(Topic ID: 232957)

Node Boards- Update- Stern tech fixes issue via email


By shacklersrevenge

5 months ago



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There are 744 posts in this topic. You are on page 3 of 15.
#101 5 months ago

I think you could reverse engineer the boards if you put the time in and just create your own. The biggest problem is what software is on the microcontroller on the boards. Without that the board is a brick. They will have almost certainly added some sort of read protect so you cant just dump the firmware to clone it. Without the firmware, the schematics / reverse engineering the boards is pointless

SMD repair is not impossible its actually quite easy with the correct tools / knowledge to do it and im not sure how many pinball techs have this? As time moves on im sure more and more will become skilled in this area due to everything is smd these days.

#102 5 months ago
Quoted from mbwalker:

Looking at my pictures, and without seeing the backside, I would think this is a multilayer PWB. If it was just two, chances are there would be 0 ohm resistors scattered about to serve as jumpers to bridge across a trace blocking the path. Don't see any.
In my line of work...+10 layers has been about the norm for +3 decades. I even did a RF simulation on a 26 layer PWB once for a co-worker, to ensure the vias maintained a 50 ohm impedance. I've even seen buried parts INSIDE layers due to performance and density requirements.
At some point resistors will just be the resistive material deposited directly on the board. Not even a discrete part.

And what do you think about repairing Spike node boards?

#103 5 months ago
Quoted from cooked71:

And what do you think about repairing Spike node boards?

id be surprised if they was more then 2 layers they are not complicated so dont need 4 layers (if they do its lazy routing or emi issues etc...) any one got high res photos of a common node board? (i don't own any spike games)

#104 5 months ago
Quoted from ForceFlow:

Also a good way to potentially expose one's self to a class action lawsuit...
Profiting off a flaw/defect in your own product? That's probably not a good position to be in, especially if customers are getting irate about it.

Are you listening Stern? Better get this shit figured out. Your customers already have a place to unite and discuss their common complaints, and the pinball crowd has came together before to sue.

-1
#105 5 months ago

I think you should give Stern the opportunity to help fix your problem. Chas is a fantastic customer service rep and he does a great job helping thousands of customers every year. He offered to have you send it in and have them take a look at it. This is the first step to getting it fixed. Does it suck that you will have some down time without playing your new game? Yes it does, but sometimes you have to bite the bullet and do what the manufacturer recommends. Am I justifying the proprietary node board design-no I am not. I think it is a flawed design that needs to be corrected. You can write off Stern and all Spike games or you can conform and work with them. Get a hold of Betson and start a warranty claim ticket, then send it into Stern for diagnosis and repair(may be surprised on turnaround time). If you do not have the time or patience then buying another board is your only option. I do think it stinks and I do wish you the best of luck.

#106 5 months ago

Another concern with this system is lack of fuses.
I had a sw pin a while back that was used in a party. Walked by and could hear some chattering. Opened game and pop bumper coil was almost burned up as its switch was too close. Not sure what wouldve happened if the coil fried. No fuse protection for these games as they age seems like a risk to me.

#107 5 months ago
Quoted from Luckydogg420:

and the pinball crowd has came together before to sue.

And I could really benefit from another series of Soundcloud court hearings. Those were some of my best days at work over the past few years.

#108 5 months ago
Quoted from Yoko2una:

And I could really benefit from another series of Soundcloud court hearings. Those were some of my best days at work over the past few years.

I also look forward to pictures of the backs of any ne'er do wells associated with any potential scandals at play here.

#109 5 months ago
Quoted from pinballplusMN:

Another concern with this system is lack of fuses.
I had a sw pin a while back that was used in a party. Walked by and could hear some chattering. Opened game and pop bumper coil was almost burned up as its switch was too close. Not sure what wouldve happened if the coil fried. No fuse protection for these games as they age seems like a risk to me.

There is a Star wars on location where I play a monthly tournament.
During a 4 player game the machine went into this weird slow motion style thing and stopped scoring. Lights where blinking very slow.
We rebooted the machine and it didn't turn on.
Turns out it need a node board replacement

1 month later at the next tournament the machine was working again, (new node board) but a massive cluster of insert LEDs where out....The Node board obviously controller these but everything else worked. I told the guys and they said they never realised....
They reseated all the cables and nothing happened.

