(Topic ID: 162113)

Busted Utilite in FullT - any alternatives?


By shaneo

2 years ago



Topic Stats

  • 15 posts
  • 7 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by shaneo
  • Topic is favorited by 3 Pinsiders

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#1 2 years ago

I broke the Utilite in my FTH - my fault, details will become apparent.

**Heads up for those not in the know**
I'm not a Linux guy - please be patient with my descriptions/understanding.
Utilite is an ARMEL ARM Cortex A9 micro PC which is the brains on this game.

The game's 4* PIC32 IO boards connect to this via USB. It handles IO/sound/vid/etc. The model is standard. Dual HDMI. No mSata SSD. Boots either internal or from micro SD.

SD for the game I believe.

My Utilite no longer boots and shows perm grn/org led's on lan1. Not a good look. Serial has been connected. It's done.

I think I have a good image from the micro SD card. Win32Image was able to read the Micro SD and when I open the .img with 7 zip I see 0.fat and 1.img.

I can browse the 1.img with 7 zip and it's contents. No sym links of course.
Yocto 3.0.35 is in the boot dir on the SD.

Update pkgs I have applied from USB are in .deb suggesting it is a Deb distro however I can't see any relevant deb version info files in /etc/

I do not have source code to compile for different architechtures.

I'd like to understand platform in more depth but my question/concern for now is can I use different ARM hardware? The Utiiite's are getting a bit long in the tooth now and their support (Compulab), need to take a good long hard look at themselves.

HW have suggested best thing is to replace existing Utilite. OK for now but these things are no longer in prod.
I do not want to be looking for one of these in 5 years.

I have tried to emulate the architecture using QEMU but still learning how it works.

Long story shorty - can I use different ARM hardare to make this game work?

Tech ref manual for Utilite is here http://utilite-computer.com/download/documentation//utilite/utilite-technical-reference-manual.pdf

#2 2 years ago

Have you contacted Heighway support? If not, would do so ASAP.

#3 2 years ago
Quoted from Zampinator:

Have you contacted Heighway support? If not, would do so ASAP.

Think he did:

Quoted from shaneo:

HW have suggested best thing is to replace existing Utilite. OK for now but these things are no longer in prod.
I do not want to be looking for one of these in 5 years.

For what I know Heighway has stated that the software used on their pins is hardware independent.

I cannot help you any further as I do have only very little knowlegde of Linux.

#4 2 years ago

Would be wise though to get a replacement through Heighway. As they have the supported and tested version.

#5 2 years ago

PinballRulez, that is the likely course of action.

It does not solve the fact these Utilite's are a POS and will inveitably fail again, nor the fact they are booting from a micro SD, which have a limited number of R/W's before they fail.

I appreciate and understand the benefits of ARM vs i386 architecture but I do question the reasoning behind only compiling for this specific device and model. Streuth, a Utilite 2 has and SSD and more grunt via Snapdragon but I've been told by HW that would not work.

I have also experienced poor build and assemble quality, ie, cable ties used to fix things instead of screws, a PF glass frame sized so poorly I needed to 1/4 shim the lock down assy so it didn't slop about, credit/ball launch buttons which were so poorly placed they were bent downwards by the PF struts when the PF was in place, a USB hub so full of corrosion it literally fell apart, the PF LCD cover not glued/fixed in any way, no protection on the ramp exits at all, lane guides so poorly positioned so there was either STDM or no flow, a failed IO, wheel spinning motors which may cause IO failure. Let's not forget the audio amp and drivers, not exactly top notch kit, indeed quite the opposite.

I love this as a game. It has the greatest shots and flow once setup. It's the best game I have ever played.

As a machine I'm certainly over the fanboi stage from now on will be calling a spade a spade.

#6 2 years ago

Hi Shane,

Sorry to hear you have so much trouble with your pin. I do not recognize that bad quality as being the standard for Heighway Pinball. They should fix this for you as soon as possible in the best way they can.

I do not think that the use of flash storage (Flash drives, SSD, SD Card) is a problem and should have a life span of 5 - 10 years depending on the write cycles. As for the software I did not know it is hardware bound. As Heighway stated in the past the software would be hardware independent to assure feature compatibility if indeed former used hardware is not available anymore. If this is not the case then they have a mayor breach on their overall concept.

