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A look inside one of the beacons used on gaming equipment around the world.
One of the most notable differences between this gaming beacon and a traditional factory machine tower light is the grounding strap used to limit external influence from external electrical influences like RF generators and high voltage zappers.
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Let's take a look at a casino style, slot machine beacon light that you might find on top of gaming equipment. This particular one is made by sizzle, happ or supplied by suzuhap. Sizzle app is actually a combination of two companies. I think suzo and hap quite big in the european gaming industry.

I think there may be japanese connections too, not sure about that. So a couple of things are interesting about this beacon light, it's very similar to what you find on top of factory machines, but in this instance there are a few differences, because this is optimized for uh equipment in the sort of gaming industry. So if i turn this on, it's not very bright because it is tungsten lamps, but it is designed to be used in the casino after all, but it is used for indicating various machine conditions. There are three connections on this connector at the bottom plus.

If you notice - and it's quite significant to mention this there is this thick metal braid, the metal braid - is important. It's connected to the rest of the braid in the machine. It's a security feature. So apart in america, the bottom color uh denotes coinage.

It denotes the the color of it will determine what value of coinage the machine uses, although that's kind of out the window with modern uh, multi uh, credit machines, but also it will flash to indicate when the cash drawer has been opened and it will keep flashing Until the machines played again, i'm i'm not sure about this. This is stuff that i read up. I wanted to see what the americans did versus versus the uk, but the top machine is used to signal to the uh attendant. If someone press the button in america uh, but there are other combinations uh, that the lights can flash, that will indicate other machine conditions like, for instance, the machine is out of service or it's failed in some way and it needs attention because well, when you're talking Casino machines downtime is expensive, so let's talk about the braid coming out the bottom of this, because that is quite important.

It is connected. Well, let me get the meter here is the meter. Let's stick this to continuity and i shall hook it onto the braid and you shall see that it is connected firmly to this metallized plastic base and the middle ring and the top ring everything metal in this is connected to that braid and the reason for that Is because of zappers and rf equipment that is used to cheat the machines in the early days before they knew about such things? In the early days of arcade games in general, people used to get free credits on arcade machines like video games like space meters by using one of those uh clicky gas, igniter things the piezoelectric spark and they used to put it in the coin. Mac metal frame and just click it and because they didn't really understand the concept of this happening and grounding the spark used to jump onto the coin mech and it used to actually trigger credits or it would damage the circuit board.

But the people doing that. Didn't really care about such things, the other connections? Oh actually, i should keep talking about this first. So that's the reason for this very low resistance, braid, it's designed. So so, if you stick a a sparker onto any of this metal work or an rf antenna onto it, will actually ground it to the general echo potential zone, the machine that won't actually it corrupt the processor.

The other thing they do in some machines is: they have an antenna wire running in the wiring loom and in the case of an older machine, the uk uh bar crest mpu3 that antenna wire simply went to a 555 that was configured as a voltage threshold detector. If it detected disturbance on that antenna war, it would reset the game. It would just basically just trigger the reset and the game would just reboot from scratch. It just meant that if people tried tricking the machines, they didn't get anywhere.

The other connections here you've got three connections. You get the black, which is common, common positive, which is odd and you've got the red and the blue, which are the two separate beacons, and each of them has a diode in series. I'm guessing the reason it's got. Dialed in series is again with british gaming equipment uh.

A lot of the lamps in the machine are on a matrix and of x y grid of uh lights, and it's run at a higher voltage and it's scanned um and that lets them run a lot of lamps from a small number of uh control lines. In the processor and the reason for that is british gaming equipment. If you look at british and european, you look at dutch games, you look at german games, you look at american games, they're all different, and if you look for british fruit machines, online you'll see that ours are covered in a wall of tungsten lamps inside behind little Light boxes behind graphics and there's really complex gameplay. It's not a simple thing: it's not just press start the real spin with british machines.

It's actually you're you're playing quite a complex multi-featured game uh with the mechanical reels. This is all before the video monitor started creeping. I have to say the curved video monitors in the arc. The casino machines are fantastic.

I love them so much. I love the graphics too uh, but in the the british machines, you've got the mechanical looking reels they're not, and it's like it's like the old pool, handle fruit machines, but they'll get stepper motors on the processor decides what is actually going to be on those rails. Before it spins them, it's all a bit a bit of a cheat, but anyway, to allow maximum versatility of this the, and this is odd to mount on top of the machine. In the first place, they've got two built-in threaded inserts with the screws that go in from inside the machine, but strangely uh you can just uh remove this dome nut from the top of the machine.

