(Topic ID: 286809)

Playfield protector for a year - my conclusion

By DerGoetz

8 months ago


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  • 33 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 8 months ago by durgee7
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    #1 8 months ago

    So I got a NIB Stern JPLE Dec 2019.
    Received it, it was my 11th Stern and the first time that I had lost at the Stern playfield lottery.

    The playfield was soft as cork (did a drop test under Apron with horrible results) and the clear coat was not mirror like, it has veins all over. Almost like wood grain. Stern needs to be ashamed. (My next Stern, a DPPrem, was amazing and flawless again.....)

    As a solution for both problems I ordered a playfield protector from Germany. Meaning I had to wait for another 3 weeks before I could flip my game for the first time, but of well, now I had a shiny and dimple proof playfield.

    Here we are, a year later and not too many games played.
    The protector will be pulled this weekend.

    In the beginning gameplay was fast, I couldn't tell the difference.

    At this point the soft (compared to clearcoat) protector is all scratched and foggy and therefore slooooooww.....forget about waxing, nothing seems to help and the wax seems to make the fog worse. Plus the protector starts to stick the the playfield underneath, creating "wet spots" all over which looks like ass.

    Hence, if you want to protect your investment, get the condom.

    If you want to feel the real deal, play without

    Cheers

    Goetz

    #2 8 months ago

    Thanks for the info

    #3 8 months ago

    I'm almost a year into my playfield protector on my getaway and I have not experienced anything like this. It still looks really good. Not perfect, but really good

    #4 8 months ago

    Goetz,

    Did you take any pictures?

    This is the kind of data point we all need !!

    What brand was the plastic material?

    What company was the protector made by?

    How many games got played on it? (that number is in the Audit menu of the game)

    How much ball wear from the protector was there? (look at the ball's reflection of a black surface)

    #5 8 months ago

    I have a thrillhouse beehive protector on my Big Game and love it. Plays like a clear coated playfield and still looks great 5-6 months later.

    I have heard mixed reviews from the Germany place.

    #6 8 months ago

    I think the issue is waxing the plastic.

    I’ve had 5-6 of them in some of my pins for a few years now ... I’ve never touched them bar giving them a quick wipe with a cloth with a dab of simple green on it, if needed.

    Still look like new.

    rd

    #7 8 months ago

    If it scratched the protector I wonder if all the scratches would be in playfield without it? I have them on three games and have no issues ,never waxed just wiped with Novus 1 and cloth

    #8 8 months ago
    Quoted from vid1900:

    Goetz,
    Did you take any pictures?
    This is the kind of data point we all need !!
    What brand was the plastic material?
    What company was the protector made by?
    How many games got played on it? (that number is in the Audit menu of the game)
    How much ball wear from the protector was there? (look at the ball's reflection of a black surface)

    Ill do that tomorrow, before i pull.
    After the pull I will take "see through" photos and give you all info needed.

    #9 8 months ago
    Quoted from rotordave:

    I think the issue is waxing the plastic.
    I’ve had 5-6 of them in some of my pins for a few years now ... I’ve never touched them bar giving them a quick wipe with a cloth with a dab of simple green on it, if needed.
    Still look like new.
    rd

    I never waxed either.Tried it in one spot for the first time today to see if it would make it better, nope.

    Aftermarket balls, not Stern balls

    #10 8 months ago

    please note, I play in a very bright room, doubt it would be as bad in a mancave or bar

    #11 8 months ago

    Here’s a couple of mine.

    These were installed early 2017 when I wrote that review thread.

    Both games had bad inserts - hence the install.

    Excuse the bad lighting.

    rd

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    #12 8 months ago
    Quoted from DerGoetz:the wax seems to make the fog worse.
    Goetz

    I'm not sure what fog your talking about. I agree the wet spots aren't super pretty, but that's the biggest con I can see.
    Mine aren't slower, if anything after the break in period they got faster, But I use a light amount of wax every time I clean it.
    I have a 4 years old protector on a GOT with somewhere over 20k plays (roughly based on earnings), the scratches blend overtime and it looks fine bright or not.
    obviously they have the biggest benefit on classics, or games where the ball has a tendency to moonwalk.

    #13 8 months ago

    Interesting. Whatever protectors the previous owner of my Pinbot and Bride of Pinbot installed have been great so far and I intend to keep them on.

    #14 8 months ago
    Quoted from DerGoetz:

    Plus the protector starts to stick the the playfield underneath, creating "wet spots" all over which looks like ass.

