Meet one of the last jukebox repairmen

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“See that, lad? That is how hard we had it. Our iPods were the size of a desk and weighed over two hundred pounds! Plus, if you wanted to take it jogging you had to bring along an extension cord, and you had to stop moving to listen to it or the song would skip! Now let me tell you how much tougher a bunch of other things were…”


I repaired one jukebox for 25 years - the one at Hotel Congress in Tucson. It takes a lot of used parts from the jukebox junkyards to keep a machine playing for that long. These machines were designed to be played for maybe ten years before wearing out. Occasional home use is not nearly as taxing on the mechanicals as is having to play cry-in-your-beer music to drunk people every day and every night.


I still only drink in dive bars with a jukebox, that it’s digital/cd/records makes little difference when I’m shit-faced.


Ya know, I’d think taking some of the “Tilt” sensors from a pinball machine and connecting them to the “coin inserted” wiring could make a “Fonz” style jukebox. Though maybe the tilt sensors aren’t sensitive enough.



We had to keep ours in a lake.


I guess I have to be the one to do this.


The tilt sensor is usually a “tilt pendulum” (pendulum surrounded by a hole in sheet metal, with a conical weight that can adjust to widen/narrow gap between pendulum and hole. When pendulum touches side of hole, circuit is closed and tilt logic is activated.) They can be adjusted from little sensitivity (must kick machine to move it) to very sensitive (light tap on machine.)

When I was a kid, my hometown still had a real, actual “soda shop”, where you could get awesome burgers and sandwiches, and malts made with the Carnation Ice Cream that was churned in the back. Every booth (there were only booths, and a counter) had one of these devices that let you play songs on the jukebox in the back, without leaving your table.

The problem was that a song just cost a nickle or dime, so the queue was usually so backed up that you never heard the song you payed for.


That would only emulate a coin drop. You’d still have to select a song, which sort of ruins the moment. Sort of like half a magic trick.

D’oh, you’re right. Hmm… Maybe you could make
the tilt sensor effectively be some sort of “pause” or “Mute” button.
You put in the money, choose the song, then it doesn’t play… so you
hit the juke box to have it play.

I guess the full “Maker” way would be to put a large touch sensitive
grid on the front of the jukebox, so if you hit it in the exact middle
it would be “E5”, or if you hit it in the top right it would be “K10”.
(Left to right = A to K, top to bottom = 1 to 10)

Someon (not me) could knock up a sensor that could recognise, say, a shave and a haircut knock and play a specific song.
(ETA: bonus points for an RFID sensor so it only works for whoever is Fonzie)

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