(Topic ID: 235445)

Stern Spike Node Board Schematics Troubleshooting and Discussion


By JodyG

77 days ago



Topic Stats

  • 186 posts
  • 59 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 10 days ago by MooButt
  • Topic is favorited by 28 Pinsiders

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    There are 186 posts in this topic. You are on page 3 of 4.
    #101 71 days ago
    Quoted from KenLayton:

    Ah but that is what "Manual Amendments" are for. Remember when Williams did that for some of their games?

    Yeah, but it was far and few between. Now some adjustments move from SPI to Game. Then 10 new ones are added but are wedged in the middle instead of placed at the end.

    Quoted from KenLayton:

    Naturally, if Stern has their game manuals in electronic format, they could hit "edit" and add/subtract info in the manual. Then hit save and post the latest version of the manual on their support page.

    That would be a great way to do it honestly. Kind of like a 'living' manual that gets updated regularly. The only problem is we're talking about Stern, which can't even bother to do a manual anymore. Download the Metallica one that only has 40% of the info. The quality looks like it was faxed over, scanned, printed on a copier, scanned again and converted to PDF with a potato.

    #102 71 days ago

    Check out the Transformers manual. It's pretty bad: missing sections, out of sequence sections, duplicate sections, and missing pages within a section. Plus it's a black and white scan of material which originally had color photographs.

    #103 71 days ago
    Quoted from KenLayton:

    Ah but that is what "Manual Amendments" are for. Remember when Williams did that for some of their games?
    Naturally, if Stern has their game manuals in electronic format, they could hit "edit" and add/subtract info in the manual. Then hit save and post the latest version of the manual on their support page.

    Whoa whoa there....electronic manuals from say like a website? What is this like 2019 or something?

    #104 71 days ago

    Whitestar manuals were pretty much peak from stern. Really great manuals and well laid out.

    #105 70 days ago
    Quoted from Wolfmarsh:

    I know for a fact this is incorrect.

    True, someone has to translate the Mandarin into English

    #106 67 days ago
    Quoted from TomGWI:

    We wait for the Black Knight’s response.

    I cannot offer an updated opinion or technical analysis regarding the boards, if I don't know what Stern is actually going to provide, as it was somewhat vague in terms of detail in the short Stern Union Address. All SPIKE systems? All games? All boards or just the MPU? What level of documentation? What level of instructions? This seems a bit much for a month's worth of work. This is a lot more work to do correctly than hit the print key on the keyboard. Remember, schematics, component listings, flowcharts, diagnostics, and other parts of operation such as the nodal firmware update process are not some sort of *ultimate solution*, but a part of the integrated system understanding that should have been provided all the way back in 2013. I am not going to make an public assumption as to why Stern did not allocate proper resources to development of documentation. Ask Jody.

    We will find out soon enough in order to be reviewed in detail, but it DOES NOT change my opinion of the SPIKE pinball controller operating system.

    It should not be a grand mystery that there was a Stern reaction and attempts to mitigate SPIKE system "damage control" based on recent inquiries to distributors and comments here and other forums. The absence of training, documentation, and programming needed to be FULLY addressed, as it is a major concern, and was finally successful. This is a good thing for support of both operators and private owners. If nothing is released at the end of February (without any update), it would make Stern look rough in the eyes of those that actually are paying close attention to the industry.

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    #107 61 days ago

    Today is February 21st. - 7 days to go

    Has anyone seen, or heard anything?

    #108 61 days ago
    Quoted from Luckydogg420:

    Today is February 21st. - 7 days to go
    Has anyone seen, or heard anything?

    Bwaaaaaahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!!!!!

    #109 61 days ago

    I'm betting it won't be feb 2019... Cause u know, its stern

    #110 61 days ago

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    #111 61 days ago
    Quoted from Luckydogg420:

    Today is February 21st. - 7 days to go
    Has anyone seen, or heard anything?

    No, but I bet they charge $50 for them.

    #112 61 days ago

    If Stern wanted them out they would be. They are not going to shoot their cash cow.

    #113 61 days ago

    You have to pay to join the Stern Insider club to enjoy member's only access to the schematics and repair guides.

    Screenshot_20190221-223916 (resized).png
    #114 60 days ago

    Well as timely as this could be.

