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 ( 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 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.

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 . 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.


Me and all my roommates are moving out in a few weeks, so we’re putting the vending machine, electronics, and 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 You can also find me on twitter @varenc

131 Comments / Leave a comment

  1. wayfair promo code on Oct 19th, 2013 - 11:19 pm Reply this comment

    And what I’ve done, is they come out of the oven, they look fantastic, and
    we’re going to be using some bananas. And next, I’m going to be adding
    in some sugar. But you’re going to need of course are some pfawns or shrimp.

  2. aloe propolis on Nov 14th, 2013 - 6:03 pm Reply this comment

    The ancient Greeks used propolis so that you can heal wounds and
    reduce swelling

  3. e cigarette how it works video on Nov 25th, 2013 - 3:53 am Reply this comment

    I was wondering if you ever considered changing the page layout of your site?

    Its very well written; I love what youve got to say.
    But maybe you could a little more in the
    way of content so people could connect with it better. Youve
    got an awful lot of text for only having one or 2 pictures.
    Maybe you could space it out better?

  4. darmowe dołdowanie orange on Dec 1st, 2013 - 7:25 am Reply this comment

    Terrific article! That is the type of info that are meant to be shared
    across the net. Shame on Google for not positioning this post upper!

    Come on over and consult with my website . Thanks =)

  5. Kathrin on Dec 23rd, 2013 - 6:48 am Reply this comment

    What i do not understood is in reality how you’re not actually a lot more neatly-preferred than you may be right
    now. You’re very intelligent. You realize therefore
    considerably on the subject of this matter, produced me in my view believe it
    from so many various angles. Its like men and women are not interested except it’s one
    thing to do with Girl gaga! Your personal stuffs great.
    Always deal with it up!

  6. szybkie opony on Dec 29th, 2013 - 9:05 am Reply this comment

    It’s a shame you don’t have a donate button! I’d most certainly
    donate to this outstanding blog! I suppose for now i’ll settle for bookmarking and adding your RSS
    feed to my Google account. I look forward to new updates and will talk about this
    site with my Facebook group. Talk soon!

  7. memikat wanita on Dec 30th, 2013 - 4:52 am Reply this comment

    Every weekend i used to pay a quick visit this site, for the reason that i wish
    for enjoyment, since this this site conations in
    fact good funny information too.

  8. on Jan 12th, 2014 - 7:37 am Reply this comment

    I’m not sure exactly why but this web site is loading extremely slow for me.
    Is anyone else having this problem or is it a problem
    on my end? I’ll check back later on and see if the problem still

  9. vigrx not working on Jan 18th, 2014 - 10:27 am Reply this comment

    My brother suggested I would possibly like this website. He used
    to be totally right. This submit actually made my day. You can not believe just
    how a lot time I had spent for this info!
    Thank you!

  10. Stephen smith on Jan 20th, 2014 - 2:09 am Reply this comment

    Much impressive blog. Thanks for sharing the information.
    Miami Soda Vending Machines

  11. Stephen smith on Jan 21st, 2014 - 1:10 am Reply this comment

    Through internet controlled Vending Machines you can Create a secure password for the money bank in the vending Machine.
    South Florida Kosher Services

  12. online piano lessons for beginners on Mar 5th, 2014 - 6:08 pm Reply this comment

    An outstanding share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a friend who was doing a little research on this.
    And he actually ordered me lunch simply because I stumbled upon it for him…
    lol. So allow me to reword this…. Thank YOU for the meal!!
    But yeah, thanx for spending time to discuss this issue here
    on your web page.

  13. magisterkę on Mar 19th, 2014 - 6:28 am Reply this comment

    Good way of explaining, and nice paragraph to get information
    about my presentation subject, which i am going to present in school.

  14. Sanora on Mar 19th, 2014 - 8:53 am Reply this comment

    Link exchange is nothing else but it is only placing the other person’s weblog
    link on your page at suitable place and other person will also do same for

  15. stephen markel on Apr 17th, 2014 - 5:06 am Reply this comment

    Amazing electronic vending machine. 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.

  16. фаллопротез on Apr 17th, 2014 - 9:02 am Reply this comment

    hey there and thank you for your info – I’ve certainly picked up anything new from right here.
    I did however expertise some technical issues using this site,
    as I experienced to reload the website lots of times previous to I could get it
    to load properly. I had been wondering if your web host is OK?
    Not that I am complaining, but sluggish loading instances times will very frequently affect your placement in
    google and can damage your high quality score if ads and
    marketing with Adwords. Anyway I am adding this RSS to my email and could look out for much more of
    your respective interesting content. Ensure that you update this
    again very soon.

