(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 8 of 15.
#351 4 months ago
Quoted from schudel5:

Unless it's this version which is Spike. This version (The Pin) is what I was referring to in post #310.
[quoted image]

I'd sure like to see the inside of the backbox and the main cabinet pictures of that machine.

#352 4 months ago
Quoted from KenLayton:

I'd sure like to see the inside of the backbox and the main cabinet pictures of that machine.

3:45 to 12:00 is all about the inside stuff. Interestingly at around the 8:50 mark he talks about no manuals or schematics.

#353 4 months ago
Quoted from russdx:

Indeed, id be worried about selling a repo board with there firmware though as just asking for a lawsuit. Unless the end user some how installs it as technically they own the orignal.

That is why right to repair laws are needed. but any ways I think the DMCA has Exemptions for repair

#354 4 months ago

No node problems so far....
But you guys almost have me scared enough to start hoarding node boards!!! I can mark them up even more than stern! Ca-Ching!!
Oh, unless they happen to be pretty fucking reliable.
But most people prolly put hundreds of thousands of play in their house.

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#355 4 months ago

"I've been driving without a seat belt for 20 years and have never been hurt once. You guys are suckers!"

#356 4 months ago
Quoted from yancy:

"I've been driving without a seat belt for 20 years and have never been hurt once. You guys are suckers!"

Thread winner here. Well done

#357 4 months ago

For those of you convinced Stern will keep making all of these different node boards. Have a look around for an earlier generation SAM CPU 520-5246-00. Fortunately they are easy to repair

#358 4 months ago
Quoted from clg:

For those of you convinced Stern will keep making all of these different node boards. Have a look around for an earlier generation SAM CPU 520-5246-00. Fortunately they are easy to repair

Why wouldn't they, cheap to make and $$$ in revenue stream. 25 buck for a 2/3 hundred dollar part..... Shit id make these till the cows come home.

#359 4 months ago
Quoted from hoby1:

Why wouldn't they, cheap to make and $$$ in revenue stream. 25 buck for a 2/3 hundred dollar part..... Shit id make these till the cows come home.

Perhaps a later SAM board is backwards compatible?

#360 4 months ago
Quoted from DNO:

Perhaps a later SAM board is backwards compatible?

Unfortunately, no. The later 520-5246-02 board specifically lists the phrase "not backwards compatible"

#361 4 months ago
Quoted from hoby1:

Why wouldn't they, cheap to make and $$$ in revenue stream. 25 buck for a 2/3 hundred dollar part..... Shit id make these till the cows come home.

They will make some extras no doubt but how many? What if the initial run sells out? Is it worth a new run if they have to buy a minimum number and eat up cash and storage space?

#362 4 months ago

So, the black knight went on Kaneda’s Podcast and popped off about Stern Spike system and node boards.

It’s really difficult to know if he 100% knows what he’s talking about or if he knows enough to be dangerous and then just talks up the rest (or if he’s simply wading in total Uninformed BS)... but he’s throwing around phrases like “planned obsolescence” for Spike games. Then again, he also seems to make up words (“technicianal” I believe was dropped?)

What say you Stern?

Stern just got completely called out for basically selling $5-8k-plus games that carry hardware that (a) has early games - like KISS - with boards that are NLA or becoming scarce, and (b) suggestions that current games are going to end up in the same place.

Oh... add in the notion that the system is “half baked.”

I’d like to hear Stern come onto a podcast or a public forum and defend the electronics in its games... publicly commit to providing schematics or repair support... and discuss plans for games that have unique boards that are no longer made or available. Or at least directly address these concerns about Spike.

#363 4 months ago
Quoted from 27dnast:

he’s throwing around phrases like “planned obsolescence” for Spike games

In almost 50 years of living, I've found out that obsolescence happens on a frequent basis, whether it's planned or unplanned.

#364 4 months ago
Quoted from Rum-Z:

In almost 50 years of living, I've found out that obsolescence happens on a frequent basis, whether it's planned or unplanned.

I’m pretty much right there with you... know what you mean.

He’s saying that it’s planned, which from an electronics standpoint isn’t something we’ve seen in pinball. And he’s also indicating there’s a good shot that spike games could simply become paper weights due to a poorly conceived system... one that they might be only committed to supporting 8-10 years out. That’s a serious accusation against a company that’s selling high dollar value items to collectors.

