Coin mechs

Dear Lazyweb, what coin mech should I buy for a 1982 Atari Millipede arcade cabinet?

The original steel mechs, and some others I have tried of similar vintage, fill with jams that cannot be ejected. I tried these plastic Imonex 120 mechs which were recommended to me as "less validation but less headaches" but they suck. Every time you press coin return, they just disassemble themselves internally: the stretchy hinge thing pops off its axis.

I am far less interested in "sometimes accepts a bad coin or rejects a good coin" than I am in "never get into a state where I have to open the thing up and fuck with it".

In case you are curious about the state of the DNA Lounge arcade:

  • Star Wars: working great!
  • Millipede: works, except for the ongoing coin mech bullshit. Monitor has some smearing and fuzziness.
  • Tempest: dead because the AR2 fried itself again. Possibly also some logic board glitchery.
  • Pac-Man: monitor appears to be dead of unknown causes.
  • Vectrex: power supply fried, maybe?

Like most 40-year-olds, these machines have a lot of health issues.

Previously, previously, previously, previously.

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17 Responses:

  1. Momomoto says:

    I have a friend who restores pinball machines, and he says these standard Suzohapp ones are reliable, fit in nearly everything, and are a mere $20:

  2. 1

    Seems like the Free Gold Watch folks might be worth reaching out to if you want some local assistance? I would imagine this is something they deal with on the regular.

  3. Sean says:

    " Every time you press ... they just disassemble themselves internally "

    I hear you, coin return... I hear you.

  4. lonemechanic says:

    Arcade/jukebox/game repair technician here to chime in...

    You aren't wrong, those Imonex coin mechs do indeed suck. The previously mentioned Suzohapp ones aren't as bad.

    Some of the Suzohapp (and other companies) mech options have a magnet inside for which they state "to enhance ability to reject false coins". I have found that it actually sometimes seems to mean "to enhance ability to immediately cause a jam when someone puts in a Canadian quarter by accident".

    I kind of like the now hard-to-find Wells Gardner brand mechs as those seem to jam less, at least for me (YMMV).

    If you go the Suzohapp route, you may want to consider getting the mech holder from them as well. Replacing the mech holder assembly can be a pain in the ass to do but might be worth it in the long haul (easier to do if you can remove the coin door from the machine first). A lot of jams that I have to deal with are because the holder and the mech aren't quite in correct alignment, especially if you have replaced the mech with something different that what was originally there.

    • jwz says:

      I put a pair of Suzohapp mechs in, and they seem to be working ok so far. Time will tell. I also bought a pair of corresponding mech holders, but they appear to be incompatible with Millipede. Parts of the old mech holder are riveted to the door, and I'm not sure they're even the same shape.

      "The great thing about standards is that there are so many to choose from!"

      The Millipede holder also necessitated ditching all of the little nubbin standoff screws on the new mech. Their threaded part is too short to hold the mech in, which means I had to use a different screw but not screw it in very far because if you go in much beyond the back edge of the screw-hole, it will  prevent the coin return flap from opening, and/or nudge the "how wide should a quarter be" stop out of alignment.

      Coin mechs! So fun!

      • nooj says:

        You'd think this would be easier!  Vending machines have been in use for like a hundred and fifty years, and are commonplace everywhere coins are circulated.

  5. Cheshire Noir says:

    Wait, is this a helpful and informative answer from someone actually qualified to answer, in response to a question raised by JWZ?

    Is this the end times?

    • ChoHag says:


    • Dave says:

      Looks like there's a shortage of unhelpful comments.   Glad to help.

      Just put them all on freeplay and quit struggling to make money on something that was obsolete 40 years ago.

      • nooj says:

        It's not about profit.  The coin operation is part of the experience!

        • jwz says:

          Yes, specifically, if a machine is on free play, people will mash buttons for five seconds and walk away. Finding a quarter and putting it in is a part of the experience that is worth preserving.

          If this was an actual arcade, where people went there specifically with games in mind, that dynamic would be different, but this is a Wendy's bar.

          • Dave says:

            I hear you, but you are definitely a masochist.  I used to have 40 machines, but never tried to keep the coin mechs going, and for sure never attempted to keep a color vector alive.   

  6. Don says:

    As a fifty-two year old I am uncomfortable with this summary.

  7. I have a bunch of machines with coin mechs I don't use. My two seconds of effort found a vintage unit made by "Coin Controls" in Elk Grove IL if that'd be helpful.

  8. Why does millipede have electromagnets next to the coin returns?

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