Okay, so I installed my topper and the latest code tonight. This game is absolutely fantastic, and gets better and better. (And that's not the honeymoon talking...) The node 8 failures I was having are code-related, as it turns out, since the flippers blacking out momentarily is addressed in the code update, and my machine works fine now. All I have to do is install all the goodies Capguntrooper sent me (thanks, Cap!) and fix the target/ramp ball launch problem, and this machine will be a masterpiece.
And remember everybody saying this machine was a dog to look at? I have to disagree now. When the whole package is lit up, it's a beautiful thing. Not Hobbit beautiful, you understand...but still beautiful.