When it comes to Stern SPIKE system games, it's like pissing on a fence to test and see if it's electrified.
(insert Stern nodal board high voltage joke here)
Eventually the odds catch up and the owner is going to get "stream shocked" with multiple replacement costs, if the boards are even still available, which game specific they are often not anymore. The node boards are not reliable and continue to be susceptible to voltage regulation and vibration issues. A single issue can take out multiple boards at one time. The average price of a Stern node board is $150, but can reach to $1000 for a full CPU board. Techs cannot troubleshoot well in the field AT ALL most of these types of issues. Boards are repairable, but only those with identifiable circuit paths and components. The more SPIKE games a person owns the more complicated the issues can be both via generation and components.
I discussed much of this over a year ago here in multiple responses of the thread, "Stern Reliability: SAM versus SPIKE" and "What are your thoughts on the Spike II system?", but let us go even FURTHER back in time.
Operators asked for schematics in 2013 and made various technical recommendations for the system that for the most part have not been fulfilled. They were not complaints, they were observations like "providing an end user diagnosis of specific nodal control based a partial boot failure, because it was not explained in any form of manual". Stern techs could not even answer this type of question at the time. The OP information from Chaz confirmed that from the standpoint of design, things have not changed, but instead are doing manual resets on circuit boards (when applicable). This is nearly SIX YEARS of "coming soon". With the continued increase of cost of NIB games, the only thing which has been maintained in that period is Stern customer service. However, prices are now 1.5x higher for what reason? "Improvements"? How? Screw that, Stern, some remaining operators don't buy that excuse now. The SPIKE II system regressed further with circuit protection. This is another example of a big middle finger to everyone that is involved in the industry. If owners want to be treated like mushrooms, kept in the dark, and fed bullshit, I cannot do anything about this problem, but I will at least speak out for education. Coincidentally, Using "swapatronics" is not a particularly impressive form of significant flattery and technical solution, if a customer service representative is experienced.
This situation would have been absolutely intolerable, even in the 90s, but because the end user is now a consumer, it seems somehow accepted. There is nothing wrong with advances in technology, if supported with direct repairs, but, Stern fails to offer this option, including ANY FORM of training classes, that were provided by B/W.
SPIKE is NOT that "advanced solution", except in profit margins of the manufacturer. That was never its intended purpose. SPIKE was never designed to ease the burden of any part of Reliability-Serviceability-Durability (RSD) of pinball. It actually was meant as a evolutionary venture of the same kind of lackluster "improvements" that were offered in terms of reduced quality of construction of the game, including cabinets, power, playfields, and hardware. Every single Stern supporter remains completely bushwhacked each time they buy a game with this system. End users are not getting what they are paying for overall, and is partially why B/W games remain so popular, not just with collectors, but operators as well.
Think about these points before gambling with another use of disposable income, new or used SPIKE games. If you play, but don't own or operate, and think it does not matter, it completely does, as it reflects into the cost per game that operators must use to keep these titles running. Also, it really helps to know Stern's titles, as if they are SAM, as it will make a HUGE difference in cost savings in the long run for maintenance regardless of type of location.