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Rock-Ola 507 Jukebox Wallbox Conversion

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Published on Aug 17, 2013

These are my Rock-Ola 507 "Tri-Vue" jukebox wallboxes, converted to control the function of an iPod, amplifier and speakers, via the wallbox signal wires to an adapter
The "popping" sound you hear after each selection is the signal code being sent to the adapter, a similar system to old dial-up telephones.

They were called Tri-Vue as the title cards are displayed on three-sided rollers, which can be turned by a simple belt system, operated by two large knobs on each side of the bottom of the cabinet.
They are in excellent condition mechanically and the one on the right is almost immaculate cosmetically, despite them both being well over thirty years old. They must have seen very little use in their commercial life. I was lucky to find them.

The mechanics of the wall boxes are powered by an unseen 24volt AC transformer.

The adapter which is the size of a box of matches and the iPod replace a jukebox "hideaway," a three-foot cube box containing the carousel of 45rpm records, the amplifier, all the electrical and selection equipment and the turntable. This box would normally have been situated in a back room or a cellar of a bar or cafe, this was an ideal arrangement in smaller establishments, as the wall box could be positioned on a wall and the speakers over the diners' heads.
You sometimes see vintage wall boxes at the end of a booth table of a diner, in scenes in old movies.
But "hideaways" would be impracticable in a domestic environment. Well.. my wife wouldn't let me have one!

The iTunes playlist of 160 tracks uploaded to each iPod, is identified by a four letter code, from which the USA made adapter recognises, which make and model number of wall box and whether it is to work on 50 cycles as in the USA, or 60 cycles as here in the U.K.

Wallbox to iPod conversions using mp3s are becoming increasingly popular. You aren't restricted to a jukebox which will only play recordings from the days of vinyl, as are my two conventional vinyl jukeboxes* which live in our summerhouse at the bottom of our garden. "My wife insists there's no room for them in the house, what with my electric piano and saxophones."

(* this is one of them playing)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ISeRK8...

However, the restrictions with this type of conversion, which is simple to connect without any alterations to the electrics of the wall box, are that you are limited to the number of individual tracks the wall box will select, usually from between 100 and 200, or as in the case of this model of box, 160, despite the capacity of an iPod. you could make a whole CD as one selection

This particular model of wall box is fairly unique, in that the magazines which contain the title cards (which can be printed off from a pdf pro-forma, in colours, fonts and styles of your choice), are easily removed.

Having recently had the house re-decorated, I made and erected a shelf to give them a permanent location. They each just sit on the shelf and have quick-release connectors behind them, in case I ever need to take them off the shelf. Then two pairs of wires from each are routed through plastic conduit above the skirting board round to the big wall unit, where the adapter and transformer each have a dedicated mains supply. It's just a question of swapping the connections over to the adapter and from the transformer.
As I use male to female connectors, they are configured so I can't plug in a "wrong" connection. The connections are further identified now as I've used different coloured crimp connectors to the supply to each box. It's then just a matter of swapping over the iPods in the wall unit.
The wall box on the left is set on "free play" and the other takes old 10ps, for 1 play and 50ps for 8 plays, (it's a "nostalgia thing").

The reproduction is via a three-way Realistic stereo selector, which is also connected to a record turntable, a cassette player, an unseen DVD/CD player, VHS recorder, Humax HDR 2000 and Freeview TV, to my Leak 2000 tuner/amplifier and Goodmans Havant speakers of similar ages to the wall boxes.
There's a cancel button to stop the current track playing if you choose and the iPod will then play the next track selected.

Of course I could just use the USB memory stick with any number of mp3s on it, in the TV and play them through my hifi or a soundbar.

But, "it isn't the same."

I do have another Rock-Ola wall box which is slightly older, in which I've put bigger speakers. It doesn't function other than as a decorative piece, a telephone directory and to listen to the mp3s on my laptop.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0EFV25...

The recording was made on a small Lumix digital camera, which will take short videos with sound of limited quality.

Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for fair use for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research.

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