(Topic ID: 232957)

Node Boards- Update- Stern tech fixes issue via email


By shacklersrevenge

5 months ago



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  • 148 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 days ago by russdx
  • Topic is favorited by 25 Pinsiders

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There are 744 posts in this topic. You are on page 12 of 15.
#551 4 months ago
Quoted from Jvspin:

As is bitching and whining about the bitching and whining.

And the drinking. And the drinking and bitching. And then the more drinking and bitching.

It's been working for us for years.

#552 4 months ago
Quoted from TreyBo69:

Stern isn't going to reveal the failure rates. People complaining on pinside about their failures is only a small slice of the pinball buying public (and you primarily only hear from people when things are going poorly). Large, experienced distributors probably have a decent idea of the failure rate. But I'm sure they're afraid of Stern if they start revealing any meaningful information on how often they have to help their customers with node board replacements. They're the ones who would be most knowledgeable if there has been an uptick in reliability issues since the introduction of Spike.
The fact is we don't know how often node boards are failing, but we do know they are not easy to repair because of a lack of documentation and the relative lack of expertise on working on this style of electrical PCB design. It is entirely valid to be anxious about the long term support Stern will provide because they have failed to act on previous promises of making this information available.

So you can guarantee that the problem is a lot bigger.

Quoted from Bublehead:

Biggest reason they are not releasing them, I think, is because of IP theft by China. How many node boards will we be buying from Stern if a company in China offers exact reengineered replacements for $30 shipping included. And if it goes bad in 30 days, just email them and they send a replacement for free. This kind of thing is happening in other electronics based hobbies, so Stern is probably smart not putting the schematics out right now... they wait till the demand trickles off, which means the crappy node boards are all weeded out by attrition, then release the schematics.
Don’t like it, but it may actually be whats at play here, not the planned obsolescence argument.

These boards cost peanuts to make to a market that's so small it barely exists! Folks in China have got far better things to rip off!

Quoted from iceman44:

Still whining about NOTHING that is ever going to change
1) . Stern sells pins as fast as they can make them
2) . They are married to the Spike system. Like it or not.
Thus, just a lot of hot air crybaby whining on here. All of you need to get on the phone and call Stern. What do you think will happen?
About the same thing as bitching about node boards on here.
And IF the failure rate is such that its outside of what Stern allowed for then THEY will have to step up and fix it because it hurts their bottom line.
Speculating about what may or may not be in the future does no good right now! Although bitching and whining is our favorite Pinside pastime so i get it!

1: is that really true?
2: I agree.

I think giving feedback that you aren't happy with something is absolutely not bitching. Nobody is bitching on this thread, merely pointing out that things could be better. I've personally had a good experience with Stern in that they replaced my GB playfield but when I look at these boards, and I'm in network engineering, I think OMG. I took a dead nodeboard to a colleague who makes top end electronics (++million dollar for a board the size of your laptop keyboard) and the number of issues he saw with it, and especially in a high voltage environment, blew is his mind away, notably at the price they are sold at! His view is that the boards are designed as consumables, i.e. at a price point and design point that the boards would be treated like ink cartridges on your printer. Stops working, bin it, put a new one in, he reckoned that the cost of the board he saw was in $35-45 range depending on volume. There is also almost no IPR in the boards themselves, that's in the microcode on the boards. And that's probably the biggest issue. These boards require code that stern own, its different from the Williams days in that the chips were all pre-programmed and had limited program sets.

Neil.

#553 4 months ago
Quoted from Bublehead:

Wonder what the legal ramifications are to releasing it to the wild if you were to do that? I

Improve the board with better spike protection, vibration resistant thru-hole components (when available), and a more friendly to service layout.

Adds .80 cents to the BOM, and is a greatly improved product; think better, rather than just a copy.

#554 4 months ago
Quoted from vid1900:

spike protection

Spike™ protection.

#555 4 months ago
Quoted from Jvspin:

As is bitching and whining about the bitching and whining.

Yes sir! It’s the best kind of whining

#556 4 months ago
Quoted from TheLaw:

And the drinking. And the drinking and bitching. And then the more drinking and bitching.
It's been working for us for years.

No truer words have been spoken Law.

Gotta love it!!!! What else would we do?

