FOTEP -- Flight of the Eagle Productions
FOTEP -- Flight of the Eagle Productions
DVDs Photos OTS DJ Genealogy
Movies Books OTR OTR Genre
Blog Masons Ham Radio Prep
Links BOINC Solar Charity
Software Music Mix Jukebox Hack FOTEP?

Hacking the Digital Bubbler 1015

Copying your music directly to your jukebox


This page describes an approach to getting network access to the Chicago Gaming Company's Digital Bubbler. The instructions should work, but you should validate everything. If something is done wrong, you may end up with a 300 pound doorstop until you can do a system restore from the CD that ships with the jukebox.

How it Works

The Chicago Gaming Company's Digital Bubbler 1015 Jukebox has a number of features that enable a technical user to skip loading music from CDs and directly load the music from a PC on the jukebox's network. These features are:

  • The jukebox is a SUSE version 10.1 Linux computer
  • The motherboard supports a VGA screen and a PS/2 keyboard
  • The jukebox is network enabled
  • The jukebox boots up and leaves the root account logged in
  • The music is stored in industry-standard flac format
  • No database is used; files are stored hierarchically instead
  • SSH conectivity is installed enabling secure telnet
  • SSH includes a file transport layer enabling network file copy of music
  • Free tools are available to convert your MP3 library (or CDs or other audio format)
  • Free tools are available to copy the files to the jukebox

Prepare the Jukebox

  1. Close the DVD tray (in the front of the jukebox) if it is open.
    Failure to close the DVD tray will cause it to get snapped right off when you open the front of the jukebox.

  2. Connect the screen and keyboard

    Open the cabinet with the key. The keyhole is on the left side of the case (facing the machine). The mechanism is stiff, to relieves some of the pressure, gently press in (toward the back) on the left side of the front of the jukebox. Firmly (but don't bend or break the key) twist the key 1/8th turn counter-clockwise. You may have to manually open the front by tugging on the front-left side of the jukebox.

    Plug the VGA cable of your monitor into the DB-15 VGA connector and your keyboard into the purple PS/2 keyboard connector:

    Do not worry if the VGA screen is blank, the OS has put the monitor in a power-save mode that blanks the screen if there is no keyboard activity.

    To get the screen to come back, press one of the SHIFT keys. If that doesn't work then press the BACKSPACE key until the jukebox beeps at you, then press ENTER. If none of these work, leave the keyboard and monitor plugged into the jukebox and cycle the power (in the back of the jukebox, in the middle toward the top is a recessed power switch, turn it off, count to 5 hippopotamus and turn it back on.

    Wait for all of the scrolling text to stop and the status line to appear a couple of times. Press ENTER and you'll see the root prompt (#) once you press ENTER. You will want to do this before you enter the commands below.

  3. Create a user account:

    My user name is 'edm'

    You will want to make your own, single-word user name, but to create my account enter

    useradd edm
    from the command (#) prompt.

    The system spits out a status line periodically, just ignore it and keep typing, the status line won't interfere with the commands you enter, it is just hard to keep track of what you're typing.

  4. Enable the new accout:

    Use the 'passwd' command to assign a password to the new account, which enables it. For my account, I would enter:

    passwd edm

    The system will then prompt you for a password. My super secret password is 'my_password' you'll want to choose a better one, type it and hit Enter.

    This is the account you will be using to log into the jukebox for file copies.

  5. Enable file permissions:

    By default, only the root user has access to the music library. You will want to use the 'chmod' command to write-enable the directories that you will be using.

    The music directories live off of a directory called 'jukebox_cddb' which is under a directory called 'root' which lives in the actual root '/' of the file system. Under the 'jukebox_cddb' directory will be (among other things) directories for each artist you have (as well as one called 'Various_Artists'. Inside each artist directory are album directories and inside each album directory are music files with the extension '.flac' (these files are in, wait for it..., flac format):

    Note that your music files must always be in the second sub-directory under the jukebox_cddb directory as above. (I put the artist name and the song title in the name of the file, you can name your music files anything you like so long as they end in .flac

    Now, you are about to issue commands on the command line. If you do this wrong, you can do irreperable harm to the file system of your jukebox. Later we'll be using your user account (created with the commands above). But for NOW, you have the complete power of root to screw things up. Type carefully.

    To set permissions correctly, issue the following commands:

    	chmod 777 /root
    	chmod 777 /root/jukebox_cddb
    	chmod 777 /root/jukebox_cddb/*
    	chmod 777 /root/jukebox_cddb/*/*
    These commands will, respectively, allow access to the root, jukebox_cddb, all Artist directories and all Album directories. (777 means let anyone read or write or delete the files and/or directories. You need this access to work under your own user account.)