I’d certainly like to hear why Stern has to say about this.

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#365 4 months ago
Quoted from 27dnast:

So, the black knight went on Kaneda’s Podcast and popped off about Stern Spike system and node boards.
It’s really difficult to know if he 100% knows what he’s talking about or if he knows enough to be dangerous and then just talks up the rest (or if he’s simply wading in total Uninformed BS)... but he’s throwing around phrases like “planned obsolescence” for Spike games.
What say you Stern?
Stern just got completely called out for basically selling $5-8k-plus games that carry hardware that (a) has early games with boards that are NLA... and suggestions that current games are going to end up in the same place.
Oh... add in the notion that the system is “half baked.”
I’d like to hear Stern come onto a podcast or a public forum and defend the electronics in its games... publicly commit to providing schematics or repair support... and discuss plans for games that have unique boards that are no longer made or available.

This issue needs to be addressed directly to Stern at TPF. It's frustrating to know what to do when you are interested in purchasing a Stern Spike 2 pinball machine. As someone who is not part of the pinball "clique," I have no qualms asking about the node board issue at TPF.

When it comes to Pinball podcasts, Kaneda is the only podcast that discusses these issues to where there's no point to listening to the "dime a dozen" podcasts who rarely talk about the problems of some of the current generation machines from all pinball manufactures. It's called accountability.

#366 4 months ago
Quoted from 27dnast:

I’m pretty much right there with you... know what you mean.

He’s saying that it’s planned. And he’s also indicating there’s a good shot that spike games could simply become paper weights due to a poorly conceived system... one that they might be showing a commitment to supporting 8-10 years out. That’s a serious accusation against a company that’s selling high dollar value items to collectors.

I’d certainly like to hear why Stern has to say about this.

I'd like to hear what Stern has to say as well. We had George Gomez giving a speech about the supposed benefits of the Spike system at it's introduction, and then he also mentioned that we'd be getting schematics (more than once), but that has not happened to this point, which concerns me. I would be interested in hearing what Stern has to say about their Spike system in retrospect, knowing what they know now, and answering some hardball questions, but what if they're actually displeased with Spike and the warranty repair issues it's had with board failures (and having to send out replacement boards and having to make system revisions on the fly). There's no way I can see them getting up in front of all of us and saying publicly "Sorry guys, we f*cked up here". They'd have to spin it so as to not cause panic among their best customers.

I also don't know how you could prove the planned obsolescence thing, unless you had some documentation of a Stern staff meeting where they were specifically talking about it as part of a plan. Without that, how could you prove obsolescence was on purpose and not just a natural technical evolution.

Man... it's too early in the morning to be using such long words repeatedly.

#367 4 months ago
Quoted from 27dnast:

And he’s also indicating there’s a good shot that spike games could simply become paper weights due to a poorly conceived system...

Worse case scenario, couldn’t you gut a spike system and install a P-roc board to run the machine. Re program the rules and wire it up. It’s a lot of work, but what’s stopping it from being done?

Quoted from Rum-Z:

I also don't know how you could prove the planned obsolescence thing,

The proof is in the pudding. The components they use, the support they give, and the boards design, these all add up to an answer. If the components remain available. If the support (schematics and boot code) is provided. If their boards can be serviced, then our answer will be that Stern has not planned there obsolescence. Anything short of providing full customer support would look like planned obsolescence when compared to every other generation of pinball games.

#368 4 months ago

At the very least Stern should be chastised for contributing to the e-waste problem. Make a product that can be fixed, not thrown away.

Reduce, reuse, recycle. Don’t throw out a node board and buy a new one, fix the problem.

#369 4 months ago
Quoted from 27dnast:

I’m pretty much right there with you... know what you mean.
He’s saying that it’s planned, which from an electronics standpoint isn’t something we’ve seen in pinball. And he’s also indicating there’s a good shot that spike games could simply become paper weights due to a poorly conceived system... one that they might be showing a commitment to supporting 8-10 years out. That’s a serious accusation against a company that’s selling high dollar value items to collectors.
I’d certainly like to hear why Stern has to say about this.

honestly it's no different than what Stern has been doing for all of the 2000s... the difference now is we have a board set that is changing FASTER and has a much lower confidence of long term reliability. Stern's history of supporting out of production products has been incredibly weak for a long time. When you add those factors together.. then it presents a new risk, but isn't necessarily a change in Stern's posture.

