(Topic ID: 235129)

Planning on buying 1st pin, advice?


By bwill

3 months ago



Topic Stats

  • 25 posts
  • 22 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 3 months ago by pinnyheadhead
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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    #1 3 months ago

    So, I'm starting to look for my first pin. I have a few questions that I'm hoping the community can help me out with...

    Should I look at places other than Pinside? I've checked out ebay and cl and the prices seem way off from what I see here. Are there other reputable markets places that are safe for a newbie?

    Are the estimated values on pinside a good guide for the range I should be willing to pay (roughly)?

    Any general advice on evaluating condition?

    #2 3 months ago

    Buying local is best. You can play the game and meet the owner.

    #3 3 months ago

    Buy local. Check Facebook Market/groups as well.

    Find somebody who knows what they're doing around you and has some games -- see if you can swing over and pick their brain. Most pinheads are MORE than happy to have somebody to talk to about their hobby.

    #4 3 months ago
    Quoted from bwill:

    Should I look at places other than Pinside?

    Get involved in your local community. chuckwurt is a good place to start. If he's not near you he'll probably know someone who is.

    #5 3 months ago
    Quoted from zrbrt:

    Buy local. Check Facebook Market/groups as well.
    Find somebody who knows what they're doing around you and has some games -- see if you can swing over and pick their brain. Most pinheads are MORE than happy to have somebody to talk to about their hobby.

    This!! Also, try to find somewhere local to play some of the titles you’re interested in. Are there any arcades or places that have pinball near you? If you can connect with a local seller where you can see and play the pin, that would be my first option

    #6 3 months ago

    Don't expect the game to run flawlessly. If you do not possess mechanical and electrical skills or the ability to learn, purchase the game from a dealer who can support you.
    Pinball machines are complex electrical and mechanical computers. They will need lots of service.

    #7 3 months ago

    If you can afford new, buy something like an Iron Maiden pro. When you only have one game, it's nice to have something that works 100% and is super fun.

    If you're buying used, try to find something that seems rock solid with no apparent issues. But still have your tools and repair guide(s) ready. Stuff breaks.

    #8 3 months ago
    Quoted from bwill:

    Are the estimated values on pinside a good guide for the range I should be willing to pay (roughly

    It would be good if you could connect with someone here on Pinside that is in your area that has experience with buying collecting and selling Pinball Machines.
    Together you guys could hunt down the right first pin for you. I know if you were here in Denver I would be glad to help out.

    10
    #9 3 months ago

    Don’t expect to get anything cheap, those days are over.

    And don’t expect it never to break, it ain’t a toaster.

    If you have the money ($6,000) it really
    Does make more sense than ever for newsbies to buy a brand new game.

    If your budget is closer to $1000 than $6000 be patient and look around and figure out what you want and can afford.

    Resist the urge to save money and buy a fixer upper or game with issues. Terrible
    Way for a newbie to go.

    No matter what you buy it’ll break soon enough. You want to tackle issues one by one not buy a basket case that’s full of them.

    #10 3 months ago

    Make sure you have room for at least 10 pins.

    #11 3 months ago

    If you're buying a used machine and the seller is included a box of misc boards, wiring harnesses, and transistors for that machine... go find yourself another machine. You're looking to maximize this simple equation: fun/(initial cost+depreciation+repairs). A 2016 or newer Stern would be my recommendation.

    #12 3 months ago

    Don't spend all of your budget on one machine. Save some cash for things like new balls, LEDS, new rubber rings for posts and flippers, etc. Or for replacement parts or repairs. Buying and owning pins can be addictive. It will not be long before you want a second one. You have been warned. LOL

    #13 3 months ago

    Thanks! My budget is ~5K, but the some of the pins that I would really want seem to be less than than... Jack*Bot , Star Trek: The Next Generation , The Shadow , Doctor Who , World Cup Soccer , The Simpsons Pinball Party .

    Maybe I'm being an idiot, but I am having trouble wanting to own a Stern Pro just because the locations that I play at regularly all have Premiums or LEs. It will feel like a let down from what I've been playing the past year.

    #14 3 months ago

    My first pin is a Pinbot, I got it for a good price although it did need a lot of cleaning and a “shop out”. I am almost done with it now and have enjoyed the process and learned a ton. I do have some electrical experience and used this forum and YouTube as invaluable resources but I also wanted to keep the budget low for my first pin.

    Make sure you take reliability somewhat into the equation, I have heard STTNG has some issues with the optic sensors and cannons that can be challenging to dial in.

    #15 3 months ago
    Quoted from bwill:

    Thanks! My budget is ~5K, but the some of the pins that I would really want seem to be less than than... Jack*Bot , Star Trek: The Next Generation , The Shadow , Doctor Who , World Cup Soccer , The Simpsons Pinball Party .
    Maybe I'm being an idiot, but I am having trouble wanting to own a Stern Pro just because the locations that I play at regularly all have Premiums or LEs. It will feel like a let down from what I've been playing the past year.