    Yesterday a bill was presented for Right to Repair legislation in Canada. If this goes through then Stern won’t legally be able to withhold anything required to fix these boards our selves

    Here’s the article that I quoted from
    https://motherboard.vice.com/en_us/article/gyawqy/right-to-repair-legislation-is-officially-being-considered-in-ontario-canada

    On Thursday, Coteau introduced a private member’s bill in provincial parliament that, if passed, would be the first “right to repair” law for electronic devices in North America. More than a dozen US states are currently considering similar bills, but nothing is on the books yet in the US or in Canada.

    The legislation proposes that tech companies make diagnostic tools, repair manuals, and official parts available to consumers at their request. The legislation would also require that any new products ship with a repair manual. Documents provided to consumers must be free unless they request paper copies, and parts, tools, and software must be provided at a fair price.

    “The intention of the legislation is to force a company like Apple to ensure the parts they create for their phones and tablets are available to be purchased,” Coteau said, adding that the legislative process would look for ways to ensure companies’ copyright and intellectual property is respected.

    #115 60 days ago
    Quoted from schudel5:

    You have to pay to join the Stern Insider club to enjoy member's only access to the schematics and repair guides.
    [quoted image]

    Is this true, or speculation?

    #116 60 days ago
    Quoted from Luckydogg420:

    Is this true, or speculation?

    Just speculation.

    #117 60 days ago
    Quoted from schudel5:

    Just speculation.

    Doubtful. This is more of a fan service Stern is selling. This is not for ops.

    #118 60 days ago
    Quoted from Sinestro:

    Doubtful. This is more of a fan service Stern is selling. This is not for ops.

    I realize that. I guess this didn't have the effect I thought it would. Nevermind.

    #119 60 days ago
    Quoted from Luckydogg420:

    The legislation proposes that tech companies make diagnostic tools, repair manuals, and official parts available to consumers at their request.

    So, they provide replacement node boards, and a sheet of paper showing how to install it.

    #120 60 days ago
    Quoted from DNO:

    So, they provide replacement node boards, and a sheet of paper showing how to install it.

    I think it goes more to allowing after market boards to be made by having available schematics, proprietary chips or code to get them working.

    I think it would limit manufacturers from requiring you to return your product to them to be fixed. So, if a spike cpu board blows you will have options to repair it or replace it.

    #121 60 days ago

    Should be released any day now --- NOT.

    #122 60 days ago

    I hope Stern figured in that this is a short month

    #123 60 days ago
    Quoted from KenLayton:

    Should be released any day now --- NOT.

    I reckon they will do it but it will be underwhelming/incomplete

    22
    #124 59 days ago

    So i took some time to look over a stern node board on ghostbusters. I don't see what is so unknown about it? Sure its got surface mount instead of traditional pinball through hole style, but anyone with some technical know how and a multimeter with continuity testing can figure out whats going on. Oh and google to search case numbers on parts.

    There's a microcontroller at the heart. The small flat flex connector in the middle is a programming header, but there are also 6 pads on the bottom that share pins with the flat flex connector for bed of nails programming to make it easier for programming during manufacture.

    The communication is UART over half duplex RS485. They also use optocouplers to isolate the RS485 ethernet cable to eliminate ground loops. From what i googled they are using 48V (maaaybe 12V or 24V) over the ethernet cable with a 5V voltage regulator on the isolated side to power the rs485 ic.

    There's a 6V 3A regulator to convert the main 48V input for the lower voltage parts and lights. Some additional filtering and regulation is also there to bring the 6V down to 5V for more sensitive components.

    Shift registers are used for switch inputs and DC light outputs. And there's an SPI light bus header output for the individually controlled lights.

    Last there is some mosfets for the solenoids that use inverted schmitt triggers as gate drivers. A couple microcontroller pins drive the schmitt triggers/mosfets for PWM control.

    I'm not going to make a full schematic, but i've been able to find a datasheet for about 90% of the parts on this board.

    Its actually a great design and well done. The whole package is very neat and well laid out.

    Now what i'm wondering, is even with full schematics of these things, i don't think these old school pin ops are going to be doing SMT rework. And the ones who are able to SMT rework, from what my searching has found, have been able to figure out what they needed to do anyways. (found a guy who shorted a light and blew a small output transistor and replaced it himself on a stern node board).

