(Topic ID: 310249)

Stern Spike 2 games, can you downgrade firmware / code if unhappy

By Fordiesel69

2 years ago


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  • 17 posts
  • 8 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 2 years ago by PoMC
  • Topic is favorited by 1 Pinsider

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    #1 2 years ago

    I don't really want to experiment but when you upgrade to a new stern code and all the node boards update their firmware / runtime, can you downgrade the code to a version prior or any other older version without causing issues?

    #2 2 years ago

    Generally no though it’s possible with certain games and releases (e.g. Batman).
    I would contact Stern support and ask them specifically about what game/release you want to back level.

    Don’t try it blindly on your own; people have blown node boards doing this.

    #3 2 years ago

    Not sure offhand about other games but in the case of Guardians Of The Galaxy Stern recently revised one of its node boards such that a new code release was required for it. They specifically said in GOTG's code README that dialing back to older code in games with this newer board would result in a non-functioning node board.

    #4 2 years ago

    I asked stern.....

    #5 2 years ago
    Quoted from Fordiesel69:

    I asked stern.....

    What did they say?

    #6 2 years ago

    We shall see.......waiting for the email back. Not sure if they opened their phones back up yet.

    #7 2 years ago

    You could have multiple SD cards
    More work but you can run multiple versions that way

    #9 2 years ago

    what happens to the node board firmware then? That is pulled from the CPU board.

    #10 2 years ago
    Quoted from Fordiesel69:

    what happens to the node board firmware then? That is pulled from the CPU board.

    Node 0 is the CPU on SPIKE 2 games and it's the same for all of them. The SD card has the software. Node 0 should send instructions to any downstream nodes as needed but:

    Quoted from SonicZone:

    They specifically said in GOTG's code README that dialing back to older code in games with this newer board would result in a non-functioning node board.

    The relevant part from the README is:
    LE/PRE V1.08 - July 27, 2021
    =====================

    * NOTE: The current production of Guardians of the Galaxy (GOTG) uses core nodes
    (address 8 and 9) with a new electronics component. These core nodes require
    firmware version 0.51.0 or later. The GOTG software has been updated to V1.08
    with this support. The previous version V1.07 (from 6/28/19) does NOT support
    the new node board. If someone DOWNGRADES their new game from 1.08 to 1.07
    these newer node boards will no longer work.
    ================================
    I would expect nodes 8 & 9 to also be common among SPIKE 2 games but look up the part numbers. If they are, the newer node boards will all have the same "new electronics component" and you will not be able to downgrade lower than the first software version that supported firmware version 0.51.0.

    #batman-66 was the first SPIKE 2 game and the README for its code does not mention such an issue so either it's not a problem for some games or that didn't make it into the README for Batman 66 (Premium)
    V1.06.0 - Jan. 18, 2022
    - Updated to nodeboard firmware/protocol v0.83.0

    #11 2 years ago

    I'm super bummed out about this.

    What I am failing to understand, and what would be awsome to know to technical aspects is how a factory game with factory original board that ran old code just fine, why it cannot revert back if you dont like it.

    My mando for example shipped with 0.97, I then upgraded to 0.98, and again I upgraded to 1.00.

    I wanted to use 0.98 again but didn't want to brick the game. Glad I didn't try as sterns response:

    "We do not recommend reverting back to old code once you have updated your game.
    Reverting back to old code may damage node boards, and can possibly make them inoperable, and doing so may void your warranty. "

    2 weeks later
    #12 2 years ago

    So.......becuase stern uses some iteration of linux would you be able to pull node boards, connect them to a PC somehow and extract the firmware from the node boards to save before each software upgrade?

    The game I want to revisit is batman 66 with its horrific code to be able to comprehend what people were talking about....

    1 week later
    #13 2 years ago

    Stern upgraded the under-playfield node boards' microprocessor from a LPC11xx to a LPC13xx at some point. By the way these don't run linux, it's only the MPU in the backbox which does.

    Old game software (e.g. GOTG 1.07) isn't smart enough to know the difference, and will blindly provide a LPC11xx binary to a newer LPC13xx board, thereby creating an expensive paperweight. (NB: it could still be salvaged using a bench programmer)

    Generally speaking though, downgrading works fine. For example my AIQ after installing 1.03 went back to 1.02 with no issues.

    That being said, Stern doesn't want to support it so proceed at your own risk!

    2 months later
    #14 2 years ago

    So how does the nodes know to "downgrade"? And what would happen if the nodes stay at a newer firmware than the game code? Do they need to match?

    #15 2 years ago

    I go back and forth on old and new code on a few of my games: Aerosmith, Avengers, Jurassic Park, Star Wars and yes, even Guardians of the Galaxy, just fine.

    Here's my custom code for Guardians (Pro only at the moment) if you're interested:
    https://pinside.com/pinball/forum/topic/guardians-of-the-galaxy-pomc-remix#post-6960433

    I've been going back and forth from a custom 1.06 code, to the current stock Stern code and also my custom code based on the latest version.

    The node boards just update when I swap cards in each of the games. If I put an older version in, then the node boards "update" to that version. Then they upgrade when I pop in a new version.

    #16 2 years ago

    So then to move forward as long as I have not modded or replaced any of the hardware in my machine, downgrading is not going to theroretically brick the machine?

    Can I use a thumb drive or do I need to flash a spare SD card?

    #17 2 years ago
    Quoted from Fordiesel69:

    So then to move forward as long as I have not modded or replaced any of the hardware in my machine, downgrading is not going to theroretically brick the machine?
    Can I use a thumb drive or do I need to flash a spare SD card?

    If you have the old code image, then write that to a new SD card and then you can just swap cards.

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