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Author Topic: Stern pinball machines  (Read 5062 times)

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pinballwizard79

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Stern pinball machines
« on: October 19, 2011, 12:28:30 am »
I've been playing a lot of Stern games lately... Tron, Family Guy, LOTR, Spiderman & TSPP for the most part.

At first I thought Stern machines all sucked nards but now when I play other manufacturers (WMS, DE & etc) those very machines every one holds so dearly now feel slow.

Sure the Stern playfields look like they were made in MS paint with some google image search jpgs just cut/pasted on em. Yeah the plastics have the shittiest pixelated art known to man which pisses me off to no end since they cost an arm & a leg. Of course the playfield toys are straight from Walmart & the entire machine feels overly light & "toyish".

But damn it, the ball just bounces more, moves faster & the rules/sounds are better.

I think.

I am to the point that its almost time to sell my only 3 pins + keep driving my car for another 5 years to justify the cost of a fleet of 6 or so new Sterns (the 5 above + Transformers).
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smartbomb2084

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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #1 on: October 19, 2011, 08:43:20 am »
Do you think that maybe the difference in speed between games is age or condition related since the WMS Dot Matrix games are 15+ years old now.

Most modern games are lightning fast after a few coats of NOVUS and rebuilt, not just cleaned, tight and true flippers.


Xiaou2

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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #2 on: October 19, 2011, 09:33:29 am »
wrong.

 Williams and others are just as fast if well cared for, operating correctly, etc.

Things that effect speed:

1) Poor playfield leveling.   Poor slope angle will cause drastic speed loss.

2) Mechanical filth.  If the magnet coil sleeves are worn & filthy, there will be too much frictional losses.

3) Playfield filth & surface damages.  If the topical mylar or painted surface is ate up with scratches.. it will also effect ball speeds.   Mylar can be either polished or replaced.  The field can be polished and buffed to a limited degree. (many people get an automotive clearcoat put in the game to get a new protective surface on it)   

 Dirty wax filled with Carbon soot, is also a culprit.  A complete cleaning, including the subways, is needed.  Neglect one dirty area, and the ball will just pick up and carry the stuff all over the place again.

4) Bad Balls.   Over time, pinballs get scratched up. These scratches create additional friction, slowing things down... as well as destroying the fields surface.


 If you really want to see some real performance, stop waxing your machines, and use F21. (formula 21)   

 Clean the field of all dirt, and remove all wax, then wipe down with the F21.  F21 contains Urethane, which is what they use on rollercoaster & inline skate wheels.  Its very hard & durable, low friction..etc.   Replace all Pinballs with new balls.  F21 makes the field look glossy, and smooth as glass to the touch.  Fire it up... and the game will play like new.   The ball will move so fast that you can barely keep up with it.


 I put F21 on a well played No Fear in a busy Namco mall arcade.  Usually, I had to clean the damn thing every week or it would be sooty black all over the field and parts.   (even after cleaning all the subways..etc)    The F21 worked so well in the initial test.. that I removed all the wax.. then used only F21 from there on out.  After about 3 weeks, the field still looked and played like brand new.  I was shocked.  I then routinely lightly used F21 every week or two on the easy access areas, on all the pins there.

 It was a godsend.  Made cleaning 5min fast, rather than an hour nightmare.  No more flaky dirty wax and soot trails ever again.  People Loved the way the machines played, and sales were increased as a result.   I did this for at least 2yrs, before I left the place,
and there was never any wear or damage done to the machines.  In fact, I feel the F21 protected them far better than wax ever could.

pinballwizard79

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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #3 on: October 19, 2011, 11:21:18 am »
Do you think that maybe the difference in speed between games is age or condition related since the WMS Dot Matrix games are 15+ years old now.


Thats a good point & at first I figured it was just that. However after playing a large inventory of machines that go through their cycles of getting roached, then rebuilt, roached again & then rebuilt I noticed a pattern... a rebuilt Stern plays faster than a rebuilt WMS... IMHO of course. Also these damn 15-20 year old WMS/DE are some of the most problamatic machines it seems when you compare their self destructing GI lights & boards vs a Stern which appears to have a trouble free modern designed MPU/flipper/Etc boards.



wrong.


No, I'm not wrong dude. Just stating an opinion that differs from yours thats all.

