(Topic ID: 218125)

What are your thoughts on the Spike II system?


By LoserKid3

1 year ago



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#251 1 year ago

I personally am really not concerned about any of this accessibility to replacement parts. There is a lot of technical skills in the pinball fan world and we aren’t talking rocket science here with these architectures, mechanisms, or PCBs - just specificity.

Where there is a market, there will be producers rising up to fulfill the needs of that market. (CPR’s announcement of their new business model, as an example).

Its all going to be fine, guys.

#252 1 year ago

I asked George Gomez at pintastic yesterday about schematics for spike so we can fix our games. He indicated they are coming along with tutorials and online training sessions. He seemed very appreciative that many of us like fixing as much as we like playing.

#253 1 year ago
Quoted from kermit24:

Taking a beating? What are you talking about? Stern isn't leaving anyone out to dry with the service and support. New pin buyers are being taken care of well beyond the warranty.

Distributors are not reimbursed for any costs relating to labor.

#254 1 year ago

well I just put my new node board in and looks like I will have to order 4 new light board. And the best part is I have no idea what caused this failure. I really f***ing hate this system!

#255 1 year ago
Quoted from mario_1_up:

well I just put my new node board in and looks like I will have to order 4 new light board. And the best part is I have no idea what caused this failure. I really fucking hate this system!

Did your node board have the secured diode fix?

When that diode fails, it can send high voltage down to the light boards.

#256 1 year ago
Quoted from mcbPalisade:

Hum, there have been lots of chipsets. Do you anticipate trouble in the future finding this one in current-production motherboards?
Keep the info coming, I'm learning about machines I don't have regular access to.

No idea because I don't know what parts of the chipset the kernel is relying on. Once these MSI boards with the current compatible chipset are gone, it will be trial and error. The point is there are currently alternatives to the stock JJP MSI motherboard in WoZ.

#257 1 year ago
Quoted from vireland:

No idea because I don't know what parts of the chipset the kernel is relying on.

The 2 big elements of "chipsets" are the North Bridge & South Bridge. I did PC servicing for a number of years and I was constantly fighting the "wrong drivers, BSOD" problem when replacing a motherboard for an existing installation. The only way around this without a total reinstall was what we called a "kernel repair" operation, it could use the basic BIOS to get to the point where it selected the proper drivers for the new chipset.

Actually it looks like the best idea is to use "simple" boards like FAST or Polymorphic with the primary controller being a compute platform using USB. This level of hardware abstraction allows lots & lots of flexibility.

Funny but I've never worked on projects where silicon availability long term was a primary consideration. Pinball really demands this.

#258 1 year ago

Just curious: did Stern determine you'll need 4 more light boards? Furthermore, are they sending them to you for free/under warranty?

#259 1 year ago

Can anyone confirm that stern has promised to release schematics eventually? Because that’s a huge deciding factor in longevity of the device. Node boards can be repaired, some parts are through hole. The rest will need more tools and training to fix, but it can be done with a schematic and parts list.

#260 1 year ago
Quoted from Lermods:

online training sessions.

If this happens, Stern will definitely earn some respects for going above expectations.
Could of sworn he said something about that during TPF, thought I imaged it though.

Quoted from Luckydogg420:

Can anyone confirm that stern has promised to release schematics eventually? Because that’s a huge deciding factor in longevity of the device. Node boards can be repaired, some parts are through hole. The rest will need more tools and training to fix, but it can be done with a schematic and parts list.

Supposedly the word on the street, time will tell.

#261 1 year ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

All I know is some guy I never heard of before posted a video on youtube telling me Spike is bad.
Therefore, it's bad.
Also, 9/11 was an inside job, and the moon landing was faked in a studio!
Hold on I'll dig up the links...

I really wouldn't say that. Five percent?!?!
Here in NYC, I know ZERO people who own an Iron Maiden, and there are about 5 on location. Location pinball still exists, so do operators.

agree on the video, what a lot of!!

its interesting how the markets and locations are so different. Here in the UK (and I'd argue most of Europe) location games can be no more than 20%

There are 2 IM's on location and at-least 15 in collections.
There are only 3 serious locations, another 2 decent and a few one pin places.

Neil.

13
#262 1 year ago

Those that were around during the 1980s for the earliest days is SS conversion should remember remember the parts shortfalls of boards once Bally/WMS moved forward to more advanced systems in 1985 and the games were abandoned. Earlier SS games sat in warehouses untouched for decades.