  6. Find the IP address of the jukebox

    What I don't recommend: You could reboot the jukebox and watch all of the boot-up junk on the screen and try to find the jukebox's ethernet IP address among all of the junk displayed. This is how I originally did it, Google has since made me smarter.

    Do this instead: From the command line issue the command

    you will get two groups of information, one marked 'eth5' (which is the one you want) and one below that group labled 'lo' which is the loopback adapter (which is not at all interesting for our use).

    This is what I get:

    	eth5		Link encap:Ethernet  HWaddr 00:40:63:F6:58:01
    				 inet addr:  Bcast:  Mask:
    				 inet6 addr: fe80::240:63ff:fef6:5801/64 Scope:Link
    				 RX packets:73293851 errors:0 dropped:1 overruns:0 frame:0
    				 TX packets:11534448 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
    				 collisions:0 txqueuelen:1000
    				 RX bytes:2756326811 (2628.6 Mb)  TX bytes:800903850 (763.8 Mb)
    				 Interrupt:11 Base address:0xe800
    	lo		  Link encap:Local Loopback
    				 inet addr:  Mask:
    				 inet6 addr: ::1/128 Scope:Host
    				 UP LOOPBACK RUNNING  MTU:16436  Metric:1
    				 RX packets:126764 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 frame:0
    				 TX packets:126764 errors:0 dropped:0 overruns:0 carrier:0
    				 collisions:0 txqueuelen:0
    				 RX bytes:6839488 (6.5 Mb)  TX bytes:6839488 (6.5 Mb)

    The interesting line is the second one (inet addr:) the first dotted quad number is your local IP address, in my case that is, yours will be different based on your local DHCP/router setup. Write this number down since you will be using it to connect to your jukebox later.

Download the Required Software

On your PC (Sorry Mac-folks) you will want to download a sound file conversion program, a bulk file renaming programan SSH file copy program, and optionally, a terminal emulator:

  1. Sound Conversion Program -- By far the best program I have used is MediaMonkey. Don't hesitate, download it, try it to be sure it works, then pay for the Gold verion.

    You can download the program from the MediaMonkey site Go to the Download tab, press the DOWNLOAD NOW button (for now), then press the Download Now button on the (bogus in my opinion) trialpay page. As of today, the direct download link is: I have an archive of this version (which may be old) here if you absolutely can't find the download file on the MediaMonkey site.

    Installation Note: When prompted to scan for your music, decline. It takes far too long to do this and it is not at all necessary for what we'll be doing. (You'll be navigating to your music directories instead).

  2. Bulk File Rename Program -- The best program I have found to do this is BRU, Bulk Rename Utility. Unfortunatley the site has been hacked and the download URLs pirated. Google Safe Browsing for Firefox caught this, you might want to install that from

    But, for now, the only safe copy is from my own site (fortunately I hoard all my downloads): Click here for the standard 32-bit or Click here for the 64-bit version. If you aren't positive you have a 64-bit OS, download the 32-bit version.

    As soon as the site is back and safe, I'll post the URLs

  3. SFTP (SSH) File Transfer Program -- Another clear leader in the field is WinSCP. Please download this program, try it to be sure it works and head back to the project's home page and click on the PayPal Donate button to help keep this program working with new OS levels and available free on the 'net.

    You can download this program from the WinSCP homepage Click on the topmost [Download] link. As of today, the direct download link is: for the installation package or for the standalone executable. I have an archive of the installation package here and of the standalone executable here if you absolutely can't find the download files on the WinSCP site.

    Installation Note: When prompted for the interface style, choose Commander. This will give you a good graphical interface for keyboard commands, menu and drag-and-drop operation.

  4. SSH Terminal Emulator -- A leader in Telnet/SSH Client software is PuTTY by Simon Tatham. The program is free and the author doesn't even ask for donations or I'd ask that you send some money his way also. This is a great program.

    You can download this program the project's home pages Click on the Download PuTTY! link and select the putty.exe link. As of today, the direct download link is: I have an archive of this file (which may be old) here if you absolutely can't find the download file on the PuTTY site.

Using the Sound Conversion Program MediaMonkey

The first task is to prepare your music library and transcode all of those lovely MP3 files into the FLAC format.

Start by browsing in MediaMonkey to a directory that has your music files:

To make the job of transcoding the easiest, take advantage of MediaMonkey's automatic tagging capabilities. With MediaMonkey you can use the Control-T command to automatically tag the selected files using your directory structure and file names.