I don't really subscribe to the idea that Stern thinks it's a good idea and profit center to have unreliable products. Everyone loves to sell parts, but anyone in the actual business knows that service is freaking expensive to run and operate.. so anything that drives up that volume, typically is a losing proposition.. in both $$ and customer satisfaction.

now.. to the point of "stern doesn't care if their games don't last past 5-8 years... they want them to die off and require replacement" - that... I'd say there is potential for that point, but do I think stern is actually in that camp? I don't think so... they have to know their customer base is a repeat buyer... and not repeat buyers because they need to simply swap out the gear they have now (like the operator model..).

#370 4 months ago
Quoted from Luckydogg420:

The proof is in the pudding. The components they use, the support they give, and the boards design, these all add up to an answer. If the components remain available. If the support (schematics and boot code) is provided. If their boards can be serviced, then our answer will be that Stern has not planned there obsolescence. Anything short of providing full customer support would look like planned obsolescence when compared to every other generation of pinball games.

No

"failing" at something does not mean you INTENDED to "fail"
Failing to correct something does not necessarily mean you are INTENTIONALLY not fixing it

There is still a big difference between "failing to solve the systemic problem.." and "intentionally keeping the situation as it is"

Creating an arbitrary delivery and then saying "they didn't do that... so they clearly mean XYZ" is bogus. Stern may be holding back for a reason different than wanting people to buy replacements. You can't make it binary like that without actually knowing the conversation.

#371 4 months ago
Quoted from 27dnast:

So, the black knight went on Kaneda’s Podcast and popped off about Stern Spike system and node boards.
It’s really difficult to know if he 100% knows what he’s talking about or if he knows enough to be dangerous and then just talks up the rest (or if he’s simply wading in total Uninformed BS)... but he’s throwing around phrases like “planned obsolescence” for Spike games. Then again, he also seems to make up words (“technicianal” I believe was dropped?)
What say you Stern?
Stern just got completely called out for basically selling $5-8k-plus games that carry hardware that (a) has early games - like KISS - with boards that are NLA or becoming scarce... and suggestions that current games are going to end up in the same place.
Oh... add in the notion that the system is “half baked.”
I’d like to hear Stern come onto a podcast or a public forum and defend the electronics in its games... publicly commit to providing schematics or repair support... and discuss plans for games that have unique boards that are no longer made or available.

Here’s what we know, or at least I know:

1. Spike boards are harder to repair because they are surface mounted.
2. Spike boards are difficult to diagnose and repair due to lack of schematics.
3. The boards are more capable

Anything else is speculation, including:

1. Failure rates
2. Fragility of boards
3. Board availability now and in the future.

I suppose someone could call stern and ask if they have kiss boards in stock and how long they expect to have them. If I have a chance at tpf, I will ask about these unknowns.

#372 4 months ago
Quoted from Lermods:

Here’s what we know, or at least I know:

I suppose someone could call stern and ask if they have kiss boards in stock and how long they expect to have them. If I have a chance at tpf, I will ask about these unknowns.

FYI, current cabinet node boards work in KISS as I used the latest one when my original cabinet node board failed, they are backward compatible.

#373 4 months ago
Quoted from BrianBannon:

FYI, current cabinet node boards work in KISS as I used the latest one when my original cabinet node board failed, they are backward compatible.

Is that true across the board? Or are there any game specific kiss boards?

My understanding is that some games have some unique boards

#374 4 months ago

Planned obsolescence as a business concept doesn't work in pinball for one simple reason - the products that people are forced to replace don't exist in a newer, more robust (or whatever) form.

If my Tron breaks down, I want it to work again. I don't want to be told, for example, that "Iron Maiden is better tech, XYZ on the playfield has moved on so much". I don't want Iron Maiden, I want Tron. If I wanted Iron Maiden I'd buy Iron Maiden, as well as Tron, or instead of.

I get that companies need to make money, and planned obsolescence is an unspoken but widely practised tactic, but planned obsolescence doesn't work in pinball because the theme is a critical part of the attraction.

Apple - for example - come out with new, faster iPhones and laptops and what-have-you every year, and the last one - which until the day before the keynote is hot stuff - is suddenly yesterdays news. But critically the new iPhone behaves in the same way as the one it replaces, and people buying them aren't losing out (other than money).

