(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 9 of 15.
#401 4 months ago
Quoted from 27dnast:

but, like his tact or not, Kaneda will take it to very brutal levels of reality.

the problem is... it's "his reality" - not always reality.

#402 4 months ago

The obsolescence issue has been addressed legally for car manufacturers. They were forced to carry parts for a car for 5 years after it is discontinued, by law. Not the lifetime of the automobile... This was due to replacing parts due to accidents more than anything. If I needed a new fender for my Chevy, GM was required to carry the replacement for 5 years after the model was issued. Since not everyone owns a pinball machine, not much is going to happen to legally force Stern to provide parts unless it is covered by some consumer electronics umbrella law, but then manufacturers will simply hide behind distributors and say they are not selling to a public consumer base but to small business based operators and distributors of coin op equiptment so they should not be governed by those laws. Lets just hope Spike and node boards are reverse engineered soon, or Stern gives us the promised schematics. Anyone want to start a go fund me to reverse engineer them?

#403 4 months ago
Quoted from flynnibus:

Maybe you should re-read it

Not a chance.

#404 4 months ago

what bugs me the most is the communication policy of Stern. The first time I heard of Spike from a distributor he told me Spike is great - no more board work - if something fails you just swap out one of the numerous small boards and you’re good to go. I think this sounds great in theory - I’ve learned enough about electronics to be a little bit dangerous, but there are way more holes in my knowledge than knowledge itself so I wouldn’t mind repairing pins in this way - also because good pin repair technicians are few and far between. I wouldn’t mind spending a few bucks from time to time for a board (It would be nice if they’re not so expensive you feel like you’re being gouged every time). It could be the modern way of taking care of pins.

But this Spike repair idea would have several requirements:
- the game has to tell me which board to replace
- the long term availability of said boards must to be assured and they need to be easy to get.

My impression is that both of these requirements are very far from being met and as far as I can tell these points are in no way being addressed. Until they are, no Spike games for me. Too bad because some of them look fun.

#405 4 months ago
Quoted from Bublehead:

Anyone want to start a go fund me to reverse engineer them?

The market will fill that void if/when there are dozens of Kiss, Ghostbusters, etc. literally unplayable due to dead, irreplaceable, and unrepairable node boards. There was no crowdfunding to replace Bally MPUs. When enough of them were dead in the field that an opportunity existed, Alltek seized it.

When there's money to be made replacing node boards, a smart guy will figure it out and do it. Until then, not enough motivation, and we can only speculate about Spike games in landfills.

#406 4 months ago
Quoted from branlon8:

what bugs me the most is the communication policy of Stern. The first time I heard of Spike from a distributor he told me Spike is great - no more board work - if something fails you just swap out one of the numerous small boards and you’re good to go. I think this sounds great in theory - I’ve learned enough about electronics to be a little bit dangerous, but there are way more holes in my knowledge than knowledge itself so I wouldn’t mind repairing pins in this way - also because good pin repair technicians are few and far between. I wouldn’t mind spending a few bucks from time to time for a board (It would be nice if they’re not so expensive you feel like you’re being gouged every time). It could be the modern way of taking care of pins.
But this Spike repair idea would have several requirements:
- the game has to tell me which board to replace
- the long term availability of said boards must to be assured and they need to be easy to get.
My impression is that both of these requirements are very far from being met and as far as I can tell these points are in no way being addressed. Until they are, no Spike games for me. Too bad because some of them look fun.

Spike is not great. Swapping out boards is expensive. Down time costs money. It takes time to even figure out the underlying issue to know which board to swap out. Nodeboard X failure is not helpful at all.

#407 4 months ago

From what I gather, even if you were able to copy the boards and populate the components, without the bootloader software loaded, they're pretty much useless.

#408 4 months ago
Quoted from yancy:

The market will fill that void if/when there are dozens of Kiss, Ghostbusters, etc. literally unplayable due to dead, irreplaceable, and unrepairable node boards. There was no crowdfunding to replace Bally MPUs. When enough of them were dead in the field that an opportunity existed, Alltek seized it.
When there's money to be made replacing node boards, a smart guy will figure it out and do it. Until then, not enough motivation, and we can only speculate about Spike games in landfills.