  17. Glucosamine Chondroitin MSM on Apr 18th, 2014 - 1:08 am Reply this comment

    I don’t create a leave a response, but after reading
    a lot of remarks here chris@localhost

  18. Jim smith on Apr 18th, 2014 - 6:52 am Reply this comment

    Wonderful work.I read this article and like the transformation of an old one to a modern vending machine . It’s really working.It’s a huge transformation from the old one.

  19. dry erase board paint Reviews on Apr 20th, 2014 - 3:53 am Reply this comment

    As most galley kitchens tend to be on the small side, you
    need to stay away from dark colors when choosing the main color scheme and
    painting the walls. It is always better to
    be on the lookout for other suppliers that may have potentially
    improved on their price offerings. Stays super sharp with just a little
    touch up now and the with included honing steel.

  20. Mudy Girlz on Apr 20th, 2014 - 11:33 pm Reply this comment

    Christ through the of body Jesus taught his disciples orally.

    Ride only on designated trails and at a safe speed. The truck comes in two-wheel drive or four-wheel drive, and can pull a load of
    about 13,000 to 16,000 pounds, which is usually sufficient for hauling
    an ATV or fun runner.

  21. Joesph on Apr 22nd, 2014 - 9:15 pm Reply this comment

    I’m extremely impressed with your writing skills as well as with
    the layout on youur blog. Is this a paid theme or did you cusstomize it yourself?
    Anyway keep up the excellent quality writing, it’s rare to see
    a great blog like this one these days.

  22. sound proof on Apr 27th, 2014 - 6:50 pm Reply this comment

    I know I know, you have some sort of fiberglass material attached to the underside
    of the hood, isn’t that soundproofing. An air handler is a
    device used to condition and circulate air. They should also only
    require the processing power that you home computer can provide.

  23. 財布 on Apr 29th, 2014 - 5:36 am Reply this comment

    それだけでなく自分のノート パソコンを安全に保つが粋とファッションにそれらを与えるも頭を回す。デザイナー財布は特に設計若い女の子のため何かしたいはるかちょうど定期的にハンドバッグ。

  24. on May 2nd, 2014 - 10:11 am Reply this comment

    How much security and how much flexibility depends on the type of business you operate as
    well as your motivation and determination to succeed. They visit
    your residence or neighborhood and are able to properly dispose of the same.
    Windows XP and Windows 2003 users may only run a virus, clean-up, tune-up
    scan or full service scan.

  25. on May 5th, 2014 - 5:19 am Reply this comment

    It’s impressijve that you are getting ideas from this post as well as from our argumsnt made here.

  26. Window Contractors Collegeville Pa on May 7th, 2014 - 7:46 pm Reply this comment

    Hello there! Quick question that’s totally off topic.
    Do you know how to make your site mobile friendly?
    My website looks weird when viewing from my
    iphone. I’m trying to find a template or plugin that might be able
    to resolve this problem. If you have any recommendations,
    please share. Appreciate it!

  27. Fort Lauderdale fishing charters on May 16th, 2014 - 6:16 pm Reply this comment

    Hurrah! At last I got a website from where I be capable of in fact take helpful
    facts concerning my study and knowledge.

  28. candy crush saga hacks on May 25th, 2014 - 5:12 pm Reply this comment

    This is a good tip particularly to those new to the blogosphere.

    Simple but very precise information… Appreciate your sharing this one.
    A must read article!

  29. comment pirater un compte facebook on Jun 14th, 2014 - 11:29 am Reply this comment

    Congélation,assourdissant supermarché Contrairement
    à éclair pour physique pirater un compte facebook gratuitement youtube.

    mémoriser à partir de sommeil / activit

  30. Fort Lauderdale Realtors on Jun 14th, 2014 - 9:58 pm Reply this comment

    Because the admin of this web page is working, no hesitation very rapidly it
    will be renowned, due to its feature contents.

  31. Teak Furniture Ft Lauderdale on Jun 17th, 2014 - 12:36 am Reply this comment

    First of all I would like to say terrific blog!
    I had a quick question which I’d like to ask if you do not mind.
    I was interested to know how you center yourself and clear your thoughts before writing.
    I’ve had a tough time clearing my mind in getting my thoughts out.

    I truly do take pleasure in writing however it just seems like the first 10 to
    15 minutes tend to be lost simply just trying to figure out
    how to begin. Any suggestions or hints? Appreciate it!

  32. Palm Beach Shores Realtors on Jun 17th, 2014 - 2:33 am Reply this comment

    This website definitely has all the info I needed
    about this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

  33. buy twitter followers that stay on Jun 20th, 2014 - 3:55 pm Reply this comment

    When someone writes an article he/she retains the thought of a user in his/her mind that how a user can understand it. So that’s why this post is great. Thanks!

