"Hey I found this pinball machine on Craigslist. It looks like a great deal! Should I buy it?"
Here's a cautionary tale. :)
About 9 months ago, I talked to this guy about 100 miles away that had a Star Wars Trilogy Pinball. I never saw the machine but had his description and a third party account of the condition.
We couldn't get together on price, so I walked away.
Last month, perusing Craigslist, I found the machine available for sale. The price listed was considerably less than my last offer, it was for sale by the same guy. I called and he didn't recognize me at first. His situation had changed, and he was hard up for the cash to pay some unexpected bills. Hey, we've all been there.
I told him I was interested and pressed for details about the condition of the machine.
"Man, this machine is wrapped up in plastic, that's how it has been for 2 years but let me tell you it is Not Junk! All it needs is a $2 part and you are off to the races."
I agreed to buy it, arranged to have it brought to me and wrote down on a post-it note $600 in repairs. :)
Fast forward to today.
The CPU board was in need of extensive repair,
As was the Power IO Driver board
ROMS were mis-matched
Playfield toys where broken.
Two bad coils
6 playfield wiring snafus
A broken reed switch
1 Broken Drop Target
Dirt.. Oh My God.. The Dirt and Grime ..
Missing a Starter (Fluorescent)
Bad Ballast (Fluorescent)
The Coin Door Was wrong / Didn't Engage the Interlock
The Coin Door Had a Huge Hole from some card-based validator
1 Pop Bumper was out
2/3 of the Playfield GI bulbs were out
Stupid Hacks on the Playfield, like Wood Screws used as Stand-Offs
..Needless to say his estimate of a $2 dollar part was off by a multiplier of 500 :)
So the moral of the story is.. Be sure to be able to test drive a pinball before buying it. B/c that $2 part the guy mentions it needs, may just be a load o' crap.
Am I sorry? Nah. I have the Star Wars Trilogy Arcade machine and wanted to make the matching pair. At some point I had to weigh location / proximity into the "should I buy" decision matrix. The odds of finding another one within driving distance here in Southern Alabama, isn't real great. :)