Those that experienced the shortfalls and parting out of WPC boardsets after WMS closed in the 2000s, experienced the same. Many games were stripped, as the boards were worth more than the games themselves.

It took an average of 10-15 years for replacement boards, and the designs for backwards engineering were available, although many boards today for certain systems still remain NLA, such as 6803 Bally. Hence, part of the time design factor of consideration beyond stress testing of components.

Best of fortune with SPIKE games, which are already moving quickly forward.

If Stern stops producing replacement boards which they already have for WWE and KISS (less than three years later), owners will have a 285 lb paperweights, as some boards are unrepairable even with those with proper SMT workstations and correct experience with microscopes. We are not talking replacing LED boards here. There have been no indications to my operator who operates 1400+ games that anything Stern offers in training classes will provide the necessary experience to repair these boards and they require much more experience, and Stern outsources production, they do not do such actions presently.

Our senior board repair techician with over 30+ years experience dealing with every type of board repair since 1976, cannot presently fix these node or master MPU SPIKE boards for reasons mentioned predominantly to lack of availability of schematics, and size of traces in the MPUs and certain ICs (some of which are not easily commercially available at cheap cost). He is not an "enthusiast".

Those that deny the danger are being short sighted of past pinball history and experience, and most were not around to see it. Relying on promises by manufacturers of the future is just as dangerous. George Gomez does not control the direction of the company's future he manages production and remains an engineer and designer, not an electronics techician. Those former choices are not in his hands, as they are controlled by others.

Good luck.

#263 1 year ago

I personally am happy to see the evolution of this industry. I expect a lot of downvotes for this, but who cares?

With all change comes fear of the unknown. I have gone over (and over) my IMDN Premium to try and get an understanding of why Stern made the various design decisions they have in it. The SPIKE system is exactly what I would expect from modern electronics design (I am more confused by a couple of the mechanical decisions actually.)

Not everyone WILL be able to fix smaller trace PCBs... Period. Welcome to a brave new world of electrical design. Is the industry supposed to not move forward because existing technicians don’t have the equipment (or skills) to do all repairs themselves?

This ‘sky is falling’ nonsense is just crazy.

#264 1 year ago

If Stern no longer produces parts and schematics are not available, then what would you do if you need a board? This is alarming, that it could be as little as three years time until obsolescence.

#265 1 year ago
Quoted from D-Gottlieb:

If Stern no longer produces parts and schematics are not available, then what would you do if you need a board? This is alarming, that it could be as little as three years time until obsolescence.

And why would this scenario occur? Even if Stern somehow ‘magically’ disappears, if there is a market for it someone buys their IP and makes the boards. Just like every other industry.

#266 1 year ago
Quoted from skink91:

And why would this scenario occur? Even if Stern somehow ‘magically’ disappears, if there is a market for it someone buys their IP and makes the boards. Just like every other industry.

So who is producing boards for the aforementioned games, WWE and KISS, if Stern is not any longer?

#267 1 year ago
Quoted from D-Gottlieb:

So who is producing boards for the aforementioned games, WWE and KISS, if Stern is not any longer?

If Stern wants/needs to print boards, they will send out and have them printed. Is someone ‘actually’ claiming they have this problem, or are you whipping yourselves into a frenzy over conjecture?

#268 1 year ago
Quoted from skink91:

If Stern wants/needs to print boards, they will send out and have them printed. Is someone ‘actually’ claiming they have this problem, or are you whipping yourselves into a frenzy over conjecture?

I agree. Stern will have more boards made if there is a market. And they will happily sell you that freshly printed node board for 300 bucks... ahem.

Nobody is claiming Stern doesn’t have boards to sell you at an insane markup.

#269 1 year ago
Quoted from skink91:

If Stern wants/needs to print boards, they will send out and have them printed. Is someone ‘actually’ claiming they have this problem, or are you whipping yourselves into a frenzy over conjecture?

I am referring to post #262. He states that Stern has stopped production of boards for those games, or did I read it wrong?

#270 1 year ago
Quoted from D-Gottlieb:

I am referring to post #262. He states that Stern has stopped production of boards for those games, or did I read it wrong?

So tell me this: are they currently producing TRON boards? Does that mean they couldn’t if they needed to?

Currently producing means what? Do they need to stockpile WWE boards?

#271 1 year ago
Quoted from skink91:

So tell me this: are they currently producing TRON boards? Does that mean they couldn’t if they needed to?
Currently producing means what? Do they need to stockpile WWE boards?