    I have not look too in depth at the main CPU, but it seems pretty similar. One main 48V input with some voltage regulation, an audio amplifier stage, etc.

    Let me know if you guys have any specific issues or questions about these boards. I have yet to find any real information about their failure modes as almost every single post i've seen here about a "failed" node board is completely ambiguous, to the point where its impossible to know what actually failed.

    #125 57 days ago

    Just a few more days left in the month and still no schematics.

    #126 57 days ago

    No Schematics before the deadline will affect my buying choices going forward.

    #127 57 days ago

    Maybe it will happen in 2019

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    #128 57 days ago
    Quoted from IMI4tth3w:

    So i took some time to look over a stern node board on ghostbusters. I don't see what is so unknown about it? Sure its got surface mount instead of traditional pinball through hole style, but anyone with some technical know how and a multimeter with continuity testing can figure out whats going on. Oh and google to search case numbers on parts.
    There's a microcontroller at the heart. The small flat flex connector in the middle is a programming header, but there are also 6 pads on the bottom that share pins with the flat flex connector for bed of nails programming to make it easier for programming during manufacture.
    The communication is UART over half duplex RS485. They also use optocouplers to isolate the RS485 ethernet cable to eliminate ground loops. From what i googled they are using 48V (maaaybe 12V or 24V) over the ethernet cable with a 5V voltage regulator on the isolated side to power the rs485 ic.
    There's a 6V 3A regulator to convert the main 48V input for the lower voltage parts and lights. Some additional filtering and regulation is also there to bring the 6V down to 5V for more sensitive components.
    Shift registers are used for switch inputs and DC light outputs. And there's an SPI light bus header output for the individually controlled lights.
    Last there is some mosfets for the solenoids that use inverted schmitt triggers as gate drivers. A couple microcontroller pins drive the schmitt triggers/mosfets for PWM control.
    I'm not going to make a full schematic, but i've been able to find a datasheet for about 90% of the parts on this board.
    Its actually a great design and well done. The whole package is very neat and well laid out.
    Now what i'm wondering, is even with full schematics of these things, i don't think these old school pin ops are going to be doing SMT rework. And the ones who are able to SMT rework, from what my searching has found, have been able to figure out what they needed to do anyways. (found a guy who shorted a light and blew a small output transistor and replaced it himself on a stern node board).
    I have not look too in depth at the main CPU, but it seems pretty similar. One main 48V input with some voltage regulation, an audio amplifier stage, etc.
    Let me know if you guys have any specific issues or questions about these boards. I have yet to find any real information about their failure modes as almost every single post i've seen here about a "failed" node board is completely ambiguous, to the point where its impossible to know what actually failed.

    Thank you very much for taking the time to post.

    #129 56 days ago

    Hey do these look official?

    34A9387A-5E32-4292-92A3-A2B52E86C628 (resized).jpeg
    #130 56 days ago
    Quoted from Luckydogg420:

    Hey do these look official?
    [quoted image]

    XKCD. Nice!

    #131 56 days ago

    They've fulfilled half of the promise today:

    https://sternpinball.com/support/sd-cards/

    Edit: Looks like only the images for Spike II games is on the site right now. Hopefully Spike I will be coming too. So I guess we aren't quite at half of what was promised.

    #132 56 days ago
    Quoted from stangbat:

    They've fulfilled half of the promise today:

    Okay, now the page is gone? The menu still shows the page.

    #133 56 days ago
    Quoted from IMI4tth3w:

    So i took some time to look over a stern node board on ghostbusters. I don't see what is so unknown about it? Sure its got surface mount instead of traditional pinball through hole style, but anyone with some technical know how and a multimeter with continuity testing can figure out whats going on. Oh and google to search case numbers on parts.
    There's a microcontroller at the heart. The small flat flex connector in the middle is a programming header, but there are also 6 pads on the bottom that share pins with the flat flex connector for bed of nails programming to make it easier for programming during manufacture.
    The communication is UART over half duplex RS485. They also use optocouplers to isolate the RS485 ethernet cable to eliminate ground loops. From what i googled they are using 48V (maaaybe 12V or 24V) over the ethernet cable with a 5V voltage regulator on the isolated side to power the rs485 ic.
    There's a 6V 3A regulator to convert the main 48V input for the lower voltage parts and lights. Some additional filtering and regulation is also there to bring the 6V down to 5V for more sensitive components.
    Shift registers are used for switch inputs and DC light outputs. And there's an SPI light bus header output for the individually controlled lights.
    Last there is some mosfets for the solenoids that use inverted schmitt triggers as gate drivers. A couple microcontroller pins drive the schmitt triggers/mosfets for PWM control.
    I'm not going to make a full schematic, but i've been able to find a datasheet for about 90% of the parts on this board.
    Its actually a great design and well done. The whole package is very neat and well laid out.
    Now what i'm wondering, is even with full schematics of these things, i don't think these old school pin ops are going to be doing SMT rework. And the ones who are able to SMT rework, from what my searching has found, have been able to figure out what they needed to do anyways. (found a guy who shorted a light and blew a small output transistor and replaced it himself on a stern node board).
    I have not look too in depth at the main CPU, but it seems pretty similar. One main 48V input with some voltage regulation, an audio amplifier stage, etc.
    Let me know if you guys have any specific issues or questions about these boards. I have yet to find any real information about their failure modes as almost every single post i've seen here about a "failed" node board is completely ambiguous, to the point where its impossible to know what actually failed.

    Like you said, if you really wanted to you could figure it out. The schematics are helpful though and give a good reference.
    I done a couple of quick fixes via SMD like replace a transistor and a light, but finding the part numbers to some of these small components is a little tricky.
    Guess it just comes with experience.

    #134 56 days ago
    Quoted from IMI4tth3w:

    ...I have yet to find any real information about their failure modes as almost every single post i've seen here about a "failed" node board is completely ambiguous, to the point where its impossible to know what actually failed.

    Almost as if that was the main problem! But thanks super smart guy with only 2 posts that somehow makes only me feel weird aboot this post.

    Welcome to Pinside

    #135 56 days ago
    Quoted from stangbat:

    Okay, now the page is gone? The menu still shows the page.

    I'm getting a 404 error.

    Seems like all the support pages are broken.

    #136 55 days ago
    Quoted from KenLayton:

    I'm getting a 404 error.

    Seems like all the support pages are broken.

    I'm still getting a 404 on the Image page but all others are working for me. And the Image page is still in the menu and on the Support page overview. Should have taken a screenshot yesterday. It had instructions and links to images for all the Spike II games.

    #137 55 days ago

    I guess Stern gets small kudos for posting it. They just didn't say how long they would post the info for

    #138 55 days ago

    Here is the pdf of the SD card write-up. I didn't think to grab the card images. Click on the image below to get all 3 pages.

    How-to-Create-a-SD-Card-for-a-SPIKE-System-Pinball-Machine.pdf

    #139 55 days ago
    Quoted from schudel5:

    Here is the pdf of the SD card write-up. I didn't think to grab the card images.

    Thanks. I'm sure it will be back, they're obviously working on it and have the intention to put the info up.

    #140 55 days ago

    It's back. It appears all the images are for just Spike 2 games and nothing available for original Spike 1 machines. Nothing for "The Pin" machines.

    No schematics yet.

    #141 55 days ago

    Star Wars doesn't seem to be listed on the SD Card site. (unless I'm not seeing it)

    #142 55 days ago
    Quoted from Timerider:

    Star Wars doesn't seem to be listed on the SD Card site. (unless I'm not seeing it)

    Turrible!

    #144 55 days ago

    Now I'm getting a 404 error on the entire support page.

    #145 55 days ago

    Recovery image page is back up, now with both Spike 1 and 2.

    #146 54 days ago
    Quoted from KenLayton:

    Now I'm getting a 404 error on the entire support page.

    Yeah, appears that the support overview page is broken, but the individual pages are all there and are accessible from the menu.

    #147 54 days ago

    Schematics are up!

    https://sternpinball.com/support/

    Scroll down.

    #148 54 days ago

    Got 'em all... paranoia, ha... quality looks good at first glance.

    #149 54 days ago

    I thought they were supposed to have a manual for the Spike system too? I did not see any schematics for "The Pin" boards.

    #150 54 days ago
    Quoted from KenLayton:

    I thought they were supposed to have a manual for the Spike system too? I did not see any schematics for "The Pin" boards.

    People need these? How many are even out there?

    Glad to see all the schematics up! So glad my GOT is no longer a paper weight. I was losing sleep over it.

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