Today I saw the machine again and the LEDs are still out. I asked what the deal was as they said that apparently the LED boards are fried after the NODE board went. Has anyone ever had that happen? Surely a Node board cannot fry every single LED board it is connected to

#110 5 months ago
Quoted from FalconPunch:

There is a Star wars on location where I play a monthly tournament.
During a 4 player game the machine went into this weird slow motion style thing and stopped scoring. Lights where blinking very slow.
We rebooted the machine and it didn't turn on.
Turns out it need a node board replacement
1 month later at the next tournament the machine was working again, (new node board) but a massive cluster of insert LEDs where out....The Node board obviously controller these but everything else worked. I told the guys and they said they never realised....
They reseated all the cables and nothing happened.
Today I saw the machine again and the LEDs are still out. I asked what the deal was as they said that apparently the LED boards are fried after the NODE board went. Has anyone ever had that happen? Surely a Node board cannot fry every single LED board it is connected to

No fuses = fry fest

#111 5 months ago
Quoted from FalconPunch:

There is a Star wars on location where I play a monthly tournament.
During a 4 player game the machine went into this weird slow motion style thing and stopped scoring. Lights where blinking very slow.
We rebooted the machine and it didn't turn on.
Turns out it need a node board replacement
1 month later at the next tournament the machine was working again, (new node board) but a massive cluster of insert LEDs where out....The Node board obviously controller these but everything else worked. I told the guys and they said they never realised....
They reseated all the cables and nothing happened.
Today I saw the machine again and the LEDs are still out. I asked what the deal was as they said that apparently the LED boards are fried after the NODE board went. Has anyone ever had that happen? Surely a Node board cannot fry every single LED board it is connected to

Not being facetious but why wouldn't it fry everything it's connected to? That's exactly the sort of behaviour fuses exist to protect against.

#112 5 months ago

Unfortunately the SW I play in town also has lot a good many central playfield insert lights, could be due to the same thing. I think a node board went, it was replaced, and still the lights are out/fried?

Really unfortunate. I was hoping it was just a loose connection or something.

So much for "easy quick repairs" if you are now soldering in (?) 20+ light boards? IF that is true (and someone please chime in if it isn't) the SPIKE system is even more of a fail than I thought...

REALLY unfortunate on so many levels, and some of the Spike games so far are really good home games IMO . Not worth $1000+ Canadian repair bills IMO, so really unfortunate they did not commit to cheap low cost replacements if they were also committing to a disposable and unfused design.

#113 5 months ago
Quoted from WackyBrakke:

No fuses = fry fest

I believe the boards for spike are internally fused. If a short is detected, they shut down. Once the short is cleared, you reboot and they come back up.

#114 5 months ago
Quoted from Lermods:

I believe the boards for spike are internally fused. If a short is detected, they shut down. Once the short is cleared, you reboot and they come back up.

I think that is the best case scenario; others seem to have described situations where the "board" was the fuse and got taken out faster than it could shut down... but without Stern just being transparent about how they work and how they fail we are left with more speculation.

#115 5 months ago
Quoted from russdx:

id be surprised if they was more then 2 layers they are not complicated so dont need 4 layers (if they do its lazy routing or emi issues etc...) any one got high res photos of a common node board? (i don't own any spike games)

As you mentioned, it really just comes down to how well the components routed to each other. Some areas, like the bottom of the photo below appear to flow really well and looks like 2 layer would cut it. The larger square chip towards the top has a lot of vias around it, seems like that would need more than the back layer for connections.

Looking at the board edge, can't see anything that points one way or the other.

pasted_image (resized).pngpasted_image (resized).png

#116 5 months ago
Quoted from shacklersrevenge:

When you pay $5000 real dollars (give or take) for a box of wood with a metal ball inside and the schematics to their pos boards aren’t out 3+ years later, let’s see how much you feel like getting your nipples twisted.

Sorry, wasn’t intentionally trying to twist them further, but I do agree, spending $5k for a box full of cracker jack toys and node boards which are unfit for the duty cycle is asking a bit much for something that is purchased as an entertainment device. The problem here is, $5K is a lot of money for a toy, but a pinball machine was never meant to be a toy. It was meant to be a means to make a living. Now $5K for a box of cracker jack toys and node boards that DO work so it continues to make money, that SHOULD be what we are buying and why nipples should be twisted. $219 bucks to fix node board error on a single switch, failed firmware updates, and the like is what we have to work with here without schematics. Seems figuring out how to repair them cheaply or manufacture robust replacements would be our best use of a thread, since I don’t see anyone changing this paradigm at Stern any time soon.

#117 5 months ago
Quoted from Lermods:

I believe the boards for spike are internally fused. If a short is detected, they shut down. Once the short is cleared, you reboot and they come back up.

