The new pound coin is now in circulation alongside the old one. But are operators of coin-operated machines, such as arcades and pool tables, ready for the change?
The new coin is supposedly good news. It’s more secure, with various security features and manufacturing processes designed to make it far more difficult to counterfeit.
Around one in thirty pound coins currently in circulation are counterfeit, according to the Royal Mint, with some forgeries advanced enough to evade detection by even the most modern coin mechanisms.
So the new coin should protect operators from lost revenues. But as they filter down into your customers’ pockets, your machines need to be prepared for the change. The old coin will be withdrawn from circulation and cease to be legal tender on 16 October 2017, although you can still take any old coins to your bank after this date.
The good news is that your coin mech can be easily modified or replaced, so that the new coin doesn’t disrupt your revenues too badly. You just need to know which mech you have, so you can explore the options available.
Electronic Coin Mechs
Electronic mechs are almost all programmable. Technicians are able to set the mech to a diagnostic mode in which it can be ‘taught’ new coins. Depending on the brand and age of your mech, it can usually be programmed to accept the new £1 coin as an additional coin, so that customers can use both new and old coins simultaneously.
But some mechs can only be reset with the new £1 coin overriding the old one. In this case you need to think about when might be best to make the switch – if your cashbox is still largely full of old coins, you might want to wait a little while before switching.
If you feel confident and you have instructions from the mech manufacturer, you could have a go at programming the mech yourself. If not, just send it in to us and we’ll sort it through our coin mech conversion service.
If you’re sending your mech away to be reprogrammed, you should be aware that you could be without the mech for a few weeks, as demand is very high at the time of writing. If this is likely to make a dent in your takings or if you have multiple mechs to reprogram, you might want to simply replace each mech with a newer model that can often be delivered within a couple of days.
If you decide to replace it, you should be aware that each brand that makes coin mechs has a slightly different physical mounting system and wiring set-up. This means it’s advisable to stick with the same brand of mech to ensure it seamlessly integrates with your machine, both physically and electronically.
Mechanical Coin Mechs
Mechanical mechs are somewhat simpler. Some can be converted using kits supplied by the manufacturer to allow new coins to be used.
Others, particularly older models, are not economical to modify. In this case we’d recommend replacing the mech entirely with a newer version from the same brand. Essex Straight Six mechs, pre-set to accept new pound coins, are available here.
We offer an efficient upgrade service for all makes of coin mech. We’ll update your mech and send it back to you ready to be used with new £1 coins. You just need to buy the service from our site, remove your mech from your machine and unplug the wiring harness, pop it into a box and send it to us.
We recommend taking photos of the wiring set-up before disassembling it, to help guide you when you come to reinstalling it. And don’t lose your fitting screws!
Below are just a few of the more popular coin mechs commonly found in arcade machines, pool tables and games room equipment.
Essex Straight Six Coin Mech
The Essex Straight Six has been supplied since last Autumn with full compatibility with the new £1 coin. It now has two £1 slots – one that accepts the new £1 only, and one that accepts both the new and old £1 coins. When the old £1 ceases to be legal tender, just close that slot with a blanking plate so that only new coins can be used.
If your S6 is older than this, you may need to replace it with a new one. Buy one here from Liberty Games.
The RM5 is a popular family of electronic coin validators, and can be reprogrammed to recognise new coins. There are three ways to do it.
1. Connect your coin mech to your PC (using the ccTalk connector) which is equipped with the Multiconfig configuration programme, available online for free download. Multiconfig will take you through the process of introducing new coins to the mech.
2. Purchase the Virtual Dip Switch which allows the coin mech to be reprogrammed in situ. The real advantage of this gadget lies with operators with multiple coin-operated tables. The VDS makes it convenient to walk around an arcade and reprogram each machine in place. Points one and two are outlined in the RM5 technical manual, and more details can be obtained from your Comestero distributor.
3. Send it to us. For a very reasonable charge we’ll have it converted and sent back to you. No stress.
Jofemar T20 & T21
The Jofemar T20 and T21 are popular coin mechs for air hockey tables and other games tables, particularly those made by SAM Leisure. The T20 is now obsolete but can still be found in some older machines, and was superseded by the T21.
Trained technicians are able to reprogram these mechs to accept the new £1 coin. It’s not advisable to attempt reprogramming yourself.
Send your mech to us using our Coin Mech Conversion Service.
Cosmic / Galaxy Multi Mech
These reliable coin mechs are most often seen fitted to the Cosmic and Galaxy arcade machines.
They are relatively easy to reprogram and can accept new coins. Follow the step-by-step instructions in the Cosmic 2000 instruction manual to ensure your Cosmic or Galaxy will accept the new pound coin, or just send it to us.
This is the mech now fitted to all Sega arcade machines in the UK. It replaces the previous mech used by Sega UK, the SR3, and is a direct replacement, needing no modifications to the wiring or the cabinet to fit it.
This mech cannot be securely upgraded to accept the new pound coin without specialist equipment. We advise using our modification service.
If your coin mech’s not listed, don’t panic. We have specialised technicians available to convert most common coin mechs as part of our conversion service.
Do you think your mech might be too old to convert, or would you prefer to avoid having your coin mechs out of action?
We can supply coin mechs to suit most games tables. Just give us a call to discuss your requirements.