How the Tormat Works

    Fine, most of the time. But seriously folks, the Tormat was introduced in 1955 model V200 jukebox, and replaced the lever memories used in all Seeburg jukeboxes up until then. Between then and its last use in the STD4 (1978), it went through a number of refinements in the design of the Write-In, Read-Out and Sense circuits. But the basic operation remained the same. So what the Tormat does is to provide a memory to keep track of records which have been selected but not yet played.

    First, some terms need to be defined:

    The old lever memory used a mechanical lever for each record side. Each lever had two positions, selected and unselected. Levers were organized into two banks, one for each record side. Each lever had a magnet, which was used to move it from the unselected to the selected position. Every twenty levers had another magnet, called the group magnet, associated with them. This magnet was involved in the selection Write-In process, to complete the Write-In Circuit. Any lever in the selected position also completed a circuit which applied power to the mechanism motor, causing it to scan to look for selected levers. This function is called 'play control'. There were a pair of switches mounted to the mechanism carriage on an assembly known as the 'contact block'. One or the other of these would close whenever it struck a lever which was in the selected position. Only one contact block switch was active at a time, as determined by direction of mechanism travel. Whenever one of the switches sensed a lever in the selected position, the mechanism tripped, the record was transferred into the play position, and played. Thus Read-Out occurred as the mechanism scanned and detected a selected lever. As the record was transferred to the turntable, a solenoid energized which pushed the lever back into the unselected position, which Canceled the selection. The Tormat Memory Unit replaced all these levers, magnets, and solenoids with a group of solid state toroids.

    Toroids are small (approx. 3/16 inch outside diameter) donut-shaped rings made of ferrite (magnetic) material. Like the lever memory, there is one toroid for each record side. Each toroid has several wires threaded through the hole in its center. A current beyond a certain critical value passing through the wire will cause a magnetic field to be induced in the toroid. The field induced will be in one of two orientations, determined by the direction of current flow through the wire. Any current less than this critical value (about 1 Amps) has no affect on the magnetic field. So, the toroid can be said to have 'hysteresis', meaning that it is insensitive to currents less than the critical value. Once that critical value has been exceeded, the field will rapidly change to the other state and will stay there until a current exceeding the critical value is passed through it in the opposite direction. Note that repeating the current application, or increasing the amount of current applied beyond the critical value has no affect: once selected or deselected, it cannot be 'more' selected or deselected. One magnetic field orientation is defined as the selected state, the other is the unselected state. Since the toroid will remain in one state or the other when the current is removed, the memory is referred to as 'non-volatile'. Indeed, the only time current flows in the toroid wiring is when it is Written-in or Read-Out. Since there are no moving parts in the Tormat and therefore almost nothing to go wrong, Seeburg graciously warranted it for a period of five years. Note that the newest warranties (for the 160TM7 used in the STD4 or 100TM9 used in the 100-78D) expired in 1983!

    The fact that the toroid is insensitive to currents below the critical value is the idea behind the selection system. If two simultaneous currents, each slightly greater than half the critical value, are passed through separate wires each threaded through several toroids, only the single toroid which has both current-carrying wires passing through it will be flipped to the selected state. Each of the wires then forms a loop, threaded through several toroids, arranged so that each toroid has two Write-In loops passing through it. One loop is for the letter group, the other for the number group, or one will be the tens digit loop while the other is the units digit loop, etc. The naming convention depends on the  selection system.

     As you can see in the photo at left, each toroid is housed in a small cup molded into a plastic housing screwed to the metal base plate of the Tormat. This plastic housing contains the gold-plated contact rivets at the bottom of the Tormat. Between the metal plate and the plastic housing is a metal contact plate with formed terminals. Because of its connection to the base plate, these terminals are connected to ground, and form the ground return of the Read-Out loop. The toroids are held in place by a phenolic board, screwed to the top of the plastic housing. This board has several terminals staked to it. The toroids are further secured in place by the wiring threaded through them. Each toroid is associated with a record side, and is mounted physically close to the contact rivet for that record side. This location is what establishes the 'address' of the toroid (i.e., the selection number), which varies according to the selection system used. For example, selections A1 and B1 are opposite sides of the same record for all of the non-digital 160-selection machines. The black and gray box machines (160 selection boxes LS3 Apollo through STD4 Mardi Gras) use 100/200 for the left side/right side selection respectively. Most 100 selection machines used A1/A2 for left side/right side of the same record, while the 10077D Topaz and 10078D Celestia used 00/01 for the same record.

     After assembly into the molded plastic holders, it is time to wire the various loops. Let's talk about Write-In first. How the toroids are wired for Write-In varies a lot depending on the selection system, but basically there are two loops of wire threaded through each toroid that are used for Write-In. Each toroid is thus wired in an N x M matrix for Write-In. The 100 selection machines used a 10 x 10 matrix. The 160 selection non-digital machines used a 20 x 8 while the digital 160 machines used a 2 x 8 x 10 matrix. The 200 selection machines used a 20 x 10 matrix. It is this matrix of wires which gives the Tormat its name, short for 'TORoid MATrix'. It is vital to note that all of these Write-In loops pass through the toroids in the same direction, so that their half currents will add.

