(Topic ID: 248244)

Run Stern Premium or LE firmware on a Pro


By ReflectiveYak

10 months ago



Topic Stats

  • 14 posts
  • 10 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 10 months ago by RipleYYY
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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    #1 10 months ago

    I'm reading here that it can't be done:
    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/installed-a-laser-in-my-st-pro-today#post-3977217

    Has anyone ever investigated this further? Do we have more details as to why it doesn't work?
    (Unlocking this would open up a world of modding opportunities...)

    #2 10 months ago

    Has to do with the boards I believe. Stern uses proprietary boards (spike 2) that are more than likely hard coded for the version to run the things that aren’t on the pro. JJP has dongles on the PC that are matched to the version of their games, hence why they have a single download for all versions. If you put pro software on a stern DP for instance, the drop targets don’t function correctly because the pro doesn’t have them.

    #3 10 months ago
    Quoted from ReflectiveYak:

    I'm reading here that it can't be done:
    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/installed-a-laser-in-my-st-pro-today#post-3977217
    Has anyone ever investigated this further? Do we have more details as to why it doesn't work?
    (Unlocking this would open up a world of modding opportunities...)

    I’ve done it on my game of thrones by accident. Game acted the nuts when I tried to play it.

    #4 10 months ago

    It’s been dreamed about a lot. Unfortunately it’s never going to work.

    #5 10 months ago
    Quoted from chuckwurt:

    I’ve done it on my game of thrones by accident. Game acted the nuts when I tried to play it.

    Same- it doesn't work. Don't waste your time.

    If it did work or it was something you could do, don't you think you'd see a bunch of posts about it?

    #6 10 months ago

    Stern will instantly charge you $2k - $3k more when this is attempted! Joking aside I don't think it can be done as others have said.

    #7 10 months ago
    Quoted from chuckwurt:

    I’ve done it on my game of thrones by accident. Game acted the nuts when I tried to play it.

    So the update actually completed successfully? Was anything « right » after? Did the machine get to attract mode? Could you start a game? Any sound at all?

    I’ll try to find some time to test it on my ST and to start having a look and compare the code. (Which I assume is not encrypted, given pinball-browser..)

    In the mean time if anyone hears of any actual technical details please don’t hesitate to post here!

    #8 10 months ago

    Just wanted to share something I observed with Spike II code that inadvertently got myself into. Last summer I got a replacement CPU board for my Star Wars Pro to help troubleshoot a sound issue (which ended up being a spike II software issue in the end), the replacement board had an SD card in it already, which I forgot to check when I swapped it in. It turned out this SD card had Aerosmith LE installed on it. So when I powered up my game the first time it booted to Aerosmith, did the attract mode and everything, and you could even start a game, though I only plunged the ball and flipped at it once or twice out of curiosity and then figured this can’t be good for the node boards.

    I swapped the Star Wars SD card back in and everything seemed to be working again, but Somehow the node board responsible for the inner loop on my game got its code messed up from the Aerosmith code and would misfire the posts during the Lightsaber duel mode so you could never finish it.

    I tried downgrading to 1.03 and another earlier version and none of these worked. By some miracle I had a copy of .90 on my computer, so tried it back down to .90 so it would force a downgrade to the node boards which seemed to finally reset the behaviour I was seeing. I was then able to upgrade back to 1.04 and had no further issues.

    It seems not every code update changes node board programming, so when the machine was swapped back from Aerosmith to Star Wars, it must do a firmware version check on the nodeboards during the boot sequence and saw a version number that was high enough, and didn’t bother flashing the node boards to the latest Star Wars version.

    So long story short, I wouldn’t try putting Premium/LE code on a pro game, it might mess up your node boards in a bad way, maybe send the wrong amount of voltage to a coil that is different between the versions of the game and cook something. I was really lucky in my case I didn’t mess anything up permanently.

    On a SAM game, I’d be curious if the switch or coil matrix is similar between the Pro and Premium/LE versions enough that you could just wire in the column and row for switches for a feature and it would possibly work if you had a way to get the code on the machine installed? Think of Spinners on Metallica for example...

    #9 10 months ago
    Quoted from JoshODBrown:

    Just wanted to share something I observed with Spike II code that inadvertently got myself into. Last summer I got a replacement CPU board for my Star Wars Pro to help troubleshoot a sound issue (which ended up being a spike II software issue in the end), the replacement board had an SD card in it already, which I forgot to check when I swapped it in. It turned out this SD card had Aerosmith LE installed on it. So when I powered up my game the first time it booted to Aerosmith, did the attract mode and everything, and you could even start a game, though I only plunged the ball and flipped at it once or twice out of curiosity and then figured this can’t be good for the node boards.
    I swapped the Star Wars SD card back in and everything seemed to be working again, but Somehow the node board responsible for the inner loop on my game got its code messed up from the Aerosmith code and would misfire the posts during the Lightsaber duel mode so you could never finish it.
    I tried downgrading to 1.03 and another earlier version and none of these worked. By some miracle I had a copy of .90 on my computer, so tried it back down to .90 so it would force a downgrade to the node boards which seemed to finally reset the behaviour I was seeing. I was then able to upgrade back to 1.04 and had no further issues.
    It seems not every code update changes node board programming, so when the machine was swapped back from Aerosmith to Star Wars, it must do a firmware version check on the nodeboards during the boot sequence and saw a version number that was high enough, and didn’t bother flashing the node boards to the latest Star Wars version.
    So long story short, I wouldn’t try putting Premium/LE code on a pro game, it might mess up your node boards in a bad way, maybe send the wrong amount of voltage to a coil that is different between the versions of the game and cook something. I was really lucky in my case I didn’t mess anything up permanently.

    Interesting! (I don't own any spike system and didn't even realise node boards would also be updated and run game-specific code in the first place.)
    Although the part where it possibly "saw a version number that was high enough, and didn’t bother flashing the node boards" is kind of worrying, as this would mean only the version is checked, not the game name..?
    Anyway I feel this kind of information would deserve its own "Stern Spike reverse engineering" thread!.. if it doesn't exist yet!

    Quoted from JoshODBrown:

    On a SAM game, I’d be curious if the switch or coil matrix is similar between the Pro and Premium/LE versions enough that you could just wire in the column and row for switches for a feature and it would possibly work if you had a way to get the code on the machine installed? Think of Spinners on Metallica for example...

    That's *exactly* the idea!
    ..in theory..

    #10 10 months ago
    Quoted from TimeBandit:

    It’s been dreamed about a lot. Unfortunately it’s never going to work.

    Ooh I just remembered you were the Matrix Interceptor man! Ok ok now I'm listening.
    What makes you so sure it'll never work?

    #11 10 months ago

    I accidentally updated LE software update to Deadpool PRO. Maybe somewhere around 0.97 time. Did not even notice it myself. Found out after I sold it.

    And i wondered why the disco multiball lightshow sucked with the new code

    #12 10 months ago

    Wouldn't it be easier to just load code and observe what happens on your game?

    You sound determined to do it.

    #13 10 months ago
    Quoted from ReflectiveYak:

    So the update actually completed successfully?

    Kinda. I think a node update failed.

    Quoted from ReflectiveYak:

    Was anything « right » after?

    It seemed some things were okay.

    Quoted from ReflectiveYak:

    Did the machine get to attract mode?

    Yes.

    Quoted from ReflectiveYak:

    Could you start a game? Any sound at all?

    Yes and yes.

    #14 10 months ago

    talking about SAM boards, here's what i've get already (of course, pin matrixs were not the same, this boot & run, but do not hope for more)

    acdc (resized).jpg

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