(Topic ID: 223675)

Why do boards cost so much?


By Nokoro

9 months ago



Topic Stats

  • 17 posts
  • 16 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 9 months ago by gmkalos
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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    #1 9 months ago

    I’m wondering why some pinball boards seem to cost so much. I can buy a decent TV for $300-400 which must have plenty of boards inside, but if I need a replacement light board for my WOZ, it can be up to $200 for just the board.

    This is a legitimate question. I don’t want to fault any manufacturer, but is there some reason why boards for our hobby are so expensive. Is it that they are produced in much smaller numbers and are so specialized? Is there something else I’m missing — for example, maybe my TV is less complicated than I think it is?

    #2 9 months ago

    They cost that much because they are the only ones making them....can pretty much charge what they want.

    People will pay because without a good board the 6-8K game won’t work. Shitbox deal until a cheaper after market solution is available.

    And the choice after that is to not buy any NIB/modern games. Not many manufacturers to choose from so it’s sort of a monopoly.

    Only good thing is in many cases manufacturers have stepped up to help owners and send replacement boards. If you want a spare set it sucks.

    10
    #3 9 months ago

    I’d reckon it’s due to their production of small batches of a specialized product.

    They’re cranking out millions of TVs, video game consoles, phones, etc versus a couple hundred or thousand pinball machines, and even fewer replacement boards for legacy support.

    #4 9 months ago
    Quoted from mbaumle:

    I’d reckon it’s due to their production of small batches of a specialized product.

    Mostly this. We pay a much higher price to board houses for our runs of 200-500 boards than the customers who buy boards in the 1000s and up.

    10
    #5 9 months ago

    Because they are built by children and children are expensive.

    #6 9 months ago

    Supply and demand. Both are small.

    #7 9 months ago

    Small production runs, lack of competition. Even older repro boards are priced way over the cost of materials. I was looking at an $80 opto board recently. Tallied up the components: $6, not in bulk even. So I just drew up a pcb and assembled one myself.

    #8 9 months ago

    Be glad you can get new boards. Try finding a Gottlieb System 3 MPU these days. Or even a System 11 A/B MPU.

    #9 9 months ago
    Quoted from radium:

    Because they are built by children and children are expensive.

    im still laughing at this!

    #10 9 months ago

    because they can get it....

    a bet a board for a tv isn't especially cheap either...its just that they are basically throw away now because of mass production and stiff competition so a price on a new set is comparable to a new board/repair time. Not true with pinball machines....

    #11 9 months ago

    I've often wondered why they are so cheap! For $200 I can replace the ratty old battery acid fried MPU that will run ANY classic Bally game?!

    How sweet is that?

    Some people like to fix stuff like that but time is money and also I'm pretty lazy.

    #12 9 months ago

    Because someone had to take the risk.

    1. They design a board.
    2. They test that board internally, revise it, test the revisions. All of these boards cost more than the production and they do not sell them.
    3. They send out test boards to a few people.
    4. If all goes well they place an order for multiple boards to get a discount. It is still low production so their cost per board is much higher than expected.
    5. If they sell just sell themselves they then sit on their inventory and hope it sells out. They can sit on things for years. An example is led ocd for capcoms.
    6. If it sells out they then have to decide if it is worth the risk to reorder.
    7. Any board they sell they have to support. Warranty work is not free. Support calls for idiots who do not know how to install a board are not free.

    So, next time you ask why a board is so expensive ask who else is going to do all that work and take the risk?

    #13 9 months ago

    Low volume sales. In many cases with what's being sold in the community, hand-soldered PCBs that can often take hours to assemble and test. With something like boards for JJ, Stern, etc.. it's still relatively low volume compared to consumer devices.

    Quite a few people hit the nail on the head above. People want to compare their smartphones or some other gadget that was bought for $50-100 and seems to be a lot more complicated, but it really does come down to mass produced versus low volume niche products that don't sell but a few handfuls a year in many cases.

    Something else not mentioned. Household income over 75k here in the US, you're kicked into the 25% Federal Tax Bracket on income over 75k. Eventually the people that don't realize they're a business, find out when they're making $1-3k/mo selling stuff it's no longer a hobby. Then they start learning how taxes affect their business and realize they've practically been giving things away after factoring in taxes. It's not just Federal Taxes.. total taxes amount to roughly 45% once you've hit 75k household income (Federal 25%, State 3%, Local 1-2%, SS/Medicare 15.3%).

    So lets say you make $100 sale on something that cost $10 in materials and 2 hours of time. There was also a few dollars in Paypal fees. So let's assume $87.00 net profit there right? Well, welcome to America.. you get to hand $40.00 of that over for taxes. So now you're down to $47.00 take-home profit. Yet the item took 2 hours to build, there was testing, there was customer support. Was it sold on a marketplace like eBay/Pinside? Fees there too. Oh and 10-15 minutes packing the order, recording the sale, possibly some other shipping expenses. So at that point it's not even $23/hr actual take-home you're working for.. it's much less than that. I've worked lower than $8-10/hr actual take-home profit many years, I'm sure of it. I've had to adjust pricing over time as I've taken a closer look at actual numbers.... and I won't even talk about some sales I've ran in the past that pretty much eliminated any profit altogether once the smoke cleared.

