(Topic ID: 232957)

Node Boards- Update- Stern tech fixes issue via email

By shacklersrevenge

6 months ago

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  • 744 posts
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  • Latest reply 31 days ago by russdx
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#1 6 months ago

One switch was registering bad on a drop target on Game of Thrones, ONE. It would not register the up, or the return on the right drop target, causing it to constantly try and reset the bank of drops. You know how many switch problems I had with Sam board set games? ZERO

$219 board to fix one switch is cost efficient? FOR WHO!? Stern? How much does this board cost them to make, $25? Nobody fixes this crap. I swapped the other node board in that's in the game, and the problem goes away.

It's unnecessary crap like this that can burn you right out of the hobby. There was no need for this nonsense. I've contacted Stern about this, on a game that's 3+ years old, their response will dictate my loyalty in 2019 and beyond. Long live the SAM board set, honest to god.

Rant over.

#21 6 months ago
Quoted from pinmister:

Sucks for you because you are missing out. Live for today-not for tomorrow or yesterday. Stern Spike has it's flaws but damn their games are so much fun! As long as Stern is still in business I have no worries-they always take care of me.
Also was wondering if James called Stern or not?

I keep trying to call them but can’t get them on the horn, email hasn’t been returned.

Yeah, great games and lots of fun, but not when they break at random and there’s no way for the average joe to fix them.

#23 6 months ago

Seems like someone needs to reengineer these nodes into a non surface mount board with regular components that can be changed out. They appear to be a modern version of the “Vidiot” board.

#25 6 months ago

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!

#29 6 months ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

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

If the node boards were built or constructed like Sam quality? No problems!

The fact that these things are built like crap and aren't durable AND cost $219! GTFO!

EDIT: and the real shit kicker???! The fact that every other release, they're going up TWO HUNDRED BUCKS a pop! For this?

#39 6 months ago

Yeah, MET is Sam, I never worry about it going down, the things just play and play and play.

#42 6 months ago
Quoted from twenty84:

You've suggested Stern go back to SAM boards. That isn't going to happen, but if they did it still doesn't solve your problem.

Buy with confidence, Met doesn't have node boards

I'm suggesting they stop taking short-cuts and cost-cutting and stop being so cheap with everything!

If that's how they want to be making great playing games built like shit, my money is nice and cool in the bank.

#54 6 months ago
Quoted from Lermods:

This is really sad and unfortunate. I have three spike games and have always been leery of them. Have you tried going through your distributor, if you are the original owner?

That is what I have done now, waiting on a response as I do know the guy at Betson New England. I am not the original owner, but it came from them and is in nice shape.
If this last resort is a no go, I'll have no choice but to plop down $219 for a new board for a design fault to get it propper again and then make a difficult decision to keep it and try to enjoy it with fingers crossed or just get rid of this and others I have. I don't know how these are considered commercial grade equipment built like matchsticks under the playfield.

Might sound drastic, but at these prices to essentially replace a bad switch? on top of everything else, I don't need to be bothered, and i'm one of the diehards and fans of their company.

#94 6 months ago
Quoted from Bublehead:

Now there is a good NODE board thread to start, instead of a twisted nipple rant thread about the fact THAT they are failing, we start one on the HOW, WHY, and WHAT on how to repair them.

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.

#141 6 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.


#151 6 months ago

Stern Tech David Carver with the sorcery has brought the game back to 100%
He suggested swapping the node boards but with the same dip switch settings, this brought the game back to 100%, all switches and features.
While I still don’t feel safe with the nodes general design I’m grateful and pleased it’s working again like it should.

Thanks, James

#156 6 months ago
Quoted from mrm_4:

Im not familiar with node boards yet but in the future when I do get a game and this happens, can you explain a little more as to what you did?
Did you just take a board from another spot on the same game and swap the 2 because the board that isn't working will still work for another part because the dip switches are different?

Yes, the two boards are linked together and the same with 3 dip switches a piece, so I had to reverse the dips and swap the boards with each other. My guess is, that there are say (wild guess) 20 switches per board, and perhaps the switch that went bad on board A, are not utilized on board b or vice versa.
Reversed, the bad switch on the drop target that registers for “up” isn’t needed on the top inlane switch, because it just registers “down” and not both directions.

either way, it seems like dumb luck.

#172 6 months ago
Quoted from TheLaw:

But are you still out on future purchases?

This is a good question. I really do love the way Sterns play, they're packed with interesting rulesets.

The problem is when they don't play, however common and rare this may be going forward remains to be seen. When it happens though, it's a royal PITA with no real way to fix it like the old days. This would not be such a large concern if they were either easily repairable, or these node boards cost $50 a piece like they should. Then you could easily justify picking up a spare or two for peace of mind.

I've played several games on this now, with no issues whatsoever (yes, everything tested and working correctly)

Pinball is a good time and right now it's hotter than ever. What's unfortunate is, it's a shame that Stern took advantage of us, and left behind a near bulletproof design in Sam and cost-cut their way to more profits by converting over their entire line to a very unproven and fragile ''the pin'' style of game- All this while they already pulled a fast one with premium/LE vs pro features and pricing, and jack the prices $200 every other release.

It begs the question, why? You're giving us less and less and you want more and more?

I totally understand and get it, they're a business out to make as much as they can, but don't ask me to pay $219 to fix your problems on top of what I already paid, that's just not right.

I can't say going forward that I feel safe, but I can say I'd feel pretty foolish spending $5600 on a pro that can break with no way to repair it other than to spend hundreds more for a potentially minor issue.

3 weeks later
#338 5 months ago

The fact that you have to zip tie a transistor to another transistor with a plastic spacer between them as part of a recommended fix so that vibration doesn’t cause it to fail, proves the boards are engineered like crap.

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