Restoring A Jukebox With An Arduino

[Jim] just finished restoring an old Seeburg USC1 jukebox for his father using an Arduino, replacing an electromechanical rats nest of wires. The stack of 45 records were replaced with an Arduino Mega 2560 with an Sparkfun MP3 player shield, and he jukebox lights are now controlled with 74595 shift registers. Because his jukebox isn’t taking in money, the dollar bill validator has been modified into a ‘skip song’ button, and when there are no songs in the jukebox queue, there are 500 additional songs on the SD card that will randomly play.

We’ve seen one of [Jim]’s builds before. Earlier this year he repaired a thirty year old Pachinko machine using the same Arduino + MP3 shield setup. It looks like [Jim] is pretty skilled at revitalizing bulky old electronics. The jukebox restoration is great and has a lot more class than the internet-connected touch screen monstrosities that we still pump money into.

Check out the video after the break for a walk through of this restoration.

35 thoughts on “Restoring A Jukebox With An Arduino

  1. Did this with a Pioneer CD changer. They have RS232 control. I changed the numbers for choice to CD number/track number.

    with a 200 disc changer, it worked out great and you can easily print the paper inserts as there are templates all over the internet.

  2. I don’t really think gutting a jukebox and replacing the innards with an Arduino counts as a “restoration” (even if it plays back the sounds of a mechanism changing records), and I would have tried to retain at least some of the mechanics, but I guess it qualifies as a hack. Good work!

  3. Word.
    If it was all ripped out and replaced with stuff it didn’t originally come with then it would be more of a “resto-mod”.

    People who do ACTUAL restorations might get prickly over that distinction, as it is arguably much much harderer to restore a piece like this than to modify it with modern parts.

  4. Soooo…. What is the point here? He took a REAL jukebox and turned it in to a really crappy MP3 player (looking at the specs for this “MP3 shield”)?

    This is not a restoration, its an abomination. Also, yes, it’s a hack – A hack job!

    Really. Take out everything that makes it a juke box, and replace it with some cheapo beginner-level MCU experimentation kit? This is ugly :(

    1. unfortunately alot of the skilled people that existed to fix these old jukes have passed on…..however I have the same machine and have brought it back to life with all the original parts….I was hoping when I read the original article u might have related the very old selection system with an ardunio…but u didnt …shame really

  5. Also – you guys are being FAR too critical about Jim’s project.

    First, he never even mentions “restoring” – just “bringing back to life”.

    The “restoring:” claim is just Brian’s wording (I would agree though, poor choice in words, but hardly intentional).

    Calling this an abomination is not playing nice.
    It’s not even a pristine factory model unearthed in a corner, having never been used, or some other one of a kind. This was once useful 30 years ago, but became junk, and now it is useful again… and that’s a common HAD theme.

    Lots of folks take old arcade games and place modern PC components inside, and this is no different.

    1. Scott, lots of people gut old arcade machines and replace them with PC parts, and speaking as a MAME developer, that’s just as much of an abomination as what happened here. There are plenty of sites and groups out there for ACTUALLY restoring amusement machines such as jukeboxes and arcades, but the guy in this article couldn’t even be bothered, he just guts it and replaces it with an MP3 player that doesn’t even have particularly good quality. Well done, guy, well done!

  6. Using restoration was bad but the creator didn’t use it.
    I don’t know what condition this was in before he worked on it for all we know the changer was long gone.
    Now for an added coolness factor he should have used real 45s played on a record player and digitized into FLAC so it would have the crackle of a record.

    I will have to say this is the worlds biggest ipod at this point.

    1. Man, I would love to have an old Jukebox in my living room to tinker with. I guarantee you I would have mine running an Arduino or ESP32 perhaps, playing high quality MP3’s. Right now I have my WIFI Radio setup running through a big old SONY AM/FM/Receiver driving some old 18 inch speakers from some kid’s back seat setup as well as a nice set of speakers left over from an old Hatachi Stereo that my wonderful wife of 51 years and 4 days purchased to play our old LP’S many years ago. I lost her to cancer a few months back, and certain tunes still bring streams of tears to my 70 year old eyes, GOD how I miss that old woman!

    1. That was actually my first reaction (“what the hell is he using so many shift registers for?!”). I’m used to reading just “595” or “74xx595”, so the “74595” threw me off for a moment (a worryingly long moment I must add).

  7. other than some unfortunate wording in the HAD description I don’t see anything wrong with taking a nonfunctional juke box and gutting it to give it new life. So well done. I am sure your father enjoys it. For the purest out their you guys would have wanted my head. I would have gutted the case and put in a uATX mother board and gone the PC route. although I suspect that the Arduino route would be the easiest and require the least aesthetic changes to the cabinet. So again Well Done. I for one look forward to your future hacks.

    1. Jim, do you have the schematic or drawing of how you wired the buttons back to arduino for song selection ? I would also be interested in your code for the arduino please. I’m thinking of using the arduino for mechanical input and relay controls but serial communication to a Raspberry pi as the media player.

  8. this is great.. I can’t wait to get started on mine.. I am very new at C programming.. so hopefully I can get this code working on my Arduino Uno … anyone know were to get the sparkfun board cheaper than $40?
    Thanks Again

  9. By Sparkfun board you mean the MP3+SD board? Well you can get the chip alone at SF for $20, or $17 on eBay. Maybe it’s a few cents cheaper at futurlec.. But why create more work?

    $40 is a fair price for the card and reader and libraries and support. But you could save a couple of bucks if you forget the board and wire the buttons of an old mp3 player.

    You can certainly save a few bucks using an unofficial Mega, but you’ll get no support.

  10. Yep. It is not practical to obsess over cost on an item you only need 1 of.

    If you just want cheap audio and don’t need audio codecs like MP3, don’t forget about (currently sold out)

    While the Wave Shield would not be appropriate for this jukebox project, it is plenty powerful for lesser audio-related projects like holiday decorations or an interactive/educational installation.

  11. I thought about that .. it would work because records were only Mono but I am new to C programming and its easier to get his code working if I have identical parts… I’m alot more of a mechanical engineer than a software engineer lol

  12. Hey Jim…
    I have a dead WurliTzer I need to get going, and Arduino and spark fun seems like the ideal solution..
    Could you share the code again?, It’s no longer on the rapid share site…
    Scootetdoc1@Gmail. Com

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