If we only had the titties to lighten the mood it would be perfect

Man how things have changed in the last 8 yrs or so

#557 4 months ago
Quoted from Bublehead:

If I can get a schematic and BOM for that, I could be in for one node board reversed engineered. Wonder what the legal ramifications are to releasing it to the wild if you were to do that? I am not sure how Stern would feel if someone started posting a generic schematic and BOM for thier boards... probably get a CAD letter from their lawyers right off the bat...

but the DMCA has exemptions for repair and farmers are also fighting for the right to get software / tools / doc's to do there own repairs without the dealer.

This an issue bigger then pinball and I don't think that stern will want to pay $$$ to fight it out in court. Also in the EU end users have more rights then in the USA.

#558 4 months ago

Does it concern me........... I never really sit there and think about it, " OMG can I get a new node board IF this goes bad. "

Uuuuuuum No.

You guys that wont buy games with Spike games are really missing out on alot of cool stuff. If I gotta spend a little coin down the road to enjoy some of these GREAT title. Im in.

#559 4 months ago
Quoted from hoby1:

Does it concern me........... I never really sit there and think about it, " OMG can I get a new node board IF this goes bad. "
Uuuuuuum No.
You guys that wont buy games with Spike games are really missing out on alot of cool stuff. If I gotta spend a little coin down the road to enjoy some of these GREAT title. Im in.

You are making an assumption that everyone buys a game sight unseen, which I think for the majority is not true. If I want to play one I can spend a heck of a lot less coin elsewhere - when they aren't down. It's interesting though that people don't think about cost of ownership when considering buying big ticket items. Must be a difference between the well off versus the rich.

#560 4 months ago

I don’t like the term “node board”

What else can we come up with?

#561 4 months ago
Quoted from Zablon:

You are making an assumption that everyone buys a game sight unseen, which I think for the majority is not

Heh ??? What the heck does that have to do with my statement.

#562 4 months ago
Quoted from iceman44:

I don’t like the term “node board”
What else can we come up with?

Board of Death?

#563 4 months ago
Quoted from iceman44:

I don’t like the term “node board”
What else can we come up with?

NoBo? prob the obvious choice

#564 4 months ago
Quoted from hoby1:

Heh ??? What the heck does that have to do with my statement.

You said 'you're missing out' as if people are never going to play one just because they don't want to own one. Most people play one before they even decide to drop money on one. Your statement made no sense because no one is 'missing out'.

-1
#565 4 months ago
Quoted from Zablon:

You said 'you're missing out' as if people are never going to play one just because they don't want to own one. Most people play one before they even decide to drop money on one. Your statement made no sense because no one is 'missing out'.

Unless your spending all you time at the quarter arcade with all the new titles or a close buddy's house.....Yep your missing out.

#566 4 months ago
Quoted from Zablon:

You said 'you're missing out' as if people are never going to play one just because they don't want to own one..

Luckily I'm skipping Munsters cause a friend is getting it

#567 4 months ago
Quoted from TheLaw:

NoBo? prob the obvious choice

Much better!

My “nodes” are lymph nodes and other nodules and I prefer to be positive when it comes to “nodes”

NOBO

#568 4 months ago

Cash Cow

#569 4 months ago
Quoted from hoby1:

Unless your spending all you time at the quarter arcade with all the new titles or a close buddy's house.....Yep your missing out.

Not at all...such a weird thing to say. I don't own a house in the Florida Keys, but I can go visit anytime I like. Doesn't mean I'm 'missing out'.

#570 4 months ago
Quoted from Zablon:

Not at all...such a weird thing to say. I don't own a house in the Florida Keys, but I can go visit anytime I like. Doesn't mean I'm 'missing out'.

Dude the word that is coming to mind right now is “obtuse”

And wtf is that avatar

#571 4 months ago
Quoted from iceman44:

Dude the word that is coming to mind right now is “obtuse”
And wtf is that avatar

Not trying to be

It's from artwork I made when I made a virtual cab some years ago. Rudy as a mad scientist theme.

cab-bb (resized).JPGcabart (resized).JPGcabfront (resized).JPG
#572 4 months ago
Quoted from iceman44:

I don’t like the term “node board”

What else can we come up with?

Shit Sticks?

#573 4 months ago
Quoted from Zablon:

Not at all...such a weird thing to say. I don't own a house in the Florida Keys, but I can go visit anytime I like. Doesn't mean I'm 'missing out'.

Perfect analogy............. Its like walking buy a great restaurant, Yep you can smell the food but ya never really know how it tastes.