    I have seen that wet spot effect with translites and photos in frames. In that case, I remove the translite and sprinkle on a fine amount of corn starch powder on the surface and gently brush it off with a tissue. Some tiny invisible amount of powder is left after giving it a light sweep with the tissue which is plenty to prevent wet spots from ever returning.

    It would be a headache to remove the protector to do this but others may consider doing it on future installs.

    #15 8 months ago

    Another person completely fing up their playfield protector and blaming the product.

    All you need to do is a complete wipe down on installation to remove the tack, the occasional novus 1 touch up and keep shiny pinballs on it and they will look good and play like a freshly waxed playfield for 1000s of plays. Wax no bueno.

    #16 8 months ago

    I put one on my whirlwind about two years ago.. Not experiencing issues like you are talking. Love it.

    #17 8 months ago

    Some people have reported a scratched, fogged playfield protector despite extraneous efforts at cleaning, but using a microfiber cloth. I have the German brand on mine with the instructions specifically urging to avoid microfiber cloths in cleaning because it will ultimately expedite dulling the protector. Not sure if this is the case with yours or some others whose pps have dulled. I am getting a few “wet” spots, but I’m really happy overall with it on my ToM.

    #18 8 months ago

    I Use polish for car bumper plastic.
    Makes it clean and fast.
    You can make it shine with plastic polish for plastic aquariums.

    Played 750 games on my homebrew game with selfmade 1.5 mm protector. Looks great still.

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    #19 8 months ago

    Yeah you need le an plastic product not wax. I prefer not having them but on some games it is a must.

    #20 8 months ago

    I reluctantly purchased one for Scared Stiff, where I'm starting to see/feel a couple slightly raised inserts. Nipping that in the bud before any damage occurs.

    I installed one on Old Chicago a couple years ago and don't like how you can't hear the ball rolling around on the wooden playfield anymore but thats not a concern on Scared.

    #21 8 months ago

    My STARS has a homemade on on it...I only wipe it down. I don't even know it's on there most of the time. Love it.

    #22 8 months ago

    My results have been very different. I’ve put in a bunch, including on other peoples games. As others have said, microfiber leaves fine scratches on them and make them look like ass very quickly.

    I was taking my Metallica to a show, so I put all the Cliffys and a playfield protector, and flipper button Mylar as well. The game has a couple thousand games since then, and it still looks and plays fantastic. Does it play different than a bare playfield? Of course it does. But once I adjusted, it’s nice.

    I just put one on my Star Trek a couple weeks ago. I’d owned the game for a while now, and it was getting a lot of games. Again, I like the way it plays, and it will be fine for many years of play. I play my games quite a bit, so that one also got shooter lane protection (Cliffy) as well, because it was starting to get chewed.

    I’ll do Eight Ball next, because the inserts are a bit cupped and they can impact ball travel. The game isn’t worth doing the whole CPR treatment to me.

    So overall, I do them on a case by case basis. I like the way they play, and I LOVE knowing that the playfield will still be there looking good long for decades. Some day every game I own will be in someone else’s house. I want it to get there in good shape.

    Now the one game I “failed” on was Getaway. It was the very first one I did, and I quickly learned I made mistakes installing it. It plays fantastic, but doesn’t look great. I didn’t notice that I had a bit of dust on the playfield when I put the protector down. A speck of dust or dried wax under the protector looks like hell, especially in a well lit room. And there is no way to get it out without removing the protector. I left it on, but at some point I’ll end up replacing it on that game.

    #23 8 months ago

    Installed one on my Bm66 from new in 2017 and it still looks and plays great.Maiden got one installed in 2018 from new and thats the same. Both where from pu-parts.com in Germany and I wouldn't hesitate using them again.
    I did play a Bm66 at a show which had one installed and it looked like it either been used as an ice rink or cleaned with a scourer.
    It was scratched terribly. As long as you keep marked and chipped pinballs off the surface it'll look great for years.

    #24 8 months ago

    So happy for this thread. Makes me want to go out to buy one now.

    #25 8 months ago

    I have them on 4 machines. They are games form the 80s that have raised/sunken inserts that effect how the ball rolls . It definitely fixes that problem. I realize it’s not as good a fix as a hardtop or new pf, but for the cost and time it really can improve the play. IMO

    #26 8 months ago

    I have one on CC. I am very glad it is there. The game has a pristine original pf and it takes a beating right at the beer mug. When the ball hits that thing it pounds the pf right in front of it. The other thing I like about the protectors is you can omit the Cliffy in some cases like on CC. WW is another one. I have a near perfect pf in that one also. (No divot on mini pf at the vuk.) The protector takes all pounding from that vuk and not the pf. Also, lots of airballs in that game. Have one on MB. No Drac Trac wear. (Not gutsy enough to do without that Cliify on that one!).