I don't think that is the case. They just have the ability to read current and voltage. If a failure and surge is detected, there is supposed to be a software 'fuse' and the game shuts down or the node down before before the failure cascades. In practice it doesn't seem to work very well, and even if it does, the culprit node itself is often totally blown.

#118 5 months ago
Quoted from Bublehead:

but a pinball machine was never meant to be a toy.

???

Pinball is first and foremost a toy...

#119 5 months ago
Quoted from Whysnow:

???
Pinball is first and foremost a toy...

Disagree.

#120 5 months ago
Quoted from cooked71:

And what do you think about repairing Spike node boards?

The surface mounted devices (SMD) are not really hard to replace. Actually usually easier than thru hole. Plenty of threads around here on that topic. Exceptions would be the large multi-pin digital chips. That would require some different desoldering tools, but not really out of reach for most here. Ball Grid Arrays (BGA's) are entirely different story tho. Need some expensive specialized equipment for that. Not just the removal, but for the install as well.

Someone mentioned the real possibility of propriety code in the chips. That would be a show stopper. Can you buy the chip...probably, no big deal. Do you have to code to load in it? Nope...you're done.

Without schematics tho, you'd likely end up chasing your tail just figuring out what goes where. Then if there's internal layers, at some point you just write a check for a new board and call it a day. The FET and associated parts for the solenoids looks like that might be fairly straight forward to figure out.

#121 5 months ago
Quoted from rubberducks:

The laughter is likely nervous laughter.
He'd probably like to help, but can't.

This^^^

Definitely a nervous laughter. He certainly wasn't laughing at you; I've spoken with him numerous times about difficult situations, and you can certainly tell it was just nerves.

#122 5 months ago

From my experience, we have three issues here that could be the culprit... bad design, bad parts, or bad assembly. The churning rev levels tell the story... the timing loop for the uC and it’s ability to shut down the board before damage occurs is a failed design in my opinion. More than likely, what happens is major board malfunction occurs which burps the uC, it locks up, and if no watchdog timer shutdown occurs (does it have a watchdog?), the auto shutdown of the board via software is blocked. The failure goes beyond thermal limits, and the magic smoke is released. I am thinking the design continues to evolve based on failure modes seen in the field. Like most things, the service techs will likely figure it out before the EE’s do because they are in the trenches trying to keep the machines on site making money.

#123 5 months ago

So...they tried to engineer a way to not have fuses?

#124 5 months ago
Quoted from ForceFlow:

So...they tried to engineer a way to not have fuses?

Yeah, because circuit breakers are too exspensive, and I guess ops got tired of paying for and replacing fuses?!?

Wait.. its those fuses!!! I bet RoHS leadfree fuses are expensive, so they had to get rid of them...

#125 5 months ago

that node board honestly doesnt look to scary. standard outline surface mount chips.

if something goes out in my iron maiden I will try and fix it. I havent even had to life the playfield up yet tho.

#126 5 months ago

Stern and Spike seem to be getting the ire, but are the other pinball makers making their games easier to repair?

It seems to me that JJP (at least beginning with DI) is more like the older games - the brains, contollers, drivers in the backbox and the mechanical stuff on the playfield - with lots of wires. What about MMr - doesn’t that have driver transistors under the playfield - but I guess maybe the logic stays in the backbox? What about the P-Roc systems?

Is repairability an important argument when selecting a new pin? Should it be?

What strikes me as being scary about the Spike system is the difficulty in identifying the defect part, if the game shuts down, how do you even know which node board has broken down ? With the older games, everything still works (mostly) except the part which doesn’t - makes diagnosis easier.

Paying a higher amount to replace a module doesn’t bother me that much (if I save a lot of diagnosis and repair time) - assuming long term availability of the modules - and this bugs me a bit as I perceive Stern isn’t doing much on the communication front to inform us about this. If I were to buy a GB today, what are the prospects in 10 years of keeping it running ? (because I like to keep games a long time) - and when I have a positive answer to this then I’ll probably buy one.

#127 5 months ago
Quoted from mbwalker:

As you mentioned, it really just comes down to how well the components routed to each other. Some areas, like the bottom of the photo below appear to flow really well and looks like 2 layer would cut it. The larger square chip towards the top has a lot of vias around it, seems like that would need more than the back layer for connections.
Looking at the board edge, can't see anything that points one way or the other.
[quoted image][quoted image]

looks like 2 layer to me nothing there warrants a 4 layer board, the vias most likley pop out on the bottom and are routed some where else.