    Jack Bot: No Idea
    ST:TNG: Fun game, complicated to maintain, substantially heavier than the others from a moving perspective.
    The Shadow: Great bang for your buck game. Easy to buy, easy to sell.
    Doctor Who: Great game, decent choice.
    WCS: Great game, cheapest on the list. Great for kids. Easy to maintain. Was my first pin. Can get repetitive after a thousand games
    TSPP: Super deep. Not the easiest. Likely more reliable than the others on the list.

    My recommendations for you would be:
    1. TSPP
    2. Shadow
    3. WCS
    4. Dr. Who
    5. Jack Bot
    6. ST:TNG

    My recommended course of action for you is to quite literally, get all of them, but one at a time.

    Start with a WCS. 2700-3200 condition dependent. Keep it for 6 months. Learn how to fix the little things. Sell it after 6 months and get a Shadow. Use it up, and after 6 months sell it and buy up to a TSPP.

    All of these machines are in your budget. I would start at the bottom end with a WCS or Shadow, but there is no reason why you couldn't have all of these machines. You can cut your teeth and learn a bit on the easier machines before going for a harder machine.

    In the time I had my WCS I had to:
    1. Fix the soccer ball
    2. Put in fresh rubbers (optional)
    3. Fix rear 1/3 lighting (o, nobody will care, it doesn't matter... right)
    4. Fix the ramp diverter
    5. Replace a couple plastics (optional)

    If you are worried about pros vs premium, some games are better about this than others. There is no difference between a ST Pro or Premium gameplay wise for example. Would you rather have 3 premiums or 2 pros? The price isn't that much different.

    In any case, good luck and welcome to the hobby.

    #16 3 months ago
    Quoted from bwill:

    Should I look at places other than Pinside? I've checked out ebay and cl and the prices seem way off from what I see here. Are there other reputable markets places that are safe for a newbie?

    You're in a good-sized city so it should be possible for you to buy local. That's definitely your best bet. Even if you end up paying a bit more for a local machine, you avoid hundreds of dollars in shipping fees and most importantly you get to check out the machine before you buy. If possible, find a local Pinsider that will ride along with you to kick the tires on a game or two. Someone with even a bit of experience can help you spot issues you'd probably miss on your own.

    Of course if you've got your heart set on one specific machine you may not be able to buy local. I ended up buying my first machine through Pinside since I really, really wanted a Shadow and none were popping up in Denver over the six months I was looking. If you go for a long-distance sale, Pinside is IMO better than Mr. Pinball or other options because you can check people's posting history and if you buy from someone well established here they've got some skin in the game of maintaining their reputation by not totally ripping you off. That said, get lots of pictures and ask lots of questions before you pull the trigger.

    Prices on eBay will almost always be way high, they have to cover the fees plus the buyer protections are pretty risky for selling and shipping a big item like that.

    Quoted from bwill:

    Are the estimated values on pinside a good guide for the range I should be willing to pay (roughly)?

    Meh -- Estimated Value gives you an extremely rough range, but I think you're better off doing a search of recent sales of the game and then making your own adjustments for condition, mods, etc. Any sales from more than a year ago should be taken with a grain of salt, as prices do tend to move around (usually up, unfortunately).

    Quoted from bwill:

    Any general advice on evaluating condition?

    Bring a flashlight in case they've got the game in a dimly lit area. Don't be shy about examining the game carefully, even if the seller is trying to rush you. You get one shot at inspection, so take your time.

    Turn the game on and play a few games. Make sure that the lighting (backbox, above-playfield or "general illumination," and inserts) is all working. Play a few games and confirm that everything seems normal. If it's a DMD, look for a "credit-dot" (do a forum search if you don't know what that is). May be insignificant, may be something big, but if it's there you'll want to figure out what's up before you buy.

    Take the glass off and check the playfield and ramps closely for wear/damage. It's so easy when you're excited about buying a game to overlook stuff that'll disappoint you later.

    Also look very closely around and especially below the battery holder to see if there's corrosion from old leaking batteries. Even if the battery holder has been replaced with a remote holder or NVRAM, look where it used to be. This kind of damage can be easy for beginners to miss (ask me how I know) and can cost you hundreds for board repair or replacement. Do some searches on Pinside and you'll find example pics that can give you an idea of what to look for.

    Pointing issues out to the seller may or may not get you a break on the price, but at least you'll known what you're buying.

    #17 3 months ago

    I see you are in Louisville as well so my advice would be to wait for the expo in a month. It's a pretty good place to buy a machine. Last year there was a TNG, WCS, and TSPP all more or less within your range.

