(Topic ID: 232957)

Node Boards- Update- Stern tech fixes issue via email


By shacklersrevenge

9 months ago



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There are 744 posts in this topic. You are on page 15 of 15.
#701 8 months ago

If they keep any version of the node board style system I hope they at least make them generic so they can be swapped out game to game. No reason for them being game specific.

#702 8 months ago
Quoted from goingincirclez:

So SPIKE is now going into 5 years' production for standard machines, and might be considered 7-8 years if you count "The Pins". Both timeframes have historic precedent as a complete run for a pinball platform. SAM was approx. 8 years. Whitestar about the same. B/W platforms generally went roughly 5 years or so from System 6/7 to System9 /11 to WPC to WPC 95 and so on.
When SPIKE was developed, LED bulbs were the "new" thing and since then we've seen widespread adoption of LCD/HD video, better sound, more complex light shows and feature integration... How much more overhead is available in SPIKE to drive now-common (or future) enhancements and innovations? After all, someone pointed out that PC_based platforms are driving most of Stern's most compelling competition. There must be a reason.
Anyone think Stern is readying the successor to SPIKE, and the long-delayed release of schematics signals its end of life ("We're done here so here you go, have fun...")? Perhaps Stern has something larger in the works. I mean they'd have to, right... but maybe it's more imminent than we think...?

Combine that with the talks about Stern games going online, I think Spike 3 will launch within two to three years. Hopefully they learned enough about what causes node board failures (design, updates, placement on the game, vibrations, etc...) to make the successor better. I'm going to be super bummed if Jaws comes out soon and I can't buy it because of FUD related to Spike.

-1
#703 8 months ago

Yup, I guess Spike3 or whatever it will be called is coming.
're UK distributor there is only Electrocoin, but from I can gather, they are not interested in selling to Joe Public, so we get them from Pinball Heaven, who I believe have to pay Electrocoin a cut even tho they don't have a lot To do with the sale,knock on is well expensive pin prices in UK that, I guess Americans wouldn't believe or tolerate

#704 8 months ago
Quoted from goingincirclez:

So SPIKE is now going into 5 years' production for standard machines, and might be considered 7-8 years if you count "The Pins". Both timeframes have historic precedent as a complete run for a pinball platform. SAM was approx. 8 years. Whitestar about the same. B/W platforms generally went roughly 5 years or so from System 6/7 to System9 /11 to WPC to WPC 95 and so on.

Whitestar was basically 10 years.. and should be counted as earlier as it was a derrivative of the DE platform.
SAM was 8.. and really only stopped because of the switch to the modular spike.
SPIKE has already gone through one major bump to support the LCDs in SPIKE2..
SPIKE2 is roughly 2.5yrs old

SPIKE is designed to be modular.. so in theory it should have longer legs than prior integrated systems as you just change out the driver, rather than the whole platform.

Sterns manuals have gone to shit for the last few years... so them not releasing diagrams also fits right into that mold too. Stern has a formula that had been carried over from the DE/Sega games with their manuals.. and around 2013 they just went to garbage.

#705 8 months ago

Hmm. I wasn't sure if SPIKE v. SPIKE2 are considered unique platforms to themselves, or simple revisions along the lines of Sys11/11a/b/c and so on.

I didn't realize Whitestar went that long. Wow! That's impressive. If it ain't broke don't fix it, eh?

#706 8 months ago
Quoted from goingincirclez:

Hmm. I wasn't sure if SPIKE v. SPIKE2 are considered unique platforms to themselves, or simple revisions along the lines of Sys11/11a/b/c and so on.
I didn't realize Whitestar went that long. Wow! That's impressive. If it ain't broke don't fix it, eh?

The CPU node was the big change with SPIKE2 and it's not like the can't make newer node boards with the same V2 cpu.

