Old vs. New

I typed the following on a forum post and figured I may as well throw it up here.  It is just some of my thoughts on using original circuit boards vs. buying new:

Some people want things original.  There’s nothing wrong with running the old boards. One person may not like it, one may prefer it. I’ve certainly seen a fair amount of problems with brand new stuff. And often a new board doesn’t solve the problem because the actual issue is something else. I’ve seen new boards damaged because the original problem was not correctly repaired. In the end a new board didn’t save the owner any time or money.

I use new boards when it makes sense. I’ve used Alltek boards tons of times as often it just isn’t worth trying to repair a corroded Bally/Stern MPU. I’ve also used a fair number of Rottendog MPU-89 boards for the same reason. I’ve had better luck repairing and keeping WMS 3-7 stuff working and haven’t had to resort to new boards as often for those systems.

Old power supplies are the most easily repaired thing and are usually very inexpensive to repair. There is almost never a reason to throw out an old power supply. Yes, they may be old technology, but in some cases the old design is better than the new. (I’m speaking about one new board manufacturer in particular.) I’d never throw out an old power supply unless it was damaged beyond repair, so I rarely use a new power supply. However, Bally/Stern rectifier boards are once case where new may be a much better and faster solution. And Gottlieb System 1 power supplies are another case where new may be better.

I’m not saying new is wrong or that new isn’t the best case in your situation. Often with Gottlieb stuff new is the only choice. I’m stating that new isn’t always the best answer or even the easiest answer. My full time job is operating and repairing games, so I try to take the approach that makes the most sense for my customers and that is the best use of my time. I don’t want to have to go back, so reliability is a top concern too. Still, most often the best solution is to use the original equipment and repair it. And usually after a repair the original equipment is very reliable.

I’ve worked on several games with new boards that the owner thought would solve their problem. It didn’t and not only did they spend a lot of money on a new part, they still had to pay me to come out and fix their game. And in the end I could have had their old board working for less money than they spent on the new part. My point is that newer isn’t always better and it doesn’t always save you time. You need to look at each situation and decide accordingly.

Finally, I have 14 games on location, turned on 12+ hours every day, and they are all running original circuit boards.  I wouldn’t do that if they weren’t reliable