Ditto^^. I'm more worried about plastic parts, at least w/games that have low production numbers. Same issue I have with some of the 90's games when trying to find ramps, subway plastics, etc.

However, releasing schematics sure would go a long way to calm everyone's nerves.

11
#409 4 months ago
Quoted from ForceFlow:

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.

And Chicago Gaming provides a complete manual with schematics and parts lists.

#410 4 months ago
Quoted from Lermods:

Spike is not great. Swapping out boards is expensive. Down time costs money. It takes time to even figure out the underlying issue to know which board to swap out. Nodeboard X failure is not helpful at all.

I was certainly not implying that Spike is great. In it’s current state it’s unacceptable. I was just trying to point out that if done right, Spike (my interpretation - a distributed system with a data bus), I think, could be beneficial in terms of repairability.

#411 4 months ago
Quoted from iceman44:

I'm trying to think of an example?

GE?

#412 4 months ago
Quoted from branlon8:

a distributed system with a data bus

This is a very smart idea when done right. I don’t think there is ANYTHING wrong with node board architecture, just node board durability and circuit isolation. When a playfield short takes out a node board and every other board it is connected to, that is not a great design. If the bus truly isolates node boards, AND any coupling that might be required between two node boards to syncronize an operation is opto isolated, AND boards are adequately fused and watchdogged, the design carries more pluses than minuses for both repair, and ease and cost of manufacturing.

#413 4 months ago
Quoted from Bublehead:

This is a very smart idea when done right. I don’t think there is ANYTHING wrong with node board architecture, just node board durability and circuit isolation. When a playfield short takes out a node board and every other board it is connected to, that is not a great design. If the bus truly isolates node boards, AND any coupling that might be required between two node boards to syncronize an operation is opto isolated, AND boards are adequately fused and watchdogged, the design carries more pluses than minuses for both repair, and ease and cost of manufacturing.

When can you start working at Stern???

#414 4 months ago
Quoted from Bublehead:

This is a very smart idea when done right. I don’t think there is ANYTHING wrong with node board architecture, just node board durability and circuit isolation. When a playfield short takes out a node board and every other board it is connected to, that is not a great design. If the bus truly isolates node boards, AND any coupling that might be required between two node boards to syncronize an operation is opto isolated, AND boards are adequately fused and watchdogged, the design carries more pluses than minuses for both repair, and ease and cost of manufacturing.

People are going to be really mad whenever they debut Spike 3 (or whatever they call it) which will presumably fix some of these issues; but it will not be backwards compatible, relegating Spike 1-2 to rely on the free market to provide long term solutions.

#415 4 months ago
Quoted from TreyBo69:

People are going to be really mad whenever they debut Spike 3 (or whatever they call it) which will presumably fix some of these issues; but it will not be backwards compatible, relegating Spike 1-2 to rely on the free market to provide long term solutions.

Maybe they would do upgrade kits? Cash grab and satisfy people who don't want to deal with spike 1/2?

#416 4 months ago
Quoted from 27dnast:

When can you start working at Stern???

Well, when Stern asks me to, and when they offer me more compensation than my current employer, and if they let me work exclusively from home. None of which I see happening anytime soon.

#417 4 months ago
Quoted from ForceFlow:

Maybe they would do upgrade kits? Cash grab and satisfy people who don't want to deal with spike 1/2?

That would be a nice token gesture to operators and some collectors, and create a nice secondary market of used Spike nodes for those that don't want to invest/fool-with a full upgrade.

11
#418 4 months ago
Quoted from iceman44:

I'm trying to think of an example?

Maytag. I know this first hand because I was part of it. This is a company who's legacy was based on quality and longevity of their products. They used that consumer faith to twist it in the background. I lost faith in companies at that point. Most - yes most - companies do not care about quality any more. It's about making it as cheap as possible, get it out the door, and move on, making money as fast as they can, not looking at 10 years down the road. Investors have no patience any longer. They do not want to support a product for more than a few years. They can't make money on someone holding onto something for 20 years. This is not a tin foil hat concept. It is a long known actual business practice that most companies will never actually admit to because it could potentially ruin them.

The necessity by the investing community to constantly 'grow' a company's market share has ruined honest capitalism.