#707 8 months ago
Quoted from Durzel:

I know of at least 2 official ones. Hard to say for sure since Stern have pulled the distributor page. I can't find it anywhere on their website anymore.
EDIT: I might be thinking of retailers. There's at least 3 retailers, and it seems Electrocoin appears to be the exclusive distributor in the UK, so perhaps the Aussie situation isn't unusual.

yep like here several agents or resellers like pinball heaven is for electrocoin the distrbutor

#708 8 months ago

Earlier platforms came in a time when embedded processing was still in its infancy and the performance increase of newer parts was huge. WPC machines were pretty much on the limit of what the cpu performance made possible. Just look at how you can slow down attract mode DMD playback on a WPC machine by hammering the flipper buttons ^^
Technology has advanced big time since then, look at what cheap ARM based CPUs in your phones can do now or even 10 years ago..
If I remember correctly the WPC Motorola CPU ran at 2MHz with a few kB RAM at its side.
Spike 1 runs on a 400MHz CPU with 64MB RAM, Spike 2 offers much more since it has to do video processing. Linux eats more of that than a dedicated low level framework has. But for a pinball game that mainly has to read switches, process through a game statemachine and send out a few commands to node board that do the simpler low level stuff, this is plenty. Unless Stern plans to do onboard 3D rendering there is no reason why Spike should be replaced anytime soon.

The main reason for others to go PC based is probably availability and ease of use. Building an embedded OS and especially the hardware it requires (or many in the case of a distributed system such as Spike) is an immense effort and requires well trained specialists. Using a readily available PROC takes all that out of the process. Even building a custom serially controlled driver/interface board with a USB interface from scratch is much less effort. Last but not least using a PC platform allows for easier and faster prototyping/testing since you can program on the same architecture that is going to run your code.

#709 8 months ago
Quoted from cynric:

Earlier platforms came in a time when embedded processing was still in its infancy and the performance increase of newer parts was huge. WPC machines were pretty much on the limit of what the cpu performance made possible

WPC used the 6809... which even in 1992 was 24 yrs old. It ran at a whopping 2Mhz. Williams themselves had been using the processor for a DECADE by the time they made WPC. And that's probably why they used it.. familiarity, price, and fast interrupt performance. Pinball wasn't bleeding edge of hardware anymore by the WPC era like arcades had been previously during the SS transition and heading into the arcade boom.

For comparison... intel had the 486 by this time.. doing 40MIPS. But pinball wasn't built to need to run high frequencies... it was built to do small things on demand quickly.

Now we shove all the hardware designs into software.. so we need more footprint.

#710 8 months ago
Quoted from goingincirclez:

So SPIKE is now going into 5 years' production for standard machines, and might be considered 7-8 years if you count "The Pins". Both timeframes have historic precedent as a complete run for a pinball platform. SAM was approx. 8 years. Whitestar about the same. B/W platforms generally went roughly 5 years or so from System 6/7 to System9 /11 to WPC to WPC 95 and so on.
When SPIKE was developed, LED bulbs were the "new" thing and since then we've seen widespread adoption of LCD/HD video, better sound, more complex light shows and feature integration... How much more overhead is available in SPIKE to drive now-common (or future) enhancements and innovations? After all, someone pointed out that PC_based platforms are driving most of Stern's most compelling competition. There must be a reason.
Anyone think Stern is readying the successor to SPIKE, and the long-delayed release of schematics signals its end of life ("We're done here so here you go, have fun...")? Perhaps Stern has something larger in the works. I mean they'd have to, right... but maybe it's more imminent than we think...?

Maybe the next system will have the protections and brick-avoiding features that the pinheads in this thread are seeing as missing.

1 week later
#711 8 months ago

Close-ups of a failed Node 8. Shaker motor would not work. Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast (Premium/LE)

Node8Back.jpgNode8FrontLowerLeftQuadrant.jpgNode8FrontLowerRightQuadrant.jpgNode8FrontUpperLeftQuadrant.jpgNode8FrontUpperRightQuadrant.jpg
#712 8 months ago
Quoted from YeOldPinPlayer:

Close-ups of a failed Node 8. Shaker motor would not work. Iron Maiden: Legacy of the Beast (Premium/LE)
[quoted image][quoted image][quoted image][quoted image][quoted image]

This one has an obvious programming port on the back, im pretty sure it says isp?

