(Topic ID: 232957)

Node Boards- Update- Stern tech fixes issue via email

By shacklersrevenge

5 months ago

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  • 744 posts
  • 148 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 4 days ago by russdx
  • Topic is favorited by 25 Pinsiders


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#67 5 months ago
Quoted from Whysnow:

I think the MUCH bigger issue here is that you should NOT need to backup a <3 year old game.
It is crazy that they have planned failure already and it is in a matter of years!!!

Well that's kind of baked in to the tech being SD cards and is at least cheap. These aren't ROM chips and cards go bad (think of them as floppy disks). The board/hardware issues is a much larger issue.

#79 5 months ago

The theory is that 'just replacing a board' is easier than the 'old way'. Except this only holds true if a) the are able to be fixed on the spot/quickly b) cheap.

The design is inherently flawed and is a perfect example of setting up a revenue stream as has been suggested. It IS most likely cheaper for them to mass produce those boards and install them on the assembly line because it requires less work on build. It does NOT translate to easy/cheap field fixes. It is the general direction of technology. It's only cheaper/easier for the manufacturers, it generally isn't easier/cheaper for the consumer.

The difficulty curve of working on micro boards goes up exponentially for the lay person, not impossible, just not normally practical or even cheap even if schematics do come out.

On the whole, this direction on something like a pinball machine is....less than optimal. It needs to be much more granular so that one thing doesn't disable the whole product or require something like this to repair.

#83 5 months ago
Quoted from YeOldPinPlayer:

Tech changes so fast today because ten years from now there will be components that are half the cost to manufacture and can do ten times the processing. Making the old stuff won't be profitable so no one will be doing it. Stern isn't responsible for Moore's Law. They have to live with the supply chain headaches just like the rest of the world.

This is true unfortunately, but they hopefully will at least try to control the costs for replacements on a product that is prone to breaking.

#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.

2 weeks later
#235 5 months ago
Quoted from 27dnast:

I’m not sure you can. I think a lot collectors allow desire to trump common sense (that’s how we ended up here). Or, folks don’t actually feel cheated or concerned (which is the most likely scenario).
You know that concept of a tipping point? We haven’t found it.

It's a shift in mentality. There is so much anti-consumerism and 'it's my money don't tell me how to spend it' mentality in the last 10 years. People don't care about quality. They don't care about prices. They don't care about ethics, or anything other than 'getting it now!'. The only time they really get mad is if they can't immediately get it. Marketing and corporations have succeeded in making us constant consumers of things we don't need and instant gratification. Social media has made us even more keep up with the jones' type people. I have no problems paying high dollars for quality products. The problem however is everyone wants quality prices for crap products. "Hey we cut costs here, we cut costs here, our product won't last as long, and we aren't going to pass the savings to our customers, but we can make a bigger profit margin and show growth!". It's a losing battle, because greed has trumped everything else and we the consumers continue to buy into it.

You can see it even more with these forums that there is a genuine fear that holding Stern to any kind of standard or accountability in direction is going to 'destroy pinball' and put them out of business. That is a completely insane way to look at it. People are defending things that shouldn't be defended. Yet, some artwork that offended some people with overactive imaginations was a huge spectacle. The world has lost its mind.

#247 5 months ago
Quoted from Zitt:

That wasn't the point I was trying to make.
What I'm pointing out is Stern has the schematics... All they need to do is "print" to PDF and done.
Stern has a business reason for withholding the schematics. Weither it's to keep people buying spare parts; or to "obstructe" the functionality of the design thru "hidden" schematics so competitors can't "learn" something they want hidden.

Most likely it is the 2nd reason. That isn't anything out of the ordinary.

1 week later
#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.

#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.

#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.

#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.

#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 ->

#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.

#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.

#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.

#452 4 months ago
Quoted from iceman44:

And yet in our small Alien community it happened literally overnight.
No "reference documents". None needed in today's world. This isn't 1980

It's great that happened, but it isn't likely to happen with everything. From what I've seen the majority of the work on Alien has been in good faith, and not for profit. That can't be said about nearly any other machine that has replacement parts. For the majority there has to not only be the know how, tools and money, there has to be someone who actually wants to do it -- which is usually driven by money. Let's also consider that most of the people who have an Alien have a personal interest in keeping it going AND have a lot of money invested already.

#475 4 months ago
Quoted from jawjaw:

I'm pretty ignorant when it comes to this electronic stuff but has there been any known reasons why these boards have failed? If it was just a need for fuses, couldn't those be added by the aftermarket?
Regardless, I don't get all the complaining. I don't know of any paperweight Spike pins and seriously doubt there will be any time soon. Sure, it will be costly to fix but guess what - they are costly to buy in the first place. Complaining that you have to buy a $400 board to fix your $8000 pin is the very definition of first world problems. Nobody forces you to buy a pin and nobody needs one. It's a luxury, niche item. The simple solution to avoid all these issues is to not buy a Stern Spike pin. If you got own one and worried about costly repairs, sell it. Problem solved.

