Rowe CD-100B Jukebox 1991
Every home arcade or game room needs rockin' tunes to keep everyone's energy pumping. Kids today think they have the best things going with their teensie weensie fiddly piddly iPods and mp3's. Well, they may be portable and they hold a million songs, but sorry kids, daddy's box still kicks your gizmo's ass even at 20-plus years old. You're not likely going to ever see a 20 year old iPod that works. That's because their built to be disposable. This jukebox was certainly not built with that lame attitude and it'll still be rockin' another 20 years from now.

 <click pics to embiggen>

I picked up this 1991 Rowe CD-100B jukebox a couple of years ago in half decent shape considering the age. Nothing would light up and only the left side amplifier was working. The animation motors were burnt out and there were no CD's and no locks. The painted graphics on the buttons were all worn off and some glass in the dashboard was missing. The catalog mechanism didn't work properly. Absolutely everything was dirty as heck. There was a lot of work to be done. The two main advantages of the purchase were that it was local and that it was inexpensive ($400 delivered).

To my surprise, I discovered that Happ-Suzo carries a lot of common Rowe parts so I was able to just order most of the required components such as new dashboard keys, animation motors, lock with key, air-cylinders (to hold the front door open), and miniature lamps.

After tons of cleaning and installing the new parts and lights, things started looking a lot better. The keyboard was restored to like new. The CD's turn in the animation window and the color change tube inside the cab keeps the display background and catalog bezel actively changing colors. The next step was to improve the lighting system. The original interior lighting consisted of two 48" T12 fluorescent bulbs and three 60W incandescent bulbs. These produced a lot of excess heat and wasted a lot of power so they had to go. Besides that, their color spectrum was hideous. I replaced the T12 bulbs with T8 daylight bulbs and I removed the two old starter-ballasts and installed a new single 2-bulb electronic ballast. Now the 48" long tubes turn on instantly and there's never any starters to fail or be replaced. I replaced the 60W bulbs with 14W daylight compact spiral bulbs. Doing this reduced power consumption by about 138W.

The original miniature lamps (#73 or #86) ran about 1 watt each and there's 8 in the animation display and 16 on the lower front panel. Color was provided by simple color tinted plastic caps. I had ordered new bulbs and caps from Happ and installed them. Frankly, as soon as they lit up for the first time, I thought they left much to be desired. At that point, I ordered new LED replacements from CoinTaker. Red, Green, White, Blue, Purple. I installed the LED's all with new clear caps and the new look was simply great. Installing these LED's reduced the power consumption by a further 23W and the best thing is that they'll never burn out.


Here's a closer look at the animation display with LED's installed.

I have an EPROM burner that I use for my arcade related repairs so I replaced the CCC v2.4 firmware in the NM27C512Q-200 EPROM chip with v4.0. I got the required file "70042704.V40" from

Okay, so now I had everything looking great. With the computer firmware updated, it will easily play entire CD's. The next step was to fix the amplifiers. Long story short, I replaced every capacitor and every transistor on both of the amplifier boards. It took a few days to source the parts (mostly from and a few days to install them all. It was well worth the effort because now the jukebox can really crank out the stereo sound and with amazing clarity and bass.

The catalog mechanism just needed some slight adjustments to the microswitch positions and some basic cleaning. Once I had the pages flipping reliably, they needed to be loaded with artwork. I scanned my original CD covers and used Photoshop to adjust the pictures and add the album, artist, and song titles. I printed the new cards on bright white stock paper on a color laserprinter, cut them out and stuck them into the catalog.

I ripped my original CD's to the computer and burned new Lightscribe CD-R disks. The CD-R's work just fine in this jukebox and they never skip. The lightscribe feature allowed me to burn the album cover art and song titles directly to the CD-R disks. Sure, the disks cost a little more but labels cost money too. Also, labels and are harder to print and to apply to the disks and they can throw the disk off-balance and even start to peel off inside a warmed up jukebox. I very highly recommend the lightscribe method of CD labeling. You can always break out the sharpy if you're not interested in making your new CD's look nice. I went all the way with the jukebox restoration so I decided it would be nice to have nicely labeled CD's in the rack. Remember, it's always fun to have an nice rack!


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Last revised: Jan. 2, 2012