    #27 8 months ago

    I guess im the odd guy who just cant make the switch. Had one for a brief time and could not get past the strange sound and overall play difference.

    #28 8 months ago
    Quoted from Haymaker:

    I'm almost a year into my playfield protector on my getaway and I have not experienced anything like this. It still looks really good. Not perfect, but really good

    that's the thing i don't understand. without the protector it would still look really good, but not perfect. so why spend the money, go through all the work to install, change the gameplay and have one more thing on the game that isn't factory and can impact assembly?

    #29 8 months ago

    Here are the photos

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    #30 8 months ago

    Playfield Protector from Germany's "Playfield Protectors"

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    #31 8 months ago
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    #32 8 months ago

    Ugly ass "you lost the Stern playfield lottery" shot

    20210130_123945 (resized).jpg

    Please note that this is NOT a glass like surface as my other Stern Pros, Prems and LEs, this one has basically no clear..an incredible letdown.

    It almost looks like wood grain... Wonder of that is what shows.

    Look at all reflections...it is disgusting.

    But now, with the protector gone, the ball travels as it should again.
    Ill take that over what I had for a playing experience with the protector on.

    #33 8 months ago
    Quoted from DerGoetz:

    Please note that this is NOT a glass like surface as my other Stern Pros, Prems and LEs, this one has basically no clear..and incredible letdown.
    Look at all reflections...it is disgusting.

    I noticed this change in clear coat design with Stern games for the first time when I took the tour at Stern during Expo. The game was Elvira’s House of Horrors. Very different from what was done in the past.

    #34 8 months ago
    Quoted from DerGoetz:

    Ugly ass "you lost the Stern playfield lottery" shot

    That sucks about your playfield, had the same wood grain effect on my beatles. Luckily Stern replaced it, but not because of that. They said that woodgrain look was normal.... it was the first time I'd ever seen it.

    Well at least you gave it a shot, they aren't for everyone.

    Quoted from bigehrl:

    that's the thing i don't understand. without the protector it would still look really good, but not perfect. so why spend the money, go through all the work to install, change the gameplay and have one more thing on the game that isn't factory and can impact assembly?

    new games usually piece of mind
    old games for better play and/or piece of mind
    games still play fine either way. Only thing I've noticed is the ball has a bit more spin on it, nothing earth shattering. Makes it slightly harder to do drop/live catches.
    That might even get easier if I stopped using wax, but I love the way it plays so I probably won't .

    #35 8 months ago

    That doesn’t look like wood grain. That looks like contaminated clearcoat that didn’t cure or bond correctly. That’s the kind of thing you see on amateur restorations when a silicone wax/cleaner left residue on the playfield prior to clearing.

    #36 8 months ago

    I have a NOS Sopranos playfield that looks the same.

    Screenshot_20210130-140437_Gallery (resized).jpg

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    #37 8 months ago

    I have them on all my games. Whirlwind, TZ, Monopoly, and TOM. AND... when I got my DialedIn, I had it installed at the factory. All good, nice and fast. I sometimes use a little spray carnuba wax to make them super fast. No issues. The one on Whirlwind is probably 10+ years old!

    Love them.

    -Rob

    #38 8 months ago

    I have the German one on my Bally Star Trek and it still looks great after a year.

    #39 8 months ago

    I have purchased 4 and am happy with them so far. Have 1 game without and don't notice a huge difference. An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.

    #40 8 months ago
    Quoted from bigehrl:

    that's the thing i don't understand. without the protector it would still look really good, but not perfect. so why spend the money, go through all the work to install, change the gameplay and have one more thing on the game that isn't factory and can impact assembly?

    I had quite a few raised inserts that were effecting gameplay a lot more than the playfield protector does. Now the game plays smooth again. I have found the difference in gameplay to be negligible btw.

    I also have one in my haunted house and its great. Just got one for my vector too.

    #41 8 months ago
    Quoted from Haymaker:

    I had quite a few raised inserts that were effecting gameplay a lot more than the playfield protector does. Now the game plays smooth again. I have found the difference in gameplay to be negligible btw.
    I also have one in my haunted house and its great. Just got one for my vector too.

    ok, that's understandable. raised inserts suck. i guess i mean in the case of a NIB game.

