Vender – An internet controlled classic vending machine

An internet controlled classic vending machine

A few months ago I picked up a functioning old soda machine off craigslist. This machine was built in 1977 and has been comfortably vending soda the same way for over 30 years. Thats boring, lets make this retro machine a little more modern!

Vender has its credit functions, and dispense button electronically controlled and has two capacitive touch sensors to dispense free soda if you know the secret place to put your hands. It also has a police beacon light atop of it to signal when someone remotely dispenses a can. All of this is on a platform connected the internet, enabling operation from a website (buyusbeer.com) or my iPhone! It makes for a great living room decoration, and always serves up ice cold soda (and beer).

Since I’m moving out and traveling this summer, me and my roommates are selling Vender on eBay. A portion of the sale goes to support the Kiva foundation. Check it out.

Technical Overview

Control Board

Control Board

Here’s the Phidget 8/8/8 control board at the heart of Vender. This is used to send signals to the relays, and to react to the input from the touch sensors. The control board is connected to an old P4 computer I was able to scrounge up around MIT. The computer runs all the code that lets Vender interact with the internet.

iPhone Control

iPhone apps to dispense beer and sodaSomewhat like my door, Vender can be controlled from my iPhone. I have two buttons on my home screen, ‘Soda’ and ‘Beer’ that perform their respective functions. This is the easiest way to dispense from the machine! Though a number of times I have pushed it while I’m away only to find a warm beer sitting sitting in the machine when I come back.

Credit Relay

Credit Wire

Wires going in to the credit pins

Vending machines from this era all equipped with Jones plugs between the coin mechanism and the rest of the machine. The coin mechanism handles the tricky task of accepting money and giving back change, and then just tells the rest of the machine when a soda has been paid for. After trolling the soda-machines.com forums, I learned that to establish credit you just need to momentarily connect pins 1 and 7 on the plug. I snaked two wires to these pins and then connected them with a relay operated from the control board. The original coin mechanism is still plugged in.

Button Relays

Button RelaysWire from button relay

Button Relays

The button relays are a bit less elegant. After finding the electrical diagram of the machine from the manufactures website (thanks Fawn Vending Systems!), I cut and stripped the wires coming out of each button’s microswitch. Then I spliced in another loop through a relay so that I can simulate a button press from the control board. The microswitches are still connected so the buttons still works otherwise.

Touch Sensors

Touch Sensor

Touch Sensor

Behind the front panel are two Phidget  touch sensors based on the QT110 chip. These sensors works by detecting small variations in capacitiance caused by something like a human finger. They work through any dielectric material (in this case plastic) and don’t require actual touch, only proximity of about 1/4 inch. With the light off on Vender their presence behind the plastic isn’t noticeable.

BuyUsBeer.com

vending machine in Buy Us Beer mode

Vender in Buy Us Beer mode

My roommates (Tom and Jonathan) put together a website and hooked Vender up the general internet at http://buyusbeer.com . Here we stream a live video of our living room and the machine. You can pay $1, see a countdown before the beer comes out, and then watch us drink it. We’re operating it on friday nights and its been surprisingly popular among our friends as well as the reddit community. We don’t really make any money off it, especially considering paypal takes 30cent from every dollar, but we’ve sold a surprising amount of beer.

Finally…

Me and all my roommates are moving out in a few weeks, so we’re putting the vending machine, electronics, and buyusbeer.com website/domain on ebay. %10 of the sale is going to Kiva. If you’re curious, check out the sale at eBay.

If you have any questions, feel free to get in touch at chris@varenhor.st. You can also find me on twitter @varenc

146 Comments / Leave a comment

  1. plumbing service on Sep 23rd, 2014 - 10:42 pm Reply this comment

    Awesome article.

  2. I am really loving the theme/design of your website.

    Do you ever run into any web browser compatibility problems?

    A number of my blog readers have complained about my website not operating correctly in Explorer but looks great in Chrome.

    Do you have any solutions to help fix this issue?

  3. Nannette on Sep 24th, 2014 - 12:25 pm Reply this comment

    It’s remarkable to visit this site and reading the views of all friends about this paragraph, while
    I am also keen of getting know-how.

  4. http://beebort.com/candy/?author=2148 on Sep 24th, 2014 - 3:24 pm Reply this comment

    magnificent put up, very informative. I ponder why the opposite specialists of this sector don’t understand this.

    You should proceed your writing. I’m sure, you have a huge readers’ base already!

  5. Weider Workout Program on Sep 25th, 2014 - 3:01 am Reply this comment

    Sweet blog! I found it while searching on Yahoo News.
    Do you have any tips on how to get listed in Yahoo News?
    I’ve been trying for a while but I never seem to get there!
    Thanks

  6. Qui vous offre beaucoup de fonctionnalités, de multiples avantages impressionnants et vous offrir une expérience de
    jeu plus agréable, grâce à This Means War Hack
    les joueurs n’avezpas besoin d’être préoccupé k?rester le piratage.

