(Topic ID: 195339)

Should you buy a NEW Stern Pinball Machine?


By RGR

2 years ago



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  • 271 posts
  • 85 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by RGR
  • Topic is favorited by 12 Pinsiders

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    There are 271 posts in this topic. You are on page 5 of 6.
    #201 2 years ago
    Quoted from jar155:

    If the boards were reliable and reasonably priced, people wouldn't care so much. But they're expensive and faulty. Also, the unique revisions of boards for specific games is problematic for several reasons.
    The system wasn't ready for release, which is evident by the high failure rate, the lack of documentation, and the constant revisions between games.

    Are people really getting raked over the coals on replacements for these "defective" boards? Stern's tech department has always been pretty generous in my experience.

    #202 2 years ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    Are people really getting raked over the coals on replacements for these "defective" boards? Stern's tech department has always been pretty generous in my experience.

    It seems like they're pretty good at replacing the first board but people are paying up for the second.

    Node board issues aside, I still say that it shouldn't stop you from buying a machine if you understand that it's a factor in ownership. If you simply can't handle it, don't buy. If you can understand that owning a pinball machine incurs cost beyond the initial purchase, and you're ok with that, there's no reason not to buy a Stern (just get educated so you know what to expect).

    I won't talk someone out of buying a Stern, but I just don't like the SPIKE platform at all.

    #203 2 years ago
    Quoted from hank527:

    Great video. It's another black eye as it seems the benefits of Spike could be better than SAM if implemented correctly. However, multiple node boards are stupid and make maintaining and fixing games near impossible.
    For every step forward, it seems Stern goes back two steps.

    Quoted from cfh:

    But with Stern, their methodology is all about making things easier/cheaper.

    Quoted from Guinnesstime:

    I enjoyed the video. Most makes sense. "Swappable" node boards that aren't swappable is not a good solution.

    It does making fixing games near impossible. And easier/cheaper is only part of the goal...increasing profits is the bigger payoff. A $.50 LED to replace in a regular socket vs. a $175 node board for the same bulb going out? And let's make every node board different in every game!!! It's not rocket science...putting more in their pockets. And it's not Stern bashing...it makes repairing the games much more expensive to have to buy a new board, versus those of us who actually know how to fix games. And I agree with everyone above...unless Stern is around for decades to come, or Rottendog, Alltek or another board company starts making repro boards, we may have a bunch of useless, half working Stern games in 10 or 20 years that you can't find parts for.

    Instead of ads that say "just needs a fuse", the ads will say "just needs a node board."

    Mark is a hardcore hobbyist and operator, with a TON of experience with pins. He is not "complaining or whining", the video was well put together with facts and showing the differences between two recent pin operating systems and the evolution of the tech.

    #204 2 years ago
    Quoted from Reality_Studio:

    With spike it's mostly wires and a few node boards so I can finally fix them myself. I can handle removing and replacing a small board. Dealing with your point is very simple, I won't buy a used spike machine unless I can also buy node boards for it, problem solved. I've done the same with my arcade games, like my Baby Pacman has a problematic vidiot board so I bought a spare when I got it. My Robotron, Jr Pacman, etc machines all have spare boards as well. When I buy Elvira 3 I'll consider buying a spare set of node boards to go with it. Either way buying new node boards for someone like me is cheaper than paying a tech, and much less frustrating and time consuming than having to ship out boards for others to repair and hope that issues get fixed.

    I hope you learn to redo connectors also. As Mark had pointed out, Spike system adds a ton of connectors to a game, and that is where a ton of issues with pins emanate from. So sure you can have your plug and play boards, but get familiar with repinning connectors and reflowing pins also, and have plenty of spare connectors and pins on hand.

    #205 2 years ago

    When are the follow up YouTube vids about all the issues with other manufacturers platforms?

    I mean , the dude isn't biased, right?

    #206 2 years ago
    Quoted from smokedog:

    When are the follow up YouTube vids about all the issues with other manufacturers platforms?
    I mean , the dude isn't biased, right?

    He takes suggestions for future videos. Go ahead and ask him on YouTube to make one. There's been an ongoing conversation about the SPIKE system in the last few months, so it was a timely topic to address right now. Not sure why you wouldn't want to be made aware of possible issues. You're a NIB buyer. It's good to know these things before buying in.

    #207 2 years ago
    Quoted from smokedog:

    When are the follow up YouTube vids about all the issues with other manufacturers platforms?
    I mean , the dude isn't biased, right?