My pal owns www.CPpinball.com so I get to play all kinds of ill ---steaming pile of meadow muffin---.

I log 6-12 hours per month on beautifuly maintained & sometimes even clearcoated WMS titles. I walk among 60 machines & play them all, no doubt a new or rebuilt Stern plays far faster than a rebuilt WMS. The WMS do feel more solid & look better however.


My problem with the Williams games is that I've either played them so much I never care if I play it again (Funhouse) or the theme is so stuck in the 90s that I can't stand to look at it (No Fear, Shadow). 

Maybe, in time, my aversion to the themes will pass when my memories drift from 'oh god, I remember those stupid t-shirts' to 'oh yeah, the 90s, cool'.

Lord of the Rings is Stern's best effort and I think it competes very well with the best of Williams games.  If you want to see what a company was willing to do to prove they could out-do Williams, check out Gottlieb Stargate.



Agreed. LOTR is a good title & NF is so dated. I need to play a Stargate for sure, everyone likes that one from what I hear.
« Last Edit: October 19, 2011, 11:24:30 am by pinballwizard79 »
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JeepMonkey

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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #4 on: October 19, 2011, 02:58:42 pm »
I am in Delaware for work, and they have quite a few Stern machines on route here, so I have been able to log some Stern play time.

Stern titles I really like: LOTR, TSPP, SM

Stern titles I medium like: RCT, Monopoly, IM

Stern titles I will play if around: IJ, 24, BDK

Stern titles I really don't like: Austin Powers

So in the end, I would like to have a Stern in my lineup.
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vanrose72

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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #5 on: December 13, 2011, 03:16:21 pm »
Stern titles I medium like: RCT, Monopoly, IM

A Monopoly pinball table is for sale in my area for $50. Saw it on craigslist today. This is a good price, right?

vanrose72

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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #6 on: December 13, 2011, 04:29:49 pm »
Nope, totally not joking. Someone on craigslist is selling a Monopoly pinball machine for $50. It has a few minor scratches on the top, but it still works.

Apparently, the owner just wants it moved from his dining room to make room for a new dining room table.

The wife has shot me down on getting it. Could someone provide a few good reasons for buying this machine?

Donkbaca

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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #7 on: December 13, 2011, 04:34:37 pm »
Reasons to buy a 50 dollar pinball machine?  Get out, and don't come back until you have some wits about you

Q*Bert_OP

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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #8 on: December 13, 2011, 04:42:35 pm »
Unless its a toy, buy it and flip it on Fee-Bay if the wife won't let you keep it.
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RayB

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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #9 on: December 13, 2011, 07:03:42 pm »
 :dizzy:  Teach your wife basic math.
NO MORE!!

ed12

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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #10 on: December 14, 2011, 12:26:21 am »
u get what u pay for
simple is simple is

ed
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jrivelli

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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #11 on: December 14, 2011, 10:39:34 am »
1. Either he meant to list it for $500

2. It's gone if you didn't call within 10min of it being listed

3. Profit
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vanrose72

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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #12 on: December 14, 2011, 12:33:09 pm »
Eh, I looked at the ad... sounded like the toy version to me.

I'm thinking the same thing. This deal would be too good to be true otherwise (and sold already).

No response from the seller yet. We shall see ...

JeepMonkey

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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #13 on: December 15, 2011, 01:03:17 pm »
I have seen a dozen of those Monopoly kiddie toy pins on my local CL.  They typically list for $50-$150.  Same for POTC.
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vanrose72

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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #14 on: December 16, 2011, 01:33:29 pm »
Regardless of what it is, the seller has not responded to my e-mail.  Taking all of your comments into consideration, I'm going to let this one go.

Although this deal is a bust, I'm now considering investing in a pinball machine. Not sure when, but it would be nice!

Thanks for the input!