#419 4 months ago

Are most node boards interchangeable? That is will the same ones in Ghostbusters work in KISS?

#420 4 months ago

Can we use a little common sense here?

Still haven't named a company that essentially destroyed itself over a concern over quarterly profits and planned obsolescence. It's absurd.

With the exception of Enron, which was outright fraud, and Sears which had been around for 150 years until the vultures picked it apart, there are no examples.

Talking about these stupid node boards and hypothesizing over what may or may not happen in the future with Stern is ridiculous!

"If pigs had wings they could fly".

#421 4 months ago

Some of you aren't understanding the difference between growth, innovation and capitalism...

and making a washing machine suck so it wears out quicker and people have to buy another one.

Innovate or Die as they say. Why is there an LCD in every pinball machine now? What's next?

Does that mean your old pinball machines are now obsolete? Gimme a F ing break.

Stern's goal is to go from selling 10k to 12k to 15k etc. games a year. These games are DIFFERENT! They aren't F ing washing machines.

#422 4 months ago

If you play the living shit out of your HUO pinball machine to the point where it is absolutely beat to shit......which you can't possibly do....then send it off to HEP and have the POS restored.

Anybody that opens up a HUO Nib pin can't possibly believe these pins are gonna be firewood in 5-8 yrs! That's about as dumb as it gets.

#423 4 months ago

Maybe they will make a plugin that’s fused between the nodes and the powered hardware

#424 4 months ago
Quoted from iceman44:

Can we use a little common sense here?
Still haven't named a company that essentially destroyed itself over a concern over quarterly profits and planned obsolescence. It's absurd.
With the exception of Enron, which was outright fraud, and Sears which had been around for 150 years until the vultures picked it apart, there are no examples.
Talking about these stupid node boards and hypothesizing over what may or may not happen in the future with Stern is ridiculous!
"If pigs had wings they could fly".

Uh...okay let me spell it out for you. I was on a committee to produce planned obsolescence. They USED those words. The goal was to make products that lasted 7 years max instead of 30. Not sure what else you need? You asked for examples. You were given some, and then go about the usual "well no, that's not right". No, YOU aren't right.

I'm not saying Stern is actually doing this however, but it certainly wouldn't surprise me and people who act like that would never happen should wake up a bit.

#425 4 months ago
Quoted from Zablon:

Uh...okay let me spell it out for you. I was on a committee to produce planned obsolescence. They USED those words. The goal was to make products that lasted 7 years max instead of 30. Not sure what else you need? You asked for examples. You were given some, and then go about the usual "well no, that's not right". No, YOU aren't right.
I'm not saying Stern is actually doing this however, but it certainly wouldn't surprise me and people who act like that would never happen should wake up a bit.

You lose brand loyalty if you make products that don’t last. It is very short sighted not to do so thinking people will just buy your product again. I bought a Sony directv box about 20 years ago, it failed within a year and Sony would not replace it. I literally have not bought a Sony product since.

#426 4 months ago

The direct question of SPIKE was asked by Kaneda, and needed to be actively addressed, not continually hidden in the background. Six years is enough time since the system open development and implementation. For interest, I didn't even know that was going to be a question, but I could just as easily declined. I don't shurk around questions very often, but people can easily misinterpret answers without a proper background of a topic. I have never known Kaneda to want me to dive into full blown technical explanations of why a pinball operating system is reliable or not. I am not sure anybody really wants to hear that in a podcast anyway, so I had to keep things a bit lighter.

Those that may disagree that the SPIKE has no shortfalls are certainly entitled to their opinions. I have offered over 40 posts on PinSide to try and encapsulate the sets of problems with this system. I will not cover everything again. These posts can be found by a keyword search (SPIKE, SAM, and my username) in the forums.

I DO hope that Stern steps forward soon and offers real solutions for the future for the areas of schematics, parts/boards availability, training, diagnostics, and repair. Making promises on a podcast for corrections is just a false reinforcement. It actively does not solve anything. I don't "hate" Stern, but I do dislike many of their changes of business practices particularly since 2009, which was the year that the advisory council redirected the company, predominately in increase profit margins, as they were failing from investor standpoint. Remember George Gomez and Gary Stern don't control all decisions. People already have short memories that SPIKE training and schematics were already promised repeatedly at various pinball and trade shows over the past 5 years. It has not happened. It is no better than when Stern gets caught cutting corners, and then new owners tout they have something "amazing" put back in a game that was already standard for a title in the past.