#713 8 months ago

Yup chalk another up here. Node 10. It’s causing the right orbit and subway lock optos to not work.

At first I noticed there was no blinking yellow LED on the board so wondered if the Ethernet cable was bad. Switched it out and no go.

A question to any savvy coders out there as I am definitely not one so excuse my ignorance: Does all the SPIKE system software run off the same framework or backbone and then the coders build on top of that for each game?

Reason I ask is that most of the boards gone from down this way seems to be after a code update from what I have been told (could be false info) I wondered if someone had updated something or fixed a bug in the framework that might cause failures across different games. BM66, GOTG, IMDN etc?

#714 8 months ago

If Stern did this, it is a rooky mistake, so, I don't think anyone would update a framework destined for all their existing machines and not test it in all their machines, that kind of “money savings” to cut testing time and costs is like aiming directly at your big toe and pulling the trigger...

1 week later
#715 7 months ago

schematics this week ?

#716 7 months ago
Quoted from Jim-Beam:

schematics this week ?

Two days!

The heavens will open, trumpets will sound and the seas will part.

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#717 7 months ago
Quoted from Jim-Beam:

schematics this week ?

Ha, I'm laughing already. I think all we'll get from Stern is more promises.

#719 7 months ago

It's not schematics of every board or every incarnation of each board.

#720 7 months ago
Quoted from KenLayton:

It's not schematics of every board or every incarnation of each board.

No, but it’s more than what we had yesterday.

#721 7 months ago
Quoted from schudel5:

Two days!
The heavens will open, trumpets will sound and the seas will part.[quoted image]

As long as I'm not forced to eat two of Robin's Minstrels. LOL

#722 7 months ago
Quoted from flynnibus:

WPC used the 6809... which even in 1992 was 24 yrs old.

I think you're off by about ten years

3 months later
#723 4 months ago

bumping this thread. Picked up a nice GB that was routed...the 3 P-K-E insert lights for the skill shot lanes up top are not lighting....swapped out the small led board with a known good one and prb still there...looks like it could be a the Node 8 board? anyway to double check or do I just buy one ? thx for any help.

#724 4 months ago

Nah, that doesn't make sense. The serial expansion LED boards drive a couple of LEDs from a serial protocol, the node board can only be the problem if all of them are out and replacing the LED board didn't do the trick.
Sounds like something more trivial to me, maybe the 3 LEDs' power is daisy chained and has broken off somewhere?

#725 4 months ago
Quoted from cynric:

Nah, that doesn't make sense. The serial expansion LED boards drive a couple of LEDs from a serial protocol, the node board can only be the problem if all of them are out and replacing the LED board didn't do the trick.
Sounds like something more trivial to me, maybe the 3 LEDs' power is daisy chained and has broken off somewhere?

thx....yeah as far as I can tell its just those 3 so I will look closer...I think I can check for voltage at the mini led board at each insert

#726 4 months ago

borygard Rob Anthony has has quite a bit of success fixing spike boards. We have to but not as much as he has!

JJ

#727 4 months ago
Quoted from Gexchange:

borygard Rob Anthony has has quite a bit of success fixing spike boards. We have to but not as much as he has!
JJ

Thx for all the help. Problem found. Issue is the Left drop stand up led board 520-6992. Looks like signal or voltage travels through these boards. When I swapped with a good one problem is solved....Board is like $150 at Marco. Worth repairing if possible or just buy one? Any place cheaper?

#728 4 months ago
Quoted from billsfanmd:

Thx for all the help. Problem found. Issue is the Left drop stand up led board 520-6992. Looks like signal or voltage travels through these boards. When I swapped with a good one problem is solved....Board is like $150 at Marco. Worth repairing if possible or just buy one? Any place cheaper?

