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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 started.


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 opener.


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.