Right now, the situation remains highly unacceptable and RSD of modern Stern games should be very concerning to new owners. The one thing that is preventing a public outcry is the complement of good Stern customer service.

#427 4 months ago
Quoted from xTheBlackKnightx:The direct question of SPIKE was asked, and needed to be actively addressed, not continually hidden in the background. Six years is enough since the system open development and implementation.
Those that may disagree that the SPIKE has no shortfalls are certainly entitled to their opinions. I have offered over 40 posts on PinSide to try and encapsulate the sets of problems with this system. I cannot and will not cover everything again. These posts can be found by a keyword search in the forums.
I do hope that Stern steps forward soon and offers solutions for the future for the areas of schematics, parts/boards availability, training, diagnostics, and repair. I don't "hate" Stern, but I do dislike many of their changes of business practices particularly since 2009, which was the year that the investor council redirected the company. Remember George Gomez and Gary Stern don't control all decisions.
Right now, the situation remains highly unacceptable and RSD of modern Stern games should be very concerning to new owners. The one thing that is preventing a public outcry is the complement of good Stern customer service.

Well said!

-1
#428 4 months ago
Quoted from Lermods:

You lose brand loyalty if you make products that don’t last. It is very short sighted not to do so thinking people will just buy your product again. I bought a Sony directv box about 20 years ago, it failed within a year and Sony would not replace it. I literally have not bought a Sony product since.

I think it used to matter more than it does today. I think as long as the prices are cheap (say like TV's unless you're a videophile) then people accept it...but then look at iPhones....that is something I can't believe is a thing, over and over every year.

Quoted from xTheBlackKnightx:

The direct question of SPIKE was asked, and needed to be actively addressed, not continually hidden in the background. Six years is enough since the system open development and implementation.
Those that may disagree that the SPIKE has no shortfalls are certainly entitled to their opinions. I have offered over 40 posts on PinSide to try and encapsulate the sets of problems with this system. I cannot and will not cover everything again. These posts can be found by a keyword search in the forums.
I do hope that Stern steps forward soon and offers solutions for the future for the areas of schematics, parts/boards availability, training, diagnostics, and repair. I don't "hate" Stern, but I do dislike many of their changes of business practices particularly since 2009, which was the year that the investor council redirected the company. Remember George Gomez and Gary Stern don't control all decisions.
Right now, the situation remains unacceptable and RSD of modern Stern games should be very concerning to new owners. The one thing that is preventing a public outcry is the complement of good Stern customer service.

Ultimately, what they are probably doing is 1. making things as cheap as possible 2. simplifying the production process (which in turn also makes things cheaper). At the same time they are raising prices. Maximizing profits is the name of the game these days. This was really the point of my post. We can talk about how Stern is for keeping making games during the dark years, but in the end, they are about making money, however they have to. The problem is, people who are around for awhile can see when things take a change for the worse. It is only common sense that makes people pause and say - what needs to be done to overcome what we know the future holds?

Now...they very well could be doing #3 - repair parts. They've seen how much people are charging for small production runs of old parts/boards. They have the means to do it easier and cheaper. Why wouldn't they try to get into that as well? This leads to them protecting their designs and not releasing schematics which makes it more difficult for aftermarket parts.

These same ideas - and the fact I don't have the skill set or tools to build my own boards/parts - is why even though I want an Alien so badly, I can't bring myself to get one. Its life at this point is too dependent on a few others to keep it going.

#429 4 months ago

Think of the history of pinball it comes and goes. Stern is going to cash out while they can. They have no idea where things will be in 5 or 10 years from now and are focused on now.