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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #15 on: December 16, 2011, 02:41:55 pm »
If you really want to see some real performance, stop waxing your machines, and use F21. (formula 21)   

While I'm not really sure I can comment on WMS vs. Stern speed issue I can confirm Xiaou2's comment on the Formula 21 benefits.  I use it on both my Star Wars pins and the ball rockets around both machines.  Its almost too fast on the SWT as sometimes the magnet doesnt catch the ball going up the ramp and so I miss a chance to shoot the X-wing.  Now that I think about it SWT does seem to play faster than the SWDE....but the SWDE is the better overall game and of course I'm comparing to a DE game rather than a WMS game.

jrivelli

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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #16 on: December 16, 2011, 05:39:52 pm »
I have always used Novus, love the stuff. Works perfect. I'll have to look into this formula 21 stuff, sounds like a decent product for sure!
Current games:
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pinballwizard79

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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #17 on: December 17, 2011, 10:30:58 am »
Well if Flake says it works now I gotta try it.... like today
"George Bush doesn't care about arcade people"

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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #18 on: December 17, 2011, 02:56:05 pm »
Quote
I have always used Novus, love the stuff. Works perfect. I'll have to look into this formula 21 stuff, sounds like a decent product for sure!

 Novus is a 'Destructive' abrasive polish.  Meaning, it contains fine grain grit/sand which removes surface-material when you use it.  Its good for plexi control panels... and you may need it on beat up pins as well... however,  once your pins is cleaned good,and polished to a smooth surface... then you want to try to stay away from anything that will further remove the playfield surface.

 F21 is more of an Additive or Topical solution.  It contains no gritty destructive materials.  The only thing it will remove, is dirt/grime. It fills in the small pits/cracks and lays down a slick durable top coat surface for the ball to glide over.

 Wax also a topcoat material.  However, Wax isnt as durable, and can easily be pushed around, removed, and carried around... by the fast spinning ball. Its also thick and gooey, trapping dust, dirt, metal flakes, and carbon soot. This ends up traveling all over the place, as the ball carries it around.  The harmful crud can end up getting pushed deep into the playfield surface.  The pushed wax also tends to get pushed into and under things.. collecting on once pretty Posts, making them look horrendous.  Because the ball gets coated in wax, it also carries the crud onto all the rubbers and parts that the ball contacts. Wax might make a not-so-smooth surface a bit faster... but, it wont last very long, as the wax gets moved and dirty.  And the benefits deteriorate quickly, unless you remove all the wax, clean every part of the machine, and re-wax... every few weeks to a month, depending on play.

 F21 is thin, doesnt trap material... leaving anything bad to get pushed under stuff at worst.  Its so slick and durable, that the ball cant easily scrape into the field like a sawblade.  Even if it could/does move via the ball, it cant trap particles within it, so it is not going to lift and smash crud all over the place.  Its not going to flake or build up like wax.  It can be cleaned and re-applied with ease, using another F21 wipe down.

 F21 is more like a heavy-Duty, durable, slippery, lubricant. But it also makes for a very nice shine, and it even has UV light damage protection.

 It can also be applied to your cabinet art, to keep it shiny and protected from UV.

 I cant recommend it enough.  One application, and you will never go back to wax.


jennifer

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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #19 on: December 17, 2011, 03:38:53 pm »

      I use Meguires #6.... A automotive paint sealer, since it dosnt contain any silicone you could touch up artwork someday and not get fisheyes.
Novus, although does contain the polishing grit would only be a problem the first time [I would think] further applications would clean and bite
into previous layers.

Xiaou2

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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #20 on: December 17, 2011, 04:34:25 pm »
Quote
I use Meguires #6.... A automotive paint sealer, since it dosnt contain any silicone you could touch up artwork someday and not get fisheyes.

 As far as Ive seen, (I cant seem to find the package ingredients) from the description,
Meguires #6 is a Wax.  It will leave residue behind, and wont protect or produce results like the F21, which is loaded with Urethane.

 Urethane is tough, low friction, flexible..   Its why they use it in Skate Board and Rollercoaster wheels.


 Furthermore #6 might also have light abrasives in it.

 As for Fisheyes... I believe thats to do with poorly done clearcloating.

 And if anyone is every going to paint and clearcoat, they should strip off all chemicals, wax, etc..  using a strong cleaner/remover.



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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #21 on: December 17, 2011, 09:43:37 pm »
All 3 local places here that sell arcade/pinball parts reccomend novus so does the repair guy who fixes some of my pins and he's been doing it for 25+ years.

I am not arguing against your point, just saying it is recommended from quite a few reputable sources.

Also, there is Novus 3, 2 and 1. I use novus 2. Novus 3 is the more abrasive one.
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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #22 on: December 17, 2011, 10:29:55 pm »

    I am not disputing the qualitys of the Novus line.

