Introduction: Remote Candy Dispenser

My dad made his own candy vending dispenser and asked to upload it for others to see. Here is his Instrucable.


I have seen several really cool remote “No-Touchie” candy dispensers for this Halloween. Unfortunately, most of them require some kind of microcomputer and programing. I have no programming skills, but I do have a soldering iron, hand drill, a friend who is a plumber, and a toothbrush. It is a really nice toothbrush, with multi-color blue and white handle and stiff nylon brushes. So, with what I have available, I came up with a simplified remote candy dispenser.

This one is not for the digital generation. It is analog, so those who want to dish out one piece of candy per trick-or-treating goblin, will be disappointed, as it may dispense 1 or 4 pieces to each kid. But it can be operated remotely so you can keep the candy ghouls at a distance.

I used old dependable goody dispensing technology and ordered a wire Spiral spare part for a vending machine. After all, vending machines always deliver what was paid for! The one I ordered has a 3.25” diameter coil, and works well in 4” ABS pipes. Candy is fed from a 2-gallon Bucket bolted to a Toilet Flange, fed into a Sanitary T, with the Wire Spiral running in a pipe perpendicular to the bucket. I suggest using new parts and not salvaged ones.

The system is only allowed to rotate once by using a Plunger Activated Snap Action Switch. It’s a switch with a roller on it. If the roller is depressed the motor will keep running. When the switch hits a hole or divot the motor stops turning.

A remote-controlled switch is put in parallel with the Snap Action Switch. This becomes the “override” to let the motor start turning, and gets the Snap Action Switch out of its divot. The remote switch is one of the 12-volt type sold at automotive stores to turn on things like decorative lights or to open/unlock doors. It is set up as a “Jog” or “Momentary” switch, meaning the remote switch will stay on as long as the remote-control button is pressed and held. Once released, the remote switch will turn off.

The 12-volt motor should spin about 60 RPMs, so it dispenses the candy in about 1 second after you push the button. It can spin faster or slower, but too fast and the candy bundles may bounce over the coil and not get pushed down the pipe. Too slow and the kids will get bored, walk away, and finish college before the candy comes out.

Step 1: Dispenser Parts List

This shows all the parts needed. Prices are estimates, as I used a lot of parts I had in the shop.

Total: ~$148.00

  • DC Motor $15.00, Pittman GM9236C110-R6 222430 (Rev D 30.3 VDC 5:1 Ratio (price shown is from a surplus store))
  • Wireless Remote Relay $16.00, KTNNKG KG1201-A (Amazon PN: B089GK1JDK) (DC 12V 1CH 433Mhz RF Relay Smart Wireless Remote Control Switch, 2 Transmitters with 2 Relay Receiver)
  • 4" Cap, ABS or PVC
  • 4" Sanitary T $7.00 (ABS or PVC)
  • 4" Pipe $9.00 (ABS or PVC Drain Pipe)
  • 2" Cap $8.00 (ABS or PVC Used to activate Snap Switch - ABS or PVC )
  • 4" Toilet flange $9.00
  • Rolling Snap Action Switch $12.00, ZF Electronics GPTCRH01 (Switch, Snap Action, SPDT,NO/NC, Plunger Act, Silver Alloy Contact,15A,250VAC,Screw)
  • 10" Ct. LARGE SPIRALS/ $30.00, Snack Attack Vending AMZSNACK142 (4600,6600,7600,112,113, LCM SNACK (2)" - (AP) AUTOMATIC PRODUCTS)
  • 2 Gal Bucket $4.00 (Could be a 5 Gal bucket or Cauldron)
  • 12V Battery $17.00 (Expert Power EXP-1270 12V 7 Amp EXP1270 Rechargeable Lead Acid Battery)
  • 1/4-20 Rod $5.00 (3.5" long)
  • 1/4-20 Coupling Nut $1.00 (Drill part way down and insert a 8.32 set screw in the side)
  • Nuts, Bolts, screws $15.00

Alternate Parts:

  • Rolling Snap Action Switch $24.00 Omron DZ10GW2-1B (0.5 Amp at 125 VDC, 1/4 Amp at 250 VDC, 10 Amp at 125 VAC, 10 Amp at 250 VAC, DPDT, Hinge Roller Lever, Snap Action Switch)
  • Alt DC Motor $40.00 Pittman GM8713G997 (24 Volt DC 19:5:1 Ratio LO-COG DC Gear Motor)
  • Rigid Coupler 6.35mm to 6.35mm $7.99 Twidec BU-6.35-6.35 (Twidec/2Pcs 6.35mm to 6.35mm Bore Flexible Shaft Coupling Robot Motor Wheel Blue Aluminum Casing Rigid Coupler Connector Coupler)

Step 2: Motor and Rod Assembly

Assemble the Motor to a section of 3.5” long ¼-20 threaded rod. I got lucky, the motor I used had a ¼” shaft, so I could use a coupling nut with one end drilled out to ¼” and a set screw installed. You can also use a 6.35mm rigid coupler.

