in terms of features and design. It looks like his goal was to provide the pinball community an affordable option and it looks like he accomplished that goal. My goal is to provide the pinball community with a board that has great features and the best components currently available and I believe I have accomplished that goal as well. As for price there are a couple ways to approach this. Lets say this were a mass market item and I was able to sell thousands of units a year. If that were the case I would be willing to try and beat the lowest price because you can still profit due to high volume sales. However, that is not the case here as we are in a niche market. So at best I would only be willing to match it, but only if I were to sell a similar product, which I currently do not have. I noticed that he charges $5 shipping, meaning the board cost is actually $35, so lets use that price for comparison. I plan to offer free shipping if I decide to offer a kit. It appears the Nvram kit doesn't have an accessory pack sold with it. Can someone please confirm whether this is actually the case or not? My board will include an accessory pack, as I believe it is important to install with the kit because the old connector casings are commonly burnt and the original metal connectors only have one side versus the trifuricon molex connectors I use which have 3 sides. This will drastically improve reliability as this was one of the main weak points in the original design. I believe most companies selling the accessory packs are charging $10 last time I looked. This would bring the price point up to $45. As for components and features my board cost will be higher due to using higher grade components and additional components from the added features. Added features include - All rectifiers are 35 amp with heatsinks, clip on test points, LED voltage indicators, ground lug and fuse cover. So realistically I believe $50 seems like a good price point based on the comparisons. Maybe $45 if I decide to be competitive. I could achieve the $30 price point if I removed the added features and used cheaper components. However, doing so would just mean we have two manufactures selling the same product, so I think it would be better to give the pin community the option to choose between an affordable option and a higher cost option with added features. As for your last question on how many rectifiers are sold each year I wouldn't know the answer to that as there are probably 10 manufactures making the board currently. When I started there were only 3 maybe 4. I think about 250k machines were made that use this board and lets just say half of them still exist that's 125k potential sales which gives you a rough idea of what the market would be.

    #12 60 days ago

    My 2 cents: The one thing I dislike about a rectifier board kit is the soldering of the fuse clips. The delta in price between an assembled and complete board is not enough for me to build. I own 13 Classic Bally pinballs. Some would benefit from your product. Others have either been repaired or replaced with other products. I would stick to your current sale of complete boards. Most people who are buying on price are most likely repairing a game at the least cost to get a game working and don’t care about the features of your board. I think you have a nice product at a reasonable cost compared to other vendors offerings. Good luck with your poll and decision.

    #13 60 days ago

    What all you guys making (or are thinking about making) replacement boards (etc) for machines don't seem to consider is the liability risk involved in making these. Bad things don't happen often but they do happen. If you are making boards., mods, etc for pinball machines you better have an LLC and good liability insurance or you are putting yourself at high risk of getting wiped out financially if something bad does happen.

    When you get sued it isn't about winning or losing the battle it is about the cost of that battle. So lets say a guys pinball machine catches fire and burns his house down. Guy says "it has been working fine for years and then last week I installed _________ from ______ and now this". His insurance company decides to look into this and blames you as the cause of that fire. It is something that is hard to prove and you would likely win in court. The issue is the insurance company has plenty of lawyers on their payroll already but you are paying one to defend you. Guess how many tens of thousands of dollars it could cost you just in legal fees. So even if you win you still are going to be spending big bucks. Something most people doing this stuff don't seem to consider from what I have seen over the years!

    So if you are going to be making anything that involves electronics for pinball machines (or anything else for that matter) you better have insurance & set up an LLC to protect yourself.

    As far as "price point" end of things - you will find most people just worry about bottom line price and don't really care about anything else. So even if yours is better very few people will truly care and most will by the cheapest choice.

    As always just my two cents on things!

    #14 60 days ago
    Quoted from Nhpolarbear:

    My 2 cents: The one thing I dislike about a rectifier board kit is the soldering of the fuse clips. The delta in price between an assembled and complete board is not enough for me to build. I own 13 Classic Bally pinballs. Some would benefit from your product. Others have either been repaired or replaced with other products. I would stick to your current sale of complete boards. Most people who are buying on price are most likely repairing a game at the least cost to get a game working and don’t care about the features of your board. I think you have a nice product at a reasonable cost compared to other vendors offerings. Good luck with your poll and decision.