We were working on a Metallica that had a supplemental LED board under the playfield that we traced the problem to. Pressure on the board would cause it to work intermittently indicating a cold/cracked solder joint. We carefully tried to reflow the solder on some SMD resistors and one shot off the board into oblivion. Replaced it with just a standard 1/4W resistor of the same resistance and the game has been working great since.

#729 4 months ago
Quoted from AUKraut:

We were working on a Metallica that had a supplemental LED board under the playfield that we traced the problem to. Pressure on the board would cause it to work intermittently indicating a cold/cracked solder joint. We carefully tried to reflow the solder on some SMD resistors and one shot off the board into oblivion. Replaced it with just a standard 1/4W resistor of the same resistance and the game has been working great since.

yeah when I removed board and flipped it over its amazing how small everything is and how delicate the traces are. Even removing it and packing it up for shipping could cause issues

#730 4 months ago

Are some nodes for Kiss unavailable currently? I ask because I have a client that wants me to find him one.

#731 4 months ago

Just to se what I could find I ran continuity check across these 2 conn. I get cont on all of them except Mosi. Not sure if that’s my prob but guess it could be bad trace.

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#732 4 months ago
Quoted from billsfanmd:

Even removing it and packing it up for shipping could cause issues

Don't worry! Computer motherboards have been using SMT since the 80s, without fear of removing/installing or shipping.

#733 4 months ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

It sucks. I like the node board concept As they are selling these things to more inexperienced newbies than ever and it’s the easiest way to “repair” games for people with little or no tech skills.
But get the price down or make them more serviceable.

I think the node board concept is a freekin disaster for everybody, but maybe stern in the short run. In the long run it probebly is a deathblow to them aswell.

A modern pinball obviously costs lots of money, which is understandable, since players expect more advanced blingies and deeper rulesets, but there is no reason to rely on small series of non easily replaceable electronics.

If the pinball manufacturers wishes to survive and ask the customers to bare the costs of theese wonderful machines. Playfields need to last and parts needs to be accesable over time and easy to change.

My dreamsetup as a customer is a windows computer and adding to that a controller card for all the lights and outgoing stuff(like motors for toys), all theese can be dmx controlled, which makes the board a breeze to change and securing lasting spares. Then you need an additional board for sensory input for switches and such. theese boards could also ofc be standardized.

When the prerequisites are met from the manufacturers, we customers can buy theese expensive pieces of art, fully confident that they will last.

Spike is the exact opposite of this concept.

#734 4 months ago
Quoted from oldskool1969:

You can repair them if you know how.
You need new tools for surface mount PCB,s.
Everyone is worried about new tech at first. Electronics is changing so quick.

Good luck repair multilayer circuit boards with integrated transistors and components.
Good fucking luck.

#735 4 months ago
Quoted from Bublehead:

I heard Roger Sharpe say something one time that Bally/Williams biggest competitor was older Bally/Williams machines. This may be coming true with Stern and Spike now as well.

This is somewhat true. I´m looking at buying a walking dead if i can make my family( Wife ) accept the artwork (we have three small kids), but i would never buy a spike machine. In fact i think spike can be the nail in the coffin for stern (pun intenden).

On that topic, who in their right mind would buy a used spike?

It will be interesting to see. Williams et al seems to hold their value, and stern sam´s seems to do fine on the used market.
How do you think Spike will fare?

#736 4 months ago
Quoted from iceman44:

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

Do not buy board?

After all the customers are in charge.

#737 4 months ago
Quoted from Dr-pin:

I think the node board concept is a freekin disaster for everybody, but maybe stern in the short run. In the long run it probebly is a deathblow to them aswell.
A modern pinball obviously costs lots of money, which is understandable, since players expect more advanced blingies and deeper rulesets, but there is no reason to rely on small series of non easily replaceable electronics.
If the pinball manufacturers wishes to survive and ask the customers to bare the costs of theese wonderful machines. Playfields need to last and parts needs to be accesable over time and easy to change.
My dreamsetup as a customer is a windows computer and adding to that a controller card for all the lights and outgoing stuff(like motors for toys), all theese can be dmx controlled, which makes the board a breeze to change and securing lasting spares. Then you need an additional board for sensory input for switches and such. theese boards could also ofc be standardized.
When the prerequisites are met from the manufacturers, we customers can buy theese expensive pieces of art, fully confident that they will last.
Spike is the exact opposite of this concept.

