(Topic ID: 218125)

What are your thoughts on the Spike II system?


By LoserKid3

1 year ago



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  • 435 posts
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  • Latest reply 1 year ago by mbwalker
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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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#49 1 year ago
Quoted from TechnicalSteam:

Solution seems to be easy one. Stern should partner with an on demand board manufacturer or create a service for on demand printing. If the cost is reasonable you should be able to log in to a website and have these parts created. Stern retains trade secrets and home owners are happy.
Not sure how feasible that is.
Print Parts on Demand - That is awesome sauce.. Hopefully reality in 5 years

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)?

1 week later
#61 1 year ago

SAM is robust, fully documented and an easily repairable system.

Spike/2 fails quickly & often, is very difficult or impossible to repair, completely undocumented, and likely much cheaper to make.

The obscene cost of replacements is only partly price gouging, in my view.

The main thing is built in obsolescence. The boards are going to fail after a while, given how both delicate and unreliable they are. What better way to encourage people to buy new machines than your 'old' ones be discouragingly expensive to repair, with little guarantee of reliability?

It's very common with consumer products, most notably Apple.

Stern now describe themselves as a "global lifestyles brand". Which should tell you something about their aspirations. They also told us that Spike was more serviceable and reliable - which I have difficulty believing that they didn't know otherwise about from the beginning.

1 week later
#100 1 year ago
Quoted from inhomearcades:

node boards being protected from shorts or surges is a huge improvement over any exsisting system. Just seeing what is on the horizon has been a huge boost of confidence in the direction stern is taking their hardware.

You mean like fuses? Oh, wait ...

I doubt some software protection that they've either been sitting on for ages, or only just started writing will be as effective as fuses. Also, what have they been doing since Spike became available nearly 3 and a half years ago?

#135 1 year ago
Quoted from hocuslocus:

I honestly didn't even think about this point.
I know when you install a new node board it updates automatically, but the firmware or whatever they use on the boards initially to be able to do this is what your talking about. man that sucks.

Same for the Spike 2 MPU board. It's an almost stock off-the-shelf design, with a couple of minor alterations, that definitely could be reproduced at a fraction of the cost that Stern sells them. But whether it's possible to extract what ever firmware or OS they have on it initially before the game code is installed is another matter entirely. I suspect it isn't. At least, not easily. Given the amount they're charging, I'd be surprised if someone hasn't already tried. As nothing's popped up yet ... draw your own conclusions.

#173 1 year ago

Supposedly up to 40% of Stern's market is overseas atm. Guarantee you that less than 10% of that is games on route or public locations.

So for Stern to have 50:50 operator / home is virtually impossible.

1 week later
#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 ...

#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?

#302 1 year ago
Quoted from mario_1_up:

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

Fuses are unnecessary. Clearly.

Looks like it actually caught fire.

#324 1 year ago
Quoted from RA77:

This is a very valid point and something that all Pinball manufactures are forced to be flawed using lead free solder.
ALL Pinball builders/manufactures have no choice but to jump through all the RohS hoops now to remain compliant.
https://www.electronicsweekly.com/news/design/legislation/lead-free-soldering-means-changes-2005-03/
Cold joints on lead free solder are all too common. Vibration will exaggerate these solder fractures

They design around lead free solder, or should be, and have for years. That's no excuse.

#364 1 year ago
Quoted from pinballplusMN:

I uncrated a starwars pro today as my son is a big fan. The game had a bumper that was machine gunning constantly. I was surprised that the software would allow this to continue. On even system 3 Gottlieb pinballs from the 90,s if a sling or bumper was gapped too close it would shut off when a machine gunning scenario started.
I hope stern can address this in the future because a burnt coil and transistor on this new system could be a disaster.

Surely there must be some kind of counter measure against this? Thought it was a standard from at least the beginning of the 90s on, on everything.

Presumably, like the rest of the system, it's there but is either badly designed or prone to failure, and not working in your case.

If indeed they've removed that (it's present in SAM), that would tend to suggest they *want* stuff to fail catastrophically.

#367 1 year ago
Quoted from CrazyLevi:

Surely, there is a great counter-measure to this. It's called removing the lockdown bar, removing the glass, lifting the playfield and adjusting a switch. It requires zero dollars and 5 minutes of time.
A pinball machine is never going to be a toaster. Nobody should ever be shocked if a pinball game requires slight adjustments out of the box, it's been that way for 80 years or so.

I was under the impression this was not only to prevent costly damage to the game, but a safety feature to stop potential fires. Something, it could be argued, that are made significantly more likely in a system that is not fused.

What you're suggesting - if Spike really does lack this, or lack a reliable counter measure - is that someone (with keys) should always be in attendance, babysitting Spike/2 games, and capable of carrying out maintenance, when they're switched on.

Assuming that wouldn't be a very obvious problem and safety issue in a home environment, how on earth would your advice tally for locations or operators?

Edit: If it lacks this feature, or the feature is unreliable, how on earth does it conform to CE certification, a requirement in Europe, as this is a clear fire hazard?

#390 1 year ago
Quoted from pinball_keefer:

Typically, although we don't routinely test these things, anything that fits in the socket for any of our mobos should work fine
Edit to add: also, we roll out disk images that work with all previous mobos and allow you to update/replace old mobos with any we've shipped with (and tbh probably lots of others we haven't shipped with).

I'm assuming it would be a formality to roll a new system image with drivers for later Intel, or AMD, or even VIA chipsets?

#397 1 year ago
Quoted from pinball_keefer:

You'd think so, but you'd be sadly mistaken given the number of issues we've run into over the years.

I assume it's about the maker of USB bus chipsets that causes issues? Are they Intel, Via, NEC, Highpoint etc etc in the boards you've used?

#399 1 year ago

Had no idea you were involved with AP, too. Interesting.

2 weeks later
#426 1 year ago
Quoted from D-Gottlieb:

Agreed that the TNA has excellent sound compared to Stern pins. Love the bass at ball launch. Good to know that the amp setup helps.
Where is it available? The amp appears to be model #ZYDZ060 but Amazon doesn't have a new one.

Because it's a knock-off / counterfeit of Lepai, the famous Japanese audio brand. Amazon have been purging stuff like that recently.

The Lepai LP-168AH tends to be what they're copying / emulating. That's widely available, and of guaranteed quality. Buy that.

Edit: Maybe they're not Japanese. Forget what they are.

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