I finally decided I should have a jukebox. What is an arcade without a jukebox? I looked around and watched the eBay groups for a while until I had an idea of what was available and prices. I then discovered that youtube.com has videos of many jukes in action. I was looking for a KD200 which has the 50's automotive taillights and fins. That is a great machine but then I found the Seeburg 100C and the rotating light pilasters sold me. It was also the last Seeburg to use a fully mechanical selector mechanism. I watched eBay for a while until one came up that was already restored. I have enough projects and did not want to take on a full juke restoration too. I found this one and it is really nice.
Fully restored? Well my idea of fully restored is apparently not the same as some people's but it was in excellent condition and it worked! The power cord needs to be replaced, the 'free play' feature needs to be replaced with something other than a switch taped to the coin mech, and a few other little things but overall it was a good deal and I really like it. I will not have to spend much time fixing it up either. It had no records but a friend of mine gave me a box of 45's several months ago when he was cleaning out the garage. I had no idea what I would do with them at that time but they turned out to be 1950s records and they were jukebox records! Many still had the number stickers on them.
I dont plan on starting a jukebox collection but if I find extra space I may pickup a KD200 someday.
This photo shows the color pilasters which slowly rotate. The motor was too loud so I eventually disconnected it so the colors no longer rotate.
I cant just leave the juke alone. I had to buy one of these remote 3W1 wallboxes for it.
This one was in great condition. Some repainting of the letters, a free play switch and a plug to connect it was all I needed. I do have to print some labels when I finish installing my records.
I pulled it apart to add a free play option.
Here it is laid open.
I added a switch from an old pinball playfield so that when the coin return was pushed it would add a credit. There is not much room in these boxes so everything has to fit tight and make sure you dont force anything in place, it can damage the case when you put it back on if something is sticking out.
Here you see what I meant about "restored". This is not my idea of restored. This is shopped to make it work. If it was "restored", I mean really restored, everything would be cleaned and fixed with no white corrosion on connectors, no exposed wires and no connections with electrical tape dangling from them.
This photo shows the acrylic rods I used. The juke originally had a mix of original rods, which are glass with silver on the inside, and some aluminum rods. You could use bathroom drain piping that is chromed and it would look good too. I went with clear acrylic rods. They look great and no one would know they were not original unless he really knew the machine well. I had to paint the ends of the rods black so they did not reflect and become visible.
These are the original rods. You can see some were replaced with aluminum rods(mid left).
This is what the rods looked like installed. I think my acrylic looks better.
I also decided that I did not like the chrome rods on the front. Originally, this juke had glass rods but they were frequently broken and replaced with chrome pipe. Some in my unit were too short and held in place with clear tape(fully restored? I think not). This one had all of the rods replaced and it looked OK but when I looked at it, all I thought was that it was not the original rods. I found professionalplastics.com selling 1.25" acrylic rods and bought a set. They will look much nicer than chrome rods, especially with the moving lights and reflective silver grill cloth.
I figured out that the labels can be slid out when the glass cover is raised. I then noticed that someone had put a cheap plastic diffuser cut from a flourescent light cover in front of the lamp that illuminates the mechanism(Fully restored? I think not). I did not like the white light look and I saw a 100C on youtube that had a blue looking light. I liked that look. I do not know if it was original but it is certainly a mod that would have been available to operators at the time. I have lots of video equipment so I pulled out some blue and purple light gels, cut them to size and put one on each side of the new clear acrylic light cover I cut out. I left the center white so the mechanism has some white light on it and the back mirrors reflect the purple and blue light filters which are illuminated by the original lamp.
MP3 Conversion. Part 1 (See Part 2 for the redux of this project)
How to convert your jukebox to play MP3's.
The juke is great, but there are some issues I had to deal with. First, it is hard to find good 45 rpm records from the 50's. It is easy to find collections of 45's on eBay but they are mostly picked-over, left-overs. Any good records are pulled out and sold individually which means to fill a 100 record box you may spend $10 per record and have to by them individually. I was also limited to the 100 selections in the box. The juke is great when people come over, but it has some limitations. You have to press selectioons and before you know it, those selections are over and it stops. Then you have to punch the buttons again to play the next set. There is no way to tell it to play endlesly and if you do you are wearing out the mechanism. When I turn the juke on, I have to wait for the tubes to warm up too or it pops terribly and can damage the speaker when music starts to play. With an MP3 player, there is no waiting to play.
I needed a solution. I also did not want to modify my box. I started checking the web because I remember seeing MP3 conversion kits. It turns out these kits are very expensive and they are only for CD based jukeboxes to convert them to mp3. Not what I needed.
I thought about it a little and came up with an obvious solution. An mp3 player. These old jukes are huge and have lots of extra space in them to add a separate speaker system. I had a PC speaker set that I was not using which had a subwoofer with it. I had an Mp3 player but I wanted one with a remote control so I found one on eBay. Make sure you get one with a headphone jack so you can connect your speakers to it.
My subwoofer PC speakers. These were still in the box because they came with a computer I bought but I never used them. I have the speakers and mp3 player out for testing to make sure it worked.
I could have used a regular MP3 player which I already had but I really wanted the remote control option. As it turned out, I didn't need the remote but I still like the mp3 box because I dumped 8 CD's worth of 50's music(also from ebay) on an old SD card(1Gig left over from an old camera I threw away).
The installation was simple. I made NO modifications to the jukebox at all. The subwoofer and speakers fit inside the box and sat on the box floor. The speakers sound find and there is enough open spaces so the highs are not cut out either. I ran an extension cord through the same hole as the factor power cord and connected the mp3 player adapter and the speaker power. I then ran the cables to the mp3 unit out the same hole and screwed it to the back of my juke. I happened to have two missing screws in my "restored" juke which were perfectly spaced to fit the mp3 player I bought. I found two screws and mounted it. The location was perfect because I now have the controls on the edge of the cabinet so I just press play or pause. I don't even need the remote but have it if I do.
Here is my final mounted mp3 player on the back of the juke, using original holes. I can easily access the controls too.
This is the inside of the cabinet. There was plenty of room for the subwoofer and speakers. It also sounds great. Nothing was mounted. I just put the speakers on the bottom of the cabinet and made sure they did not interfere with anything when the back panel was closed. It makes little difference where the speakers point.
My final juke. I can play it normally from the front panel and listen to 45's, or press the botton on the side to play random selections from my 8 CD set which is now on an SD card. I can also swap out SD cards to listen to other music.
I paid $20 including shipping for the MP3 player, I already had the subwoofer speaker system and the music CD's so the project only cost me $20 out of pocket and took me about 20 minutes(most of which was figuring out how to open the shipping boxes). If you have to buy the parts, you could easily do this for under $100 which includes music, mp3 player, and subwoofer speakers.
And that is how you do a quick and dirty mp3 conversion of a jukebox. This would obviously work if you had a dead juke too but in that case you may want to wire up a front button as an alternate play button.
This method is a great and inexpensive way to make a jukebox work or to save your mechanism from wear. I was not fully satisfied with it so check out Part 2 for the redux of this project.