     Each toroid has another loop of wire passing through it, in the OPPOSITE direction to that used for the Write-In loops. This is the Read-Out loop, and is connected from the terminal on the grounded metal plate, looped through the toroid, and connected to the associated contact rivet. For most machines there are as many Read-Out loops as there are selections, one for each record side, toroid, and contact rivet. Exceptions to this are the 12 inch home LP machines and those 7 inch record machines which played both sides of the record (if selected) in succession. These machines search for selections while scanning in one direction only, and both toroids for a record are Read-Out simultaneously. Each record side has a trip relay, which is used to control the 'play one side followed by the other' scheme. Examples of this type machine are the coin-operated LPC1, LPC480,  APFEA1, and all of the 12 inch LP home units. Due to the way it is wired, the Read-Out loop will conduct current in the opposite direction to that of Write-In. This current is used to interrogate the toroid, to determine if it was previously flipped to the selected state. The act of Reading-Out a toroid serves to Cancel the selection, if the toroid was indeed selected. This feature comes for free. The earlier machines used a sliding contact on the contact block to complete the ground connection for the Read-Out loop to the Tormat base plate. This contact slides along the metal base of the Tormat and is the cause of some of the intermittent selection problems encountered with these machines. Over time, the bar gets dirty or rusty (even though it was plated), making poor contact which results in sparking between the contact and the plate, making matters worse. The solution is to clean the plate and reshape the contact so that it forms a dome. In severe cases of base plate corrosion, since the back side of the base plate should be clean, the best thing to do is to gently remove the base plate from the Tormat, turn it over, locate and drill new mounting holes (since they will now be in the wrong position), and reassemble it. When performing this operation, it is best to leave the cover on the Tormat to prevent breakage of the internal connections. Perhaps a simpler thing to do is to remove the Tormat cover and connect a grounding wire from the base plate to the Tormat mounting bracket. If you elect to do this, be very careful when removing the Tormat cover, since you could damage the wiring inside.

    Finally, all toroids have another loop of wire threaded through them, the Sense Loop. In actuality, the Sense Loop consists of three loops (or turns) of wire. Thus, the toroids themselves are used as a step-up transformer, to boost the output level of the sense signal.  Schematics for the tormats prior to the 160TM5, 100TM7, and all of the 200-slection machines show only a single turn in the sense loop, while the later schematics show the correct three turns. The Sense Loop threads through every toroid in the same direction as the Write-In loops. The function of this loop is to sense if a toroid was previously Written-In when Read-Out of that toroid occurs. If the toroid was previously flipped to the selected state, it will flip back to the unselected state when the Read-Out current pulse is applied. While flipping back to the unselected state, a pulse will be induced in the Sense Loop of the correct polarity to fire the trip thyratron (tube machines) or SCS (solid state machines) in the Selection Receiver or Control Center. It should be noted that Write-In will also induce a current into the Sense Loop. The polarity of this current is opposite that of Read-Out, and is ignored by the trip circuit. The drawing below shows the wiring of a Tormat used in a tube-type jukebox.

    Write-In loops A and B form the matrix discussed above. Each is activated by closing the appropriate Write-In Selection Device, which in this case will be the switch behind a selector button. Once the second selector button has been pushed, the Write-In Trigger Device will close to discharge the Write-In capacitor through the Pulse-forming Network, two toroid loops, the selector switches, and the Temperature Compensating Resistor. This resistor is used to keep the Write-In current relatively constant with changes in ambient temperature, and is physically located within the Tormat except for the models V200 and VL200, where it can be found in the Tormat Selection Receiver. The Pulse-forming Network is used to control the wave shape of the Write-In pulse. The Write-In Trigger Device is a special rotary switch in the Pricing Unit that closes as credit is subtracted for the selection. This switch is basically a printed circuit foil segment with sliding contacts, used to minimize the switch 'bounce' that normally occurs with other types of switches as they close. For Write-In, each half-current flow is shown in the figure above by the IW dashed arrow to the right of the toroid. The first Tormat jukebox used an elaborate thyratron tube-based Write-In circuit, but all later machines used the simpler circuit (selector switches and Pricing Unit trigger switch) shown here. The first machine, V200, used 2D21 type thyratrons for the trip circuit, Write-In, Read-Out, and the Stepper. All the remaining tube machines used the 2050 thyratron instead, and eliminated the Write-In and Read-Out thyratrons.

    For Read-Out, the Read-Out Capacitor is discharged each time the Detent Switch closes. The capacitor discharges through a current liming resistor, the Detent Switch, a pulse-forming inductor (not shown), the contact block, the Tormat Contact Rivet, and finally through the toroid Read-Out wiring Loop to ground. Read-Out current is the full critical value, and flows in the opposite direction to Write-In current, as shown by the IR dashed arrow. The first tormat machine used a thyratron to Read-Out the tormat. In this machine, the detent timing switch conducted very little current, firing the thyratron instead to conduct the Read-Out current.

