USB board schematic?

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Jazman
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USB board schematic?

Post by Jazman » Tue Sep 15, 2009 10:09 am

Moved to general since it's not a support issue.

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Posted: Thu Sep 03, 2009 10:14 pm
I finally completely finished the installation now. The various power supplies are all wired into the main chassis power system, the florescent tube is mounting an almost identical location to stock, and the sound is all fixed. Everything seems to be working well. Now I just need to make a backup clone of the hard drive so I can just restore it when the drive fails (it's used so it's inevitable).

Last night I finally popped the cherry on my SWE1 playfield. That is working pretty well except for a sticky switch or 2. It's nice to have the easily swappable kit.

I am trying to get all my documentation together for the folder. The only thing that I seem to be missing is the schematic for the USB board in case I ever need to repair it. I see the audio amp schematic is up, but not that board. Chuck, when can we expect the USB board schematic to be up? Is it on the CD somewhere and I just didn't see it?

Thanks,
Keith
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Re: USB board schematic?

Post by Chuck » Tue Sep 15, 2009 2:03 pm

The schematic is not available. We will have a board swap plan announced soon. If the usb board fails out of warranty you will send it to us and we will immediately send a new or refurbished unit. The price will be very reasonable. That's what we're trying to decide.

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Re: USB board schematic?

Post by Jazman » Wed Sep 16, 2009 2:07 pm

Chuck wrote:The schematic is not available. We will have a board swap plan announced soon. If the usb board fails out of warranty you will send it to us and we will immediately send a new or refurbished unit. The price will be very reasonable. That's what we're trying to decide.
Huh? Are you saying don't plan on publishing the schematic at all?!? Our only repair path will be to go through you?

That can't be right. Is it?

Thanks,
Keith
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Re: USB board schematic?

Post by Chuck » Wed Sep 16, 2009 2:16 pm

Jazman wrote:
Chuck wrote:The schematic is not available. We will have a board swap plan announced soon. If the usb board fails out of warranty you will send it to us and we will immediately send a new or refurbished unit. The price will be very reasonable. That's what we're trying to decide.
Huh? Are you saying don't plan on publishing the schematic at all?!? Our only repair path will be to go through you?

That can't be right. Is it?

Thanks,
Keith
For a number of very good reasons it's absolutely correct. We have an exchange program which we will announce soon.

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Re: USB board schematic?

Post by Jazman » Tue Oct 13, 2009 11:04 am

It's been a while since I've had any time to think about this. So, sorry if this reply seems delayed. It also took me a bit to find it since it must have been moved from Support. I'm not sure why since this IS a support issue.

First, I will say that the exchange cost is reasonable. But, it sounds like quite a bit of down time during shipping since you aren't cross-shipping parts. You might consider that option.

Second, I have to say I am quite frustrated by your response. I don't find it acceptable that I took a well documented system and replaced it with one, that for some reason you aren't offering, where documentation is unavailable. In essence, I took one "ticking time bomb" and replaced it with another. I know you've said many times that you won't let this fall into oblivion, but let's face reality here. People are mortal. You and Don could be in a car accident on the way to Expo. I'm not trying to be morbid, just realistic.

Essentially, with what you say here, we took one companies proprietary hardware and exchanged it for another. I know you told me the reason you needed a custom bit of hardware was because you had 1 situation that you were not able to work around in software. It had something to do with the timing of someone killing power to the system and locking a file. If that is the only reason, I don't see any reason for not publishing the schematic.

My guess is that, since you don't allow the software to run without the board, that you also created this as some sort of copy protection system. If so, not publishing the schematic is not going to prevent someone who wants to knock off the board from doing so. It may slow them down a bit, but it won't stop them. In essence, all copy protection does is tie the hands of the legitimate, legal customers who paid you money in good faith (like me). Let's face it, it doesn't make sense for someone to put forth the effort to try and recreate your board to knock off copies for themselves. It also won't make sense for them to knock it off and try to sell it as you would have major legal recourse to go after them.

Look, I need the documentation so I can continue to keep my machine running 10-20 years or longer from now. My entire machine is documented by Williams. I know exactly how every part is connected and have schematics for every PCB. I even had schematics for the original computer and PRISM board. But you say I'm not entitled to the schematic for the USB board that goes with NuCore?!? That really seems contradictory to everything you claim to represent.

Am I the only one that feels this way? I seriously doubt it.
Jaz
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Re: USB board schematic?

Post by Chuck » Tue Oct 13, 2009 11:47 am

The support section is for people having problems using Nucore or reporting bugs. This is a request and therefore was moved to the general section.

You do not need to be concerned. Again, here is how we will guarantee Nucore's longevity:

1) The usb board uses standard components, unlike the prism card that contained custom chips. The reason the prism board couldn't be reproduced is the custom chips. We have no custom chips.
2) We have a very inexpensive way to get your board repaired. You mention down time and shipping. The worst case your pinball machine would be down is a week if you use priority usps shipping.
3) Don and I have promised to pass ALL of the technical resources of this project over to another team, or the community, if we decide to stop supporting Nucore.

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Re: USB board schematic?

Post by GLModular » Tue Oct 13, 2009 12:45 pm

Am I the only one that feels this way? I seriously doubt it.
Nope, you aren't. But at the same time, consider this:

Before the USB board existed, the Nucore software ran on a 3rd party USB hardware dongle. Since using a 3rd party hardware dongle is extremely proprietary and reverse engineering something like that would be monumental, I am at least a bit more at ease with the fact that Chuck and Don have come up with a scheme that is more future proof than what they _could_ have gone with.

Tony
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Re: USB board schematic?

Post by Chuck » Tue Oct 13, 2009 1:35 pm

GLModular wrote:
Am I the only one that feels this way? I seriously doubt it.
Nope, you aren't. But at the same time, consider this:

Before the USB board existed, the Nucore software ran on a 3rd party USB hardware dongle. Since using a 3rd party hardware dongle is extremely proprietary and reverse engineering something like that would be monumental, I am at least a bit more at ease with the fact that Chuck and Don have come up with a scheme that is more future proof than what they _could_ have gone with.

Tony
The dongle only really addressed security and not storing the nvram data.

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Re: USB board schematic?

Post by Jazman » Tue Oct 13, 2009 3:05 pm

So, you still aren't clearly stating the why, but you seem to be insinuating it is for copy protection.

If so, then I re-iterate my statement, not publishing the schematic only hurts those of us who legitimately purchased your product. It took the music industry 10 years, but they finally figured out that copy protection does nothing but hurt their legitimate customers. When it comes right down to it, if someone wants to copy/pirate your product, they will find a way. Hurting the rest of us by not providing documentation to help us maintain our purchase isn't going to change that.

As far as promised technology transfer, that doesn't account for any catastrophic scenario that may occur. You also promised to make spare boards available for purchase if we wished. Where does that stand?

Tony - I appreciate your insight. I was not an alpha tester so I was not aware of what they used early on. It does sound like the early scheme was worse, but it still is a bad situation.

Keith
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Re: USB board schematic?

Post by Chuck » Tue Oct 13, 2009 4:00 pm

Jazman wrote:not publishing the schematic only hurts those of us who legitimately purchased your product.
Keith,

This is the second time, in two different threads, you've posted your question. I've answered both times that we will not release the schematic and that will not change. We offer a quick, easy, and cheap replacement service for the usb board. We care very deeply about customer support and service. We also care about the longevity of the platform or we would not have started this project. You are not being hurt by us not releasing the usb board schematic. Since our position will not change and we've already addressed this issue twice I am locking this thread.

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