  34. music marketing strategies on Jul 2nd, 2014 - 7:13 am Reply this comment

    I just could not leave your web site before suggesting that I actually enjoyed the standard information an individual supply in your guests?
    Is going to be back often to inspect new posts

  35. Fountainhead Condos For Sale on Jul 12th, 2014 - 5:05 pm Reply this comment

    An outstanding share! I’ve just forwarded this onto a friend who was conducting
    a little research on this. And he actually bought
    me breakfast due to the fact that I stumbled upon it for him…
    lol. So let me reword this…. Thanks for the meal!!
    But yeah, thanks for spending the time to talk about this topic here on your site.

  36. la mejor tablet on Jul 22nd, 2014 - 10:26 am Reply this comment

    Hi my loved one! I wish to say that this article is awesome, great
    written and include approximately all vital infos.
    I’d like to see more posts like this .

  37. new lawn mowers 2014 on Jul 23rd, 2014 - 12:40 pm Reply this comment

    Hi there! I know this is kinda off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for
    this website? I’m getting fed up of WordPress because I’ve had issues with hackers and I’m looking at options for another platform.
    I would be fantastic if you could point me in the direction of
    a good platform.

  38. Stump Grinding Fort Lauderdale on Jul 31st, 2014 - 5:14 am Reply this comment

    I’m not that much of a internet reader to be honest but
    your blogs really nice, keep it up! I’ll go ahead and bookmark your website to come back down the road.
    Many thanks

  39. on Aug 3rd, 2014 - 12:59 pm Reply this comment

    Hey there! I understand this is kind of off-topic however I needed to ask.
    Does managing a well-established website such as
    yours take a lot of work? I’m completely new to operating a blog
    however I do write in my journal everyday.
    I’d like to start a blog so I can easily share my personal experience and
    thoughts online. Please let me know if you have any kind of ideas or tips
    for new aspiring blog owners. Thankyou!

  40. Renee on Aug 22nd, 2014 - 9:45 pm Reply this comment

    This web site certainly has all of the information and facts I wanted about
    this subject and didn’t know who to ask.

  41. jewel buangkok cdl condo on Aug 23rd, 2014 - 8:27 pm Reply this comment

    Pretty nice post. I just stumbled upon your weblog and wished to mention that
    I’ve truly enjoyed browsing your blog posts.

    In any case I’ll bbe subscribing on your feed and I’m hoping yoou write once
    more soon!

  42. punggol the amore on Aug 25th, 2014 - 1:06 am Reply this comment

    Hello there! Would you mind if I share your blog with my facebook group?
    There’s a lot of folks that I think would really enjoy your content.
    Please let me know. Cheers

  43. Excellent post however I was wondering if you could write a litte more on this topic?
    I’d be very thankful if you could elaborate a little bit more.
    Appreciate it!

  44. web sites on Sep 13th, 2014 - 6:06 am Reply this comment

    Thanks foor another informative site. The place else may
    I get that kind of info written in such
    an ideal way? I have a venture that I am just nnow working on, and I’ve been at
    the look out for sucdh info.

  45. britax booster car seat on Sep 15th, 2014 - 2:52 am Reply this comment

    I almost never comment, however i did some searching and wound up here chris@localhost

  46. download sims 4 for mobile on Sep 19th, 2014 - 12:49 am Reply this comment

    of course like your website but you need to test the spelling
    on several of your posts. A number of them are rife with spelling issues and I
    in finding it very troublesome to tell the reality then again I’ll
    certainly come back again.

  47. Used Cars in bangalore on Sep 20th, 2014 - 11:12 am Reply this comment

    You can (eg DAT) free calculate what should be the purchase value dealers , dealer retail value and the price
    of private. Most private sellers just want the car to be sold and will settle for less just to
    be done with it. A lot of these providers gain shattered, wounded
    along with wrecked vehicles.

  48. Cristine E. Orte on Sep 21st, 2014 - 12:41 am Reply this comment

    Hello to all, the contents present at this web page are actually amazing for people knowledge,
    well, keep up the good work fellows.

  49. Margret on Sep 21st, 2014 - 2:24 pm Reply this comment

    What’s Happening i am new to this, I stumbled upon this
    I’ve discovered It positively helpful and
    it has aided me out loads. I’m hoping to give a contribution & help other customers
    like its helped me. Good job.


  1. Old school vending machine learns new tricks - Hack a Day
  2. iPhone Vending Machine Sells Sodas By The App (video) |
  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 |
  13. Soda machine controlled by iPhone app | Free iPad - One Time Offer!
  14. Soda machine controlled by iPhone app |
  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 |
  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
  32. Calvin Klein cheap underwear
Posting your comment, please wait!