Never understood this mentality. "oh you spent how much? You shoudln't mind spending an arm and a leg to keep it going!"...that is so...smh.

The concerns, and real life scenarios have been said in these pages. It's more about the length of time and hassle to get those boards repaired for one little .50 cent part needing replaced but costing hundreds instead. Sure not everyone is going to see it, that doesn't make it any less of a concern when you are spending that much money up front. You are right about one thing though, more people will just not buy those systems over time if they prove to be unreliable and costly to fix.

#495 4 months ago
Quoted from captainadam_21:

When I just Sioux falls Wednesday for a client meeting it was -50 wind chill. When I landed on Phoenix it was 70. That is 120 degree difference! Like going from 80 to 200

It was -24 (without windchill) for 2 days this week here. Saturday it is supposed to be around 55. Crazy weather.

#501 4 months ago
Quoted from TheLaw:

Well because Stern, or any company, isn't going to give you that info, that's silly.
The problem with the entire discussion is everything is unknown. If we had the schematics then we'd know how the boards work and if we could get replacement parts to fix them. As of now we don't.

But that's the entire point of the conversation. We don't know how bad it is, but what we DO know is that boards are failing in a small cross section of the community and that those that do know somewhat about how they work say they aren't designed well. We also know that the system to replace them is time consuming and costly. If they were forthcoming, this would be less of an issue. Secrecy/lack of communication breeds more speculation. They don't release sales numbers and we don't have any idea how many boards are failing and they aren't releasing schematics which has always been a staple of pinball. Everyone wants to talk about history, that is a big one. Why keep them private unless there was a reason?

It definitely impacts my decision to throw 5-8k on a newer Stern when I can throw that same money around on something else that won't have those issues.

Long run, let's hope it works itself out for the betterment of the consumers, not just Stern.

#513 4 months ago
Quoted from Jvspin:

I'm surprised they don't just release the information. Then people couldn't complain about that and I think the reality is, 99% of the buyers won't capable of, or bother with, repairing the boards anyway.

That's where some of the conspiracy theories come from. When it is something that has always(?) been done, and now suddenly it isn't, there's normally an anti-consumer pro-business/profit reason behind it.

#520 4 months ago

I figured it had more to do with not letting their (new) competitors easily have their proprietary designs being the most likely scenario. Not that it would stop them for long.

#559 4 months ago
Quoted from hoby1:

Does it concern me........... I never really sit there and think about it, " OMG can I get a new node board IF this goes bad. "
Uuuuuuum No.
You guys that wont buy games with Spike games are really missing out on alot of cool stuff. If I gotta spend a little coin down the road to enjoy some of these GREAT title. Im in.

You are making an assumption that everyone buys a game sight unseen, which I think for the majority is not true. If I want to play one I can spend a heck of a lot less coin elsewhere - when they aren't down. It's interesting though that people don't think about cost of ownership when considering buying big ticket items. Must be a difference between the well off versus the rich.

#562 4 months ago
Quoted from iceman44:

I don’t like the term “node board”
What else can we come up with?

Board of Death?

#564 4 months ago
Quoted from hoby1:

Heh ??? What the heck does that have to do with my statement.

You said 'you're missing out' as if people are never going to play one just because they don't want to own one. Most people play one before they even decide to drop money on one. Your statement made no sense because no one is 'missing out'.

#569 4 months ago
Quoted from hoby1:

Unless your spending all you time at the quarter arcade with all the new titles or a close buddy's house.....Yep your missing out.

Not at all...such a weird thing to say. I don't own a house in the Florida Keys, but I can go visit anytime I like. Doesn't mean I'm 'missing out'.

#571 4 months ago
Quoted from iceman44:

Dude the word that is coming to mind right now is “obtuse”
And wtf is that avatar

Not trying to be

It's from artwork I made when I made a virtual cab some years ago. Rudy as a mad scientist theme.

cab-bb (resized).JPGcabart (resized).JPGcabfront (resized).JPG
#575 4 months ago
Quoted from hoby1:

Perfect analogy............. Its like walking buy a great restaurant, Yep you can smell the food but ya never really know how it tastes.

no, the analogy would be going in and getting a bite, versus owning the restaurant and dealing with the rats in the kitchen and the leaky roof.

#577 4 months ago
Quoted from iceman44:

Ok nice art. Good thing you showed it. I thought it looked like a leprechaun with a leg or something coming out of its ass in the small pic


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