You can't start off by saying you don't want to rely on board swapping, then go right into how it was 10 years ago. The only people who were throwing games away were operators, of heavily routed games, that weren't worth the $350 to replace the board because heavily routed used games weren't worth anything. Not the case today.
Today, with some games costing $12K+ or any used DMD game being worth $1,500+, nobody is throwing their game away over a $350 board.
And again, schematics are out, SMD components are the norm, it sounds like some people are worried about a lack of troubleshooting knowledge which sucks, but I'm not sure I can blame Stern for that.
Stern is seriously stepping up the quality of their games, especially code. I know we like to bitch here, but come on, there is nothing about the Spike board set that is out of the ordinary by today's standards.
Also, for context, I bought a HUO WPT last month in which the owner drastically downplayed a reset issue it had. He said 1 in 100, more like 1 in 2. Turned out there was a service bulletin to fix the CPU board, but it was never done. In 2019, I'm dealing with a not so perfect early SAM board, just like everyone here knows that the early Spike system probably isn't going to be perfect. I'm not a stranger to being "screwed" by Stern's early implementation systems.
It's not like we haven't seen any improvement in Spike harware...
Quoted from CaptainNeo:
you don't want to rely on just swapping out when it comes to boards. Board repairs usually costs you pennies to fix if you want to take the time to learn how to do it. It's the main reason most of these old games are still running today. If you depended on swapping boards 10 years ago. Most of the older games you see today would have been in the trash, because swappable boards didn't exist. You HAD to fix your boards, or go to someone who could. The fact that Stern took forever to release schematics, and make the boards very difficult to repair, says that they are trying to exploit the parts business. Make shitty stuff, designed so you have to depend on replacements. That's a shitty system. Especially since they are charging 200 - 300% more for games than they were in 2009. remember when you could get replacement playfields from stern for $200? We used to have piles of LOTR, TSPP playfields floating around everywhere. now they want and arm and a leg for replacement boards? WTF? If they priced them reasonable. Most of us would have a replacement on hand for when things go to shit (and they will eventually). And when it does. You better hope your programmed chip doesn't go out, because if stern no longer sells it, you will never be able to get your game running again.