#574 4 months ago
Quoted from Zablon:

Not trying to be
It's from artwork I made when I made a virtual cab some years ago. Rudy as a mad scientist theme. [quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]

Ok nice art. Good thing you showed it. I thought it looked like a leprechaun with a leg or something coming out of its ass in the small pic

#575 4 months ago
Quoted from hoby1:

Perfect analogy............. Its like walking buy a great restaurant, Yep you can smell the food but ya never really know how it tastes.

no, the analogy would be going in and getting a bite, versus owning the restaurant and dealing with the rats in the kitchen and the leaky roof.

#577 4 months ago
Quoted from iceman44:

Ok nice art. Good thing you showed it. I thought it looked like a leprechaun with a leg or something coming out of its ass in the small pic

lol

#578 4 months ago
Quoted from TheLaw:

Stern has said specifically that they will release the schematics and haven't.

Sounds exactly like those that expect code updates because Stern said updates every 2 weeks or whatever. I imagine someday they will release some schematics. Could be months. Could be years. I'm guessing they are not dedicating too many resources to doing so being as they are busy producing games and keeping up with demand. Like you said, it's tough when the consumers are addicts and driven by passion. We see the blinky lights and think I gotta have that. LOL

#579 4 months ago
Quoted from iceman44:

I don’t like the term “node board”
What else can we come up with?

I think this term fits it best:

"Addressable Driver Board"

#580 4 months ago
Quoted from hoby1:

Unless your spending all you time at the quarter arcade with all the new titles or a close buddy's house.....Yep your missing out.

Well, all the new Sterns do pop up at a location here in the Maryland suburbs. So, unlike 4 years ago (when there was barely location pinball around here), you don’t have to risk anything... just go and play. 50 cents a pop if you believe it (true)

#581 4 months ago

I think I have a swollen lymph node in my neck the last day or so. Seriously. This thread caused it. Not kidding

Ever get that crick in there where you wake up or move it and your neck and the muscles seize up like someone is stabbing you?

Yeah that feels good

NOBO

Shit stick

ANB for “addressable node board”

#582 4 months ago
Quoted from 27dnast:

Do 40 Pinside stories represent easy failure?

I'd assume it's a lot more then 40 stories, It's at least 1 in 10. Unless it's a home use game that rarely gets played.

my list,
BM66 - no issues
GB - no issues
GOT - CPU fail, node 8 failed twice. (paid the second time around), the RJ-12 connector on a different node needed to be replaced as well.
GOTG - CPU fail, LED board failing (bad solder joint probably?)
IMDN - No issues

Granted I've had a few SAM board issues as well, but was able to repair those pretty fast. Even fixed the drop target board on a SAM which was nothing but SMD's, difference was I understood what I was looking at.
I've made my peace with spike, it'd just be nice if there were documentation of some kind.

#583 4 months ago

We could call them what everyone wants to call them... PBA’s Potential Boat Anchors

#584 4 months ago

I wonder if there is any link to boards that fail are games with shakers ?

#585 4 months ago
Quoted from swinks:

I wonder if there is any link to boards that fail are games with shakers ?

Go on.... I'm interested.

#586 4 months ago
Quoted from iceman44:

I don’t like the term “node board”
What else can we come up with?

Fuse

#587 4 months ago

Sacrificial Addressable Driver boards...or just SAD boards for short (no pun intended on “short”)

#588 4 months ago
Quoted from rotordave:

I literally just got an email from one of the 3 BM66 owners in NZ, he has an LE, and one of his main nodes has died. The NZ distributors basically don’t want to know about it.
HE HAS A $17,000 NZD PAPERWEIGHT!
My advice was to complain to the NZ consumer authorities and demand repair or refund. We have strong consumer protection here in NZ.
That’s 3 Spike pins in our tiny NZ community in less than a month that no longer work.
I’m just reporting the facts. I am not scaremongering or wishing ill will on anyone. This is what is happening.
rd

They have now changed their tune and are going to sort the problem with new boards. My game has less than 300 games on it.

#589 4 months ago
Quoted from NPO:

Go on.... I'm interested.

just curious if having a shaker installed in the game is contributing heavily failed node / playfield mounted boards - wonder if there is a pattern...

started a poll
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/stern-node-board-poll#post-4817975

#590 4 months ago
Quoted from pauloz:

They have now changed their tune and are going to sort the problem with new boards. My game has less than 300 games on it.

