Introduction: Raspberry PI Vending Shield - Giving Old Vending Machines New Life
The idea of building this shield comes from two directions
- First, there are a lot of old vending machines on the operator's park. Those machines are not ready to die yet. Actually, there are very reliable machines on both mechanics and hydraulics. The main problem with those machines is that they are not looking very nice and are not aligned to the actual trend of graphical applications and touch-screens. On the other hand, the new, good looking machines, are very expensive and on the actual market, where financing becomes more and more expensive, it is not so easy to replace tens, hundreds or even thousands of machine over the night. In this situation, a new, friendly touchscreen can revive the machine.
- Second, there are a lot of new ideas for vending machines and, maybe many manufacturers are afraid to start a new vending machine development because of the main part, which is payment systems management. For this area, this device can be easily integrated with any vending idea, offering a very simple communication protocol, managing on the low level all the MDB problems. This shield can be used with both low level communication and with a high level communication through a Python 3 process that returns JSON like messages over a connected socket.
With those two aspects in our mind, we have started this development and we finally managed to build this easy to use board.
Step 1: Video Demonstration
- Take a Raspbian based Raspberry PI 2/3
- Connect the board with a 40pin flat cable
- Install Python 3 and PySerial 3.0.1
Now, you have a low level payment systems management for MDB bill validators/acceptors, coin acceptors/changers and cashless devices and, also, for ccTalk hoppers. The Python application is easy to extend to support ccTalk coins and ccTalk bill validators/recyclers and other ccTalk peripherals. We have, also, made a small keyboard simulator board that can send fake key-presses to the machines matrix keyboard input. With this few steps, you can get the architecture and functionality you can see in the video demonstration. There is a manual to download and the Python 3 application is also available to download.
You need only to make your GUI and forget about all the troubles regarding MDB communication..