Monday, January 30, 2017

Laniel Synchroson ML 1600 pinball Soundboard

The Laniel Synchroson ML 1600 sound board appeared on the pinball market in a very turbulent time of transition from Electromechanical to Solid State. The first solid state pinball machines with factory installed sound boards were introduced in 1978.

Closeup of Laniel Synchroson ML 1600 board #13

Just like 30 years before with the arrival of the flipper bumper vs. pre flipper games in late '47, the new Solid State games that were coming out made the Electromechanicals obsolete overnight.

In an era where everything new was better. Players flocked to the new solid state games. The games were better and faster. Every point, every hit was properly registered. During multiplayer games, the features awarded would carry over from ball to ball for each individual player.

Flipper conversion kit Ad from The Billboard March 20 1948

The old EM games were collecting dust instead of quarters. Established operators with fleets of EM games saw their profits dwindle. Electromechanical games with permits on location wasting space. What was a Coin-Op to do? Buy the new solid state games of course. But what about the newer EM games on location? Try to modernize the EM games by installing an electronic Sound Board, that is give the impression that the game is newer than it really is to give a second wind to the game, at least until the permit runs out.

This was the impetus for the conversion soundboards. A few models were available in the late 70's. Pintone was a one, I have also seen a Pintone Canada. The conversion sound board that really interests me however is the Laniel Synchroson ML 1600. The board was sold by Laniel Canada, not Laniel Automatic.

The first Laniel ML 1600 board I ever saw was in 2003 in a very beat up looking Gottlieb Centigrade 37. Since then I've always remained interested in these weird conversion boards.

Left: Pintone Canada sound board Right: Pintone for games with 50 volt coils
Laniel Synchroson ML 1600 sound board #19 installed in my Bally Hokus Pokus
What it commonly believed to be a serial number is written with magic marker on the board. As I write these words, I have #4,6,9,12,13 and 19 soundboards. As I keep finding new boards with different numbers, until I find 2 boards with the same number the hypothesis that the handwritten number is a Serial Number remains valid.

As for how they sound... When you turn the game ON, the board plays a weird alien like melody, then instead of chimes it makes different sound effects that sound sorta bad and dated.

As for value, these boards are not very collectable. Most collectors want to get rid of them to replace them with genuine chimes. They are worth at most $20 canadian dollars. Me, I like the boards because they represent a piece of canadian coin-op history.

The Laniel Synchroson board are usually wired Double Red wires to 6 volt lamp circuit for power. Double White wires to speaker. Various wires to different sound inputs, up to 6 different sound inputs, each producing its own distinct sound effect. The inputs, I guess they are more Triggers really, are direct from different coils in the game. Each trigger requires both wires from the coil. The triggers are usually wired to the 3 chimes and various feature coils that are momentarily energized. Not continuously energized coils, that would just produce a long annoying seemingly never ending sound.

I'm still looking for documentation about these games. I still havent found any mention of them in any Wiko, Laniel Canada or Laniel Automatic catalog.

Multiple sound boards

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