#430 4 months ago

No matter what, in business, everyone has an angle. This angle may be ligitimate, it may be questionable, it may be down right underhanded, but eveyone in business has an angle. Stern’s angle is sell as many pinball machines at the highest margin that the market will bear. To do this you must stay in business and parts, boards, availability, tech support, and good faith all have a cost of doing business associated with them. Any place you can reduce these costs, be it by making a profit on spare parts, or cost of manufacture by gouging us with LE pricing, or designing your machines to fail in 5 years and keep the proprietary IP to fix them private, These are all decisions a company is faced with and you can guarantee they have lawyers looking at these things and working out all the details. If you believe otherwise, you have never been in business. I have never blamed Stern for what they have to do to stay in business, but I can be unhappy about some of the decisions they are making in those directions, or their lack of movement on statements they have already publicly made.

-4
#431 4 months ago
Quoted from Zablon:

Uh...okay let me spell it out for you. I was on a committee to produce planned obsolescence. They USED those words. The goal was to make products that lasted 7 years max instead of 30. Not sure what else you need? You asked for examples. You were given some, and then go about the usual "well no, that's not right". No, YOU aren't right.
I'm not saying Stern is actually doing this however, but it certainly wouldn't surprise me and people who act like that would never happen should wake up a bit.

That.........is why NOBODY buys a F ing Maytag machine anymore.......GET IT?

Innovation has passed that garbage. The decisions they/you made led to Samsung and LG and others to take market share from the Maytag man!

Make a POS and its OVER. Not sure what else you need to understand about that?

It's probably the DUMBEST argument I've ever heard....And yet nobody has a clue wtf you are saying and its relevance to pinball

#432 4 months ago
Quoted from Zablon:

The goal was to make products that lasted 7 years max instead of 30.

Just long enough for the customer to feel like they got value for their money, so that they are a returning customer; but if the product lasts to long after this value threshold has been reached, then the company is loosing out on a returning sale. Why sell one widget that lasts for 20 years when we can sell 2 that last for 10, as long as the customer is buying our product.

-2
#433 4 months ago
Quoted from xTheBlackKnightx:

The direct question of SPIKE was asked by Kaneda, and needed to be actively addressed, not continually hidden in the background. Six years is enough time since the system open development and implementation. For interest, I didn't even know that was going to be a question, but I could just as easily declined. I don't shurk around questions very often, but people can easily misinterpret answers without a proper background of a topic.
Those that may disagree that the SPIKE has no shortfalls are certainly entitled to their opinions. I have offered over 40 posts on PinSide to try and encapsulate the sets of problems with this system. I cannot and will not cover everything again. These posts can be found by a keyword search in the forums.
I DO hope that Stern steps forward soon and offers solutions for the future for the areas of schematics, parts/boards availability, training, diagnostics, and repair. I don't "hate" Stern, but I do dislike many of their changes of business practices particularly since 2009, which was the year that the investor council redirected the company. Remember George Gomez and Gary Stern don't control all decisions.
Right now, the situation remains highly unacceptable and RSD of modern Stern games should be very concerning to new owners. The one thing that is preventing a public outcry is the complement of good Stern customer service.

Good service? Ya think. Maybe you should start your own pinball company and run it the way you want to?

Whining non stop does NOTHING. Along with blowing a NON ISSUE way out of proportion.

Btw, Spike has been addressed and discussed from DAY ONE.

#434 4 months ago

My 2 cents as a Stern Dealer in Canada. Pre Spike systems no problems with electronics. Now you worry if the pin works 100% out of the box, or is going to crap out at anytime.

-5
#435 4 months ago

Once again......

There is so much support and backup for ALIEN after Heighway went down its awesome. ZERO concern about any failures.

As for opening up a NIB out of the box and there is an issue.....its called WARRANTY

How long is your F ing car warranty? Good lord

If you drive that pinball machine 10's of thousands of plays over a decade it just MIGHT have a few issues that need to be addressed.

HUO pinball? I seriously doubt it.

-7
#436 4 months ago

iceman44 God damn you are full of yourself. If the discussion hurts your feelings so much take your condescending not knowing wtf you're talking about ass somewhere else? The adults are having a conversation.

#437 4 months ago
Quoted from Zablon:

iceman44 God damn you are full of yourself. If the discussion hurts your feelings so much take your condescending not knowing wtf you're talking about ass somewhere else? The adults are having a conversation.

The "node board" discussion and road to "planned obsolescence" theory by Stern is plain STUPID.