#128 5 months ago
Quoted from ForceFlow:

So...they tried to engineer a way to not have fuses?

By no means trying to take Stern's side here. Just more of a FYI.

That's actually not unheard of in some areas of industry. Some things need protected right away, and even fast blow fuses are slow. mS slow. Fuses might even still be there, but's it more of a last ditch effort to prevent damage from becoming really big damage.

There's circuitry out there which monitors current and can shut down a 'pass transistor' (the transistor that supplies the voltage) very quickly if needed. Even in uS. These same parts can do double duty and help prevent inrush current at power up.

Of course, I doubt if Stern utilizes this circuitry. Wouldn't take much to spot it on the board tho if a person can read the chip numbers and nobody's mentioned it yet.

#129 5 months ago
Quoted from russdx:

looks like 2 layer to me nothing there warrants a 4 layer board, the vias most likley pop out on the bottom and are routed some where else.

No doubt about it tho - 2 layers would be cheaper. And Stern appears to excel at being a penny pincher. Simply using some 0 ohms resistors for jumpers are a lot cheaper than adding layers! Done it myself plenty of times.

#130 5 months ago

I don't see this as being anti new technology. True every manufacturer is going to surface mount electronics and various boards spread throughout the machine. Thing is all you mostly hear about are Stern node boards failing..........

#131 5 months ago

Fix it... Hell, for $220 I think you could just undercut Stern and make the damn node boards yourself. If they are failing so often, just order 100 of them from China and sell the rest on eBay. Better still, sell the rest to Stern.

#132 5 months ago
Quoted from mbwalker:

No doubt about it tho - 2 layers would be cheaper. And Stern appears to excel at being a penny pincher. Simply using some 0 ohms resistors for jumpers are a lot cheaper than adding layers! Done it myself plenty of times.

yeah or just switch layers with vias usually how 2 layer boards are routed zero ohm resister trick is used alot on 1 layer boards

#133 5 months ago
Quoted from MrBally:

Of course route ops pay somewhat less for their parts.

Where is this store and what’s the password? I don’t get any special break on parts.

#134 5 months ago

Just to add to this thread, I posted this issue in the Aerosmith owners thread. I thought I would post it in here as well just to let everyone know of my type of issue with the CPU board. The most current UPDATE, is my friend is waiting for yet another board to be sent back to him. The replacement board Stern sent him had no backbox lights. He had to ship his "new" board that he just bought, back to them before they would send out another......Thats not good customer service in my opinion.

From AS thread:

I have a friend that bought a really nice AS pro with 143 plays on it. He's had it for about 2 weeks. Yesterday he was playing it and it Froze up. Then it wouldnt load at all. No lights and a blank screen. So I jumped in to try and help fix the problem. We got Stern on the phone and Chaz was a great help and totally patience with our questions. With Chaz on the phone we eliminated the problem being the power supply. I took the SD card and put it in mine and updated the code to the most recent. Went back to my friends house, put the SD card in and the game booted as normal. I played about 2 balls until it froze again. Pretty sure the problem is going to be his CPU board. My friend was calling Stern back for further instructions on what to do. Anyone seen this problem before?

UPDATE: My buddy had to buy and new CPU board from Stern...wasnt cheap. Stern said they couldnt fix the old board. That being said, he got the new board. I put it in and the backbox lights dont work. Anyone ever seen this before?

(response to a question)
My friend didnt tell me the price and I didnt ask. However I do know the price is somewhat negotiable. I think Stern will try and fix it first and if thats not possible then sell you a board. When I was on the phone with Chaz, he said they would work with my friend.

#135 5 months ago

I hope they have more people than Chaz, because nothing burns out a person faster than having to be the funnel for everyones issues - even worse if the company puts them in a position that they can't actually do anything but sell people a new part.

#136 5 months ago
Quoted from Zablon:

I hope they have more people than Chaz, because nothing burns out a person faster than having to be the funnel for everyones issues - even worse if the company puts them in a position that they can't actually do anything but sell people a new part.

Chaz was great. I feel he can only do so much with his hands tied.

