Getting started creating a video vending machine


5 posts
by staple » Tue Nov 06, 2012 2:40 am
Vending Machine

I am a web developer (use PHP,JS etc daily) and would really, really like to start making some of the hardware projects I have dreamed of. I use Ubuntu everyday on my laptop for work and would like to get deeper into Linux.

I would like to build a vending machine which:

1. Accepted coins through a coin acceptor

2. When a coin is accepted a computer displays 5 different images on 5 different computer LCD screens, randomly picked from a folder

3. If nobody puts a coin in then the displays update anyway every X minutes

I'm thinking that running a Raspberry Pi for each screen would make sense and somehow 'delivering' an image to each one from the master which is attached to a coin acceptor.

I have found a coin acceptor at Adafruit and can follow their instructions on how to connect it to an Arduino. But from there I have no clue as to how to proceed.

Any ideas, broad brush strokes, directions much, much appreciated.

Many thanks,

Gwilym
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by stinos » Tue Nov 06, 2012 10:17 am
You could connect the Arduino to the Pi (for example http://raspberrypi.stackexchange.com/qu ... an-arduino). I assume this is just for playing around and not for actual use? Cause you should know that vending machines and the likes run either some microprocessor or else a dedicated RT os on tried and tested hardware. Not a linux distribution with stuff running in the background that might break things on a board that might, but might also not, be reliable.
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by killor » Tue Nov 06, 2012 6:26 pm
See you the link. There you can get an idea of ​​what you are looking for.. :lol:

https://sites.google.com/site/caribouvending/
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by staple » Wed Nov 07, 2012 2:14 am
Thanks for the replies. So I am thinking...

- I get a Raspberry Pi (my Commander) and a USB Coin acceptor

- When a coin is dropped a receive the message from the coin acceptor (I wonder if I need a driver or if anybody knows of an acceptor that would work with the RP usb/serial driver I have read about?)

- When I get the coin message I generate a random number and store it in a text file

- I have another Raspberry Pi (actually several) linked via ethernet to the first, it is polling the Commander every second and reading the stored number, when it changes it delivers a different image to the screen it is attached to via HDMI

Does that sound feasible?
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by juanRIOT » Fri Dec 07, 2012 1:14 pm
@ staple
I'm also looking for a solution that will connect the Raspberry Pi to a coin acceptor, but for a different purpose of controlling usage of a internet-connected public computer.

The closest proof of concept i've come across is Nick's Advice Machine http://blog.notdot.net/2012/09/Penny-for-your-thoughts
Unfortunately, although Nick answers questions from his blog visitors, he hasnt yet provided a step by step tutorial on how its built. A plus if he does it on Instructables.

Can anyone provide a better tip on how to link-up a Raspberry Pi to a coin acceptor via its GPIO using Python?
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