#438 4 months ago
Quoted from iceman44:

The "node board" discussion and road to "planned obsolescence" is plain STUPID.

Your ability to comprehend writing is questionable - as this isn't the first time you've tried to tell others what they are saying. Either way if it's so beneath you there's the door ->

#439 4 months ago
Quoted from Zablon:

Your ability to comprehend writing is questionable - as this isn't the first time you've tried to tell others what they are saying. Either way if it's so beneath you there's the door ->

Where is the door? Head on out.......go find the Maytag man.

Somebody PROVE the conspiracy theory BS of Stern. What a joke!

#440 4 months ago
Quoted from iceman44:

Where is the door? Head on out.......go find the Maytag man.

Nah they shipped his ass to Mexico.

#441 4 months ago
Quoted from greatwichjohn:

My 2 cents as a Stern Dealer in Canada. Pre Spike systems no problems with electronics. Now you worry if the pin works 100% out of the box, or is going to crap out at anytime.

John,

Is there a warranty for "out of the box" NIB purchases?

Has Stern failed to honor the warranty ever?

Have you seen any extraordinary failure of new Stern Nib pins on any level?

As a Stern Dealer, are you selling less pins now because of the "worry"?

#442 4 months ago
Quoted from iceman44:

Where is the door? Head on out.......go find the Maytag man.
Somebody PROVE the conspiracy theory BS of Stern. What a joke!

Come one quit picking and choosing. I clearly said I wasn't saying they were doing that, and even spelled out exactly what I thought they were doing in another post. My story about Maytag was answering your question about a company actually doing what was being discussed and how it had a hand in their downfall (although mostly it was because they sold the company to Whirlpool and shipped the plants to Mexico years later). . You were the one making conclusions and getting all in a huff about it.

#443 4 months ago

Hey you two. Keep it down. LOL

#444 4 months ago
Quoted from Zablon:

Come one quit picking and choosing. I clearly said I wasn't saying they were doing that, and even spelled out exactly what I thought they were doing in another post. My story about Maytag was answering your question about a company actually doing what was being discussed and how it had a hand in their downfall (although mostly it was because they sold the company to Whirlpool and shipped the plants to Mexico years later). . You were the one making conclusions and getting all in a huff about it.

I'm not in any huff about it. Maytag is still making machines and parts. Its not a good analogy. Maytag is a good example of "innovate or die". Technology passed them by and now they are considered the inferior brand because of their business decisions. They are now the STERN PRO of washers and dryers.

"If you are going to have an appliance made to resist water and heat, it should be a washer with a steam function. The only thing that may be steaming is you after receiving the repair bill. What is the average life of a washer? Front loaders last around ten years, while top loaders last around fourteen years."

Now many people prefer technology and bells and whistles, and pay more for it, just like pinball.

21
#445 4 months ago
Quoted from iceman44:

HUO pinball? I seriously doubt it.

Icey ... Icey ... Icey ...

It’s great that you haven’t yet had any issues.

However, looking at the bigger picture, you have some long term collectors and operators over the last few years (and in this thread..) that are very concerned about the future of these machines.

While I don’t doubt that the aftermarket will one day step up and create a solution (as Altek and others have for the older pins) the fact is these boards are shitting themselves at an alarming rate - far more than Whitestar or Sam ever did. In fact, I’d never had ONE issue with a Sam boardset until a few weeks ago (my SM needed a 5v voltage adjustment which I could do with a small screwdriver and a volt meter in under 5 minutes)

The fact that the node boards have zero fuse protection was a flag to me from day one - and I’m no electronics engineer, far from it. A few cents worth of fusing on each board would have been a very good idea.

Quoted from iceman44:

then send it off to HEP and have the POS restored.

This is sorta missing the point - even giving HEP $5000 to restore a machine isn’t going to make a Ghostbusters with unobtainable node boards work. It’s a $5500/7000/8000 USD boat anchor at that point.

While I don’t buy that Stern have planned obsolescence into the pins (that’d be remarkably stupid and financial suicide in this tiny hobby/business) the fact is that the new system isn’t as good as the old one, and that’s really all there is to say about it.

