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We are going to discuss simple repair and preventive maintenance tips on vending machines for folks that are newbies to the vending world or for those who are not very mechanical. These will be talked about on your basic beverage machines and glass front snack machines. Some of these might be obvious, but necessary.
Most all glass front snack and beverage machines have coin mechanisms, dollar bill validators, and some sort of control board in them. Always make sure your machines are plugged in and your machines have power. If not, check the outlet and circuit breaker for it have power. Also, check connections going to all these components, they have a tendency to get loose over time.
On the coin mechanisms, always keep the coin path clean because coins have a tendacy to be filthy. You can watch how the coins go through the coin mech and clean that path. Even using a watered damp paper towel to clean, it is amazing how long a good clean mech will work. Make a cleaning schedule and do it on a regular basis. You can take the top part out of the coin mech and clean it as well. In setting up a machine, make sure you put plenty of coins in the coin mechanism so the machine will take dollar bills. Most locations use more dollar bills vs. coins so you might have to replenish the coins on a regular basis. Always retest the machines before leaving it.
On the dollar bill acceptor, keep the bill path clean. Again, like the coin mech, watch where the bill goes in and out, this is the bill path. You can use air on this and spray it clean. There are optics that are lit on the acceptor, you must keep those free of lint and dirt and keep it cleaned. Any of this that covers one of the optics will cause the validator to run continuously because it thinks the machine is trying to accept a bill and will shut off after a set amount of time. Then, it will not take any bills until it is cleaned and cleared. You can carefully take most validators apart to unjam dollar bills. Make sure to take the bills out of the stacker because if it gets filled, it will stop working until you clear it. Make sure to always retest the machine before leaving it. A regularly cleaned dollar bill validator will work for a long time.
On beverage machines, in setting them up, make sure to “prime” each selection. Priming is defined as testing that selection out until a beverage is ready to be vended. You can do this manually by taking the vending motor cover off and pressing each motor switch, this will ignite the vend process. Do this until a beverage vends and then that selection is ready to vend and do this for all the selections. Make sure to keep your other hand at the end of the delivery ramp so you catch the beverage and keep it from in going to the floor. Also, always make sure your machine is level. You can adjust the legs with a regular wrench. You might bring a level to make sure because sometimes it is actually the floor that is unlevel. This will help your door from not sagging and make it easier to close. It will also make sure the lock and locking bolt line up. Another tip is to keep the refrigeration system clean. You can use air or even a brush to keep the lint out of the refrigeration unit area.
On the glass front snack machines, make sure all the pricing for all the selections are correct. You should have a manual that generally has a few simple steps in setting the prices. If time allows, you might test vend each selection as well. If a whole shelf is not working, swap shelves to see if the issue is in the actual shelf or in the control board. If your replacement shelf does work as well, you know the issue probably is in your control board. Like the beverage machine, always make sure your machine is level. You can adjust the legs. You might bring a level to make sure because sometimes it is actually the floor that is unlevel. This will help your door from not sagging and make it easier to close and make sure the lock lines up with the locking bolt.
These are some very basic repair and preventive maintenance tips for the newbies or dummies. If you have vending machines, use them. Also, if you have a good machine company you deal with, and they have a service department, you can call them for technical help on machines. Just make sure when you call them you have your make and model of the machine you are working on and make sure you LISTEN when they try to tell you how to trouble shoot your issue. Thank you.