If my Tron breaks and the boards aren't available anymore because Stern decided that they can't be bothered to make them anymore (the ramps are already unobtainium), what am I supposed to do? Forget that Tron ever existed and buy the latest, greatest Stern pin - until that fails?

Also as a final point - planned obsolescence doesn't have to mean that Stern (or any company) have decided on an arbitrary lifespan, it can also mean that the board design, materials, etc are specced in such a way - e.g. due to cost cutting, etc - that they have a practical life expectancy by design.

#375 4 months ago
Quoted from Durzel:

Planned obsolescence as a business concept doesn't work in pinball for one simple reason - the products that people are forced to replace don't exist in a newer, more robust (or whatever) form.

It worked for decades. Pinball was not built to be forever.. it was built to earn and last a time, then be replaced with a different, "fresh" game. The difference now is we are talking about selling to consumers vs people running a cash generating business.

Quoted from Durzel:

If my Tron breaks down, I want it to work again. I don't want to be told, for example, that "Iron Maiden is better tech, XYZ on the playfield has moved on so much". I don't want Iron Maiden, I want Tron. If I wanted Iron Maiden I'd buy Iron Maiden, as well as Tron, or instead of.

Yet... that is exactly what happens. Hey, that Space Shuttle game was fun, but this new munsters game does so much more! You want to trade up to munsters!

People are doing this on their own accord no less. The challenge here is what is the trigger that causes the swap.. 'upgrade at my discretion' vs 'upgrade to get a workable item' (which is what people do by the thousands everytime they buy a new car vs repairing an old).

People don't like being told you HAVE to swap out.. but people do it for many reasons all the time.

#376 4 months ago
Quoted from flynnibus:

It worked for decades. Pinball was not built to be forever.. it was built to earn and last a time, then be replaced with a different, "fresh" game. The difference now is we are talking about selling to consumers vs people running a cash generating business.

Good point. I should've qualified what I said, but yes I agree. I guess the question then becomes - how do (and should) Stern turn a yearly profit selling both to operators and end users?

As regards Space Shuttle vs Munsters, what if I don't like Munsters? What if I don't like the theme of any of the new machines? What if I really just like Tron a whole lot?

#377 4 months ago
Quoted from Durzel:

Good point. I should've qualified what I said, but yes I agree. I guess the question then becomes - how do (and should) Stern turn a yearly profit selling both to operators and end users?
As regards Space Shuttle vs Munsters, what if I don't like Munsters? What if I don't like the theme of any of the new machines? What if I really just like Tron a whole lot?

Then just like the car story... if you really want to keep your 'old, original thing' people will be willing to do more work to keep it vs what may actually be 'easier' which is to swap it out. Take any example you want... appliances, consumer goods, etc.

Look at your TVs today... and generally everything that has gone to disposible consumer theory... You really liked the old one, but now you are unable to keep it, so you accept you make compromises (and are sold the new stuff is better...) when buying the replacement.

The challenge for Stern here is it's highly expensive item... that may not have a lifespan that matches the industry expectation (Again.. think Appliances.. like refrigerators). And there is an expectation that while fixes are needed.. they tend to be cheap. The trend forming now... goes counter to that.

#378 4 months ago
Quoted from Durzel:

Also as a final point - planned obsolescence doesn't have to mean that Stern (or any company) have decided on an arbitrary lifespan, it can also mean that the board design, materials, etc are specced in such a way - e.g. due to cost cutting, etc - that they have a practical life expectancy by design.

No - planned obsolescence specifically refers to the principle that replacement is artificially mandated or promoted BEYOND what may be necessary as normal 'lifespan'.

What you said is simply acknowledging things have a finite life and accepting that choice. "planned" vs "incidental" is people making choices that encourage or support that obsolescence as a favorable thing.. not just a practical consideration.

#379 4 months ago

The node and cpu boards should outlast the rubber rings on the playfield in a home environment.
I have a client that has a getaway bought in 98. Plays a few times a week, changed batteries often. Still has original rubber from when sold back in the day from our store in 98.No board issues ever.
It would be great if Stern chould offer a total games played/time guarantee. In a perfect world say 30k plays or 5 years on board/node warranty . Whichever comes first.Similar to cars. Mechanical parts not included. This would put people at ease when making a purchase.