    He was showing 2 different systems made by the same company, have any of the new pinball companies changed their systems?
    Guess he could do a WPC vs WPC95

    #208 2 years ago
    Quoted from jar155:

    He takes suggestions for future videos. Go ahead and ask him on YouTube to make one. There's been an ongoing conversation about the SPIKE system in the last few months, so it was a timely topic to address right now. Not sure why you wouldn't want to be made aware of possible issues. You're a NIB buyer. It's good to know these things before buying in.

    Some of them are concerns for sure. Other things noted, not so much.

    Stern has taken care of the two node boards I had go bad. These are games that are on 14 plus hours a day and get hundreds of plays weekly. *shrug* Tilting at Windmills in my eyes.

    #209 2 years ago
    Quoted from smokedog:

    Stern has taken care of the two node boards I had go bad. These are games that are on 14 plus hours a day and get hundreds of plays weekly. *shrug* Tilting at Windmills in my eyes.

    It's good that you have the patience for it, and I'm glad you haven't had bigger issues. But there are plenty of people who have had far more trouble with far less play. It seems like a crapshoot. But even in your case, wouldn't it have been better to solder in a new transistor in 5 minutes rather than send out for a new board? Lots of lost time waiting for those replacements.

    #210 2 years ago
    Quoted from jar155:

    But even in your case, wouldn't it have been better to solder in a new transistor in 5 minutes rather than send out for a new board? Lots of lost time waiting for those replacements.

    Of course. But it's the same with all manufacturers when one of their proprietary boards go out. Sterns not the only one.

    Spike is a new system. I'm sure Stern will continue to improve it and make it more robust.

    JJP and CGC systems are new as well. I hope he does some videos on their systems. I'd like to know the concerns before buying their titles as well.

    #211 2 years ago
    Quoted from Colsond3:

    I hope you learn to redo connectors also. As Mark had pointed out, Spike system adds a ton of connectors to a game, and that is where a ton of issues with pins emanate from. So sure you can have your plug and play boards, but get familiar with repinning connectors and reflowing pins also, and have plenty of spare connectors and pins on hand.

    Already have and already do Those connectors are often burned on old arcade machines to where the boards don't get consistent 5v so I've had to change quite a few. It's simple to do, I figured it out how to do it from watching Youtube videos on it, tedious but easy. It's pcb repair that I can't figure out because while people love to claim that it's easy and it's just a 50 cent part, in the real world it's never that easy and almost always costs more. I know this first hand from buying pcb's at auction and unsuccessfully fixing any of them myself, and then from trying to get the same people that love to claim how Simple And Cheap (tm) they are to fix to help me fix them only to have them want nothing to do with what they now describe as "possibly complicated" repairs.

    Having said that I'm not afraid of any of this, like I had said the people I know with Stern machines don't really have issues with them, it's only here where they are apparently laden with mass defects. And now worse case if I have an issue on a future Stern I'll just swap the node board myself, no more need to wait weeks for an expensive tech.

    20170811_131342 (resized).jpg

    #212 2 years ago
    Quoted from jar155:

    It seems like they're pretty good at replacing the first board but people are paying up for the second.
    Node board issues aside, I still say that it shouldn't stop you from buying a machine if you understand that it's a factor in ownership. If you simply can't handle it, don't buy. If you can understand that owning a pinball machine incurs cost beyond the initial purchase, and you're ok with that, there's no reason not to buy a Stern (just get educated so you know what to expect).
    I won't talk someone out of buying a Stern, but I just don't like the SPIKE platform at all.

    I just checked out System. I don't think we have sold a Spike board yet.. Stern has replaced them Free of charge even for games 16 months old.

    Now Do I expect that to last for ever no.. I think they will start charging on boards over a year old unless its already been swapped but not sure where people had to pay for a second? Maybe I'm just lucky?
    JJ

    #213 2 years ago
    Quoted from Gexchange:

    I just checked out System. I don't think we have sold a Spike board yet.. Stern has replaced them Free of charge even for games 16 months old.
    Now Do I expect that to last for ever no.. I think they will start charging on boards over a year old unless its already been swapped but not sure where people had to pay for a second? Maybe I'm just lucky?
    JJ

    I think you're just supernaturally good at advocating for your customers. This is why people should definitely buy through a distributor that has that pull with Stern.

    #214 2 years ago
    Quoted from Paul_from_Gilroy:

    Domestic solder monkey with limited skill set... finally, somebody has given me the right words for my Linked-In profile!!!

    Story of my life, lol.

    #215 2 years ago

    10 Stern for me but no Spike and probably never will because they are so cheaply made and unfinished code.

    Recall ST has the mini Allen nut to secure the head that was the worst.

