AN AMP REBUILD STORY
I've been working on a Seeburg
AY lately. All I had to start with was a bare cabinet, and it wasn't the
greatest I'd ever seen. Richard took the cabinet home, and spent several weeks
cleaning and repainting. He painted the sides gloss black, and filled in the
holes where the medallions went. The reason for all this trouble is an upcoming
reunion my college buddies have planned. I am doing the jukebox in our college
colors, and will be putting large decals on the side. Next door to my shop is a
sign maker and they're making larger reproductions with a
I peel-off backing that I can apply to the sides.
So all I have is a bare cabinet. I rummage around in the
back and come up with a DS mechanism and keyboard. The mech
is missing quite a few parts, but the keyboard looks okay. We clean up both
pieces and install them in the cabinet. I come up with a Q selection receiver,
and a SHFA-5 amp. Luck was with me, all transformers were good. A dual pricing
unit tops off the back door setup. The amp rebuilds well, so does the receiver.
We get the juke completely together after a few weeks, and that's when the fun
To start off, the 5 amp line fuse blew. I started
unplugging everything, no luck so far. Then I unplugged the credit unit. The
fuse didn't blow, but there was nothing wrong with the unit as it came from a
working juke. And then it hit me: the DS keyboard is different from all the
previous jukes. I had this problem about 20 years ago, and somehow it slipped
past me this time. I clipped a wire on the keyboard and we were back in
business. But now it won't write in a single selection. The battery test
indicates that the readout circuit is working; a voltage test indicates that
the write-in circuit is working. So it has to be the memory unit.
Sure enough, the ground loop return on pin 31 is open.
Now if you have ever been brave enough to take the cover off a memory unit,
you've seen the way it is built, very compact with a jungle of coils and wires.
This wasn't a challenge I was looking forward to. The seals on the unit were
broken, which meant someone had already been inside. Not a good sign for sure.
I traced the wire from pin 31 up to a junction point and everything looked
good. But when I started moving wires with a pencil, the ground return wire was
broken loose from its junction block. It looked like it was soldered, but it
wasn't. Luck was certainly with me this time. I resoldered
the wire, checked resistance again 'and its good this
time. So the cover went back on and I reinstalled it.
Now it selects, but I have the usual mech
problems due to lack of lubrication. I spent a hour or
so lubricating and freeing up clutches and levers. It's still a little erratic,
but I think after it's been used for a few days it will be good to go. Now on
to tackle the dozen other problems!
It sounds terrible. Feedback, rumbling,
just all around bad sound. The cabinet vibrates so badly from feedback
that it is annoying. The first thing I do is remove the rubber cones inside the
mech base springs. This gets rid of most of the
feedback, but there is still that rumbling sound. The turntable ball bearings
are frozen. Yes, I know that they're practically useless since the turntable
can only move an eighth of an inch, but they are necessary to keep vibration
down. Have you ever removed a Seeburg turntable? It
isn't easy, especially while the mech is in the
cabinet. I pulled the clamp arm spring and swung it out of the way, loosened
the turntable screws and slide it as far as I could to the left, which was just
enough to allow access to both bearings. One was free but gritty, the other was
frozen. Is started oiling and spinning the bearings, finally got both free of
dirt and revolving like they should. The rubber
grommets were good.
With everything back together, we sill have a rumbling
sound. I had already changed the motor coupling which is always a major source
of trouble, but it didn't really help. I ended up having to change the two
motor mount doughnuts. This got rid of 90% of the rumble, but it just didn't
sound as good as it could. I started swapping cartridges and needles until I
hit the exact combination I was looking for. Now the juke sounds sweet with
very little background noise. This I can live with.
I spent two or three times as much effort as I should
have on this AY, but since I had all the parts I needed, there wasn't much out
of pocket expense. This offsets all the extra time, and it forced me to
remember things I knew but hadn't needed in years and years. It was a real eye
I've always been fond of the AY series. I don't know if
it's the grill or the fact that there is a place at the top to stick a picture
sleeve with provisions to put the name of the establishment where the juke is
placed. Sometime around 1980, 1 bought a bunch of jukes from Martin Amusement
in Macon, Georgia.
In the group was an AY which proudly announced that it had been at "McLendon's Cafe". I can only guess what type of place
this was, but for some reason I kept the upper display plastic with the
letters. For the past 22 years there is this sign from the cafe juke, propped
up against the wall over the rack where I keep caps and resistors. In fact, I
can see it from here as I write this column. It is a reminder of days gone by,
when the jukebox was king.
I have always kept in touch with Wesley Dean, owner of
the Jukebox Junkyard in Lizella, Georgia.
We is an old operator, back when operating was a real
challenge. He was probably forgotten more about jukeboxes than most people will
ever know. While I was attacking the AY I kept in contact with him. I have this
book, The Jukebox And
Me and it reminds me of my operating days. If you don't have this book, I
highly recommend that you order a copy. Wes can be reached at (478) 935-2721. Tell
him I suggested that you call.