#380 4 months ago

I might be being a bit slow but in so far as cars and TVs go generally newer models of cars and TVs are always better in almost every respect, and offer the same "experience". There is an argument to be made that you might have an attachment to a old Mustang or something, because of how it looks, but if you just want a functional car then a newer model will do the same job if not better. What I mean is if all you care about is that you have a car then cost notwithstanding a newer car will always be better.

Likewise TVs - do people have a desire to hold on to old TVs? Newer ones are bigger, more energy efficient, have more features, etc. I can't think of a reason someone would want to hold on to an old CRT TV when they could get an LCD/OLED one that is objectively better in every way.

I like the Tron pin because I like Tron. Playing Munsters wouldn't satisfy me in the same way, it wouldn't be the same experience even if technically I'm still playing pinball. There is a discernable difference between the experience and affinity towards one pin vs another, and cars or TVs, I think.

Also - if you want to hold on to your old car you have options to keep it going, even if that means going to specialists or whatever. I accept that part of it. In other words, if my Tron board fails and my only option is to go to a specialist because the manufacturer isn't interested in supporting it anymore, and having to pay more to maintain it, at least that's an option. Without schematics, moulds, etc it's not an option for obsolete pins.

#381 4 months ago
Quoted from Durzel:

I might be being a bit slow but in so far as cars and TVs go generally newer models of cars and TVs are always better in almost every respect, and offer the same "experience". There is an argument to be made that you might have an attachment to a old Mustang or something, because of how it looks, but if you just want a functional car then a newer model will do the same job if not better. What I mean is if all you care about is that you have a car then cost notwithstanding a newer car will always be better.

You've never noticed when a car model goes out of production? You no longer can get the car YOU like... you have to get something else. Same can be said of nearly any feature/attribute/etc.. you're just selectively ignoring it and saying "a car is a car... but TRON and Maiden? a pin is not just a pin"

Quoted from Durzel:

Likewise TVs - do people have a desire to hold on to old TVs? Newer ones are bigger, more energy efficient, have more features, etc. I can't think of a reason someone would want to hold on to an old CRT TV when they could get an LCD/OLED one that is objectively better in every way.

Picture quality and black levels. Not all progress is for BETTER - many changes are for driving costs down. For instance, go from a high resolution CRT, and then realize every LCD on the market that didn't cost a fortune was only 768 or 1080 resolution. Or Plasma picture quality vs the 60Hz LCD monitors that were common at that transistion point, etc.

We can go on and on.. this concept is not unique. It's simply a matter of what people fixate on or not and what they see as significant or material enough to make a fuss over.

Quoted from Durzel:

Also - if you want to hold on to your old car you have options to keep it going, even if that means going to specialists or whatever. I accept that part of it. In other words, if my Tron board fails and my only option is to go to a specialist because the manufacturer isn't interested in supporting it anymore, and having to pay more to maintain it, at least that's an option. Without schematics, moulds, etc it's not an option for obsolete pins.

It would be.. it would just be a heck of a lot harder and more expensive. Just like parts for cars that are NLA, or had to be reproduced without factory insights, etc. If the demand is there, it generally gets done one way or another.

It's why parting out games was so common when parts were limited and values were poor for undesirable pins.

Again.. it's all the same.

#382 4 months ago
Quoted from Durzel:

Likewise TVs - do people have a desire to hold on to old TVs? Newer ones are bigger, more energy efficient, have more features, etc. I can't think of a reason someone would want to hold on to an old CRT TV when they could get an LCD/OLED one that is objectively better in every way.

I've had a 55" LCD TV for almost 10 years now. Paid some decent money for it at the time. Since the picture is still good, I have no intention of replacing it until it dies. Even then, I'll still probably make a decent attempt at repairs if the symptoms indicate a board or power supply issue. I've repaired TVs before for a few bucks of electronics components. I have a computer attached to it, so I don't use the built-in smart features at all, so I don't care if the smart features/apps are rendered obsolete. If the newer TV tech becomes too cheap to pass up, then I might consider upgrading, but 55" OLED TVs don't have a very attractive price to me right now.

Some retro console gamers like to hang on to CRT TVs in order to play the games how they were meant to look back in the day.

#383 4 months ago

Fair enough, consider myself educated

#384 4 months ago
Quoted from 27dnast:

So, the black knight went on Kaneda’s Podcast and popped off about Stern Spike system and node boards.