    Thanks for the feedback. Noted.

    #15 60 days ago
    Quoted from too-many-pins:

    What all you guys making (or are thinking about making) replacement boards (etc) for machines don't seem to consider is the liability risk involved in making these. Bad things don't happen often but they do happen. If you are making boards., mods, etc for pinball machines you better have an LLC and good liability insurance or you are putting yourself at high risk of getting wiped out financially if something bad does happen.
    When you get sued it isn't about winning or losing the battle it is about the cost of that battle. So lets say a guys pinball machine catches fire and burns his house down. Guy says "it has been working fine for years and then last week I installed ________ from _____ and now this". His insurance company decides to look into this and blames you as the cause of that fire. It is something that is hard to prove and you would likely win in court. The issue is the insurance company has plenty of lawyers on their payroll already but you are paying one to defend you. Guess how many tens of thousands of dollars it could cost you just in legal fees. So even if you win you still are going to be spending big bucks. Something most people doing this stuff don't seem to consider from what I have seen over the years!
    So if you are going to be making anything that involves electronics for pinball machines (or anything else for that matter) you better have insurance & set up an LLC to protect yourself.
    As far as "price point" end of things - you will find most people just worry about bottom line price and don't really care about anything else. So even if yours is better very few people will truly care and most will by the cheapest choice.
    As always just my two cents on things!

    Thanks for the feedback and yes I have an LLC.

    #16 60 days ago

    The more kits available the better. Given the option I would always buy a kit because I enjoy assembling them. I did buy the above mentioned nvram kit for my supersonic instead of a pre built board for that reason, not because it was cheaper.

    Same reason I ended up building a lisy board to have as a spare after repairing my original instead of buying an alltek or rottendog.

    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/diy-lisy-a-replacement-mpu-for-gottlieb-bally-amp-stern

    #17 60 days ago

    Agree with the above input. People typically want a kit because they enjoy putting it together and the cost savings is an added plus. I'm sure it's a small percentage of those needing replacement boards though.

    Just looked at Pinballlife and they offer two kits. One is $60 and the other is $70. They come with connector rebuild parts included. From my glance the higher price one also provides the plastic fuse cover and one power-on indicator LED.

    I think your kit for $50 shipped is a good price.

    I could be wrong but when people ask for replacement board suggestions I don't recall the Pinhead board being mentioned. Maybe put it and the kit in the Pinside Marketplace to increase visibility. GLWS

    #18 59 days ago
    Quoted from noopy:

    The more kits available the better. Given the option I would always buy a kit because I enjoy assembling them. I did buy the above mentioned nvram kit for my supersonic instead of a pre built board for that reason, not because it was cheaper.
    Same reason I ended up building a lisy board to have as a spare after repairing my original instead of buying an alltek or rottendog.
    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/diy-lisy-a-replacement-mpu-for-gottlieb-bally-amp-stern

    Thanks for the feedback, I just checked out the lisy project. Looks like he did what I always wanted to do but never had time. Looks like a lot of hard work was done to make that a reality.

    #19 59 days ago
    Quoted from emsrph:

    Agree with the above input. People typically want a kit because they enjoy putting it together and the cost savings is an added plus. I'm sure it's a small percentage of those needing replacement boards though.
    Just looked at Pinballlife and they offer two kits. One is $60 and the other is $70. They come with connector rebuild parts included. From my glance the higher price one also provides the plastic fuse cover and one power-on indicator LED.
    I think your kit for $50 shipped is a good price.
    I could be wrong but when people ask for replacement board suggestions I don't recall the Pinhead board being mentioned. Maybe put it and the kit in the Pinside Marketplace to increase visibility. GLWS

    Thanks for the feedback, ya it looks like Pinball life is a bit high on their $60 and $70 kit. The heatsink looks good on the $70 kit and I like the fuse protector, but mine was $70 preassembled and still has more features. I did recently have to increase the price to $75 suggested retail due to inflation. I will have to add my website to the marketplace. Thanks for the suggestion on that.

    1 week later
    #20 48 days ago

    The PBL board is fully assembled, plus the connectors and the pins. Best deal, hands down.

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