TRON is a SAM board system, not Spike. SAM is widely documented and repairable by almost anyone. Big difference.

-2
#272 1 year ago
Quoted from vireland:

TRON is a SAM board system, not Spike. SAM is widely documented and repairable by almost anyone. Big difference.

That wasn‘t the point I was making: A board is a board.

11
#273 1 year ago
Quoted from skink91:

That wasn‘t the point I was making: A board is a board.

Only, it's not. Your point is irrelevant. I can fix most any SAM board, so Stern could be gone tomorrow and it wouldn't matter. I cannot fix most parts of a node board, and there are no public schematics. It's a real problem moving forward. SAM is user-friendly for DIY repairs. Spike is not, and may never be.

#274 1 year ago
Quoted from skink91:

That wasn‘t the point I was making: A board is a board.

-1
#275 1 year ago
Quoted from vireland:

Only, it's not. Your point is irrelevant. I can fix most any SAM board, so Stern could be gone tomorrow and it wouldn't matter. I cannot fix most parts of a node board, and there are no public schematics. It's a real problem moving forward.

To my point: Printing a SAM board is no different than printing a SPIKE board. We were talking about availability of the boards, not a tech’s ability to read an available schematic.

#276 1 year ago
Quoted from skink91:

To my point: Printing a SAM board is no different than printing a SPIKE board.

What you're not grasping, is the only fucking reason you would have to "print a new board" is if you had a board you couldn't easily fixed by yourself. Which pretty much all boards are other than Spike.

Quoted from skink91:

We were talking about availability of the boards...

Instead of resistors, cap, & BRs that don't cost shit....yes that's the problem.

#277 1 year ago
Quoted from skink91:

To my point: Printing a SAM board is no different than printing a SPIKE board. We were talking about availability of the boards, not a tech’s ability to read an available schematic.

If you're a n00b that can't do board repairs that might be a point, but most people in this for any length of time learn to FIX the boards rather than just buying $300-$500 boards when one dies. $5-$10 in parts to fix a board is a much better solution.

Hence, Spike sucking. No schematics, surface mount tech, and too many revisions of boards so far.

#278 1 year ago
Quoted from vireland:

If you're a n00b that can't do board repairs that might be a point, but most people in this for any length of time learn to FIX the boards rather than just buying $300-$500 boards when one dies. $5-$10 in parts to fix a board is a much better solution.
Hence, Spike sucking. No schematics, surface mount tech, and too many revisions of boards so far.

And my original point (#263) was this IS electronics design today. You expecting you are going to avoid multi-layer PCBs, micro traces, and surface mounts on anybody’s boards in 2018+? Come on.

#279 1 year ago
Quoted from skink91:

And my original point (#263) was this IS electronics design today. You expecting you are going to avoid multi-layer PCBs, micro traces, and surface mounts on anybody’s boards in 2018+? Come on.

If that's the future, fine, but DOCUMENT IT for owners/operators that can/will fix it. Leaving it a black box is not cool and never will be.

And SMT is not REQUIRED, it's a choice. There can be a mix of both through hole and SMT instead of SMT overload.

#280 1 year ago
Quoted from D-Gottlieb:

I am referring to post #262. He states that Stern has stopped production of boards for those games, or did I read it wrong?

Hopefully they don't need to keep making the boards as there should be a massive stock for all the unsold WWE's!

Stern would make a fortune if they put these boards into their online shop, knowing how pinheads like to have spares of everything. And at a discounted rate so that game specific boards could be bought while available.

But, of course repair is what we all want.

-2
#281 1 year ago

LOL who Will die first, Steven Tyler or all of the Aerosmith machines? All of these soon-to-be scrap machines would be really depressing and alarming if Stern made games worth playing, buying, or looking at. I admittedly haven’t had to work with Spike systems but if you can’t get schematics for them then that is enough to keep me away from them. If you believe that George Gomez is going to be making tutorials on repairs then I don’t know what to tell you; these chumps can’t even finish a game code, attach legs to a cabinet, or choose a font correctly. Even if they gave a crap about the buyer, I’m not confident they could help.

#282 1 year ago
Quoted from mario_1_up:

I guess what really chaps my ass is the cost of the boards. There markup has to be 400%.

Way more ...

#283 1 year ago

+1. In volume, node board is a $25 board.