It’s really difficult to know if he 100% knows what he’s talking about or if he knows enough to be dangerous and then just talks up the rest (or if he’s simply wading in total Uninformed BS)... but he’s throwing around phrases like “planned obsolescence” for Spike games. Then again, he also seems to make up words (“technicianal” I believe was dropped?)

BK is so full of shit its coming out of his ears!

Come on people, if you think Stern is executing a "planned obsolescence" strategy where their games last only 5-8 yrs then you must be preparing for the Alien invasion or Attack From Mars!

Think about how idiotic that thought process is.

Stern wants to destroy their company over the next decade. Yeah that's the game plan.

The "node board" freak out, of which i've had zero issues, is in reality having ZERO effect on their sales, which keep growing. Why? Because nobody really gives a shit and most people KNOW its not a real long term issue to worry about.

Furthermore, if Stern disappeared tomorrow, the community would be engineering node boards so fast it would make your head spin. For much less need and market, Alien pinball has been made basically bulletproof by the community and all the smart people here!

#385 4 months ago
Quoted from iceman44:

Stern wants to destroy their company over the next decade. Yeah that's the game plan.

Well, often times, that is the result when investors place their demands for quarterly profits over the long-term health of a company.

#386 4 months ago
Quoted from ForceFlow:

Well, often times, that is the result when investors place their demands for quarterly profits over the long-term health of a company.

I'm trying to think of an example?

#387 4 months ago

Lack of availability is a worry for sure.

Can you buy CGC boards for their re-makes?

Aren't they similar tech to Stern or are they easier to repair?

#388 4 months ago
Quoted from iceman44:

I'm trying to think of an example?

One somewhat related example that is popping into my head at the moment is the Wells Fargo controversy a few years ago where employees were pressured to meet quarterly profits and opened accounts on behalf of customers without their permission.

I also remember an oil rig from a few years ago where the company kept cutting corners on maintenance to increase quarterly profits and the situation literally exploded in their faces.

#389 4 months ago
Quoted from Shapeshifter:

Lack of availability is a worry for sure.
Can you buy CGC boards for their re-makes?
Aren't they similar tech to Stern or are they easier to repair?

CGC uses SMD boards, but I can't say that I recall seeing repeat/frequent complaints about failures from owners. The issue with Stern is that the boards seem to keep failing with alarming frequency and they aren't easily repairable.

#390 4 months ago
Quoted from flynnibus:

Again.. it's all the same.

...to you.

Not sure why you're written a thousand words trying to convince someone that his desire to play a specific themed pin is the same as someone wanting to keep their old TV. Here's a better analogy: what if your new TV doesn't play your favorite show?

#391 4 months ago
Quoted from yancy:

what if your new TV doesn't play your favorite show?

That's an interesting concept--content locked TVs.

#392 4 months ago
Quoted from ForceFlow:

One somewhat related example that is popping into my head at the moment is the Wells Fargo controversy a few years ago where employees were pressured to meet quarterly profits and opened accounts on behalf of customers without their permission.
I also remember an oil rig from a few years ago where the company kept cutting corners on maintenance to increase quarterly profits and the situation literally exploded in their faces.

That's what i mean FF, Wells Fargo and BP are rocking right along.

BP has a $140 billion market cap and WFC is at $230 billion. Poor decisions by both but problems addressed, lessons learned and moving forward.

Stern just isn't going to fall off the face of the earth. They have been making pins for 25 years now?

#393 4 months ago
Quoted from ForceFlow:

That's an interesting concept--content locked TVs.

Erase that from the internet immediately!!

Good grief - don’t give manufacturers any ideas!

#394 4 months ago
Quoted from BrianBannon:

FYI, current cabinet node boards work in KISS as I used the latest one when my original cabinet node board failed, they are backward compatible.

The *cabinet* node boards all seem to be pretty common to all Spike machines since they control basic functions such as tilt, start button, tournament button, shaker motor, coin door, etc. Apparently, the current cabinet node board superceeds all previous versions.

#396 4 months ago

You beat me to the punch, but at the same time that was more fraud due to a shell game accounting, if I remember correctly.

#397 4 months ago

I don't think Stern is purposefully planning obsolescence. I think the surface mount components are simply cheaper for them to deal with, and a side benefit is the games will not last forever. I have mild hope that Stern is taking good notes when dealing with customers and collecting data to make smart design choices for the inevitable Spike 3 system. Spike 3 won't be easy to repair for most, but it will hopefully have some of the discovered design flaws addressed. Stern still has some interest in making sure the games last long enough that most people will not realize that their game is broken when it's collecting dust in a man cave.

