Inside the "Zoltar Speaks" Fortune Teller Replica

01 Apr 2014 05:14 16
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You can read the full story about the design and construction of the machine at

This compilation was made from old standard-definition video clips shot with a hand-held camera, sometimes under marginal lighting conditions. I hope to shoot some HD material this spring when I can spend some time at the location.

Sorry about the obnoxious breathing sound throughout the video - it is embedded in the machine's soundtracks and I would have to find and remaster my original MIDI files to remove it. It gets a little tiresome by the end. BTW, the video ends at about 3:30. The still image was tacked on for the rest of the time to give me a recognizable thumbnail that I could use.

The video has external and internal views of cabinet details and the mechanism in operation. There is more happening internally but these are the only clips I have at present. The loud coin drop sound at 0:55 was caused by having the microphone in the lower cabinet, and you normally don't hear that. It sounds like I hit the jackpot on that one.

The long delays are normal between a) the button push and the coin release down the ramp, and b) between the coin entering the mouth and the card release. It has to do with how the machine runs on a fixed cycle and the fact that the coin launch into the mouth is timed automatically for you to compensate for inertial delays (too many aiming & timing variables otherwise).

At 1:19 the coin ramp retracts to a home position just before the machine shuts down. A separate motor performs this reset only after you successfully hit the mouth and are awarded a card - this is to prevent the ramp from being left in a winning position. If the mouth is missed, the ramp stays where it was so that you can spend many more quarters fine tuning your aim.

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