    Why do people charge $80-100/hr for service/repairs on something? Yes they have the technical skills and the customer doesn't, but there's also operating costs of the business.. overhead, driving to the person's house or spending the time to repair the item. It's someone else's time and the rate will depend on the economic conditions (taxes, cost of living, etc) in the country they're living in. High tax rates = higher costs of things. When I started doing more work myself on my house and selling things as a business, it sure put a TON of things in perspective and made me realize a lot of things are relatively cheap if you really think about it.

    Even though it's really tough to not compare the value you get out of one thing versus another in life -- you have to realize there's different conditions surrounding each product, service, industry that cause the price difference. Do you get the same $40-60 in value going out for dinner at a restaurant versus spending that same $40-60 on a video game you can play again and again? No.. but they're two entirely separate things.

    #14 9 months ago

    200 bucks to get a older Bally game going, pretty cheap I think.

    #15 9 months ago
    Quoted from timab2000:

    200 bucks to get a older Bally game going, pretty cheap I think.

    Maybe. But it is all perspective. It might have cost you $600 to but that old solid state pin It might cost you $300 for a set of displays, plus $200-300 for board, and $100+ for miscellaneous pats, connector pins,etc.... And you might have only a $200 repair budget. This is what will often burn a newcomer to the hobby who often lacks the skills to evaluate a used game and repair it to the component level if possible. Often these games are advertised as supposedly "just needs a fuse"!

    #16 9 months ago
    Quoted from acebathound:

    Low volume sales. In many cases with what's being sold in the community, hand-soldered PCBs that can often take hours to assemble and test. With something like boards for JJ, Stern, etc.. it's still relatively low volume compared to consumer devices.
    Quite a few people hit the nail on the head above. People want to compare their smartphones or some other gadget that was bought for $50-100 and seems to be a lot more complicated, but it really does come down to mass produced versus low volume niche products that don't sell but a few handfuls a year in many cases.
    Something else not mentioned. Household income over 75k here in the US, you're kicked into the 25% Federal Tax Bracket on income over 75k. Eventually the people that don't realize they're a business, find out when they're making $1-3k/mo selling stuff it's no longer a hobby. Then they start learning how taxes affect their business and realize they've practically been giving things away after factoring in taxes. It's not just Federal Taxes.. total taxes amount to roughly 45% once you've hit 75k household income (Federal 25%, State 3%, Local 1-2%, SS/Medicare 15.3%).
    So lets say you make $100 sale on something that cost $10 in materials and 2 hours of time. There was also a few dollars in Paypal fees. So let's assume $87.00 net profit there right? Well, welcome to America.. you get to hand $40.00 of that over for taxes. So now you're down to $47.00 take-home profit. Yet the item took 2 hours to build, there was testing, there was customer support. Was it sold on a marketplace like eBay/Pinside? Fees there too. Oh and 10-15 minutes packing the order, recording the sale, possibly some other shipping expenses. So at that point it's not even $23/hr actual take-home you're working for.. it's much less than that. I've worked lower than $8-10/hr actual take-home profit many years, I'm sure of it. I've had to adjust pricing over time as I've taken a closer look at actual numbers.... and I won't even talk about some sales I've ran in the past that pretty much eliminated any profit altogether once the smoke cleared.
    Why do people charge $80-100/hr for service/repairs on something? Yes they have the technical skills and the customer doesn't, but there's also operating costs of the business.. overhead, driving to the person's house or spending the time to repair the item. It's someone else's time and the rate will depend on the economic conditions (taxes, cost of living, etc) in the country they're living in. High tax rates = higher costs of things. When I started doing more work myself on my house and selling things as a business, it sure put a TON of things in perspective and made me realize a lot of things are relatively cheap if you really think about it.
    Even though it's really tough to not compare the value you get out of one thing versus another in life -- you have to realize there's different conditions surrounding each product, service, industry that cause the price difference. Do you get the same $40-60 in value going out for dinner at a restaurant versus spending that same $40-60 on a video game you can play again and again? No.. but they're two entirely separate things.

    Great reply! people always forget about the taxes! we have same thing in uk, if you earn enough you hit 45% tax pretty quickly so thats almost half of what you make (profit) taken away from you!

    Im pretty sure the big consumer product companies dont pay any where near this sort of tax.

    #17 9 months ago

    Because EM tecs are few and far between! lol

    I'm going to say for Alltek and Rottendog and the other awesome engineers making new designs, you're paying for the warranty. Most of these guys stand by their product 100% with small deductibles for exchanges and replacements and it seems to me none of them are getting rich. In fact I'm willing to bet for most of them its more trouble than its worth but that whats being human is all about.

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