#137 5 months ago

id be pretty pissed if i had to buy a new cpu board for a game with only 143 plays on it!!! thats ridiculous

#138 5 months ago
Quoted from bicyclenut:

Just to add to this thread, I posted this issue in the Aerosmith owners thread. I thought I would post it in here as well just to let everyone know of my type of issue with the CPU board. The most current UPDATE, is my friend is waiting for yet another board to be sent back to him. The replacement board Stern sent him had no backbox lights. He had to ship his "new" board that he just bought, back to them before they would send out another......Thats not good customer service in my opinion.
From AS thread:
I have a friend that bought a really nice AS pro with 143 plays on it. He's had it for about 2 weeks. Yesterday he was playing it and it Froze up. Then it wouldnt load at all. No lights and a blank screen. So I jumped in to try and help fix the problem. We got Stern on the phone and Chaz was a great help and totally patience with our questions. With Chaz on the phone we eliminated the problem being the power supply. I took the SD card and put it in mine and updated the code to the most recent. Went back to my friends house, put the SD card in and the game booted as normal. I played about 2 balls until it froze again. Pretty sure the problem is going to be his CPU board. My friend was calling Stern back for further instructions on what to do. Anyone seen this problem before?
UPDATE: My buddy had to buy and new CPU board from Stern...wasnt cheap. Stern said they couldnt fix the old board. That being said, he got the new board. I put it in and the backbox lights dont work. Anyone ever seen this before?
(response to a question)
My friend didn't tell me the price and I didnt ask. However I do know the price is somewhat negotiable. I think Stern will try and fix it first and if thats not possible then sell you a board. When I was on the phone with Chaz, he said they would work with my friend.

Did Stern recommend a new CPU board? So the game plays now, just no backbox lights?

#139 5 months ago
Quoted from mbwalker:

Did Stern recommend a new CPU board? So the game plays now, just no backbox lights?

Yes, Stern told me to send the board in and they would repair it if they could. Once they got it, they said they couldn't repair it and he had to buy a new board. He got the new board, I put it in and it played perfect. They even sent a new SD card with the latest coed on it along with his old board back. However, no backbox lights. I tired everything. They told him to sent the board back. So he did. He is now waiting for the new board to be shipped out.

#140 5 months ago
Quoted from branlon8:

Stern and Spike seem to be getting the ire, but are the other pinball makers making their games easier to repair?
It seems to me that JJP (at least beginning with DI) is more like the older games - the brains, contollers, drivers in the backbox and the mechanical stuff on the playfield - with lots of wires. What about MMr - doesn’t that have driver transistors under the playfield - but I guess maybe the logic stays in the backbox? What about the P-Roc systems?
Is repairability an important argument when selecting a new pin? Should it be?
What strikes me as being scary about the Spike system is the difficulty in identifying the defect part, if the game shuts down, how do you even know which node board has broken down ? With the older games, everything still works (mostly) except the part which doesn’t - makes diagnosis easier.
Paying a higher amount to replace a module doesn’t bother me that much (if I save a lot of diagnosis and repair time) - assuming long term availability of the modules - and this bugs me a bit as I perceive Stern isn’t doing much on the communication front to inform us about this. If I were to buy a GB today, what are the prospects in 10 years of keeping it running ? (because I like to keep games a long time) - and when I have a positive answer to this then I’ll probably buy one.

Schematics and sales volume would ensure that GB would be maintainable in 10 years time, long after Stern stopped caring about it or held realistic prospects of monetising it further.

I don't think it's exclusively a Stern thing, but I do think it's dangerous to engineer games in such a way that obsolescence or failure is "built in", in the sense that components that could be built to last longer, or be easier to reproduce, are explicitly not done that way because to do so would impact a secondary revenue stream.

Obviously it is working for Stern now because they are one of only a few players in the game, but one does consider the maxim that you can shear a sheep many times but you can only skin it once. Burn operators and consumers with egregious board costs and they might stop buying new Sterns entirely..

#141 5 months ago

One of the things I've done right now just to make it playable so that the reset coil for the drops shuts up is jumpered a wire to the 1st drop target. That way, when you get two targets down, it thinks the third dropped too and then on the reset it thinks all is good, since the original problem is that the right drop doesn't register as ''up'' on the reset.

What a shame over something so dumb, because the game is a lot of fun. The guy I know at Betson is currently reaching out to the guy he knows at Stern to see if he can help, and a tech via email (David Carver) is also trying to see what he can do. I'll keep the thread posted on any updates.

thanks

#142 5 months ago
Quoted from bicyclenut:

Yes, Stern told me to send the board in and they would repair it if they could. Once they got it, they said they couldn't repair it and he had to buy a new board. He got the new board, I put it in and it played perfect. They even sent a new SD card with the latest coed on it along with his old board back. However, no backbox lights. I tired everything. They told him to sent the board back. So he did. He is now waiting for the new board to be shipped out.