#284 1 year ago
Quoted from skink91:

To my point: Printing a SAM board is no different than printing a SPIKE board. We were talking about availability of the boards, not a tech’s ability to read an available schematic.

and without any available schematics, how do you propose doing diagnosing a problem on the SPIKE board? if they are multi-layer (more than 2), you're going to be hard pressed (or at the very least, it will take more time to trace circuits to determine pathways and identify issues.

yes, working on SMDs is harder but not impossible. however, if you have a broken trace inside a sandwiched layer, good luck identifying that without a schematic and that's one of the problems that people have already identified with SPIKE

stern wants to keep all of the cards close to their chest and in doing so, they are alienating not only the operator techs, but also the people who have spend thousands for their home collections that don't want to pay $300+ every time a node board goes bad

#285 1 year ago
Quoted from ezelljon:

LOL who Will die first, Steven Tyler or all of the Aerosmith machines? All of these soon-to-be scrap machines would be really depressing and alarming if Stern made games worth playing, buying, or looking at. I admittedly haven’t had to work with Spike systems but if you can’t get schematics for them then that is enough to keep me away from them. If you believe that George Gomez is going to be making tutorials on repairs then I don’t know what to tell you; these chumps can’t even finish a game code, attach legs to a cabinet, or choose a font correctly. Even if they gave a crap about the buyer, I’m not confident they could help.

Hard to take you seriously when you are obviously biased against Stern.

They are not without their issues, but saying "if Stern made games worth playing" is just ridiculous.

#286 1 year ago
Quoted from vireland:

There can be a mix of both through hole and SMT instead of SMT overload.

Node boards have some through holes for transistors. It’s not all smt. The pieces that are most likely to blow are through hole.

Quoted from j_m_:

and without any available schematics, how do you propose doing diagnosing a problem on the SPIKE board?

Trial and error until schematics become available.

Quoted from j_m_:

that's one of the problems that people have already identified with SPIKE

There’s a big difference between identifying a problem and actually experiencing a problem. I don’t believe that there are wide spread issues with node boards (yet). Ive never had an issue with my game.

If schematics become available, will there be an aftermarket opportunity to recreate these node boards with all through hold parts? Or will 3rd party remakes also have smt tech to maintain size? What ever Keeps the games repairable at home.

#287 1 year ago
Quoted from xTheBlackKnightx:

Those that were around during the 1980s for the earliest days is SS conversion should remember remember the parts shortfalls of boards once Bally/WMS moved forward to more advanced systems in 1985 and the games were abandoned. Earlier SS games sat in warehouses untouched for decades.
Those that experienced the shortfalls and parting out of WPC boardsets after WMS closed in the 2000s, experienced the same. Many games were stripped, as the boards were worth more than the games themselves.
It took an average of 10-15 years for replacement boards, and the designs for backwards engineering were available, although many boards today for certain systems still remain NLA, such as 6803 Bally. Hence, part of the time design factor of consideration beyond stress testing of components.
Best of fortune with SPIKE games, which are already moving quickly forward.
If Stern stops producing replacement boards which they already have for WWE and KISS (less than three years later), owners will have a 285 lb paperweights, as some boards are unrepairable even with those with proper SMT workstations and correct experience with microscopes. We are not talking replacing LED boards here. There have been no indications to my operator who operates 1400+ games that anything Stern offers in training classes will provide the necessary experience to repair these boards and they require much more experience, and Stern outsources production, they do not do such actions presently.
Our senior board repair techician with over 30+ years experience dealing with every type of board repair since 1976, cannot presently fix these node or master MPU SPIKE boards for reasons mentioned predominantly to lack of availability of schematics, and size of traces in the MPUs and certain ICs (some of which are not easily commercially available at cheap cost). He is not an "enthusiast".
Those that deny the danger are being short sighted of past pinball history and experience, and most were not around to see it. Relying on promises by manufacturers of the future is just as dangerous. George Gomez does not control the direction of the company's future he manages production and remains an engineer and designer, not an electronics techician. Those former choices are not in his hands, as they are controlled by others.
Good luck.

True, I remember being able to buy system 1 games all day long for 25 to 75 dollars non working. This was in the late 80,s before replacement boards came along.

#288 1 year ago

To be clear - I totally get the frustration: I am just a software guy with shaky hands (which make decent soldering jobs REALLY hard) but at least on an older pin’s boards I had a chance of successfully fixing things. If I was doing this for a living, I would be supremely frustrated and worried where it leaves me going forward.

