(Topic ID: 225496)

Stern Electronics Club (1977-1984).


By Mitch

1 year ago



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Topic index (key posts)

7 key posts have been marked in this topic

Post #227 Various gate tips. Posted by cottonm4 (1 year ago)

Post #269 Hi quality thoughts from Cotton about inlanes. Posted by cottonm4 (1 year ago)

Post #279 Playfield touch up tips. Posted by klr650 (1 year ago)

Post #309 Stern inserts suggestions. Posted by cottonm4 (1 year ago)

Post #310 Seawitch gate flap solution. Posted by frunch (1 year ago)

Post #1033 Bally drop targets on the classic stern, even mix and match. Posted by cottonm4 (8 months ago)

Post #1958 Star Gazer podcast episode link. Posted by DRDAVE (3 months ago)


Topic indices are generated from key posts and maintained by Pinside Editors. For more information, or to become an editor yourself read this post!

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#112 1 year ago
Quoted from DRDAVE:

The wide body Sterns were hit and miss.
Great: Cheetah, Big Game, F2K
Not so great: Iron Maiden, Viper, Split Second
But hey so were the Ballys.
Great: Paragon, Embryon, Hot Doggin
Not so great: Future Spa, Space Invaders

I remember playing Split Second at Pinball Expo back in 2004 and it would put you to sleep. It was that bad. Not long after I bought a few NOS wired Split Second playfields at nearly giveaway prices. Someone asked me if I was going to make a Split Second from parts? I said, "Hell no, but look at all the flipper assemblies and drop target parts!". This was way before anyone had thought about making any repro parts for classic Stern.

I really wanted to like Viper, had a chance to buy a real nice one years ago but I just couldn't get into it. I almost bought the game for the backglass alone, that is one sweet backglass.

#119 1 year ago
Quoted from dothedoo:

Trident is another good early Stern. Pretty easy with no drain on the left, but it's a good layout and ruleset.

Yes, Trident is a good one, though I always thought the best MPU100 game was Stern Magic.

#205 1 year ago
Quoted from snyper2099:

Anyone that thinks any classic Stern is a better playing game than Fathom is living a lie. Remember, rare does not always equate to good. I love the classic Stern machines but c'mon man... we all know how any why they were made. There is a reason that back when these Stern machines were available they did not earn as well and were cheaper machines to purchase, compared with Bally and Williams.

Each to his own with regard to whatever game you like or don't like. IMHO, Fathom is way overrated play wise, though I wouldn't say that just any classic Stern is better.

Regarding earnings, I can give up to date real world experience on routing classic Bally vs at least one classic Stern. Other than Eight Ball Deluxe, which I place on a pedestal for earnings and gameplay, I haven't found any other classic Bally games that can hold their own against Quicksilver. Yeah, they do fine for a very short time period but fall off the earth with no earnings legs. Just took a refurbished Fathom off location after just a couple of months as it was an earnings dog. This Fathom is beautiful and plays like a dream, didn't matter. It was quite a disappointment. These other classic Bally comparison games were all in excellent condition, too.

#214 1 year ago
Quoted from snyper2099:

From my experience, condition has nothing to do with earnings. Maintenance yes, condition no. Besides, I was talking about historic Stern vs. Bally back when men were men.

Are you an operator? Do you operate any classic Bally/Stern? If so, maybe you can offer some titles that might be good earning candidates? From memory and what I recall from my old Playmeter mags, classic Stern isn't represented very well among the top earners of the day. Though given just how limited the distribution was for SEI it may have more to do with what operators could buy vs what was the best earner. Some of the games that are listed as solid earners haven't worked out as well for me.

Back on topic...I did sell a complete very corroded Seawitch several years ago for $50. Everything below the playfield was very rusty. Buyer decided to rebuild it and have it restored, I am sure it cost him a fortune to do that. I get requests all the time to buy classic Stern games, so it is definitely a seller's market.

#215 1 year ago
Quoted from Fytr:

Awesome that you are routing classic SS games!
I recently had my Big Game on location in our league bar and it did "ok". Maybe a little under 1/2 what my TNA pulled in. League players loved it though super fun game for competitive/dollar games.
Any experience routing a Flash Gordon recently? Once mine is back together (installed a PF overlay) I may put it out at the bar as well.
These games certainly got played to death back in the day, wonder if it's too brutual for modern players?

Flash Gordon is going to be one of the next classic games I place out on location later this year. I don't know of a better way to find out if a game will earn other than to place it and find out. Flash Gordon can't be any more brutal than TNA, ha! Best classic game that I have placed thus far has to be Joker Poker, good strong earnings with legs. I always set my SS games at 50 cents a play. These games are placed next to brand new pins so they have their work cut out for them competing for those quarters.

