Vending machine Tech Tips
Healthy Vending Machien

If you are having issues with your vending machine check out our tech tips below, it could save you some time and some money.

  Troubleshooting Basics
  How to Update BevMax 2
  Troubleshooting BevMax2
  My machine will not accept coins or bills
  Coffee Machine Maintenance
  Machine Leveling

Troubleshooting Basics:

Before you call a technician to help you with your machine problems, there are several basic steps you need to go through to save yourself time, energy and money. After following these basic steps, if you still have not figured out what is wrong or how to fix the problem, then call a technician.
  • First step make sure you have power to the machine.
    • Is the machine plugged in?
    • Are ANY signs of life in the machine, lights, sounds etc.?
      • If there are no signs of life and the machine is plugged in, either the breaker has been tripped, there is a problem with the power cord, or the power supply.
      • On some of the older machines a bad power supply will still allow the validator to cycle and the changer LED to illuminate, however, there will be no other life in the machine. If this occurs you need to test the power supply with a multimeter.

  • Check for error messages/error codes
    • Some machines will tell you the errors when you open the door, others require you to seek out the error log to determine which errors are present if any. Even if the machine shows you some errors when you open the door you still need to check the error log for other errors that may not be listed when you open the door.
      • Refer to your service manual for information as to how to access the error logs.
    • You need to write down all the errors, you may think you will be able to remember the errors but the error messages are specific so, you need to know the exact wording of the error message to troubleshoot the exact problem. We want to stress to you, you need to write down the EXACT error message there are many similar messages in many machines but they all refer to different issues. We recommend leaving a small pad of paper and a golf pencil in each machine so you know you have something to write on and write with.
    • Once you have checked the errors you need to CLEAR the errors. This way you know if any new errors come up when you are working on the machine. If you cannot fix the problem you need to have the original error messages to relay to our technician if you call for assistance.

  • Run diagnostics provided by the manufacturers.
    • Most machines have a diagnostics program you can run to determine if there are any errors, however, these programs are not 100%.
    • If you run a diagnostics and no errors come up but you still have a problem you need to "test" the known issue using the "test" feature in the machines programming menu.
      • An example we ran across recently was the outer hopper bucket was in the open position on a Vendo VUE 40 but there were no error messages in the error log. We had to go into the test menu and test the hopper bucket. In trying to test or close the hopper bucket the machine dislodged some coins that were jamming the link arm between the motor and the hopper bucket. Had the customer tried this test he would have had the unit running again in less than 5 minutes instead he paid for a service call and the machine was down for over 3 hours, during which time he didn't make one sale. The ultimate cause for the coins in the link arm was the fact that the machine was not level (see Tech Tip for July 2006).

  • Physically inspect the machine.
    • Look at your machine; is there anything out of place? Open the door, are there any wires hanging loose that weren't there before? Is the Validator blinking an error code? Is the changer blinking an error code?
    • Check all the connections to the board and make sure they are secure and that none of the pins are bent.
    • If you have any extra plug that is not attached to anything DO NOT just plug it in anywhere it fits, find out where it goes and attach it. It may not go anywhere, it may be meant for an optional piece of equipment you are not utilizing like a card reader or a health timer. If you see an extra plug refer to your manual to figure out what it is and where it goes.
These basic tips are where you should start for any problems with your machine. We estimate that by following the above tips operators would be able to solve or diagnose 85% of their problems and save them from paying for a service call. If the above tips do not allow you to solve the problem by going through the steps at the least you will be more prepared to answer a technician's questions over the phone and allow the technician to be properly prepared for the service call which includes having the correct parts and tools for the job.

When you do call a technician, they will need the following information so use the pad of paper and golf pencil you are now keeping in your machine to write down this information:
Manufacturer Name: We/they need a starting point
Model Number: Many machines look alike but are very different when it comes to parts.
Serial Number: This too is valuable in knowing which parts are needed because of the changes that may have been made during years of production.
Software Revision: Many issues may be a known error that has been corrected through a new software revision.
Exact Error Message: Refer to above paragraph for reasoning for this.
Be in front of the machine: The technician may be able to help you fix your problem over the phone, he may have questions for you and if you are not in front of the machine you may not be able to answer them.

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My machine will not accept coins or bills:

  If your machine is not taking any form of money first verify the following:

  • Is there power to the machine?
    • Check to make sure the machine is plugged in and the machine is getting power. Simple, but several times this has been the issue.

  • Is the machine powering up normally?
    • Check the display to determine if it is following "normal start-up routines."

  • Check for a "heartbeat."
    • Most machines today have a LED on the board that blinks steady or gives different numbers of quick blinks separated by a longer pause to let you know the status of your machine. Check this light to make sure it is on; if it is on and it is one that blinks to tell you what is connected, verify that it knows the bill acceptor and changer are connected.