This is an industry that has been transitioning away from a business model of operators routing these things for several years, making a nice ROI on the machine, and then simply sending it off to a dump when it stops being worth the effort/money to route. Pinball machines were designed to last only so many years for decades. Didn't some Williams/Bally guys say that things like clear coating the playfields likely hurt the company long term because it was such a significant boost to the service life of the machine?

Now new Stern games are going into private collections that will see a fraction of the number of plays, be coddled like babies, and being maintained by people that can't even operate a multimeter. The only thing they care about are the obvious cosmetic issues; they don't understand inherent engineering flaws when looking at a mess of wires and PCBs and couldn't care less because they have no interest in learning how to repair them, even if they were easy to field repair.

Stern will keep doing it because there are thousands of suckers out there buying these toys for themselves and not as commercial devices which have a much higher expectation on longevity and performance. Pinball machines are bought by the wealthy who don't care about spending $600 on some node boards vs spending $200 for a repair tech to fix issues on a WPC game. The Spike system was entirely designed around selling a couple of games to consumers and not operators. The writing was on the wall when it became the standard architecture for the entire product line.

Their private equity overlords will continue to push them to increase margins by decreasing BOM while raising prices. Stern will figure out where the tipping point is eventually, but until then they will continue to push forward to sell to the consumers with the deepest pockets and cause the the least amount of headaches. Home collectors simply don't request the accountability that operators require, and operators are being left behind as a result.

#398 4 months ago
Quoted from iceman44:

I'm trying to think of an example?

Recently? Sears. Bought out with a bunch of debt, sold off all their valuable assets, driven in to the ground until sold off cheap in bankruptcy (to the guy who drove it into the ground). It was one of the great American brands and now its worthless after two decades of short term profit over long term growth. A few people made out like bandits while tens of thousands were put out of work and buildings sit unused.

And don't say Amazon killed Sears. Sears were the pioneers of remote ordering and delivery. Amazon filled the void while Sears was too busy being gutted.

#399 4 months ago
Quoted from knobstone:

This issue needs to be addressed directly to Stern at TPF. It's frustrating to know what to do when you are interested in purchasing a Stern Spike 2 pinball machine. As someone who is not part of the pinball "clique," I have no qualms asking about the node board issue at TPF.
When it comes to Pinball podcasts, Kaneda is the only podcast that discusses these issues to where there's no point to listening to the "dime a dozen" podcasts who rarely talk about the problems of some of the current generation machines from all pinball manufactures. It's called accountability.

Your last paragraph is largely true. Hats off to Kaneda for being a wide reaching voice that is willing to go to bat for the customer. You have to give him props for being willing to upset manufacturers by speaking his mind. We’ve heard Nate do it (and TFP definitely will speaker their minds too. big tip of the cap to Tommy and Taylor for keeping things real)... but, like his tact or not, Kaneda will take it to very brutal levels of reality.

The question is: is it noise or reality?

That’s why this Black Knight interview was intriguing. I’d like to hear Stern come on the show with him... to hear if he backs down, admits he really doesn’t know what he was tossing around as near fact, or if he’d stick to his guns-a-blazin.

My issue with the black knight is his outright disdain for what he sees as this ignorant influx of modern collectors. But also, he’ll make rather bold claims here on Pinside, but when asked to provide reference he basically ignores and never addresses. From my perspective, if you’re going to attempt to educate with knowledge that isn’t wide spread , you need to be able to provide some facts or reference to show what you’re saying is legit.

#400 4 months ago
Quoted from yancy:

...to you.
Not sure why you're written a thousand words trying to convince someone that his desire to play a specific themed pin is the same as someone wanting to keep their old TV.

Maybe you should re-read it vs just making a passive slam at it? I didn't say the outcome was the same... I said the COMPROMISES/CHOICES people are being asked to make in all these other product categories are the same. That you as an individual are ALREADY making these kind of compromise choices all the time.

It started with the idea that for pinball, its a new problem to say you shouldn't keep the old and are told the new is better. That's literally what happens with every new game and platform from all the vendors... they want you to buy the new stuff, even if that means giving up the old.

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