I had the CPU board replaced as well in our LE after the backbox lights went dim, then off after a while.

#143 5 months ago
Quoted from WackyBrakke:

Thing is all you mostly hear about are Stern node boards failing...

Because there isn't anything else to fail now, it's almost all on the node boards.

#144 5 months ago
Quoted from YeOldPinPlayer:

Because there isn't anything else to fail now, it's almost all on the node boards.

What I am saying is we don't hear about a lot of board failures in CGC remakes, or JJP's or Spooky machines. The vast majority are always Stern node boards.

#145 5 months ago
Quoted from WackyBrakke:

What I am saying is we don't hear about a lot of board failures in CGC remakes, or JJP's or Spooky machines. The vast majority are always Stern node boards.

Ive had a "over current detected" node board warning since day 1. Doesnt affect the game though....

#146 5 months ago

Honestly not sure why I'm even in this debate TBH. IDK what the problem is. IDK what the solution is. I just don't trust Spike and won't buy it. Other than that I'm just babbling here.

#147 5 months ago
Quoted from Rum-Z:

I swear George Gomez said that Stern would be releasing schematics on Spike node boards way back during Expo 2017 or something. I just remember reading this in passing and not paying too much attention to it other than thinking "Good". However, so far nothing has happened in regards to schematics, which makes me think that Stern has back tracked on this comment by Gomez, as they'd rather sell new boards at insane mark-ups than have schematics out there that might assist people in making their own repairs (if people are brave enough with surface mount work) or assist competitors in making more cost effective aftermarket replacement boards.
Someone has got schematics on them, as it would seem that Stern employees designed them and then supplied them to a board manufacturer that made the boards.

also no recovery SD card images or even an basic os image that load game code from usb.

#148 5 months ago
Quoted from rubberducks:

They've had all the documentation since WWE in January 2015. Or arguably Transformers The Pin (2012) or Avengers The Pin (2013). They wouldn't have been able to produce them otherwise.
They're withholding them for obvious reasons. They know they're unreliable (circuit diagrams will further reinforce the view that they're crap), and they're very cheap to produce and can charge massive amounts for them. Shitty boards failing are a revenue stream for them. They weren't with SAM.
Releasing all the documentation will hasten the production of 3rd party replacements, which would remove that revenue stream or force them to sell them for a fraction of the price (& to add fusing / breakers - as 3rd party solutions would).

call your congressman and demand right to repair laws to force that info to come out.

#149 5 months ago
Quoted from Lermods:

I believe the boards for spike are internally fused. If a short is detected, they shut down. Once the short is cleared, you reboot and they come back up.

Quoted from rubberducks:

I don't think that is the case. They just have the ability to read current and voltage. If a failure and surge is detected, there is supposed to be a software 'fuse' and the game shuts down or the node down before before the failure cascades. In practice it doesn't seem to work very well, and even if it does, the culprit node itself is often totally blown.

There are physical fuses on the nodes that have 48v according to this section from the WWE Wrestlemania (Pro) manual.

Spikefusesinfo (resized).png
#150 5 months ago
Quoted from shacklersrevenge:

SO finally got through to a guy named Chaz, and the exchange was polite.
I explained to him the issue, that it was ONE switch not working and how I troubleshot it, and I asked him if there was anything they could do.
Chaz: "'well...they're kind of designed a certain way that makes them very difficult to repair, not sure what we can do...maybe send it in, and we'll look at it...''
Me: Is there a way you can swap it out so there isn't a lot of down time?''
Chaz: "it's something you need to order from your distributorrrrrr, or parts supplierrrrrr, eeeeyah...I mean, we're goingggg to be offering the schematics for them soon, very sooooon, but they're not easy to repair..... but I mean, you can try....''
Me: So my game needs to be down for several weeks unless I spend $220 for a new one, that isn't really guaranteed to not fail like this one and it runs two of these things, which means the other one can or will fail eventually too probably, and there is no real way to repair it over ONE simple switch? I own 6 Stern machines and like what you guys do but this isn't really good work''
Chaz: Yeahhhh...well...I mean, that's really all we can do right now, not sure what else we can do...sorry you're having troubles (chuckles) but you'd have to buy a new board
...thanks for calling (chuckles a few times more) WTF?
Okay Stern, game on. I'll buy that new ridiculously overpriced board and keep the rest of money going forward and chuckle all the way to the bank! From now on, SAM or before works for me and I'll sing the song of your Stern node JUNK.
Adios boys!

sounds like what apple is doing now days.

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