My interest in fruit machines began at an early age. Firstly I was fascinated with playing them, and then how they worked.
Back in 1980 it was time to start on the fruit machine shown right. It was shown at the 12th April 1980 meeting with the following report. It was not too flattering and quite rightly so.
Brian Leach demonstrated a rather temperamental fruit machine which did not always pay out when it should! The model was not complete but was able to award 4p, 10, and 20p for one, two and three cherries respectively. He hopes to enable the machine to eventually pay out 50p for three bars. In true fruit machine style, Brian’s one is designed to part with only 80% of the money fed into it.
The fruit machine was displayed at the exhibition on the 27th September with the following improved report.
A working fruit machine was brought by Brian Leach. It was operated by 2p coins and payed out 4p, 10p, 20p and 40p for one, two and three cherries and three bars respectively (very generous!). The model was operated by an EU1072 motor but a P. D. U. was used for the payout on three bars. Each reel contained eight characters and for payout purposes the machine could hold up to 80p. To operate the machine 2p was inserted in the slot and the reels then started automatically. Brian kindly donated some of his money from the machine to the club after the exhibition.
The fruit machine was in many ways quite an achievement, but was not up to scratch for the following reasons.
- It was made from parts not much beyond a 1970s set № 9. The extra parts being many strip plates, 6 hub discs, some long angle girders and the contents of a gears, mechanisms and electronics set. This resulted in a compromised design.
- The reel movement was not random enough. There was a slightly slippery rubber band drive to each reel. It was hardly random at all.
- Being left handed, I put the coin slot on the left hand side of the machine!
- No arm to the fruit machine.
- The coin pool consisted of a diagonal zigzag descent. There where gates at appropriate places activated by the reels being on a cherry. If 3 bars were displayed a motor started to raise all the gates plus an extra one for the 40p payout. This all resulted in a lot of clanking because the gates were moved by the reels when the reels were turning.
- No proper coin overflow box. It was if I remember correctly just below the coin insert and was difficult to get to.
- No proper means of checking the coin is a 2p coin.
- The operator did not have a chance to see the internal workings.
This rested for 28 years until I started on the “Belly” Fruit Machine.