I wouldn't actually recommend just doing this in a casino and you can take the top cover off and then the first layer of filter note that it's just wrapped around inside here is the central metal core, with a sort of insulating shaft on it and the first Tungsten lamp, if you remove this you'll, see there's a little metal tang here. This is to ground that metal layer, and then there is the next layer of illumination, and these lamps in this case are just 12 volt lamps, they're, pushing lamps and in turn, they're. Actually little a classic holder that is just basically pressed onto a little stick up strip from this base. Here um this particular light because of the multiple dominations that multiple it actually comes with: a spare blue gel, an orange gel, a yellow, gel, a green gel, a red gel and another diffusing white diffuser, diffusing white diffuser.

Yes, indeed, and to put these in, you basically just well wrap them around suppose you wanted this one to be a red one. You just roll it up and stuff it in that's pretty much how it is and then put the diffuser behind it. I suppose that would look quite nice without diffuser, but here it is with the diffuser to create that nice, soft, red glow, um so very similar in a way to the beacons used in factory equipment that indicate things like you know, running low in materials or off-road Assistance required - or it's just broken down completely, but quite a nice little setup, the most notable difference between the factory ones and the casino ones is this grounding strap that is designed to protect against fraudulent activities, but quite interesting inside one. Now you know what's inside them when you go into a casino in las vegas, and you see all these little illuminated beacons on top of the machines.


17 thoughts on “Inside a casino slot machine beacon”
  1. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Joe O says:

    Unimportant detail- at a casino I worked at in WV, USA we always called the lights on top of the slots "Candles".

  2. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars The Real Rob - aka Rob says:

    nice. another extremely interesting, little visited subject. Well produced by BC. Thanks Clive. Sincerely.

  3. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Scotty Wingnut says:

    I didn't even know that there was enough of a gaming market to be able to sell parts like this. My guess was that there were only a couple hundred casinos and maybe some people that have a home slot machine unit

  4. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Tech Gorilla says:

    Scotty from Strange Parts taught me that this light has a name. It's an Andon light akin to industrial machinery signals. Nice.

  5. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars psirvent8 says:

    I wish I had a signal tower (Like they have in factories) or casino beacon light above "my" utility room door:

    It could have a flashing white light for when the laundry cycle is done, a solid blue for when the doorbell is silenced (By a switch as it is connected to a photosensor and is sometimes triggered by birds) and whatever other colors for who knows other functions.

  6. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Fibro Dad says:

    My dads old lighter with a tiny peice of copper got many credits on spaceys or pacman, once fixed we would spin a 19p in the slot which gave 5 freebies

  7. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars spotify95 says:

    Hmm, these actually look quite interesting. I'd actually be tempted to get one of these, especially if (a) you can change the color easily (like in the video – just remove a piece of foil) or (b) they do one with color changing (and possibly controlled) LEDs.

  8. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars White Rose says:

    Happ is one the manufacturers of arcade control devices such as joysticks, input buttons, trackballs and wiring harness parts. They are based in Mount Prospect, IL, just outside of Chicago. I used to work in the engineering division of Bally/Williams/Midway back in the 70's and 80's before I was recruited into Medical Diagnostic Imaging.

  9. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars ItsBBP says:

    These devices can also be referred to as a Andon, often used in manufacturing plants to indicate the state of a machine at a glance.

  10. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Slide100 says:

    Cool tear down! Thanks!
    As far as common positive, all the nurse call systems I worked on used this scheme for the corridor lights. And that was across several manufacturers. So, maybe low voltage signal lights are done that way on all kinds of things? 🤷‍♂️

  11. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Simon Coates says:

    I had a friend who was a professional gambler and once appeared on a TV documentary about gambling. The interviewer asked what his best advice was on how to win, he said "Play Snap with a stammerer" 😂PMSL

  12. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars G Fresh UK says:

    That brings back memories of the casino style machines. the last ones i used were led. Ours were red for machine fault or green for ok.

  13. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars mikeselectricstuff says:

    The thick braid is more about reducing inductance than resistance- the risetime of a piezo spark is nanoseconds, so even a small amount inductance will have a high impedance.

  14. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Marcus Chute says:

    My friend just got one of these that was broken and we are about to take it apart in a few hours to try to fix it!

  15. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars ShokaLion says:

    I wonder if you could buy a couple of those and roll your own extra tall one. You'd need some way to attach the threaded bars to one another (or just replace with a longer one).

  16. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Gregory Thomas says:

    the removable top nut is probably to make it easier for maintenance to replace the bulbs.

  17. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars SiaVids says:

    I always like looking at gaming equipment too and how it is (usually) so well designed for the abuse of the general public but still built down to a price.

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