Quoted from jfh:
The better thread on the topic is https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/reliability-sam-vs-spike
I believe that down the road there will be people that can repair the node boards, but I'm hoping Stern addresses the long term concern.
The node board system is the Achilles heel of Batman 66 and any recent Stern game. The idea is sound, but the implementation problematic. If node boards were truely interchangeable and relatively inexpensive, it wouldn't be an issue. But that's not the case. For Batman 66 specifically most of the reports I've heard are node boards failing during the code update process. Fortunately, Stern has been replacing failed node boards for free (even those outside of warranty), but that can't last forever and at about $300 each it's not feasible to have a spare set for a game. My plan is to look at getting a set as during the last run of Premiums before the license expires (assuming they even run more) to have the latest generation node boards known to be supported by the Batman code.
My biggest concerns about Batman:
1) Will the node boards last 10+ years or be repairable/replaceable?
2) Will the playfield hold up?
3) Will Lyman be allowed to finish the code?
And 1 and 2 are WAY more of a concern than 3.
I'm a network engineer (originally) so I see the thought process here. I couldn't leave well enough alone so I spent a bunch of time taking apart my system, examining the node bus elements themselves, what sort of system components they use, etc. Plugged in an analyzer, watched and decoded the traffic, how power was distributed (9v x2), etc. I definitely see a future possibility of a cheap, "standard" board that will replace all these node boards in the future. That's doable... so in 10 years, the replacement part for node boards might be a few standard, inexpensive BOMs with some different serial control outputs. The custom shaped boards for lighting, different story, but those seem more repairable to me anyway.
I was just curious how people generally felt...I see those threads echo my anxiety. I suck at anything surface mount and that's not going to change.
Meanwhile, I love BM66... Can't wait for Thanksgiving!