So it turns out that not only are the US Williams machines of course rigged for 110V, but also the 110V they use has a different Hertz cycle from the 230V we use in the UK.

UK 230V runs at 50Hz and the US 110V runs at 60Hz, so even with our Transformer doing the step-down conversion for the neon light to 110V, we will be supplying it at 110V 50Hz which can make 110V 60Hz ballasts (the thing which helps start the tube to light) very un-happy and even not-work or at worst expire (literally melt!).

So, what we need to do is find a replacement ballast that can either handle 110V at 50Hz AND 60Hz, or one that is less fussy than the ones Williams used in their cabinets.

One of the recommendations from the very very helpful team on UKVac was

look on old jukebox sites for the ballasts, they work fine at 50hz without any troubles, if they buzz quite a bit then pour some shellac into them, that works well as have done it to several jukebox ballasts in the past. nice and silent!

Now I didn’t even know what shellac was but that sounded promising so a link was recommended to these guys – jukeboxparts – and I ordered a new one as follows.

Order Inventory:
Product: Ballast 14-15-20w/110v
Quantity: 1
Product Code: BA02
Price: £12.50

I also replaced the starters with new FS2 ones (I had some of these spare form buying extra for the Tron machine) and voila we have lights again!



Update: 18/01/2016

The problem with the above ballast is that even though it is 110V as required, it still works as 60Hz so can get pretty hot pretty quickly

The solution is to replace it with a 50Hz 110V one, which in my case I got from

and it then works fine with our 50Hz 230V being lowered to 100V 50Hz