  • Is machine running normally, not in "Out of service"/ "Sold Out" condition?
    • Enter the "set-up or programming mode" and check for any error codes to determine if the machine "thinks" it is working properly.
    • Run a diagnostics on the machine (check the service manual for instructions on how to run the diagnostics). Most of the newer machines have a "diagnostic" program of some sort that will tell you if there are any errors found. Among the things the diagnostic program checks are the bill validator and the coin changer; see if these errors come up.

  • Are the coin mech and bill validator plugged in properly?
    • Check all the plugs coming from and going to the validator and the changer there should not be any "extra" plugs coming from the changer or the validator; there may be one extra plug coming from the machine, which is used for an optional card reader. If they are all connected, make sure they are connected completely and correctly. You may have to disconnect them and check the pins inside the plug to make sure they are straight so that they can make a proper connection when plugged in.

  • Are the coin mech and bill validator powering up properly?
    • When the machine is powered up you should hear the bill acceptor "cycling." You should also see a solid LED light on the bill acceptor telling you there are no errors with the bill acceptor, if the LED light is flashing then there is an error and the number of flashes tell you what the error is.
    • You should then check the coin changer and verify that the status LED light is on and/or flashing an error code. Again the number of flashes on the LED will tell you what error the changer thinks has occurred.
If you have gone through all the steps above and the machine still will not take money, remove the changer and replace it with a changer you KNOW to work. Do not connect the changer to the bill acceptor, most machines need to be connected to a changer to work but do not need a bill acceptor and since we are trying to figure out what is wrong we need to remove as many variables as possible; so, only connect the changer to the machine. Now, run a couple of coins through the "known to be working" changer to verify that it works; if it does not work the problem is with the machine not the changer. At this point you should probably call our service department for further assistance.

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Coffee Machine Maintenance

  While coffee machines can be a great profit center they are rarely treated like such. Simple preventative maintenance and cleaning is crucial for keeping your coffee machine working and earning you money.

Simple preventative maintenance:
1: Always use a water filter between your water supply and the machine. This will not only make the coffee taste better, it will reduce lime deposits considerably and lengthen the life of all the parts that come into contact with water.
2: Replace the filter as often as the manufacturer recommends, water filters do not last forever. If you have a high volume machine please spend the few extra dollars and get a bigger filter, this will be well worth the money.
3: Make sure the coffee machine has adequate Power (Refer to the June 2006 tech tip on power)
4: Exhaust systems are in the machine to evacuate the steam and help keep your machine clean on the inside. There are several parts to the exhaust system including (but not limited to) the exhaust fan, the screen and/or filter as well as other components depending on your brand and model of coffee machine. Please refer to your manual for more information on exhaust systems. If your exhaust system is not working properly you will notice excessive buildup of product in your mixing trough and/or mixing bowls. This excess buildup is the beginning of much bigger problems and if you take care of the issue when you first notice the buildup you will save yourself time and money because a service call is not far behind.
5: The mixing bowls and mixing trough (not all machines have both but they all have one or the other) need to be cleaned EVERY TIME THE MACHINE IS FILLED OR COLLECTED. If you allow product to buildup in these components you will shorten the life span of your whipper motors, break off and clog the dispensing hoses etc. This buildup can also be a health hazard and attract gnats and ants.
6: Empty and rinse the waste bucket every time the machine is filled or collected. This too can be a health hazard as well as attract gnats and ants and begin to smell. A bad smell emanating from your machine will not increase sales.
  It is astounding how many coffee machines we service that are clean on the outside and filthy on the inside. We estimate that taking 10 minutes to thoroughly clean your coffee machine AT LEAST TWICE A MONTH would reduce the number of service calls by 85%. If you wouldn't drink the coffee out of your machines because it is disgusting on the inside why would you subject your paying customers to that?
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Machine Leveling

Why do my machines need to be leveled?

  Is the door hard to close? Is the door hard to lock? Do you have loose change in the bottom of the machine? Do you have product "hang ups?" Do you have unexplained changer problems? These and more issues can be related to a machine that is not properly leveled.

To properly level a machine:
1: The door must be closed and locked.
2: Use a carpenters (bubble) level 4" to 10".
3: Place it on top of the cabinet not on the door.
4: Adjust the leveling legs accordingly.
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One of the most critical issues today is POWER.

  Do you have enough? Is it clean? Does it fluctuate (surges; high/low)?

  Today the electronics in new vending machines are very sophisticated compared to the machines of the past, so we must take into account their new requirements when installing a new vending machine. Many of the strange and exotic error messages or malfunctions can be traced back to inadequate or inconsistent power to the machine. For example, cold drink, cold food, coffee, and frozen machines draw lots of power and each machine must be connected to its own dedicated 20 amp. circuit and outlet. If these machines do not have adequate or consistent power the electronics may be damaged or exhibit unusual behavior.

  Note: modifying the power cord on a machine to fit an improper outlet (20amp plug to a 15amp outlet) will void most manufactures warranties, and can cause damage to the plug and/or the machine.
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