How Does a Jukebox Work?

By Greg Lindberg ; Updated September 15, 2017

Coin Operating Mechanism

The first mechanism that is used in a jukebox is the testing of coins for the system to begin operating. After using a sizing dispenser tester in the machine to determine if the coin is genuine, small pins move up and down as the coins pass through them. If the coin is the incorrect amount it will be detected and rejected by the pins. Small inserted cameras during this process are able to recognize the surface of the coin to determine if it's the correct coin. Once the coin makes it through the pins and is accepted, it goes into a chute to process the transaction. The chute is the final test of the coin-operating mechanism and it determines the calculated weight of the coin to make sure the coin is not counterfeit. After passing the chute test the coin is successfully accepted and a selection can be made on the jukebox.

Selection Mechanism

A push-button system is utilized for the selection of the record in the jukebox, and the system used is known as the Seeburg Selector. The select bar raises and lowers the specified carrier as chosen from the selection, which is made from the buttons on the outside of the jukebox. The select bar is controlled by a memory drum that is connected to push-button selections which determine the overall positioning of the select bar. The jukebox is made up of a drum that contains a series of drum-wheels that are for each specified record. Each drum-wheel features a series of cameras that move to determine the circumference of the record that is being selected. Once a camera is set the wheel corresponding to the record makes the record play. The record then plays like a normal record being played on a record player, but instead is inside the jukebox and connected to speakers.

Playback Mechanism

The playback mechanism is initialized once a selection has been made. The most common playback mechanism is known as the Seeburg Audiphone. The mechanism technically manipulates a stack of records on a record player. For example, if three selections are made, the camera first detects the first selection and uses the select bar to grab the record to be played. The second selection is made and the same button is set on a dispenser platform to gravitate above the record that first plays. The third record selection is then also placed above the second record, which is waiting to play. Once the first record starts to finish, the second record is quickly lowered from the rotating bar and played on the wheel. The first record is then set back in place. The same process happens for the third record. Newer models that feature a non-visible record mechanism offer more immediate playback of selections.