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How to fix vending machine display problem

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battery is still working

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How to fix vending machine display problem

testing and troubleshooting motherboard

Last week I have an old vending machine that is located in a pub. I was able to obtain the pub about two years ago when I approach a certain guy named Ming which he was so helpful and agreed to have the vending machine placed.

I was giving monthly commissions to the establishment. My visits is on a monthly basis since this location is not outstanding in performance.

I visited the pub as usual on a monthly basis and there is a problem on the vending machine price display. The vending machine is an AP 112 when I depress the selection A3 the price displayed is not the price that I set.

I normally set the prices of the chips to be $1.25

When I press A5 sometimes it is $66 and when I set it again to $1.25 and tried pressing it again to check the price is not consistent. Sometimes it is 0.95, 1.60, 99, 1.10, 1.05.

I used to sell computer motherboards before when I was living in the Philippines and these are the XT type and every motherboard has a button type of lithium battery that lasts for 5 years. When the battery on the mainboard is out of power, the clock and date of the desktop computer when turned on is always on the default factory mode.

I called my technician and he told me that it is most likely that the battery on the mainboard of the vending machine.

Here are the following steps on how I saved $85 ( labor of technician ) + parts.

Parts could be the following:

  • $225 Replacement coin mechanism
  • $15 Battery Replacement
  • $250 Obsolete Motherboard Replacement

(These are the outrageous prices here in Vancouver, BC. If I search it up on Amazon. Com US or US Based companies the prices below are a fraction.)

Here are some tips on how to avoid excessive charges from your technician especially here in Vancouver, BC or on the west coast.  I find the parts a lot cheaper in the East Coast of Canada on Craigslist but you have to consider the freight costs and lead time.

Do not depend on repairs from local technicians or else you will be loosing money in no time.

Try to do self diagnostics and repair by yourself.

Here are some helpful links:

I found at eBAY that the actual costs of the vending machine parts are found in eBAY, Craigslist or in some instances Amazon.

But the best deal will be at eBAY or CL.

  • $45 Coin mechanism used at eBAY
  • $10 Battery Replacement
  • $50 Refurbished Motherboard Replacement at eBAY ( this is the price for a used and working AP 112 Motherboard )

Step 1.

Brought the old battery to a battery specialty store here in Richmond, BC located in Lansdowne Mall. Vancouver Battery Store tested it be still working and do not need a replacement battery

battery is still working

Step 2.

I have a spare 12 PINS 117Volts Coin Mechanism which I need to bring it along on my work van in case I will be able to swing by the location on the week when im in Vancouver, BC downtown area.

When I was at the location today.

my spare 12 pins 117volts coin mechanism

I did the following procedures in order:

  • Turn Off snack vending machine model AP 112
  • Installed the battery back to the snack vending machine motherboard
  • Connected my spare 12 PINS 117Volts Coin mechanism

I depressed all the price selections and there is no more problem. This is how I potentially saved around $85 + Parts.

turn off machine

reinstalled battery on motherboard

covered back the mainboard on vending machine

ap 112 snack machine is now working great

I’m very sure that this will solve all kinds of vending machines since all the vending machine have the main components inside:

  • Coin mechanism
  • Motherboard with Battery

In any case a RESET might also work, be sure to check your appropriate vending machine RESET CODES or if the technician won’t give it to you because he will potentially loose $85 fee plus parts then just follow the steps that I have mentioned above and it will surely do the trick!

Technicians will not give you the RESET Code.  I’ll let you know how to bypass this without paying $85 visits

How to Reset Your Vending Machine?

  • Turn off the vending machine switch
  • Remove the screws covering the mainboard
  • Look for a battery connected to the mainboard
  • Remove the battery on the mainboard

Note : When you remove the battery on the mainboard all the stored prices, settings will just go to factory default.

  • Unplug the coin mechansim plug on the vending machine
  • Leave your vending machine at least 1 hour just to be sure that the residual battery power will be zero and motherboard will reset

Just follow the steps above and you do not need any special codes to access your vending machine and all values will be back to its factory mode which are stored with the EPROM that came with the mainboard.

What is EPROM?

I had some background in simple electronics and used to have a EEPROM eraser when i was an avid fan in doing DIY electonics projects which until now im still fascinated.

EPROM is a rectangular IC ( integrated electronic chip ) connected with IC socket on the mainboard and it stores all the firmware and programs that is needed to run the mainbaord of the vending machine.

AP 112 vending machine motherboard

Did you see the small eprom on the mainboard? It is a small rectangular IC on the board.

Sometimes the EPROM needed to be updated on vending machines if there are any updates.

Here are some questions that you may want to know on running a vending machine route.

How much do you normally collect on a pub location?

I got this location myself because I have a spare snack machine in a warehouse which I’m paying $30 a month.

It is about $60 to $70 on a pub that is here in Vancouver, BC. The products that sells in a pub are mainly chips, chocolate bars hardly move.

You know that chips goes hand in hand with beer.

How much storage fees do I pay a vending machine in a storage?

There are times that I have 2 or 3 vending machines at a storage and normally the charge is about $30 per month on each machine.

In order for me to avoid paying a monthly storage fee I have to look for a location as soon as possible. In this kind of scenario when a location kicks you out it takes time and effort to find a replacement location.

Sometimes I’m lucky to get a location and but most of the time I need to call a help of a professional vending locator.

If you have been running vending machine business route the bigger you are the more problems that you will be encountering.

Some problems that I have encountered when running the vending machine business:

1. Renovation

  • If it is a major renovation then your vending machines does not stand a chance on going back to the location
  • If it is a minor renovation then a temporary relocation on your vending machine within the premises of the business establishment is normally allowed and after a few weeks or month then the machines will be back to the location

2. Manager or someone in the location does not like how you look or do not have the same wavelength ( I always take this as a joke ).

Here is an analogy, even a popular president or movie actress is disliked by some individuals no matter how you try to project a pleasing personality.

3. Did I tell you that there are some people in the management that is fickle minded and no consideration on how business works.

(I do not like to offend people about this statement above, it is my honest observation when I’m running the vending machine business here in Vancouver, BC.)

That self-employed people have to fork out borrowed money or equipment that has 36 months for leasing? Work van on a 5 years term?

4. Technician always trying to overcharge and up sale you and you will be drowning in debt.

( This is the observation also here in Vancouver, BC.  Vending machine technicians will try to scam you and charge you excessively.  Some technicians will go to location several times and will charge you $85 x Number of trips to location )

I suggest that you learn how to diagnose your own vending machine and think of a solution.

The biggest problem is if your compressor dies then you will be spending a lot, at least $800 ( there goes the money to buy products or monthly bills )

5. Location is always approached by actually your locator in some instances.

According to my experience the locations that I lost is always replaced by a stronger location.

Do not buy from a locator that is charging you at a high price and try to pull your leg and tells that this location has hundreds of people.

Try to look around if there are grocery stores, restos, pizza or 7 eleven, tim hortons within 5 kms radius.

If there are establishments mentioned above then your vending machine will just be earning a few dollars and waste money on moving, commissions and your physical efforts.

Here is a link on how to catch a bad vending machine locator.

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