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A short video showing the counting mechanism from an old Bally pull-handle slot machine (fruit machine). This module counts the coins that have been paid out from a rotating coin hopper.
This machine is from an intermediate era between the all-mechanical arcade/casino games and the fully electric ones. The reel mechanism is mechanical, but the coin handling and controls are electrical. (No electronics yet.)
I'm not sure how old this machine is. Possibly from the 1960's.
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This is the payout control mechanism of a vintage pool, handle ballet slot machine and, before i show you how this works, i'm going to show you an operation i'll warn you in advance that this is about to get quite noisy and poppy i'll. Try and keep the volume on down, but these old machines are very, very clicky and clacky noises. So i'll just warn you in advance stand by for noise. So you see what i mean very noisy machines, that's largely because they've got motors and latching mechanisms and solenoids like this inside them that make a lot of noise when you pull the handle and the reels spin.

The mechanism that stops the wheels also wipes in to different length recesses in the real disk and when it does so, it wipes around contacts. And if you get a complete circuit through all three wheels, it pays out the appropriate money when it does that it starts the hopper in the machine that's paying out and each time a coin is pushed out. This solenoid of this mass of washers in the end of it for inertia, is energized and it pulls in and it uh decisively clicks this counter disc, ground and i'll show you the back of this in a moment once it has paid out the acquired amount. This solenoid activates, and if you watch this contact down here, can you even see that contact down there? This one is normally made so that allows that call to energize and it stays energized until it reaches zero and uh breaks that contact again or sometimes doesn't break the contact, and then this car goes up in smoke.

That's another perl of those machines. Let me turn this over, so we can take a look at the other side. Here is the magic of how it counts. The coins, when you get a prize say, for instance, well.

This is the highest prize in this unit, so this yellow and green wire energizes. This track here, which happens to be this long track here. We've also got a completely circular track, which makes connection with this tab here, which is the common, and when this uh pair mechanism goes one two three four five, it clicks them round and once it gets to 25 you'll see it just literally just runs out of Track so i've got another 20 to go one: two, three: four: five: six: seven, eight, nine ten one, two three: four: five: six: seven, eight, nine ten and that's the point when the last coin has gone out that it runs out of track and it resets the Mechanism and the solenoid goes click and it resets to the beginning. That's how it works, it's so mechanical and interesting.

That's the nice thing about these uh machines. They're they're kind of they're not complex, but they've had to do various trickery and things like that with uh to get around people. Well, if the machine's not set up correctly, you can actually pull the handle very slowly until this mechanism resets and then release it back and it'll actually pay out again. It's got lots of little quirks, but it's interesting um.

I, like the old machines, they're very interesting, as sort of like a mechanical and electrical level. Very neat.

8 thoughts on “Vintage Bally slot machine payout counter”
  1. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars mugwump says:

    I still have nightmares about adjusting relays.. I was a Telco engineer for over 30 years and used to have to maintain Strowger switching equipment in my early days.. There's a whole toolbox of gizmo's used to do this, strokers and benders, spring tension gauges, armature adjusters and a whole cornucopia of weird looking tools. It really amused me to see that old group selectors and uniselectors are now selling for daft prices on E-Bay, we threw skip loads of them away… Who knew?😆

  2. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars wtmayhew says:

    Old arcade machines were such a more visceral experience. There was the physical shaking of of the machine, the sound of the relays and steppers clicking, the smell of oil and maybe a whiff of ozone, and the soft blinking of no. 47 pilot lamps. Modern video slots just don’t cut it; they don’t involve all the senses at once. Thanks for sharing the peek at some innards of the old Bally slot machine.

  3. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Marky Boy says:

    Going back to the Beard question. It's a good point. Weather protection. Humans developed hair or lost hair. To match the climate. Or rather how we would survived the climate and it's changes. We went from being naked. To wearing cloths. Or clothes as we call them now. Most people shave their body hair because we have warm sealed homes. Because it's too hot. And other reasons. The human body. Like any living thing, adapts to it's surroundings at the time. Not because it's instant. But because it's a survival mode over possibly thousands of years. What a beautiful planet. Don't spoil it with Poundland tat 😁.

  4. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Jonny Chooch says:

    my late father worked on these mechanical mechs for many moons. the older mechs like used in one arm bandits , pin-tables etc used fabric sheaved cables not plastic. all oil drenched.. this looks like a reworked unit as the coils show no sign of operational heat discoloration..and the tracks are not worn…. we have some real old stuff with multiple adder and counter units as found in the back of the pin tables.. from using solenoid actuator to synchronized motor turning multi lobe cams, all adjustable with hundreds of connections. very cool and awesome. the coin mechs used simple wire mirco switch, with weighted gates and a magnet rejector,, the real step was the marsmech coin mech..which pretty much stopped the use of home made coind and strimming.. we have a ton of this era stuff..

  5. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Karen O says:

    Ahhh Brings back memories of 'Wally'. When i was a Kid, miles out at Sea on Ship, saw Slot Machine with Jammed Coins.
    I pulled the 'Hair Pin' trick and got many out, only to hear a coin Drop ….. So, I Pulled Handle. 8|} there's more
    Hitting 'Wally' with Palm, either dropped another or it thought one did. Earned a good bit, enough for pizza with friends & Tip.
    And why Wally? He was one of ship's Crew we'd joke around with. Thanks Clive!

  6. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Nutgone Matt says:

    I remember playing on similar machines when I was a kid on the Isle of Mann, little chromed units, 3 rollers, one armed bandits with X, O & various “BAR” motifs on the rollers.
    They weren’t that expensive, maybe 2p or 10p a go (the small 5p came out around then & the machines didn’t change, so it wasn’t 5p), but I only got around £3-£4 pocket money back then, so it didn’t take long to spend it all 🤣

  7. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars captbeardy says:

    Having been trained in the maintenance and repair of Strowger (electro mechanical) telephone exchanges I never cease to be surprised by how cobbled together this sort of stuff is. For example, the added inertia on that solenoid to make it slower to operate, telephone exchanges had magnetically damped relays to make them slow to operate and differently magnetically damped relays to make them slow to release. In fact those exchanges worked by the magic of tuned relays with equally tuned tuned contact sets. And mechanical digit regenerators (which the counter slightly reminded me of) were a joy to behold. Mind ewe, the GPO probably had a bigger R&D budget than most fruit machine companies 😁

  8. Avataaar/Circle Created with python_avatars Pantherman1979 says:

    1977 I saw on the bottom of that track circuit board, nice. 2 years older than me. I miss those noises to be honest, my father took up electronic repair here in the states about a year or two before I was born. I grew up around oscilloscopes, wave form generators and the such. Still have his old Sencore TV tester in the basement with all the adapter too, though it's long lost it's purpose for TV testing/repair.

    Sorry, rambling on. He used to fix all varieties of electronics, like that and old record players,etc, etc. My favorite were the old tube TV's, and taking trips down to the local electronics shop to use the tube tester. I miss those days a little, in that you used to be able to (relatively cheaply) build your own stuff out of discrete components too; before IC chips came along.

    But I digress, I'm writing a wall of text in memorandum to reminiscing, I'll end it here before I hit the word limit.

    Good video as always Clive.

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