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Los Angeles area Repair and Restoration Services on Antique and Classic (Built before 1985): Jukeboxes · Radios · HiFi · Musical Instrument Amplifiers · Record Players · Tape Recorders

Wurlitzer, Seeburg, Rock-Ola, Mills, Rowe/AMI Jukebox Repair

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Jukebox Service Tips
 
In this column, I will discuss common service issues with various jukeboxes I encounter. Hopefully, you will find them useful.
 
Drop me an e-mail if you have a specific question or problem with a jukebox, and I will do my best to get you an answer.
 
Rock-Ola computerized jukeboxes from model 488 through 6000.
Rock-Ola jukeboxes using the "S" computers, need a special warning before you work on it. DO NOT plug or unplug ANY connector in the system unless all power is off. Some of the connectors are very large and if you are at the slightest angle when inserting or pulling the plug, adjacent pins will short and can destroy IC's, display digits, or even burn circuit traces. Also, make all connectors are inserted fully and correctly. Number 1 on the connector MUST match number 1 on the board. Double-check connector orientation BEFORE turning the machine on. I am seeing more computers with burnt ICs due to improper connecting. HINT: before you unplug anything, snap a digital picture of the connections.

Seeburg LPC, PFEA1, SS-160 Jukeboxes that run slow.
In 1960, the 7" 33 1/3rpm "Compact Album" emerged. It had three songs on each side instead of the 45rpm "EP" records with two. Jukebox manufacturers came up with ways to not only play records with large and small center holes but the two speeds as well. From 1960 to 1962, Seeburg used an electronic speed control to slow down the motor by supplying it with 44 cycle power. From 1963 to 1967, Seeburg was convinced that the jukebox industry was going to adopt the 33 1/3 compact album as the new standard. Seeburg was so sure of this, that they changed the gearing of the changers to run at 33 1/3rpm. To play 45s, a new electronic speed control was engaged to speed up the motor by supplying it with 80 cycle power. In 1968, Seeburg changed back to the 45 rpm standard and used the speed control for the few locations that used the little 33s.
 
The motor does not have the same torque running off the controller so the gears and shafts of changer have to be properly lubricated and free. The ambient temperature has to above 65 degrees or so too.
If your Seeburg scans, selects and clamps the record and then runs real slow or not at all when the arm sets down, chances are, the capacitors in the "Auto Speed" unit have failed. Sometimes, it will play 3 or 4 records fine and then slow or stop. The main culprit is the large oil filled capacitor in the primary circuit. If it shorts out or opens, the unit stops working. A kit of all the capacitors for the unit costs $35.00 and takes an hour or so to install. Most units will work perfectly after that.
 
Seeburg used to send a cardboard "strobe" disk you could use to set the speed. Another way is to use a test record recorded with 1000 hz tones. By comparing the tone from the jukebox with a reference tone (there is a great audio generator app for the iPhone) you can tune it much like a guitar.
 
Rowe CD100A/B & Antique Apparatus/Rowe CD8. I have talked enough people through the process of setting the jukebox up for free-play after a computer battery failure that I decided to publish the procedure here.

When the battery fails, all of the settings revert to coin-operated. There are several settings that need to be changed so that it plays for free in the order you select and allows full album selecting. To access the service mode, open the jukebox, locate the service switches, and slide the switch marked “Normal” and “Service” to “Service”. (1)Set the jukebox on free-play by typing 5-5 on the keypad. The display will say “FPLAY STATUS”. Press and hold “RESET” and press 9 until it says “ON”. Press “POPULAR” to lock in the change. Press and hold “RESET” and press “POPULAR” a few times to get back to * SERVICE MODE *. (2) Allow full album selections by typing 6-5 on the keypad. The display will say “ALBUM SELECT”. Press and hold “RESET” and press 9 until it says “ON”. Press “POPULAR” to lock in the change. Press and hold “RESET” and press “POPULAR” a few times to get back to * SERVICE MODE *. (3) Allow virtually unlimited tracks in a row from a disc by typing 6-7 on the keypad. The display will say “TRKS IN A ROW”. Press 9-9. Press “POPULAR” to lock in the change. Press and hold “RESET” and press “POPULAR” a few times to get back to * SERVICE MODE *. (4) Set the play order to play the tracks as they are selected by typing 6-9-1 on the keypad. The display will say “FREE PLAY RAND”. Press and hold “RESET” and press 9 until it says “FREE PLAY FIFO”. Press “POPULAR” to lock in the change. Press and hold “RESET” and press “POPULAR” a few times to get back to * SERVICE MODE *. (5) Allow free album selections by typing 6-9-2 on the keypad. The display will say “FREE ALBUM”. Press and hold “RESET” and press 9 until it says “ON”. Press “POPULAR” to lock in the change. Press and hold “RESET” and press “POPULAR” a few times to get back to * SERVICE MODE *. (6) Last, create a new disc map by typing 3-0 on the keypad. The display will say “FULL INITIALIZE”. Press “POPULAR” to select the process. Slide the service switch back to “NORMAL” and close the door. After about an hour, all of the CDs will be read and track data stored. The machine is now ready for use.

 
 
Rock-Ola CD-8B Selection problem. I received a call that the customer could not make selections although it was lit up. The display was dark. It usually had "99" in the credit display. This is a typical problem that led me to want to warn everyone about. All Pre-1995 Rock-Ola CD jukeboxes (and 45 RPM models in the 49x series as well) use a NiCAD battery to hold data in memory. When the battery is exhausted, the computer reverts to factory settings which means no free play. The DANGER is that these batteries will leak acid eventually and may very likely destroy the computer printed circuit board. It is a good idea to have the battery replaced if it is more than 10 years old before that happens. In this case, the customer wanted me to replace the battery in his home which I did along with lubricating the CD gripper assembly. There was no leakage and his jukebox is running fine now. For those who are inclined, it is a solder-in type of battery. It is 3.6 volts,  500 - 700MAH, AA size. A Panasonic P-70AASF3 works well. You can also use a 3.6 volt cordless telephone battery pack and mount it external to the computer with Velcro or carpet tape. This will ensure it cannot damage the board if it ever leaks.
 
Seeburg 222 Selection problem. The complaint was it would play the first record or two when first turned on but then scanned and stopped. Turning the machine off and then back on would play another one. This was a problem with the pulse amplifier (with the 12AX7 tube) on the selection receiver. Whomever put new capacitors in the receiver, neglected to remove and open it to replace the .05uF cap inside. After the unit warmed up, the leaky cap upset the bias of the circuit and prevented it from working.