While I am no fan of spike, older bw games may be facing obsolescence. Many boards specific to games are no longer available. Unless someone is going to remake the boards, it could very well be that many games may be heading for the scrap heap.

#738 4 months ago
Quoted from Lermods:

While I am no fan of spike, older bw games may be facing obsolescence. Many boards specific to games are no longer available. Unless someone is going to remake the boards, it could very well be that many games may be heading for the scrap heap.

Agreed. Some of the older games are somewhat protected, due to large series and still lots of them beeing around.
I also think that older boards are built more robust, if not so advanced.

#739 4 months ago

we’re already seeing older games being un-repairable. Shaq attack (might be a poor example) has a scoreboard inside the game. The chip for that board is obsolete and unobtainable. I highly doubt that chip will ever be made again. So, these games are not yet unplayable, but more and more we’re seeing old tech become impossible to replace. Eventually more and more of these old parts will become impossible to find. Better stock up now if your hoping to keep old games running forever.

Evolution is inevitable, your ability to adapt isn’t.

#740 4 months ago

SMD is small and cheap to buy/assemble, though hole is expensive buy/assemble, i cant see stern going backwards with there board technology any time soon. They just need to stop ripping people off when it goes wrong and offer replacements for more reasonable prices then no one would have a problem. Also maybe engineer them slightly better so they don't screw up so often

#741 4 months ago

I do not own any Spike games for just the reasons above. From what I understand, when a node board fails, the game stops working and the user is faced with the difficult task of determining what has failed. In my view, the Spike game‘s diagnostic system needs to indicate which node board has failed. This, together with long term easy availability of replacement boards, could make Spike a winning system. As it stands, Spike seems like a way to minimize cable looms and assembly time.

#742 4 months ago
Quoted from russdx:

SMD is small and cheap to buy/assemble, though hole is expensive buy/assemble, i cant see stern going backwards with there board technology any time soon.

I would gladly pay extra for all through hole electronics. It‘s not like there‘s not enough space in a pin. How much more can it cost? $200-300?

#743 4 months ago
Quoted from Luckydogg420:

we’re already seeing older games being un-repairable. Shaq attack (might be a poor example) has a scoreboard inside the game. The chip for that board is obsolete and unobtainable. I highly doubt that chip will ever be made again. So, these games are not yet unplayable, but more and more we’re seeing old tech become impossible to replace. Eventually more and more of these old parts will become impossible to find. Better stock up now if your hoping to keep old games running forever.
Evolution is inevitable, your ability to adapt isn’t.

This would have been manageable if the manufacturers took longevity into the production design, but mostly it´s the other way around.
I think the reason is that unique parts with special traits requires original spare parts, from which the companies can benefit and explore the customers even more.

Example: The smaug head in the hobbit. Seems to break now and then, costs 500$ to replace. Where will owners be in 10 years if jjp went belly up, or decide not to support the game anymore?

Now if the head itself was sturdy normal plastic attached to the playfield via a standard ball barring controlled via two normal rc-servos and switches. It would have been fixable forever.

#744 4 months ago
Quoted from branlon8:

I would gladly pay extra for all through hole electronics. It‘s not like there‘s not enough space in a pin. How much more can it cost? $200-300?

The electronics industry is killing off through hole, you will only find it on high current / components that need extra support like heavy duty connectors etc...

It's far far cheaper to have a pick and place machine populate the boards then mess around with through hole (you can get machines to populate / solder through hole but it's extra process)

wanna keep cost down use as much smd as possible and boards as small as possible. Sadly complete opposite of what you want if your trying to repair

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