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A huge thanks to Dennis Kriesel of the Eclectic Gamers Podcast for this interesting article on The Details of SPIKE!  Check out the Eclectic Gamers Podcast here, and their Facebook page here!
The Details of SPIKE
by Dennis Kriesel

Since the dawn of the solid-state era, board sets and their capabilities have driven the features, gizmos, and light shows pinball players experience when they step up to a game. One of the newest, and least understood, of these board sets is Stern Pinball’s SPIKE system. Since hitting the coin-op scene in 2015 with WrestleMania, SPIKE represents the most significant change in solid-state technology Stern has ever undertaken. With it comes a lot of confusion on the consumer and operator side. This article will attempt to shed a wee bit of light on the system, explain why the change occurred, the basics of how it works, and the distinction between SPIKE 1 (sometimes referred to simply as SPIKE) and SPIKE 2.


Stern Pinball only had one major board set change in its history prior to SPIKE. The S.A.M. system debuted in 2006 with World Poker Tour, but in terms of functionality it was very similar to Whitestar (the board set SEGA started and Stern Pinball continued to take advantage of). As community repair documentation indicates, the layout and different boards used by S.A.M. were basically just miniature Whitestar boards. The main difference many pinball owners noticed and appreciated was the ability to update software revisions via a USB port rather than necessitating an EPROM programmer.
That’s not to say S.A.M. was devoid of computing enhancements. S.A.M. took advantage of an Atmel AT91R40008 microprocessor, a 16-bit system that clocked at 40MHz with