    #18 3 months ago

    STTNG and Shadow, while great pins, are tough to keep up and running in good order. Get something else.

    #19 3 months ago
    Quoted from Natetheviking:

    I see you are in Louisville as well so my advice would be to wait for the expo in a month. It's a pretty good place to buy a machine. Last year there was a TNG, WCS, and TSPP all more or less within your range.

    Definitely! I was planning on waiting till expo or later to buy for no other reason than it would give me a chance to play some more machines that I hand't considered.

    I wasn't even thinking that there would be people selling there as well.

    #20 3 months ago
    Quoted from bwill:

    Thanks! My budget is ~5K, but the some of the pins that I would really want seem to be less than than... Jack*Bot , Star Trek: The Next Generation , The Shadow , Doctor Who , World Cup Soccer , The Simpsons Pinball Party .
    Maybe I'm being an idiot, but I am having trouble wanting to own a Stern Pro just because the locations that I play at regularly all have Premise or LEs. It will feel like a let down from what I've been playing the past year.

    Plenty of great stern pros that are not let downs over the premiums. 500.00 more in your budget and you can have a nib shipped to your door with warranty.

    #21 3 months ago

    A lot of great advice from the posts above.

    I bought my first pin, NBA Fastbreak in May of 2017. I knew nothing about pinball; and all of those wires and mechanics scared the hell out of me. However, pushing through my fears and buying it was a great decision.

    Here's my advice (and I recommend doing it in this order):

    1. Establish a budget and add a few extra hundred dollars for potential parts & tools you might need down the road (solder kit, nut drivers, etc.).
    2. Find out what you like. Play an array of machines from different eras and themes. Identify a handful of pins that you would purchase.
    3. Utilize Pinside as you're doing today. Read the threads on the specific pins you want, ask questions, etc. There is no way I would be where I'm at today without this community.
    4. Once you feel confident in what you want, buy local. That way you get to play the game and see first hand what you're getting.
    5. Have fun! It's an exciting experience.

    Good luck!

    #22 3 months ago

    I am being serious when I say this. Search this forum for similiar topics. There is tons of great information in a lot of the past threads on this subject. Some past suggestions that resonate with me include

    *PM local Pinsiders and meet people near you in the hobby.
    *If you locate a game to buy, take someone who knows the hobby and what to look for if buying used.
    *go to a pinball show to help you decide on what game...ie play it.
    *be prepared that one game is usually just the beginning
    *dont be in a hurry, the right deal for you will come along
    *read up, looks like you found a great spot to do just that.

    Good luck on a fantastic hobby full of fantastic people!

    #23 3 months ago
    Quoted from Natetheviking:

    I see you are in Louisville as well so my advice would be to wait for the expo in a month. It's a pretty good place to buy a machine. Last year there was a TNG, WCS, and TSPP all more or less within your range.

    Exactly what I would suggest!! Prior to buying my first pin ( Tales from the Crypt ) I went to a few pinball/arcade expos and tried out as much as I could.... Keep a record on what keeps pulling you back to wait in line to play the pinball game again... I agree with everyone who says buy local to be able to try out the game. The hard part for home pin usage is: Which game to buy that keeps you excited to play it over and over and over with the same enjoyment to be an owner of the machine.

    Good Luck... Too many good games out there.

    #24 3 months ago

    One important thing to keep in mind is this. Its not a question of, "If something goes wrong with your new machine," Its a matter of when. And when something does stop working, or breaks down, if you do not know what you are doing as far as fixing the problem, Do not try. You could do more harm than good. At the very least try to get as much info as you can from the Pinside community. If you experience a problem, its a sure bet someone has had the same problem in the past. Also, do not neglect it. If you keep your new machine clean and maintained, it will be easier to sell it if you decide to at a later date.

    #25 3 months ago
    Quoted from bwill:

    Thanks! My budget is ~5K, but the some of the pins that I would really want seem to be less than than... Jack*Bot , Star Trek: The Next Generation , The Shadow , Doctor Who , World Cup Soccer , The Simpsons Pinball Party .
    Maybe I'm being an idiot, but I am having trouble wanting to own a Stern Pro just because the locations that I play at regularly all have Premiums or LEs. It will feel like a let down from what I've been playing the past year.

    I don’t agree on the “letdown” of a Prem on location compared to a Pro at home. At home you control the volume, leveling, settings and tweaks you want to add. You will love it. I would pick an IMDN, MET, SW or DP Pro over any game on your list above. Just me though.

    Or if you like the 90’s Bally Williams pins and since you are at $5000 budget already I would bag your lunch for a little and save up to buck up another thousand and get a New Attack From Mars or Monster Bash Classic delivered to you. I would again pick those two over any pin you listed also.

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