    #216 2 years ago
    Quoted from rai:

    10 Stern for me but no Spike and probably never will because they are so cheaply made and unfinished code.
    Recall ST has the mini Allen nut to secure the head that was the worst.

    Don't mind that locking mechanism at all, prefer it over that twist lock thing. At any rate, ST is SAM not Spike

    #217 2 years ago
    Quoted from WackyBrakke:

    At any rate, ST is SAM not Spike

    No kidding I'm fully aware ST is not a Spike.

    I said I don't own any Spike.

    I said ST has the mini Allen wrench screws to lock the head since abandoned. These are particularly cheap and were used before the current leg bolt method which is far better than the mini Allen wrench screws which first replaced the normal lock.

    No doubt Stern figured out the Allen wrench screws was a bad idea and went too far to the zizzle scale for a $7700 machine.

    IMVE came out a few months later with the leg bolt locking for head box.

    STLE
    IMG_3270 (resized).JPG

    IMVE
    IMG_3271 (resized).JPG

    #218 2 years ago
    Quoted from rai:

    No kidding I'm fully aware ST is not a Spike.
    I said I don't own any Spike.
    I said ST has the mini Allen wrench screws to lock the head since abandoned. These are particularly cheap and were used before the current leg bolt method which is far better than the mini Allen wrench screws which first replaced the normal lock.
    No doubt Stern figured out the Allen wrench screws was a bad idea and went too far to the zizzle scale for a $7700 machine.
    IMVE came out a few months later with the leg bolt locking for head box.
    STLE

    IMVE

    Don't mind the Allen wrench one on ST, but I do prefer the newer style which is the same size wrench as the leg bolts. Which makes a lot more sense for sure. 1 less tool to hunt for is always good.

    #219 2 years ago

    Hmm. Do you think it would it be possible to retro fit Star Trek to the larger bolts?

    #220 2 years ago
    Quoted from gunstarhero:

    Hmm. Do you think it would it be possible to retro fit Star Trek to the larger bolts?

    Probably

    #221 2 years ago

    I'm sure they're fine, but I just don't trust those little allen screws.

    #222 2 years ago

    Disappointing that Stern removed the lockdown bar for the LE and Premium versions recently.

    #223 2 years ago

    I don't care about the lockdown bar. Yes, it takes 5 seconds longer to latch/unlatch, but it holds the lockdown bar tight. Now if they ever switched Prem/LE to have those stupid support pegs instead of the rails I'd throw a full on hissy fit. But in a manly way.

    #224 2 years ago

    I'm just as annoyed by removing the locking mech on the backbox. Those bolts are unnecessary and a pain in the ass. Not a fan of the metal backbox, either.

    #225 2 years ago

    ST was the only game with the allen screw. They learned and replaced it with a mini leg bolt. To me this is the best solution (as shown on the IMVE above). One tool to take off the legs and lower the head. I prefer the metal head to the old ones for other reasons too. Having the DMD/LCD panel angled toward the players head makes sense and also cuts way down on the glare.

    #226 2 years ago
    Quoted from gunstarhero:

    I'm sure they're fine, but I just don't trust those little allen screws.

    I've read you need to be careful the little screws are aligned ok when you thread them in or you can strip the bolt or damage the head.

    The old mechanism was just fine, the little screws obviously were not a good idea else why did Stern abandon after 1 game?

    Stern was keen to save a few dollars to get rid of a perfect lock system and just rushed the cheap little screws in while raising the price as usual.

    It was not like they replaced lock with a clearly superior mechanism.

    #227 2 years ago
    Quoted from Colsond3:

    I hope you learn to redo connectors also. As Mark had pointed out, Spike system adds a ton of connectors to a game, and that is where a ton of issues with pins emanate from. So sure you can have your plug and play boards, but get familiar with repinning connectors and reflowing pins also, and have plenty of spare connectors and pins on hand.

    Actually SPIKE removes a ton of connectors from the game along with a half a mile of wiring. With all of the bulbs replaced by LEDs, there is very little power going through so repinning definitely not a concern. You must be thinking of System 11 interface board? Or the WPC GI connectors?

    #228 2 years ago

    Why are we worried about connectors anyway?

    Connectors are an issue on games DECADES down the road.

    How long are you people planning on living ffs?!

    #229 2 years ago
    Quoted from CrazyLevi:

    Connectors are an issue on games DECADES down the road.
    How long are you people planning on living ffs?!

    They'll have to pry the plungers from our cold, dead hands...

    #230 2 years ago

    I can't believe so many people complain about the lock down bar lol....I mean WTF? I must be missing something here because in my opinion the new lock down bars are better. They even fit tighter also. Even if they went back to the old lock down bars though I wouldn't give a F***......its a lock down bar for God's sake, who cares?????????

