(Topic ID: 218125)

What are your thoughts on the Spike II system?

By LoserKid3

1 year ago

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  • 435 posts
  • 82 Pinsiders participating
  • Latest reply 1 year ago by mbwalker
  • Topic is favorited by 15 Pinsiders


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Topic index (key posts)

3 key posts have been marked in this topic

Post #26 A report from an operator and a life cycle expectation. Posted by xTheBlackKnightx (1 year ago)

Post #215 Things to consider from a senior technician’s perspective. Posted by xTheBlackKnightx (1 year ago)

Post #262 Words of expierence and a warning. Posted by xTheBlackKnightx (1 year ago)

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#25 1 year ago

At first I was skeptical and I do believe there were genuine initial issues. Now though it seems to be starting to mature and there is a lot to like about the system such as short detection allowing the system to detect it before board damage occurs and shut down the offending component.

Also under playfield wiring is much cleaner/simpler. The LED tabs someone mentioned are perfectly fine.

The one thing I do seriously dislike about spike II has nothing to do with the system iself... it’s Sterns pricing of replacement nodes and CPU boards. Granted these are smaller run than say your average whatever but 1k for a replacement CPU board is just nonsense. Maybe someone should tell Stern that they don’t have to have the engineers themselves hand-assemble them.

If the prices were half what they are, I would still think they were a bit overpriced but reasonable considering there isn’t any other source.

#34 1 year ago
Quoted from skink91:

How much do you think custom boards run? Especially if Stern is not able to fabricate the boards themselves and (I suspect) has to source them from a third-party, who has a captive audience (Stern). I don’t know any of specifics for their situation but, after markup for some profit, $1k seems about what I would expect.
Also, I am sure they DO have to pay a tech to populate (IC’s, etc) and test the boards as well.

Being SMD there is very minimal assembly, it’s robotic pick an place then bake. Cost for custom boards varies widely based on where you have it manufactured, board size, quantity ordered, component cost, etc.

Whenever I’ve had boards made I’ve always skipped the population part but I’ve had boards of similar size, thickness, drill count, etc made up for about 15 bucks a board with my extremely low quantities (i’ve only ever order minimums). I know if I were buying quantities over 1000 that would go down to below 5 bucks per board, again unpopulated, but still drilled, masked, tined, tested and silkscreened. A smaller board like the size of a node board would be about a third the price.

Most boad production houses (and there are a lot out there to choose from so nobody is captive to any one) have automated testing processes in place. Stern may opt to have some final assembly and system plug-in testing in house but that would just be done by an assembly line worker.

Again while I have not priced out having a board populated, I do know that the costs it adds are components and sourcing/setup and some additional testing. The actual placement and soldering for SMD is a very low cost since it is just place and bake, which is why it’s so popular (not to mention the smaller size which also saves).

Anyway, just as a casual oberver/hobbiest who has had boards made by a third party before I have a hard time finding even $100 in manufacturing costs including shipping in a cpu board they are selling for $1000. To me $500 would be reasonable for a nice profit (after all this is to support one of their games, its not like these would be purchased in isolation) and accomodate some in house assembly line final assembly and testing.

#45 1 year ago

Decent summary here:


In summary, through hole is more reliable especially in high stress environments due to the fact that there is a mechanical connection and the solder is typically on both sides of the board, but considerably more expensive and time consuming to manufacture.

Surface mount is cheaper, faster to produce and allows for smaller boards to be built but its not as reliable as through hole in high stress environments or if the board is subject to frequent mechanical stresses.

#50 1 year ago
Quoted from rubberducks:

Why would they do that when they can charge $999 for a Spike 2 MPU board (cost likely <$50), or 100s for node boards (cost likely <$10 for most)?

And that is what I dislike about Spike II... they want to go with SMD to save money, fine with me, do that and build your games for less, make more money, hire more talent with it, etc, that’s awesome... just please when I eventually need to buy replacement parts for my machine you already made more money from up front by using less expensive components don’t gouge me on the replacement. That just hurts.

I think as a system Spike II is great and continues to get better. The negative is Sterns pricing policy for replacement components. They need to be fair there. It’s not the systems fault and it’s something that could easily be changed with the stroke of a pen.

I almost wonder if the ridiculous pricing is to prevent hobbyists from buying up spike components to build custom games or worse competitors doing so.

4 weeks later
#195 1 year ago
Quoted from DNO:

If stern priced the CPU and node boards as cheaply as everyone here thinks they should, the parts for a pinball would probly be less than the cost of a whole machine.
That wouldn't make sense.

Makes sense to me as you’re not just buying a box of parts. Your buying the art package, the layout, the cabinet, the playfield, the theme, the code, the assembly, the markup, etc. Replacing cost for one system in that shouldn’t cost as much as the whole package.

I overall support spike and as I think I’ve pretty much said from the beginning it has a lot of advantages, I just don’t see the cost justification.

Also a mainstream MB isn’t exactly a fair comparison, yeah they are mass produced which brings down their cost but also the spike board is a much simpler and smaller board.

2 weeks later
#414 1 year ago
Quoted from Wolfmarsh:

Have any of the other current manufacturers posted schematics of their hardware?

JJP does, I don’t know about the others. It sounds like P3-ROC is a fairly commonly utilized 3rd party platform by others.

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