Step 3: Motor End Cap Assembly

The motor I used has mounting holes in the front, offset from the spindle. This made it easy to mount with 2 screws to the end cap. I had to drill 3 holes, one for the spindle and 2 for the mounting screws. At this point, secure the threaded rod to the motor. Also, to get the spacing correct for the rolling Snap Switch to hit the 2” Cap, I had to add a 1” spacer (made of wood) between the motor and the 4” cap.

Step 4: Roller Snap Switch Install

Install the Rolling Snap Switch by drilling a hole in the side wall of the 4” cap. Drill the hole about ¾” from the open end to insure it will contact the 2” cap when installed. Depending on the switch you use, in my case I needed to hand file a slot for the rolling head to fit through that is slightly bigger than the hole for the threaded portion of the switch.

Step 5: Spinning Inner Cap Install

Next a ¼” hole is drilled in the center of the 2” Cap. It is then bolted to the threaded rod with a ¼-20 nut on each side to “clamp” it in place.

Step 6: Rolling Snap Switch Slot

Check where the Rolling Snap Switch touches the cap. Mark a spot where it makes contact. You can carve a slot in the cap with a hack saw or drill a hole large enough for the roller to drop into and turn off the switch. This will cause the motor to stop after one rotation. Make sure the slot or hole is long enough that the motor doesn’t rotate the cap too fast to press the button again. A slot about 2 inches long around the cap diameter should be enough, but this will depend on your motor speed.

If needed, add washers to offset the switch away from the cap until only the slot will cause the switch to activate. If too close, the motor will continuously run. If too far, it may only activate by the remote or stop and start at random spots around the cap (Vending Machine Screw will be explained in a future step).

Step 7: Switch Slot in T Pipe

You will need to cut a slot in the Sanitary T for the Rolling Snap Switch to slide into. Note I oriented the switch at about 40 degrees from straight up so it will clear the bucket and will be easier to wire to the circuit (wiring will be explained in a later step).

Step 8: Vending Machine Screw Installed

The vending machine screw is bolted on next. Again, use two ¼-20 nuts, one on each side, to clamp it in place. It should be as close as you can get to the 2” Cap. First add a nut and then a large washer to help spread the load on the Vending Machine Screw plastic plate (to prevent the plastic from cracking). Next, temporarily slide the Vending Machine Screw onto the threaded rod. Adjust the first nut by hand until the plastic plate sits close to even on the PVC cap edge. Reason for this is the first nut will be hard to hold in place while installing the second nut to “clamp” the Vending Machine Screw in place. After checking the plastic plate is sitting firmly on the PVC cap, install the second nut and large washer and hand tighten first. Then take a wrench and give it a 1/8 to 1/4 turn to firmly clamp the spiral wire.

The second picture shows the location of the Vending Machine Screw, located in the Sanitary T. This will allow it to catch and move the candy as it is fed down through the bucket.

Step 9: The Bucket Assembly

Cut a hole in the bottom of the bucket to a size that matches the hole in the Toilet Flange (picture 1 and 2).

Mark and drill holes for the Toilet Flange to be bolted to the bucket (picture 2, silver bolt in lower left). Bolt the bucket to the Toilet Flange, with 2 bolts, washers and nuts.

Fit check the entire assembly (picture 3). For my final version I will install a longer pipe on the exit end to cover the entire length of the Vending Machine Screw. Or you can cut some of the Screw end off. I suggest screwing the entire assembly together instead of gluing. This will allow you to fix things later.

Step 10: Dispenser Wiring

Now wire up the system using the schematic (I used picture 1, explained next). These were drawn using my old analog computer I keep in the garage. On the roller switch, “NO” is for Normally Open (switch), “NC” is for Normally Closed, “Com” is Common. On the Remote Switch, these 3 are also the same in addition to: “NEG” is power negative and “POSS” is power positive (+12 volts only). The motor will be dependent on which direction it needs to rotate and most basic two wire motors can run both backwards and forwards; in this wiring, the motor “+” is positive power and “-“ is negative power.

Note: if you do not have a remote switch, you can use any momentary switch and some 2 wire, like a Doorbell and Doorbell Wire (picture 2). It would be wired in parallel, and becomes an override to get the motor to start turning. Use what every length of wire you need to feel a comfortable distance from the kids.

Keep your wires neat and clean, and it should look nice and organized like picture 3.

Step 11: Test the Dispenser

Test with various types and sizes of candy to see what works best and doesn’t jam. Eat whatever jams up the system. This is done to prevent any of the jammable candy from getting back in the bucket.

Step 12: Unleash the Candy

Lastly, figure a way to hide the assembly, like under a giant pumpkin, a giant’s shoe, or skull head. You can add a 45-degree bend on the end if you want to shoot the candy down a tube, like off the roof, or a set of stairs.

I covered it with a dark sheet for now and will have our host Igor stand behind it, brewing something in his cauldron.

Now watch the visitors from afar as they admire the candy dispenser.