    #231 2 years ago
    Quoted from beelzeboob:

    I'm just as annoyed by removing the locking mech on the backbox. Those bolts are unnecessary and a pain in the ass. Not a fan of the metal backbox, either.

    Just wondering why you do not like the metal back box.. For me its been a life saver for few reasons.
    1. Far less Hidden drop damage from freight companies because the bottom of the back box does not rip off
    2. If a game does get damaged either in freight our out on location you can order a new side wing
    3. Tilted dmd / Screen
    4. More durrable shell that can easily be replaced down the road (future serviceability) if needed

    JJ

    #232 2 years ago

    I do like the metal back box, the translight is easier to remove and replace with it too.

    #233 2 years ago
    Quoted from Gexchange:

    Just wondering why you do not like the metal back box.. For me its been a life saver for few reasons.
    1. Far less Hidden drop damage from freight companies because the bottom of the back box does not rip off
    2. If a game does get damaged either in freight our out on location you can order a new side wing
    3. Tilted dmd / Screen
    4. More durrable shell that can easily be replaced down the road (future serviceability) if needed
    JJ

    Just seems really flimsy. And hey...it can be dented - and that ain't anything Bondo can fix.

    The bolts suck, though. Can't imagine taking out the EZ lock mechanism saved them that much money.

    #234 2 years ago
    Quoted from gunstarhero:

    Hmm. Do you think it would it be possible to retro fit Star Trek to the larger bolts?

    My ST premium came with the larger bolts. They must have changed it for later runs.

    That was probably my first and last NIB Stern, glad I got in at the end of Sam. With cabinet, clear, insert, node issues I'm no longer interested until there's definitive changes.

    I also know some local operators have stopped buying new Sterns because of too many node issues: their words, not mine.

    -1
    #235 2 years ago
    Quoted from RGR:

    And that's doubled over the last 24 hours...

    That is because Pinside is full of Lemmings

    lemmings (resized).jpg

    #236 2 years ago
    Quoted from HighVoltage:

    My ST premium came with the larger bolts. They must have changed it for later runs.

    That's good to know. Next time I have the head down I'll poke around. If it's just a matter of a bracket swap and larger bolt holes I might see what I can do.

    #237 2 years ago

    I've got a Star Wars Pro en route, and I've been kind of concerned about playfield issues based on the posts here.

    So today I went to a pinball arcade where I played Ghostbusters, Game of Thrones, Star Trek, Metallica and Aerosmith.
    I was examining each one critically for ghosting, delamination, flaking clear coat, etc.

    The only thing I noticed was dimpling on Ghostbusters, and even then there was so much that it was near uniform and not distracting.

    These were pins getting a lot of traffic and use.

    Maybe these issues are a little overblown?

    #238 2 years ago
    Quoted from zaphX:

    Maybe these issues are a little overblown?

    Welcome to Pinside. Where everything is overblown.

    #239 2 years ago

    I paid for a SW pro and ended up selling it to friend before it arrived. I was checking it out the other day and the PF is fine so far after a few days and maybe hundred or so games. No sign of ghosting and it survived the trip down here fine. The only issue so far has been that the level seems really important to avoid some cheap drains but that seems to have been fixed easily enough.

    Fun game and hopefully it will hold up well!

    #240 2 years ago
    Quoted from zaphX:

    I've got a Star Wars Pro en route, and I've been kind of concerned about playfield issues based on the posts here.
    So today I went to a pinball arcade where I played Ghostbusters, Game of Thrones, Star Trek, Metallica and Aerosmith.
    I was examining each one critically for ghosting, delamination, flaking clear coat, etc.
    The only thing I noticed was dimpling on Ghostbusters, and even then there was so much that it was near uniform and not distracting.
    These were pins getting a lot of traffic and use.
    Maybe these issues are a little overblown?

    Overblown would be an understatement

    #241 2 years ago
    Quoted from Who-Dey:

    Overblown would be an understatement

    It's overblown until YOU draw the bad card. At least Stern came through with PF replacements, etc...

    Imagine opening the box of your $8000 MMr and finding it has faded inserts... and knowing you're fully stuck with it.

    But to someone else...even THAT would be "overblown".

    It's just human nature - of course people tend to talk about it endlessly because they don't want to get stuck with a headache on an unnecessary toy.

    #242 2 years ago
    Quoted from Manic:

    It's overblown until YOU draw the bad card. At least Stern came through with PF replacements, etc...
    Imagine opening the box of your $8000 MMr and finding it has faded inserts... and knowing you're fully stuck with it.
    But to someone else...even THAT would be "overblown".
    It's just human nature - of course people tend to talk about it endlessly because they don't want to get stuck with a headache on an unnecessary toy.