To demonstrate this, I purposefully trashed the tags on one of my directories and set up the command to fix them all in one pass. In my case, I took advantage of the fact that my files have the Artist name as a directory, the Album name as a directory under that and my files all named Artist-Title.mp3:

You can also use the Control-L command to automatically tag your files from the Web.

The next step is to transcode the files into the format used by the jukebox, FLAC. Press Control-Shift-C to start. For this, I set the FLAC encoder to the highest compression level and told it to output the resultant files into a convenient directory structure so I could just copy them to the jukebox:

Using the Bulk File Rename Program (BRU)

The second task is to go through all of your FLAC files and remove characters that might upset the jukebox:

  1. In the left pane, navigate to the directory that has your FLAC files.
  2. In section 3 (Repl.) enter a single space character in the edit box next to Replace and an underscore (_) character in the edit box next to With
  3. In section 5 (Remove) enter the following characters into the edit box after Chars: {}[],.()*'"&?!<>
  4. Mark all of your FLAC files in the Name column of the list box
  5. Be sure, sure, sure that the New Name column looks correct (because there is NO UNDO)
  6. Press the Rename button in the lower right
This is not entirely necessary, I've put files in with spaces and dashes and they have worked. I have not tried other characters, but they should work as well so long as they are valid LINUX filenames.

Using the SFTP (SSH) File Transfer Program (WinSCP)

The last task is to copy your FLAC files to the jukebox:

  1. In the Host Name edit box, enter the jukebox's IP address that you got with the ifconfig command above
  2. Leave the Port Number as 22. This is the secure port that your jukebox uses to accept connections
  3. Under User Name enter the name of the user you created on the jukebox with the useradd and passwd commands
  4. Under Password enter the password you entered with the passwd command. If you mistype it, just hit Enter and it will let you try again
  5. Be sure the File Protocol is SFTP and that the Allow SCP fallback checkbox is checked
  6. Press the Login button

In the left pane, navigate to the directory contains the Artist directories or navigate to the Various Artists directory as shown. In the right pane, navigate to the SAME DIRECTORY on the jukebox. If the directory does not exist, use the F7 key to create the directory/ies that you need.

Remember that the jukebox requires an exact hierarchy of directories to find your music. Refer to the Prepare Your Jukebox steps above for that description. Once you are where you need to be, mark the directory/ies that you want to copy and drag them from the left pane to the right pane. Drop the directory/ies onto a blank space in the right pane. If there is no blank space and a directory gets highlighted you must edit the destination directory in the confirmation box that will appear when you drop the directory:

Press the Copy button to start the copying. A status box will appear that will show the progress of each file as it is copied and the overall progress of the entire copy operation:

Critical concern: DO NOT copy more than 100 sound files to any one directory. The jukebox software seems to have a limit on the number of files that it can deal with for any one "album."

Check your files on the jukebox

OK, the really last task is to use the front panel of the jukebox and make sure the files copied and will play.

It is possible that you will have to disconnect the screen and keyboard and reboot to get the front panel buttons to work and/or to see the new files. This is weird, but can happen.

Fiddle if needed

OK, the really, really last task is to use PuTTY to connect directly to the jukebox to fix problems like: rename directories, move them or the FLAC files, etc. if something went wrong in the steps above.

Since you can do just as much damage here as you could at the jukebox itself, I'm going to suggest you call your local Linux guru to help you with this step.

But, to get connected, you will be using PuTTY:

This will connect you to the jukebox and ask you to log in. Again, you will be using the user name and password that you created before:

I recommend doing these things from PuTTY and your own account rather than doing things from the keyboard and screen plugged into the jukebox. The jukebox is logged in as root and with that account you can do too much damage if you make a mistake.

However, if your really really can't get PuTTY working, then change to your own user account at the jukebox, for me that would be:

su edm
which uses the power of the root login to change to a less powerful account on the jukebox's Linux OS. To leave your account and return to the root account, use the command: exit


Note that after throwing the power switch, the Digital Bubbler may not actually be turned on. The best way to know if the jukebox is going to boot up is to check to see if the round light (with the compass rose) turns on. If only the flourescent lights light up, the jukebox is not booting up: you'll need to turn it off then on again.

Also, it does take a little time for the bubbles to start up. Give the machine a few minutes to warm up and all of the lights will come on and the bubbles will bubble.


Search for: Results per page:

Match: any search words all search words


(c) 1999-2017, FOTEP/Edwin H Mortensen