As they should. I’m pleased you followed up on it.

rd

#591 4 months ago

I agree, distributors do have better statistics for the present SPIKE failure rates. Unfortunately, often speaking out regarding Stern, their policies, agreements, or past problems can result in the said distributor getting their "pee pee" slapped. This is not an NDA "issue". Ask Mark Schneider or Nic Parks, both whom rather recently made the mistake. However, often not recommended if a company wants to remain a seller of Stern titles, and certainly not an advantage to sales themselves. Ultimately, distributors are not the "saviors" of an industry, but further protectors of direct manufacturers. Don't expect them to perfectly shield the consumer.

In the case of Stern controlled social media, individuals are immediately blocked (and have been for years) if reporting anything that is perceived negative or questionable, so I am not sure what people expect right now? Do enthusiasts really believe Stern is going to step forward, have a news conference (or inside this thread), and announce to the world that the pinball operating system they starting developing in 2010 as a replacement for the more costly (and more RSD) SAM system has had any issues since its inception? The SPIKE was not even fully discussed until 2015, except by technicians starting around 2013 as an increased curiosity of concern, but there was very little to evaluate as no operators were not going to buy overpriced "The Pin" games. How many people have even crawled underneath one of these early games? Even pinball designers who were outspoken against Stern decisions of game design, features, or profitability were quietly muffled.

I am not sure I could ever provide enough non-destructive testing, examples, or a written documented paper to make certain people believe anything here, but that is simply not my goal. This is like all owners that still believe that "wooden pinball playfields don't dimple". As a point, I also never stated that ALL boards were unrepairable, both on PinSide or my interview. This topic alone could have been discussed for over an hour, but is not very interesting.
BUT, what is most important here?
PinSide is a direct means to active discussion and often exposure to ongoing events, not a means to suppress ideas.

How do people think PROBLEMS get resolved?
Ignoring issues doesn't work. Dismissing things as imaginary has identical results.
Every single Stern shortfall correction (title or system) since 2001 was a result of public inquiries, either from an operator, private owner, or both. It started with repeated observations and reporting. That is how service bulletins are generated as well. Just because certain people were not around in the hobby to see it, does not mean it did not happen, or should not be evaluated. I just don't like people to start playing a "proverbial" ostrich with their head in the sand and trying to shove others heads down at the same time. That is very shortsighted. I have no doubts Stern is reading these threads, at least periodically.

I encourage any private collector to whom is concerned to perform their own SPIKE detective work, which includes present availability of CPU and node boards for their personal games, costs, present available repairability, and determining what Stern will provide in terms of customer service, 5 years after their title is released directly to their distributors, not Stern Customer Service. These are types of things which require very little technical expertise and only a few phone calls. Once an owner receives answers, they can make their own conclusions. Also, it will provide a basic scope of understanding. Nobody likes surprises.
Vintage-Wheres-The-Beef-Wendys-Commercial-Jigsaw-Puzzle-_57-e1452032824474-300x291 (resized).jpg

#592 4 months ago
Quoted from xTheBlackKnightx:

I agree, distributors do have better statistics for the present SPIKE failure rates. Unfortunately, often speaking out regarding Stern, their policies, agreements, or past problems can result in the said distributor getting their "pee pee" slapped. This is not an NDA "issue". Ask Mark Schneider or Nic Parks. However, often not recommended if a company wants to remain a seller of Stern titles, and certainly not an advantage to sales themselves.
In the case of Stern controlled social media, individuals are immediately blacklisted if reporting anything that is perceived negative or questionable, so I am not sure what people expect? PinSide is a means to active discussion and often exposure to ongoing events.
How do people think problems get solved?
Ignoring issues doesn't work.

Quite correct. There need to be a place where people can voice their concerns without the people their concern is about being able to delete the comment and stop them from doing it again. That place is here, like it or not.

#593 4 months ago
Quoted from yancy:

Failure rate isn't the primary issue anyway. Lack of documentation, difficulty of repair, and cost of replacement are the sticking points.
Lots of flipper transistors die on Whitestar and SAM games, but people don't grab torches & pitchforks because it's a $3 part and 10 minute fix. Now try telling them it's a $200 board replacement for the same issue.

I agree with the sentiment, but you're wrong on the details. These aren't the "same issues" that are being experienced with Spike but rather a variety of new problems that arise from the new architecture that people aren't familiar with.

In fact, node boards still use traditional through-hole transistors for solenoid control, and they can be replaced the same as Whitestar and SAM games: I've repaired one on my GB. But again, that's not the type of problem that is being discussed with node boards.

#594 4 months ago
Quoted from NeilMcRae:

So you can guarantee that the problem is a lot bigger.