I hope they sort it out - I really do.

rd

#446 4 months ago
Quoted from iceman44:

I'm not in any huff about it. Maytag is still making machines and parts. Its not a good analogy. Maytag is a good example of "innovate or die". Technology passed them by and now they are considered the inferior brand because of their business decisions. They are now the STERN PRO of washers.
"If you are going to have an appliance made to resist water and heat, it should be a washer with a steam function. The only thing that may be steaming is you after receiving the repair bill. What is the average life of a washer? Front loaders last around ten years, while top loaders last around fourteen years."
Now many people prefer technology and bells and whistles, and pay more for it, just like pinball.

That's because they are just Maytag name on a few models - they are Whirlpool. They haven't been Maytag in 15 years. Had nothing to do with technological advances at that time. It wasn't an analogy. It's the reality that companies do it, they don't advertise it. Stern is not above it by any means. You are giving them way too much credit to think it hasn't at least crossed their minds.

#447 4 months ago

Bottom line, the "planned obsolescence" by Stern floated by BK is one of the DUMBEST theories based on nothing you can imagine and there isn't anything to support it or a comparable analogy.

The best one, Heighway went bankrupt, with about 200 pins out there and a challenging/unique platform as it gets! Yet, I feel ZERO worry with all the community support and "replacement parts" that have been engineered.

And btw, my AlienLE has been as reliable or more so than ANY pinball machine i own.

#448 4 months ago
Quoted from rotordave:

However, looking at the bigger picture, you have some long term collectors and operators over the last few years (and in this thread..) that are very concerned about the future of these machines.

Sorry RD, I'm not one of them, and neither are the 12k pin owners they sold in 2018 and growing.

If you want to worry about it, go ahead. A lot of people worry about "global warming" too.

For collectors and HUO folks the risk is less than zero that your Stern pins with Spike won't be supported long term!

#449 4 months ago

I really cut back selling new Stern spike pins. Too much risk! In Canada, I was buying from Starburst, or Player 1 now. The KISS warranty was there, & my customer waited weeks for a replacement node board. The replacement was reworked with tracer, Chas said this was being done to new boards. I got my customer playing by switching around the boards.
The local operators are very concerned about the new Stern. None can afford to have spare parts or wait with a pin down for weeks. If I was Stern I would switch to boards that can be serviced easily by techs locally! Drop the prices on the electronics.

#450 4 months ago
Quoted from yancy:

There was no crowdfunding to replace Bally MPUs. When enough of them were dead in the field that an opportunity existed, Alltek seized it.

I don't disagree with the fact that Alltek provided Bally MPU-35 and complement board replacements, but also consider the timeframe and circumstances. Alltek did not "magically ride to the rescue" when the games were in need of replacement boards. One of the earliest replacement boards for any game in volume were the first generation "Ni Wumph" boards for Gottlieb SS80s starting in 1995 before the mass production of Alltek years later.

It took nearly 20 years AFTER GAME PRODUCTION before third party manufacturers provided these many boards, and this was only due to the growing interest of "retro" games from that particular manufacturer, the value of the boardsets themselves, and the technology required to do so. This does not always occur, and should not be relied upon. THOUSANDS of early Bally games were destroyed either stripped for boards or simply thrown out. A few operators did hoard old games but mostly as donors for other types of parts. This same set of conditions occurred with WPC games and Rottendog after another near 15 years. I don't think a lot of people here were witness to see the high volume of games gutted like Black Rose or Gilligan's Island in 2000.

I was directly part of both eras that not only watched the conditions occur, but actively watched the peaks of insane costs before solutions were offered. Examples, I sold a working Xenon sounds plus board and vocalizer for over $400 in 1994 and an operational Centaur "Say It Again" reverb card for $350 a year later. However, in all cases, original boardsets were often repairable, UNLESS they had become damaged due to badly hacked repairs or leaked batteries. We hoarded these boards with a vengeance. Repair is not true with all boardsets today, even with proper tools, parts, and experience.

Immediate solutions in this industry (after a game company no longer supports a product) are completely dependent on enthusiasts with time, money, experience, and resources (both industry, reference documents, etc). Some game systems have never been replicated, even at high production volumes that make most modern games look very small in comparison.

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