Home Wurlitzer 1100 Juke Box Repair

Wurlitzer 1100 Juke Box Repair

Wurlitzer 1100 Jukebox

Main Photo

The Wurlitzer 1100 Jukebox was made from 1947-1949. The jukebox came out following their extremely popular 1015 model, the “Bubbler” jukebox, and was the first jukebox too be produced after World War II. The 1100’s ‘Cobra’ record pickup can store 24 records, played at 78-RPM. It boasts a rather large 15 inch speaker, a rotating song selector, multi-colored rotating lights below the selector, and a large plastic dome for better viewing the record picking mechanism.

On this specific jukebox, the record picking mechanism, lights, and sound needed work. Let’s see what it takes to get it working.

Opening the Box

Opening the jukebox is easy enough. The outer door can be opened by pulling up and out on the left side of the door. It swings open to the right allowing for easy access.

Front door inside

Opening the front door allows access to the outer door lights, the song selector, record loading slots and record player wheel and needle. Below the record loading slots and wheel, is a panel holding the single 15-inch speaker. This panel can swing out and to the right as well. A latch sits on the right side of the panel, when twisted left unlocks the panel to swing out.

Speaker panel

The speaker panel solely houses the single speaker and the coin check mechanism. On the inside of the machine, on the left side is a small handle that sits right above where the speaker panel rests. Turning the handle downward unlocks the door on the rear of the machine. Then the rear door can be opened as well.

Rear door

The rear door has the background seen behind the record player, a slanted piece to protect the amplifier from oil or falling parts, and two cutouts in the panel - one for the main power switch and one allowing for access to the volume control. Inside the rear of the machine, the actual record playing and selection mechanism can be seen and accessed, as well as the amplifier and sound circuits.

Inside rear


Record Selection

The first problem encountered with the machine was the record selection mechanism failed to properly pick a record. Pressing a record number would start the mechanism but it would jam up. The first thing done was oiling. Lots and lots of oiling. All the gears, any visible moving arms or levers can be oiled to help the mechanism loosen up. There are also two oiling holes on the motor for oiling, and two oil holes underneath the record spinner for oiling the hardest to reach parts.

The entire record selection mechanism is simpler than others of the time but still complex. The mechanism is driven off a single motor rotating a single direction. A series of gears, levers, and cams in certain places allow for the record grabbing and playing to take place. The mechanism begins at the song selection coil.

Selection coil

This coil has 24 smaller coils rotated around it. Each of the smaller coils is connected to rails on the record selector on the door. On the outside of the coil, is the main motor relay. When a record selection button is picked, the smaller electromagnetic coil for that record activates and releases a spring loaded pin that protrudes out about half an inch from the back of the coil, towards the rear of the machine. This also triggers the motor relay to start.

The motor rotates a shaft, with an “L” shaped end behind the coil. The protruding pin catches the shaft piece and stops it from moving. The shaft is connected to a differential type mechanism, so that when the shaft behind the coil stops, the rotation is transferred to another shaft. This starts the actual record grabbing. The position of the record selection coil is aligned with a cam on the back of the machine. When the shaft stops at a certain coil, the cam is in the right place to allow an arm to move enough to align with the chosen record. However, this cam can wear slightly and isn’t always accurate. Wurlitzer solved this by placing a gear with cut-out slits on it. So that when an arm moves to grab a record, the slots further align the arm to pick a record, and not get caught trying to get two records. This gear and cam can be seen in the image below.

Slit gear

The wear on the cam in this machine was pretty bad, this resulted in the arm getting caught on the gear. Filing down the gear points and edges fixed this partially. The actual pin that fits in the slots had wear on it as well, and was rotated to where it had a bit less wear.

Record tray moving arm

The actual arm that moves up down behind the record tray to move a record out to the table is adjustable via a tapped piece that sits at the top. If two record trays are still being grabbed and the slit gear piece is not getting caught, adjusting this can fix that. When a record tray is moved, the mechanism that moves up and down rotates via another adjustable arm. If the piece is not moving up and down smoothly, the arm adjustor could be too tight. It should slide up and down with hardly any friction. Adjusting this finally fixed the record selection mechanism.


Many of the lights in the machine needed to be replaced. Almost all of the lights on the machine have one positive wire connected to it and is grounded through the jukebox frame.

Record tray moving arm

Most of the lights can be easily replaced by older cheap incandescent bulbs from Amazon or Ebay. The “Multicolored” lights on the front bottom of the machines, are actually upright fluorescent tubes, surrounded by a rotating cylinder made with three different color filters. Both of these light on the machine were also bad. Replacement tubes in the right size could actually be found at Lowes, but however, they still did not work. Fluorescent light require starters and a transformer to work. The starter caps are found above the lights and the transformer is inside the door, to the left of the selection mechanism.

Starter caps

The starter capacitors can be twisted and removed from the light assembly. Testing each cap reveals both were bad. The transformer also when removed and tested was bad. The transformer was potted, so it really wasn’t worth trying to get into it and fix it. New caps, and two individual transformers were ordered. Below is an image of the two newly installed transformers.

Starter caps

Several of the front lights behind the “Wurlitzer” logo and the “Coin Entry” weren’t working as well, even with new bulbs. On this particular machine, someone in the past had wired it incorrectly and shorted out the light circuit. These were rewired. This is also what probably fried the transformer, as it was also on the same circuit.

The assembly around the right light also did not rotate. The motor was removed from the door. The gear had come loose from the shaft the goes up into the motor. Some JB-Weld later and it’s good as new.

Light motor

The sound electronics repair and front selector mechanism repair will be discussed in another post, so keep an eye out! In the meantime, here are some more pictures of the jukebox.

Extra Pictures

Jukebox in the dark Jukebox in the dark. Stunning.

Front selector Record selector buttons on the front door.

Inside door lights Inside the door with lights on.

Motor Motor.

Record table Record table.

Tube amp Tube amplifier.

This post is licensed under CC BY 4.0 by the author.