These boards cost peanuts to make to a market that's so small it barely exists! Folks in China have got far better things to rip off!

1: is that really true?
2: I agree.
I think giving feedback that you aren't happy with something is absolutely not bitching. Nobody is bitching on this thread, merely pointing out that things could be better. I've personally had a good experience with Stern in that they replaced my GB playfield but when I look at these boards, and I'm in network engineering, I think OMG. I took a dead nodeboard to a colleague who makes top end electronics (++million dollar for a board the size of your laptop keyboard) and the number of issues he saw with it, and especially in a high voltage environment, blew is his mind away, notably at the price they are sold at! His view is that the boards are designed as consumables, i.e. at a price point and design point that the boards would be treated like ink cartridges on your printer. Stops working, bin it, put a new one in, he reckoned that the cost of the board he saw was in $35-45 range depending on volume. There is also almost no IPR in the boards themselves, that's in the microcode on the boards. And that's probably the biggest issue. These boards require code that stern own, its different from the Williams days in that the chips were all pre-programmed and had limited program sets.
Neil.

It is important to highlight the design flaws of these boards as otherwise there are unlikely to be changes going forward.

Games are as expensive as they have ever been and yet if you want a game to still be working in a decade, you are better off buying a WPC95 or something similar!

#595 4 months ago
Quoted from swinks:

just curious if having a shaker installed in the game is contributing heavily failed node / playfield mounted boards - wonder if there is a pattern...
started a poll
https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/stern-node-board-poll#post-4817975

If there's evidence for that, I will so unplug my shaker in GoT.....

#596 4 months ago

Stern saved pinball so they could kill it later........

#597 4 months ago
Quoted from hoby1:

Does it concern me........... I never really sit there and think about it, " OMG can I get a new node board IF this goes bad. "
Uuuuuuum No.
You guys that wont buy games with Spike games are really missing out on alot of cool stuff. If I gotta spend a little coin down the road to enjoy some of these GREAT title. Im in.

You don’t care that if your game breaks you can’t fix it yourself, the cost to fix it is in the hundreds of dollars and down time is weeks? And the possibility that a board won’t exist and your game becomes a paperweight doesn’t bother you? Compare that to SAM/whitestar. Every time I turn my game on or update code, in the back of my mind I wonder if something will go wrong,

#598 4 months ago
Quoted from 27dnast:

You claim to be expert, knowing enough to sound the alarm bells with some very bold and damning statements... but there's practically zero context or verifiable background information to support what you're saying. "Because I said so" or "I know from talking to others" isn't enough, IMO. We're not talking about impression-based assessments of gameplay or art. We're talking about the evisceration of a company's platform. If it's really a problem, show the beef in the burger.

Sorry,.. this is a “i didn’t se it online so it doesn’t exist..” line of thought.

The reality is most operator/tech types ARE NOT here or on podcasts talking about their day to day lives. However, those guys do have friends and talk to each other in places like... real life.

Stop thinking because it’s not pinside it’s not verified....

#599 4 months ago
Quoted from Lermods:

You don’t care that if your game breaks you can’t fix it yourself, the cost to fix it is in the hundreds of dollars and down time is weeks? And the possibility that a board won’t exist and your game becomes a paperweight doesn’t bother you? Compare that to SAM/whitestar. Every time I turn my game on or update code, in the back of my mind I wonder if something will go wrong,

Who says they cant be fixed..... I have an AMAZING friend that can do extremely intricate surface mount. Seen him replace those 60/80 pin surface mount ICs on Sam flawlessly.

And if not I buy a node. Just not gonna sit there and worry about if and when its going to happen as Stern will make replacements.

Enjoy your games as its not going back to the old way of thinking. It is what it is.

#600 4 months ago
Quoted from TreyBo69:

The Spike system was developed for the home games, Transformers The Pin and Avengers The Pin, in 2012. Those didn't pan out and then it was retooled and became the standard architecture for the commercial games in 2015.

False conclusion. The boards were first deployed in those games... not necessarily because the platforms objectives were to better serve home owners.

The platform was to reduce costs in parts and assembly (things they need to sell lower cost games... like home games).

Smaller boards are significantly cheaper. They use modern design which reduces costs. They significantly reduce the cabling in the game... reducing material and labor costs. The design was modular... promising to allow them to scale one design up and down as needed... reducing r&d and waste.

They were produced to replace the end of useful life Sam architecture- not to create a platform to better serve home buyers.

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