Xiaou2

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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #23 on: December 18, 2011, 12:12:32 pm »
Quote
All 3 local places here that sell arcade/pinball parts reccomend novus so does the repair guy who fixes some of my pins and he's been doing it for 25+ years.

 I guess you dont understand the concept.

 How much top surface do you feel is 'OK' to pull of the playfield?   

 The ball is eating the field up like crazy... and then you go and strip More off.  It wont be long before the paint comes right off, down to the bare wood.   Most of these machines have almost no protection left, because they are so old and well played.  But go ahead, your Op of 25yrs is probably a guy who sells people his torn-to-shreads pins on ebay to suckers, by use of very fuzzy pictures.

 As PBJ said, its a one time thing to a Neglected pinball machine.  You get the field flat and smooth with novus or similar... then never do it again.   Instead, you keep the damn thing clean, and use either wax, or something like F21, to keep the field from being destroyed.

 All novus polishes are destructive. Even if its only by a little -vs- a Lot.

 As to my qualifications, I repaired arcade machines and Pins at a high traffic Mall store for several years (as well as fix them on-the-side, And the 3 pins I own).

 The pins at the Mall location got more play in two weeks than most Ops pins get in an entire year.

Xiaou2

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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #24 on: December 18, 2011, 01:09:24 pm »
Polish Example:

1)  Shows layer of clear (lacquer) is heavily worn down. Small cracks extend into the paint layer as well, usually filling in with carbon soot / crud.  Theres also un-even wear on the clear surface.  All this adds up to slower ball travel, and visible distortion of the paint layer. (doesnt look clean and shiny)

2)  Shows what a top coat does. The wax or F21, fills in the cracks, pits, and levels out the wear areas.  Protects the top clear from further damages.

3)  Shows what you may want to do ONE TIME.  By abrasively removing a good deal of the clear layer, you can level and smooth the surface, and remove a lot of the deep scratches.  However, the clear layer isnt very thick, and going too far will eat the paint up.

( Fine cracks in the paint layer can be cleaned with solutions, and then need to be filled in with touch up paint, or they will re-fill back up with crud.)

 Many people will use Automotive clear-coat to re-clear their fields and protect them better.  Usually the auto clear is layed down pretty thick, so it will last a very long time.  And polishing wont be much of a problem, compared to the thin lacquer that is put on at the factory.

 If a game has areas of Mylar (plastic film), you can polish this with novice without worry. Mylar is very thick and durable.  If the mylar wears too thin, it can be removed and replaced.

 The slicker and more durable the (additive non-destructive) top-coat is... the more protected your playfield will be.  A high RPM spinning pinball, thats scratched up, will eat playfields alive in a pretty quick time period.

jrivelli

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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #25 on: December 18, 2011, 02:28:27 pm »


 If a game has areas of Mylar (plastic film), you can polish this with novice without worry. Mylar is very thick and durable.  If the mylar wears too thin, it can be removed and replaced.



All my games have mylar. I guess I should have mentioned this. That question was asked to me before the people who recommended novus recommended it.
Current games:
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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #26 on: December 19, 2011, 12:08:19 am »
 Well, just remember that usually only Part of the machine has mylar...  and thats the only part of the field that you should use novice on. (that and plastics / plastic ramps)

 Furthermore, once the mylar is polished, use F21 often, and it will keep it looking like new, and with a surface thats glass smooth, for a very long time.

 Using polish (like Novice) is also a pain, because it also leaves dust/residue all over the place. Usually you use a drill powered polishing pad.. and the polish spatters all over the place.  Its also easy to overshoot the mylar area.. to the playfield area, if you are not very careful.

 And while Mylar can be removed... there are sometimes consequences... such as paint pulling up on removal.  So best to avoid that as long as possible.


 Btw, jrivelli , if you are not going to use F21.. at least put down some wax.  Even with a near full mylar, you should have some form of protective top-coat on there. Novice isnt a top-coat.

jrivelli

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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #27 on: December 19, 2011, 10:18:09 am »
Xiaou2, I was never arguing you are wrong or anything. Just stating, this is what I use. I gently put on novus and then let it sit. Wipe off with a dry rag gently, ball fliiies.