  7. avoir un coup d’oeil a ce site on Sep 25th, 2014 - 7:24 pm Reply this comment

    Wonderful goods from you, man. I’ve understand your stuff previous to and you’re just extremely
    wonderful. I really like what you’ve acquired here, really like what you’re stating and the way in which you say it.
    You make it entertaining and you still take care
    of to keep it wise. I can not wait to read much more from you.
    This is really a tremendous website.

  8. limpiar tenis gamuza on Sep 25th, 2014 - 10:42 pm Reply this comment

    I think this is one of the most vital info for me. And i’m
    glad reading your article. But wanna remark on few general things,
    The site style is perfect, the articles is really nice : D.
    Good job, cheers

  9. Cloud Based Repossession Software on Sep 26th, 2014 - 1:59 am Reply this comment

    The more fame, (eventually) the less financial stability. As part of the sales management process,
    technical issues should be logged and dealt with quickly and effectively
    to prevent the team becoming frustrated. The technologies news web
    site delivers evaluations on the latest gadgets.

  10. healthy foods on Sep 26th, 2014 - 3:21 am Reply this comment

    Thiis design is steller! You certainly kmow how to keep a reader amused.
    Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Excellent
    job. I really loved what you had to say,and more than that, how you presented it.
    Tooo cool!

  11. herpes simplex 2 pictures on Sep 26th, 2014 - 12:12 pm Reply this comment

    My pal has HSV1 and I have to have 2. I’m sure almost all positive HSV want to see
    his solution against herpes in a medical trial (even though in a small proportion).

  12. Leakforums down on Sep 28th, 2014 - 3:44 am Reply this comment

    Hey I am so grateful I found your blog page, I really found you by
    mistake, while I was looking on Google for something else, Regardless
    I am here now and would just like to say thanks for
    a marvelous post and a all round enjoyable blog (I also love the theme/design),
    I don’t have time to browse it all at the minute but I have bookmarked it and also included your RSS feeds, so when I
    have time I will be back to read a great deal more, Please
    do keep up the superb jo.

  13. Archeage bots on Sep 29th, 2014 - 3:05 am Reply this comment

    Nice respond in return of this query with firm arguments and describing the whole thing about that.

  14. The graphics still imbues psychotic hallucinations with
    the lovely Miami atmosphere.

Trackbacks:

  1. Old school vending machine learns new tricks - Hack a Day
  2. iPhone Vending Machine Sells Sodas By The App (video) | mentime.net
  3. iPhone app & web-controlled soda machine « Artificial Intelligence Church
  4. Soda machine controlled by iPhone app « Apple « Apple News Fan Page
  5. iWyre
  6. Soda machine controlled by iPhone app | Free Apple iPad - Tested and Proven Method!
  7. Soda machine controlled by iPhone app | iPhone Firmware
  8. Soda machine controlled by iPhone app | oQlz Blog
  9. Soda machine controlled by iPhone app | Splish/Splash/Mash
  10. Soda machine controlled by iPhone app
  11. Soda machine controlled by iPhone app « Ipad
  12. Soda machine controlled by iPhone app | touchmyiphone.com
  13. Soda machine controlled by iPhone app | Free iPad - One Time Offer!
  14. Soda machine controlled by iPhone app | Techne.ws
  15. iPhone Home » Blog Archive » Soda machine controlled by iPhone app
  16. iPhone Controlled Soda Machine
  17. Soda machine controlled by iPhone app « Apple News Daily
  18. Soda machine controlled by iPhone app | iPhone 3G Tricks
  19. Apple-Overload! » Soda machine controlled by iPhone app
  20. Soda machine controlled by iPhone app «
  21. Soda machine controlled by iPhone app · computer hardware prices
  22. » iPhone app & web-controlled soda machine - Daring Minds.Com
  23. Os presento a Vender, la máquina de refrescos más geek de todos los tiempos | ALT1040
  24. Os presento a Vender, la máquina de refrescos más geek de todos los tiempos | Noticortos.com
  25. Soda machine controlled by iPhone app : The iPhone Dock - Latest iPhone News and Blogs
  26. Kolumne: From Hell
  27. Old school vending machine learns new tricks | Myhackz
  28. iPhone News : Soda machine controlled by iPhone app
  29. iPhone app & web-controlled soda machine « The tech telecom and all
  30. El primer meme: una máquina de Coca-Cola conectada a Internet | Cooking Ideas
  31. www.pcdepositofonds.nl
  32. Calvin Klein cheap underwear
Posting your comment, please wait!