So anyway, I know I am a jerk for being one of ‘those’ guys; but I do feel generally positive about the evolution of pinball architecture design because I think it mirrors what is happening everywhere else. It informs me that this industry plans on staying around, despite how it will change the way we all do things today.

#289 1 year ago

Question: Why would you miniaturize boards if there's room for full-size boards?

I understand the need for small tech. A cell phone has to fit in your pocket.

Pinball cabinets and heads are huge.

Is it a cost thing? Is it cheaper in 2018 to make boards with flea testicles on them?

#290 1 year ago
Quoted from Bendit:

Is it a cost thing? Is it cheaper in 2018 to make boards with flea testicles on them?

Must be...

#291 1 year ago
Quoted from Luckydogg420:

I don’t believe that there are wide spread issues with node boards (yet). Ive never had an issue with my game.

Oh, come on ...

This is becoming like the people who claimed there was no issue with Stern's playfields / cabinets / etc, and then that it was all fixed & replacements had gone out when they hadn't.

Trying to pretend that a problem does not exist and that the issues are not widespread when they clearly are just makes it look worse, as people will assume you're associated with Stern.

Do you need to be severely injured in a crash for you to acknowledge that your car's airbags are faulty and won't deploy, after seeing that the problem was happening?

#292 1 year ago
Quoted from Maken:

Hard to take you seriously when you are obviously biased against Stern.
They are not without their issues, but saying "if Stern made games worth playing" is just ridiculous.

Yeah, I'm being admittedly a bit hyperbolic here. They have made some fun games. But it's also hard to take this site seriously if you look at the Top 100 rankings, especially if you want to talk about bias (either recency bias or pro-Stern bias).

All I'm saying is that Stern doesn't seem to spend much time making sure their stuff is built to last, and they also seem to be incompetent (leg bolts, clearcoat issues, general QC shit that could easily be fixed ... unless all these problems are being overblown), inconsistent (in all aspects except regularity of production line), and indifferent (code updates, vendor complaints, no schematics or comprehensive documentation). So they don't engender enough confidence on my end to merit purchasing a $5000 machine when I can get a classic Bally Williams that I know I can fix up for about the same price, if not less.

-1
#293 1 year ago
Quoted from Luckydogg420:

The pieces that are most likely to blow are through hole.

Nope. LEDs are driven by SMD mosfets. Short an LED and that blows.

#294 1 year ago
Quoted from TimeBandit:

Nope. LEDs are driven by SMD mosfets. Short an LED and that blows.

I believe that Stern said that there is short protection built-in to the node board system just to ensure that component replacement would not be needed in case an led were to short out.

#295 1 year ago
Quoted from D-Gottlieb:

I believe that Stern said that there is short protection built-in to the node board system just to ensure that component replacement would not be needed in case an led were to short out.

This is what I heard too. If a short is detected, the board shuts down. Once the short is cleared it comes back on. I don't think shorts are the issue, though. Im not an EE, but what exactly causes a node board to fail? Is it a power surge, weak components, corruption of files, etc?

#296 1 year ago
Quoted from pinballplusMN:

If Stern stops producing replacement boards which they already have for WWE and KISS (less than three years later), owners will have a 285 lb paperweights, as some boards are unrepairable even with those

is this true?, If it is I doubt any new Kiss Code updates will happen if they already stopped producing these boards. Wow
They have the Patent and the schematics I am sure they would produce more if need be , right?
Hope so. I am not buying any more new node board games and will sell my Star wars pro in a year or two and only keep one Node game GOT premium . and be back to the old system games where one can fix components instead of purchasing new boards that may or may not be available

#297 1 year ago
Quoted from Bendit:

Question: Why would you miniaturize boards if there's room for full-size boards?

These boards aren't mounted in the head. In fact, barely anything is in the head.

If it wasn't for the stickers it would look so empty.

So tiny

The boards in question live on the playfield, where smaller is better since space is more of a premium.

#298 1 year ago

I don't like the current trend of putting all the electronics on the underside of the playfield. May save on wiring but vibration is not great for solder joints.

Troubleshooting intermittent connections is tough even when you have schematics.

#299 1 year ago
Quoted from Jvspin:

I don't like the current trend of putting all the electronics on the underside of the playfield. May save on wiring but vibration is not great for solder joints.

It seems as if it would also help loosen connectors over time.

#300 1 year ago
Quoted from Wolfmarsh:

Did your node board have the secured diode fix?
When that diode fails, it can send high voltage down to the light boards.

That very well could be what happened. This is the led board that is in the back of the playfield.
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