    #42 8 months ago

    With the mixed reviews I'm wondering if there was something else going on with this original posted protector like a bad batch of plastic. I've had one on for half a year, played hundreds of games on it and still looks as good as new and wayyyyy better looking and faster than without it. From germany too (0.02" PET-G) I think the same as original post. I lightly waxed it once when new and never needed to since. I still haven't seen a "wet spot" except for the 1 time I had cleaned a small spot on the topside with windex and a tiny bit got underneath (my fault and all I had to do was raise the playfield slightly and it evaporated away in 12 seconds). I'm wondering if humidity control might be necessary to reduce what others are seeing? I've got a dehumidifier set to 55% which might be helping here. Are these wet spots actually wet or is it an optical illusion? Or maybe people are talking about a variety of protectors like thin mylar vs PET-G vs other kinds and we're all having different experiences as a result... Put a new ball in with the new protector of course!

    #43 8 months ago

    I've installed them on 2 Judge Dredd machines, Data East TMNT, Amazing Spider-Man, Deadpool Pro, and TMNT Pro. All protectors came from Playfield Protectors of Germany, and all arrived within 3 business days or less. They do get scratched up a bit after several games (100+) but not all that noticeable. Haven't really had much cloudiness.

    Negatives:

    1. "Wet Spots" for new Sterns due to contact between clear and protector. Not too bad, but it exists. I think the light powder or corn starch trick will eliminate this issue.

    2. For older pins like ASM and TMNT that have some delictate areas (chipped paint locations) you can get little pieces of paint/crud/dust breaking off and getting trapped between protector and Playfield, especially near slings and pops. I'd recommend prepping any areas that have flaking paint prior to adding a protector. Other than leveling inserts, not sure that adding a protector for that scenario would be desired...but I like them on all my pins.

    As for playing, I haven't noticed too much of a difference.

    #44 8 months ago

    If you have “wet spots “ you did not prep correctly.

    You dont wax the protectors. This may add to the cloudiness, they need to be polished. Traditional waxes that fog and leave white residue is a no no.

    #45 8 months ago
    Quoted from ralphcousman:

    If you have “wet spots “ you did not prep correctly.
    You dont wax the protectors. This may add to the cloudiness, they need to be polished. Traditional waxes that fog and leave white residue is a no no.

    Interesting. I followed all the directions from Playfield Protectors and even got their feedback on blowing compressed air between the surfaces to remove the spots (which didn't work). I always thought it was the uneven clear (high spots) making perfect contact with the pet-g...but who knows. I want to believe you.

    I would never wax these. Just clean surface on occasion.

    #46 8 months ago
    Quoted from ralphcousman:

    If you have “wet spots “ you did not prep correctly.
    You dont wax the protectors. This may add to the cloudiness, they need to be polished. Traditional waxes that fog and leave white residue is a no no.

    The "wet spots" are not actually wet. They are just an optical phenomenon called "Newton Rings" that can happen occasionally where the PET-G contacts the clear coat. All the prep in the world is not going to get rid of this. It just looks wet, but there is zero moisture in the area. It also can occur occasionally where a translite touches the glass in front of it.

    I have a couple of Newton Rings under my factory installed WOZ playfield protectors and they are still there 4 years later. I have had the protectors off, cleaned, and put back on. Always in those same spots. I have seen it on other machines as well, and then I have used a protector on machines without having any spots. I had a couple of the spots on my factory Scared Stiff translite also.

    #47 8 months ago

    316 balls and talking about a longevity report?

    Shame....

    #48 8 months ago

    That may be due to playfield unevenness and may be unavoidable in small sections. Mechs torqued to the playfield clear coat unevenness but should not be all over. You must removed the “oily” new playfield residue , i used nepthia on one machine that was new and had such amazing results i had to go back and redo three machines and have extremely minimal “wet spots”

    Quoted from durgee7:

    Interesting. I followed all the directions from Playfield Protectors and even got their feedback on blowing compressed air between the surfaces to remove the spots (which didn't work). I always thought it was the uneven clear (high spots) making perfect contact with the pet-g...but who knows. I want to believe you.
    I would never wax these. Just clean surface on occasion.

    #49 8 months ago
    Quoted from ralphcousman:

    That may be due to playfield unevenness and may be unavoidable in small sections. Mechs torqued to the playfield clear coat unevenness but should not be all over. You must removed the “oily” new playfield residue , i used nepthia on one machine that was new and had such amazing results i had to go back and redo three machines and have extremely minimal “wet spots”

    That's great to hear. I always prep with naptha. Maybe I should have taken it a step further and used novus 2. Well, naptha should be enough.

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