I plan on routing Star Gazer in the spring of 2019

#232 1 year ago
Quoted from snyper2099:

I operated some classic games along side some modern Stern machines (just a few years ago) when a friend of mine had an arcade in my neighborhood. It was only open on weekends. I had about 8 machines there for about 2.5 years. Best earning games were by far GOT and TWD. Those were not owned by me. Only classic game that ALWAYS did good was EATPM.
Had an EBD in there and that game got zero love. Stern ALI earned better than EBD! I know, I still can't believe that one. Hands down best earning classic game was EATPM. It was consistent EVERY SINGLE WEEK/MONTH. My second best earning game was probably WPT, followed closely by TFTC. I did have a Meteor in there for a while and it was .25 cents a play and it did get played a little but it was nowhere close to the newer games or EATPM.
Below is a pic of when we had our league there. I miss "the place".
There ARE currently some classics routed in our town but they do not get much play when up along side the newer Stern machines being released.[quoted image]

GOT and TWD are two of Stern's better earning games over the last few years! EATPM is a very accessible game to the average player, most people can understand it reasonably well, it has some funny stuff in it and the shots aren't hard at all. I considered routing one myself only it is just too easy for tournament and league play. Most strong players can play EATPMs a long time. I had to smile a little bit concerning your account of Stern Ali, it is really a fun game to play though many people have never played one that is setup well.

I don't expect a classic game to outearn or earn what a new Stern does as that would be asking too much. At the same time, I have seen some classic games have a consistent earning pattern that matches up nicely with some of the newer Sterns. One thing is for sure, almost all of those classic Bally/Stern games are much less of an investment than the new stuff.

#239 1 year ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

That's a bally not a stern!
2manypins ain't gonna like this one bit!!!!
(I'll answer anyway to annoy him - $1000-1500 I think. Sounds like an avg. viking bally glasses are always nice)

Bally glasses always nice? Really?? That isn't the case in my neck of the woods. If your Bally Viking is really that nice with a beautiful backglass and playfield to match you are well north of $2k without a problem. I don't really care much for the gameplay as compared to many other titles of the same era, but Viking is easy to look at.

1 month later
#483 1 year ago

Too bad Stern didn't elect to use the one piece inlane guides as on the original Seawitch. At least the ball probably won't jump over the guides as much on The Beatles.

#486 1 year ago
Quoted from Chalkey:

I'm interested to see if they did anything with the geometry of the lower right side of the playfield vs. classic seawitch. I love my seawitch but those shots are stupid tough and usually just "lucked" when I make them. I've got a williams flipper there I can't imagine how impossible they'd be with a classic stern fatty.
RE: Lectronamo - if your drops are flush don't adjust them up whatever you do. You'll get crazy airballs. I'd be interested to see what that "add a 2nd rubber" method would do in this area as well as if it would affect the drops from dropping.

What shots are you finding difficult? Shot to the inlane? For me, I don't shoot for anything with the left flipper unless it is a drop target or if I am going for extra ball in the right inlane. Spinner shot usually isn't worth the trouble and it is much easier to get action to the upper right drop targets from the left flipper. Getting big scores on Seawitch is all about completing drop target banks. If you hit the rebound rubber to the right of the upper drops at just the right spot, you can sweep the upper drops with one shot, only possible from the left flipper.

My editorial comment on using Williams flippers on Seawitch...why oh why would you ever want to change out those marvelous classic Stern flippers??

#540 1 year ago
Quoted from Shapeshifter:

I was using NOS GE 51's.
Have switched them around.
I looked underneath - someone in the past has worked on this area.
Does it matter if those black or red wires touch top of switch blades? Obviously they are insulated.
I think bulbs are ok.....
But not so good with wiring.
And what is an SRC?

I think he meant to say SCR, to put it in easy terms, these are the things on your lamp driver board that act like a switch for your feature lamps. If you have a feature lamp that is always on that is a common symptom of a bad SCR. A google search will give you more information about SCRs than you will ever need.

3 months later
#1036 8 months ago
Quoted from kidchrisso:

good luck shipping out of Germany

Did you have a bad experience? I didn't run into any issues of note when shipping out of Germany in the past.

1 week later
#1170 8 months ago
Quoted from hocuslocus:

it's only happening during gameplay which leads me to think, it due to vibration. I read on pin wiki, that coils can produce RF and possibly give you phantom switch hits.
I replaced all the diodes on the slam tilts and all the caps on applicable switches were replaced as well. (I haven't seen the issue come back yet, but its so rare). The game is going on location so I try to get issues like this ironed out beforehand, if it was home use I probably wouldn't worry about it.
All connectors have been re-pinned and boards have new headers. All boards are original, with the exception of the rectifier which came from Weebly. The lamp board is a bally (Pretty sure that was also changed out at some point as well.).

These days I replace all switch capacitors and diodes, plus the switches themselves as most of them have had their contact flashing destroyed over the years. A bad switch cap can wreak havoc on the switch matrix, so you are better off just replacing all of them. Regarding your reset issue, if you have ruled out the slam tilts, then be sure to check your flipper diodes. I have seen cracked flipper diodes reset classic Bally/Stern on several occasions.