    If the toroid was written-in, Sense current IS will be induced into the Sense Loop, with the current flow inducing a voltage across the Sense Circuit with the polarity shown. For the tube-type machines, the sense circuit consisted of a pulse transformer, which also served to invert the polarity of the sense pulse, plus additional circuitry including a filter and dual triode amplifier/pulse stretcher, finally firing the trip thyratron. All of the tube-type machines except the last two (LPC1 and LPC480) used the thyratron to energize the trip solenoid directly. LPC1 and LPC480 used it (actually two, one for each record side) to energize a trip relay instead. The relays were part of a logic system that would play the A side followed by the B side, if both were selected.

 The next drawing shows the wiring of a Tormat used in a solid-state Jukebox:

    Note that the current polarities here are reversed, due to the switched power supply polarity. The Write-In Selection devices are still the selector buttons unless the jukebox used the Black & Gray or Red boxes, in which case the switches were replaced by SCSs. The Write-In Trigger Device will still be the printed circuit switch discussed above, except for those jukeboxes using the Black & Gray boxes, which used an SCS, or the Red box, which used a relay. Note that the Write-In and Read-Out circuits are otherwise identical, except for the direction of current flow through the toroid.

    The trouble shooting section of this website talks about how to flip all toroids to the selected state by using a battery. The reversal of power supply polarity between the tube jukeboxes and the newer solid state machines is the reason why the battery connections must be reversed depending upon power supply polarity.

    Tormats usually require minimal maintenance. The Service or Mechanism Adjustments Manual details several adjustments which must be performed in order to insure proper alignment between the contact block, Tormat, and record magazine. In addition, several adjustments must be performed to insure the proper detent switch timing, which in turn affects the Read-Out and sense loop timings. These manuals are available from Always Jukin'Victory Glass, or Stamann Musicboxen for those in Europe. The Tormat contact rivets must be kept clean and lightly lubricated, as do the Tormat cable contacts going to the selection system and the Sense Loop cable going to the Selection Receiver or Control Center. The trouble shooting section details a procedure to use for determining if you have a Write-In, Read-Out, or Sensing problem. If all contacts are kept clean and the proper adjustments have been made, the only possible Tormat problem could be a broken wire or frayed insulation where the cable exits the Tormat. If any of the wires short to ground, this could result in selection problems.

      Below is a table of all tormat-equipped machines. It includes the model number, year of introduction, number of selections, standard equipment mechanism model, and tormat model.

Model Number Year of Introduction # Selections Mechanism Model Tormat Model
V200 1955 200 245ST1-L6 200TM1
VL200 1956 200 245ST1-L6 200TM1
KS200/KD200 1957 200 245ST5 200TM2
L100 1957 100 145ST1 100TM2
101 1958 100 145ST3 100TM3
161 1958 160 160ST1 160TM1
201 1958 200 245ST7 200TM3
220 1958 100 145ST4 100TM3
222 1958 160 160ST2 160TM1
Q100/AQ100 1959 100 145ST3 100TM3
Q160/AQ160 1959 160 160ST4 160TM1
Y100/AY100/AY100U 1960 100 145ST7 100TM3
Y160/AY160/AY160U 1960 160 160ST5 160TM1
DS100 1961 100 145ST7 100TM3
DS160 1961 160 160ST5 160TM1
LPC1/LPC1B 1962 160 133S1 160TM2
U100/U100D 1964 100 145ST11 100TM4
LPC480 1964 160 133S3 160TM2
AMS1, AMS2 1965 100 13S12T1 100TM5, STM1
PFEA1 1965 160 133S4 160TM3
APFEA1 1965 160 133S5 160TM4
SS160 1966 160 133S6 160TM3
AP1, AP2, HSC1, HSC2, HSC3 1967 100 3S12T1 100TM6
S100 1967 100 145ST12 100TM7
LS1 1967 160 160ST17 160TM5
6000, 6001, 6002 1968 100 3S12T2 100TM8
LS2 1968 160 160ST17 160TM5
LS3 1969 160 160ST19 160TM7
SE100 1970 100 145ST13 100TM7
USC1 1970 160 160ST22 160TM7
USC2 1971 160 160ST23 160TM7
SX100 1972 100 145ST14 100TM7
SPS160 1972 160 160ST25 160TM7
FC1 1973 160 160ST25 160TM7
SL100 1973 100 145ST14 100TM7
SPS2 1973 160 160ST25 160TM7
STD160/SQS160 1974 160 160ST26 160TM7
SB100 1975 100 145ST14 100TM7
STD2/SQD2 1975 160 160ST27 160TM7
STD3/SQD3 1976 160 160ST28 160TM7
FC2 1976 160 160ST28 160TM7
100-77D 1976 100 145ST15 100TM9
STD4 1977 160 160ST28 160TM7
100-78D 1977 100 145ST15 100TM9

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