About 14 years ago I was working for a vending company as a board level tech. I fixed a ton of Rowe CD100 jukeboxes; amps, control boards, CD mech controllers, CD mechs, ballast boards, etc. At the time, the company had the ECast network jukeboxes on display in the showroom. I thought wow......I wonder if that will ever catch on.
I was finishing my basement and I wanted my own Jukebox and admired the ECast idea. I considered buying a used CD100 for about $500 but my wife didn't agree, she thought it was too much, so we compromised and I said I would build my own. I didn't realize so many people had the same idea for building an MP3 jukebox and when it was all done I think it cost me about $1200.
I bought an oak cabinet shaped like a Wurlitzer on eBay from someone who lived about an hour away from me. It was an audio cabinet for stereo components with a nice leaded glass door. I tossed the door, gutted the inside, built a frame and wrapped the front frame in vinyl. I used chrome stripping from an auto parts store to blend it to the cabinet and fireplace screen with black fabric to cover the speakers. I bought some plexiglas and mirror plexi for a light top and a slow AC motor to spin a CD.
My first revision used a Pioneer home stereo with some speakers I had laying around, a pair of standard floor speakers with a 12", a mid, and a tweeter. I bought a used IBM workstation PC (small form factor) and a used 13" ELO touch screen monitor. It ran on Windows Millennium and I bought a license for Virtual Music Jukebox. It didn't have enough boom so I ripped out the audio and began revision 2.
This round I bought 2 13.8V 25A continuous power supplies from Radio Shack. I wired them to 2 Sony 180W RMS Amps and a Kenwood 100W RMS amp for external speakers (now connected to a pair of Polk RT in wall speakers). I built a speaker box that is about 2'x18"x3' with triangular separators inside. In the front was the 2 8 ohm 12"s, 2 mids, and 2 highs which each side had their own air space. A 12" Kicker sub fired down in it's own air space and ported to the rear. I had to add an extension on to the back of the cabinet to hold the 3 amps and 2 power supplies. I also had a Realistic (Radio Shack) EQ. I liked this setup.
About 2 years later I moved. My new basement was not finished so the mighty Jukebox sat idle. Fast forward 11 years and I was motivated to finish the basement. I plugged in the jukebox and the PC complained about no "B:" drive. I turned it off and back on and it was dead. The supply was shot and a replacement (weird size) was twice as much as what I paid for the entire PC 13 years ago. I decided to scrap the PC and start over. This posed a new problem...software.
My Virtual Music Jukebox copy was never going to run on Windows 7 so I began my research for new software. I had ideas that I couldn't find in other programs available so I started fresh. I developed my own Jukebox software using VB. It sort of resembled VMJ but had my own twist. The library is in a CSV file that I wrote a program to scan through my files and create a database (the csv file). I can then open the CSV file and under a few columns I indicated my favorite and/or what might be considered a hit. Another column separated the hits from rock, metal, dance, hip hop, etc. It works like typical jukebox software. You select a CD cover, it brings up a list of songs, you select the song, it goes into the queue, however if you add an MP4 with the same name in the folder (Artist-album structure) it will show a movie icon next to the song and it will play the video. The video is played on monitor 2 which is a TV hanging on the wall in the same room. If it is an MP3, the 2nd monitor displays the cover and song info that fades in and out in different screen positions. It also can open a borderless browser and play Pandora, Google, and Amazon Music by pressing the Pandora/Amazon/Google music buttons on the screen. There is a record icon which shows a screen that looks like a diner jukebox that just shows the hits in a 2 song 1 artist configuration. This is still in the works. If you select Favorites, Hits, or the genre it will shuffle though what I called "good" in the CSV file and won't play any B-Sides at random. It continues to play unless you select a song or another shuffle. I also gave it a feature that I wanted which was to control it from an Android app. The VB program acts as a server and the app as a client. The app shows what is playing and even shows a progress bar and how much time has passed and it left. It also shows the artist/album/song playing and what is next in the queue. You can search in the app for a song or part of a song or an artist, click on the result that you want, and it will be added to the queue. You can also go into youtube or any web browser that can link to an MP3 and "Share it" to the Jukebox and it will play it. This is my first app and it took awhile to get working but it appears to be stable. I just need to learn how to launch it without being connected to Android studio. I plan on putting it on a tablet that can be used a remote.
I am now going into Revision 3. The Realistic EQ was crackling so I replaced it with a cheap BOSS EQ and a BOSS crossover. The Kicker was worn and tired so I replaced it with a Kenwood 4 ohm 12" sub. The ELO 13" has held up through all these years and still works great but it is just too small. I was surprised to see that I could still get drivers for it. It uses RS232. I replaced it with a 17" ELO touch screen flat panel and this opened up a ton of room inside. I now plan to remove the extension I had on the back and move the amps and power supplies inside. I have a audio cabinet fan with a thermostat I plan on adding to keep the inside cool. Back in Rev 1, I built a circuit to control some lights I had in the top globe which would sense when music started and had a delay as music ended so it would go from color changing to a white idle light. This is going to get replaced with LED strips and an LED music controller for now. I have a bunch of Arduino based electronics that I planned on connecting to the lighting and the PC so I can make my own custom light shows (another reason I wanted my own jukebox software). Just don't have the time right now.
So that's about it. I hope there are still many others building and maintaining theirs. I am glad I didn't buy the Rowe and built my own. There is that satisfaction of developing and building with your own hands (insert Tim Allen grunt here). These pictures are in the middle of the redo so don't mind the bundles of wires and cables hanging out the back. The 2nd screen shows some of the frame of the main screen which has now been fixed.