Once you do all the necessary work, these old classic Sterns will hold up great on location. I have found that a refurbished classic Bally/Stern is much more reliable than the newer stuff.

#1174 8 months ago
Quoted from cottonm4:

Do you think the metal strips of the switches get fatigued over the years of playing action and then cease to flex correctly? The best examples I can think of are the slingshot switches.

Hard to say. Sometimes switches have been adjusted so many times that they can look like a crinkled potato chip. By the time I get to one of them, I don't know if their current state was gameplay related or because of all the adjustments. I think a good test to see if the switch tension is gone is how long the switch will hold an adjustment.

Kind of odd, but I haven't seen this switch fatigue issue so much on classic Sterns, but I did see it on Avengers and TNA slingshots. In both cases, the leaf switches were bent back due to gameplay.

#1226 8 months ago
Quoted from Gott_Lieb:

Those pins are typically incorrect on most Sterns that I've seen / owned. Flippers shouldn't sag.

Well, hang on a minute. Those flippers on F2k aren't sagging, they sit lower for a reason. F2k is a widebody. You will find the same sort of flipper positioning on the classic Stern widebodies of that era. Players are supposed to be able to hit those outside shots. When you raise the flippers slightly, outside shots are harder and middle shots are easier and it is easier to catch the ball, too. Do what you want, raise the flippers or lower them, but those flippers sitting where they are isn't a mistake.

F2k is just an easy game, I blew mine up the first time I played it and sent it packing soon after.

#1236 8 months ago
Quoted from Gott_Lieb:

<consults the flyer for F2K> https://www.ipdb.org/showpic.pl?id=887&picno=3671&zoom=1
You're right, Brian! However, I have mine set inline. The outside shots are much harder on mine, making F2K a hard frustrating game. Just achieving multiball on mine is a feat in itself. I just don't like sag. It looks wrong to me.
I apologize, Levi. Still, I would put them inline, and see if it's still easy for you.

Hey thanks, Jim! Those outside shots will definitely be harder on your game. Have you considered letting the flippers sit lower and stepping down your flipper coils instead? Stock F2k flipper coils take the 25-475/34-4500, maybe step it down to the 500?

#1279 8 months ago
Quoted from ChipScott:

Thanks everyone. I appreciate everyone's response!!
I will certainly take some pictures and post them.
One thing I noticed, when I ordered some replacement bats appropriate for this era of Stern game, when examining the current flipper bat posts they do seem a bit longer than what was delivered to me, making me feel like maybe the current bats are for/from a different manufacturer. another thing I noticed was that when I got the replacement flipper bats, the post has a small notch, probably where the hex bolts/screws are supposed to fasten to the bat shaft. The current bat posts do not seem to have that notch as there is a lot of smooth bat very proud underneath. And yeah, those puppies are stuck in there good. Ultimately, I did break out a hammer, and after I took a couple good whacks and they still didn't budge, it was at that time I decided to ask the group if I was maybe missing something. Sounds like it's time to break that hammer out again.. just never feels right to get a new game, even though it's an older game, and immediately start breaking out the hammer! Hahaha.

I haven't run into a flipper bat that could withstand a concerted effort from a nail punch and hammer attack. Just make sure all the set screws are out and that someone can hold the playfield up for you. Might want to remove the backglass first as I have seen those flipper bats fly out like missiles when they break loose.

3 weeks later
#1409 7 months ago
Quoted from thirdedition:

I agree, I'm super biased since it was my first game. I love it and I have a fantastic time every time I play it.

Same here, I have always thought that Magic was the best MPU100 game and better than some of the MPU200 games.

2 months later
#1744 4 months ago
Quoted from Whridlsoncestood:

Never played one before. (Who has?). It’s a crazy piece of history as I look at it. Still driving back with it. I’ll have to dive deeper on gameolay but my initial take is sorta like gottlieb doing the three back street level games this is sterns throwback to the wacky flipperless/real early EMs. It’s pretty much just a nudging game.

Nice pickup. I played Cue many years ago. It really does have a lot in common with late 1940s early flipper games. I didn't find it to be much fun to play as there aren't any shots to hit. When the ball lands on the flipper you just send it back up to the top again, thats it. Only one pop bumper to create any action and that is all the way at the bottom of the playfield. I don't think it would be a good location game because the novelty wears off quick. Multi player dollar games might be the only way to go.

1 week later
#1795 4 months ago
Quoted from chubtoad13:

I must’ve worded my question weird. I meant to ask if there’s a benefit to switching if the original board works.
My bad. Thanks for the replies.

One benefit in particular is short circuit protection with the Alltek board. If a coil locks on it may cause some damage to the SDB. With Alltek, any damage is confined to the coil on the playfield.

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