#7 2 years ago
Quoted from PinballRulez:

As for the software I did not know it is hardware bound. As Heighway stated in the past the software would be hardware independent to assure feature compatibility if indeed former used hardware is not available anymore. If this is not the case then they have a mayor breach on their overall concept.

The game software is mostly (i.e. 99.9%) CPU independent. But the OS and device drivers are very specific to the Utilite, because they have to be. There is a difference between the game code and the system code.

"The software" as a whole is very portable, in the sense that if/when we decide to support a newer CPU, we (the Heighway developers) can do it with minimal - but not zero - effort.

#8 2 years ago
Quoted from bcd:

The game software is mostly (i.e. 99.9%) CPU independent. But the OS and device drivers are very specific to the Utilite, because they have to be. There is a difference between the game code and the system code.
"The software" as a whole is very portable, in the sense that if/when we decide to support a newer CPU, we (the Heighway developers) can do it with minimal - but not zero - effort.

Thanks for the feedback Brian.

#9 2 years ago

Have you tried updating it with a usb stick with the latest version?

1 month later
#10 2 years ago
Quoted from shaneo:

PinballRulez, that is the likely course of action.
It does not solve the fact these Utilite's are a POS and will inveitably fail again, nor the fact they are booting from a micro SD, which have a limited number of R/W's before they fail.
I appreciate and understand the benefits of ARM vs i386 architecture but I do question the reasoning behind only compiling for this specific device and model. Streuth, a Utilite 2 has and SSD and more grunt via Snapdragon but I've been told by HW that would not work.
I have also experienced poor build and assemble quality, ie, cable ties used to fix things instead of screws, a PF glass frame sized so poorly I needed to 1/4 shim the lock down assy so it didn't slop about, credit/ball launch buttons which were so poorly placed they were bent downwards by the PF struts when the PF was in place, a USB hub so full of corrosion it literally fell apart, the PF LCD cover not glued/fixed in any way, no protection on the ramp exits at all, lane guides so poorly positioned so there was either STDM or no flow, a failed IO, wheel spinning motors which may cause IO failure. Let's not forget the audio amp and drivers, not exactly top notch kit, indeed quite the opposite.
I love this as a game. It has the greatest shots and flow once setup. It's the best game I have ever played.
As a machine I'm certainly over the fanboi stage from now on will be calling a spade a spade.

We are sorry that you have experienced some build quality issues. The game you have was one of the first 5 units off the production line.

We were still finding our feet with regards to the build at that point. Lessons learnt from the first machine runs have now been implemented on recent games. The majority of our customers seem to be more than happy with the build quality on our games, so I would hope that the majority of issues that you have had have since been rectified.

If we can help further with your game then we will do our best. Please bear in mind that we believe this has been a well-used game for over a year at this point.

#11 2 years ago

Game should come with knee & elbow braces, gloves, a stool and a hydration/nutrition station. Near impossible to walk away from it, and it's so fast you are always moving to get the best view/shot, and oh does it make you swear!
Best game I've ever played and this one is staying until I caark it.

2 weeks later
#12 2 years ago
Quoted from PinballRulez:

I do not think that the use of flash storage (Flash drives, SSD, SD Card) is a problem and should have a life span of 5 - 10 years depending on the write cycles.

Since you guys seem to know, could you tell me what exactly will happen in 5-10 years and what the fix will be?
What if ...and please apologize for me even thinking of it.... there is no more Heighway Pinball in 5-10 years and the card fails, will my FT be a large brick at that point?

Thank you for explaining it, I am truly curious

#13 2 years ago
Quoted from DerGoetz:

Since you guys seem to know, could you tell me what exactly will happen in 5-10 years and what the fix will be?
What if ...and please apologize for me even thinking of it.... there is no more Heighway Pinball in 5-10 years and the card fails, will my FT be a large brick at that point?
Thank you for explaining it, I am truly curious

The software is Linux-based.

It can essentially work on most PCs.

This will ensure that games in the future can keep running in all circumstances

#14 2 years ago

Man, you are up late - go to bed, get some well deserved rest

#15 2 years ago

The current s/w I have is complied for the ARMv7 platform, which one would think will be around for quite a while so little risk of it becoming a brick in 5-10.

I'm sure the devs are able to cross compile if need be however we'll all be too old (or dead) should that time come.

I've come to really enjoy the Utilite's - I can boot mine from uSD, USB, SSD and TFTP - all on the Standard.
It's taught me U-Boot, Yocto, compiling custom kernels and how to swear.

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