I'm goiing to grab some f21 for sure and try that out. Thanks for that suggestion!
Current games:
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- Pool Sharks Pinball
- Big Guns Pinball
- Fire! Pinball
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- Mortal Kombat I

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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #28 on: December 19, 2011, 11:12:43 am »
PW79......there is a HUO SPP for sale in our area.  Just posted yesterday.  Jump on it!

http://stlouis.craigslist.org/clt/2760158088.html

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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #29 on: December 19, 2011, 04:47:33 pm »
That is a crazy price!!

Anways, he has has some sweet pins in those pics. I see fire! on the far left, what is next to that? Anyone know?
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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #30 on: December 19, 2011, 05:18:13 pm »
Dr. Who

pinballwizard79

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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #31 on: December 19, 2011, 09:35:12 pm »
PW79......there is a HUO SPP for sale in our area.  Just posted yesterday.  Jump on it!

http://stlouis.craigslist.org/clt/2760158088.html

He wants too much = $3500 HUO is more like it

I appreciate the heads up, its time I add a few more to my lineup!

FYI: Couldnt find F21 anywhere in my hood. Hit up 3 stores FTW so I ordered it from Amazon. I almost bought the dash stuff, then almost bought the tire stuff.... glad I remebered X said something about polymers n sheeyat.
"George Bush doesn't care about arcade people"

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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #32 on: December 22, 2011, 08:52:23 pm »
Installed 5 new balls + did a quick but good application of F21 to my baywatch machine...

Ended up turning the coil pulse DOWN from hard to normal so um yeah F21 is loco. The ball is flying so those polymers are indeed legit. (Cant wait to see what a flipper rebuild & a better cleaning/F21 will result in).

X you are usually a dbag but I gotta admit you did good on this, thanks.
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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #33 on: December 23, 2011, 12:55:37 am »
Good man for trying it out.

 A good shop job will last ages, looking like brand new, when only using F21.  Its a godsend.  Spread the word.
 

 Im highly critical, blunt, and vocal.  Id never make a good politician.

 But calling me a Dbag is way out of line.  A dbag is someone who sells dead PCB's as 'working' on ebay, and wont give a refund.

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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #34 on: December 23, 2011, 01:08:08 am »
Got a link to this F21 stuff?

I don't use carnauba wax because of quick dirt build up on route games...Wildcat(NOS stuff from the '90s) seems to be working great for me for now.
WTB: The Grid by Midway (2001), looking for 2 or more complete games, and large marquee

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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #35 on: December 23, 2011, 03:12:58 pm »

        Turtle wax is silicone based, you will play hell trying to topcoat that someday... say with 2k clear.

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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #36 on: December 23, 2011, 04:18:38 pm »
No, its not Turtle Wax.  Its similar to Armour-All... but is a bit heavier and much more durable, because of the Urethane.

http://www.amazon.com/Turtle-Wax-T-97R-Protectant-20-8/dp/B0009JKGHO/ref=sr_1_2?ie=UTF8&qid=1324674952&sr=8-2

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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #37 on: December 23, 2011, 09:00:15 pm »
X the link you posted is the F21 version of Armor All which uses silicones: http://www.turtlewax.com/product-detail.aspx?prodid=116


I bought this stuff, the urethane polymers polish: http://www.turtlewax.com/product-detail.aspx?prodid=113


PBJ & Q try the urethane polymers, its legit.

EDIT: the amazon link says urethane but the turtlewax site says silicones.... meh
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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #38 on: December 23, 2011, 09:14:55 pm »
I have a bad feeling that they have changed the formula on the F21 spray.

 An email to Turtle Wax may be in order, to clear things up.

 The spray bottle I have is an older bottle, and states Urethane in it.

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Re: Stern pinball machines
« Reply #39 on: December 30, 2011, 05:50:43 pm »
I picked up a spray bottle of the f21 super protectant today (same kind jim got I think)

Anyways, sprayed it on the pool sharks which has no mylar or anything and a playfield that has some wear on it for sure, unfortunately. Anyways, the game absolutely shines and ball cruises along flawlessly.

Also, like Jim said, way easier and less messy to use than carnauba, which I had some and tried on my high speed.
Current games:
- Data East Star Wars Pinball
- High Speed Pinball
- Pool Sharks Pinball
- Big Guns Pinball
- Fire! Pinball
- Simpsons 4 Player Arcade
- Mortal Kombat I