    No I get it, I’m sympathetic to the people with problems and I certainly don’t want to take away from their justified frustration.

    I’m just saying I think (hope) the bad ones are the exception not the rule.

    #243 2 years ago
    Quoted from beelzeboob:

    Just seems really flimsy. And hey...it can be dented - and that ain't anything Bondo can fix.
    The bolts suck, though. Can't imagine taking out the EZ lock mechanism saved them that much money.

    The new bolts are pretty damn good. The Allen ones sucked, glad they fixed that. They are stronger then they look.

    JJ

    #244 2 years ago
    Quoted from Manic:

    It's overblown until YOU draw the bad card. At least Stern came through with PF replacements, etc...
    Imagine opening the box of your $8000 MMr and finding it has faded inserts... and knowing you're fully stuck with it.
    But to someone else...even THAT would be "overblown".
    It's just human nature - of course people tend to talk about it endlessly because they don't want to get stuck with a headache on an unnecessary toy.

    No, overblown is when people make a mountain out of a mole hill which is what some people try their best to do on here in hopes of putting Stern out of business. I never once said that getting a bad game doesn't suck because yes it does suck and I feel bad for anyone that gets a bad quality game. You're trying to act like I don't give a sh*t or that I don't think that there are any QC issues and that is not true. Also Stern hasn't been sticking anyone with defective games. They are taking care of their customers pretty well IMO.

    #245 2 years ago
    Quoted from Who-Dey:

    No, overblown is when people make a mountain out of a mole hill which is what some people try their best to do on here in hopes of putting Stern out of business. I never once said that getting a bad game doesn't suck because yes it does suck and I feel bad for anyone that gets a bad quality game. You're trying to act like I don't give a sh*t or that I don't think that there are any QC issues and that is not true. Also Stern hasn't been sticking anyone with defective games. They are taking care of their customers pretty well IMO.

    All it would take to make me happy with stern is a better written warranty. I don't like the trust us or work with the distributor approach. My one experience with that was not good.

    #246 2 years ago
    Quoted from Gexchange:

    The new bolts are pretty damn good. The Allen ones sucked, glad they fixed that. They are stronger then they look.
    JJ

    You're a distributor (and a great one at that!). I'd expect you to say that. You're not going to say anything negative about Stern.

    #247 2 years ago
    Quoted from Gexchange:

    The new bolts are pretty damn good. The Allen ones sucked, glad they fixed that. They are stronger then they look.
    JJ

    That's what I was saying, the lock mech was fine but they changed to the small Allen screws. I never had a problem but they are really flimsy. So Stern quickly changed to the leg bolts is fine.

    I was just saying not all change is for the best and unlike the head bolts (easy fix) maybe other changes might not be as easy to fix.

    #248 2 years ago
    Quoted from smokedog:

    When are the follow up YouTube vids about all the issues with other manufacturers platforms?
    I mean , the dude isn't biased, right?

    If Stern hadn't shut off his supply of grey import NIB Sterns bypassing and underpricing the domestic official Stern distributor there is a better than average chance this video would never have seen the light of day.

    Now all the overseas distributors have been put on notice about shipping unauthorised NIB Stern's down under and all the people who were quietly bypassing the local monopoly just found it that much harder to find a willing overseas supplier.

    Typical Queenslander mentality that had to blow his own horn though for the usual self promotion purposes and screw it up for everyone else.

    1 week later
    #249 2 years ago

    What I love about Pinside is that nearly all (or maybe all) of these posts, concerned about quality are from fortune tellers.
    They're not current owners with problems.
    So fine for a couple people to say "is anyone else concerned about...", but the number of people yelling "The sky is falling! The sky is falling!" seems to support the "mountain out of a molehill" comment made earlier.
    Get some comments from people on here with real issues about non-working games. That's when ill take notice to the so called build quality issues.
    Like complaining about the StarTrek head bolts!?! Let's see a photo of the time a StarTrek head fell because the securing bolts weren't strong enough! Otherwise, why is this important?

    #250 2 years ago

    Its not an issue with the head bolts not being secure but its a pita when transporting the games.... Another clear piece of evidence that Stern do not care about the operator. They know that HUO owners do not play their games as much so why keep all the other things like previous head box mechanisms, lock down bars without latches etc when the games are just not being used as much. From a business pov it makes sense, along with Spike etc and all the other cost cutting practices... Plus people are still happy to buy them including $20k nibs!

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