WO1983004447A1 - Vending machines - Google Patents

Vending machines

Info

Publication number
WO1983004447A1
WO1983004447A1 PCT/GB1983/000153 GB8300153W WO1983004447A1 WO 1983004447 A1 WO1983004447 A1 WO 1983004447A1 GB 8300153 W GB8300153 W GB 8300153W WO 1983004447 A1 WO1983004447 A1 WO 1983004447A1
Authority
WO
Grant status
Application
Patent type
Prior art keywords
machine
time
mode
data
keyboard
Prior art date
Application number
PCT/GB1983/000153
Other languages
French (fr)
Inventor
Paul Pavey
Original Assignee
Sutcliffe Catering Group Limited
Priority date (The priority date is an assumption and is not a legal conclusion. Google has not performed a legal analysis and makes no representation as to the accuracy of the date listed.)
Filing date
Publication date

Links

Classifications

    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F13/00Coin-freed apparatus for controlling dispensing or fluids, semiliquids or granular material from reservoirs
    • G07F13/06Coin-freed apparatus for controlling dispensing or fluids, semiliquids or granular material from reservoirs with selective dispensing of different fluids or materials or mixtures thereof
    • G07F13/065Coin-freed apparatus for controlling dispensing or fluids, semiliquids or granular material from reservoirs with selective dispensing of different fluids or materials or mixtures thereof for drink preparation
    • AHUMAN NECESSITIES
    • A47FURNITURE; DOMESTIC ARTICLES OR APPLIANCES; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; SUCTION CLEANERS IN GENERAL
    • A47JKITCHEN EQUIPMENT; COFFEE MILLS; SPICE MILLS; APPARATUS FOR MAKING BEVERAGES
    • A47J31/00Apparatus for making beverages
    • A47J31/44Parts or details or accessories of beverage-making apparatus
    • A47J31/60Cleaning devices
    • GPHYSICS
    • G07CHECKING-DEVICES
    • G07FCOIN-FREED OR LIKE APPARATUS
    • G07F9/00Details other than those peculiar to special kinds or types of apparatus
    • G07F9/02Devices for alarm or indication, e.g. when empty; Advertising arrangements in coin-freed apparatus

Abstract

An electronic control circuit for a vending machine includes a microprocessor (20) for controlling operation of the machine, memories (24, 25) for storing programme data for the microprocessor, and a real time clock (26) for supplying real time signals to the microprocessor. Programme switches (50, 51) are selectively operable to switch the microprocessor into a mode in which it controls storage of vending and operating data in an accessible memory (25) which is thereupon programmable by actuation of a vend selection keyboard (9) on the machine. Such data may relate to the prices of the drinks dispensed by the machine, the quantities of ingredients in the drinks, free vend periods, the time of day at which a self-cleaning cycle commences, and the periods during which heating components of the machine are switched off in order to conserve energy. Visual displays (11, 12, 13) are provided for displaying data contained and entered in the accessible memory via the keyboard.

Description

VENDING MACHINES

The present invention relates to vending machines, such as beverage vending machines and, more particularly to an electronic control circuit for controlling the operation of a vending machine. Beverage vending machines, for example, customarily comprise a dispensing station, at which a selected, beverage is dispensed into a cup, a supply of cups, an electro-mechanical device for controlling delivery of cups individually from the supply to the dispensing station, storage containers for ingredients, such as, powdered beverage, sugar, powdered milk and syrup for cold drinks, if included, a boiler for delivering a supply of hot water and, optionally, a cooler for a supply of cold water, electro-mechanical devices for discharging predetermined quantities or measures of ingredients from the containers and discharging a selected mixture of ingredients and water into a cup delivered to the dispensing station, a coin sensing mechanism, a drinks selection panel, which may include a digital selection keyboard, and an electro-mechanical control means responsive to the coin mechanism and the selection keyboard. When a customer requires a drink, he inserts the appropriate coins into the coin sensing mechanism, which sets the control means into its vending mode, and selects the desired drink by operating the appropriate keys of the keyboard. Subject to the selection being consistent with the vending mode produced by insertion of the coins, the control means operates the cup delivery device and the appropriate ingredient discharge devices to dispense the selected drink into a cup at the dispensing station.

It is an object of the present invention to provide an electronic control circuit for a vending machine, for example, a beverage vending machine, which facilitates maintenance and servicing of the machine, or otherwise serves to reduce labour and administrative costs.

Other objects are to provide an electronic control circuit for a vending machine, which facilitates changing of the vending parameters, such as price per vend and quantities of beverage ingredients, and adjustment of the operating cycle of the vending machine, and which enables regulation of energy consumption with a view to reducing running costs. From one aspect, the invention consists in an electronic control circuit for a vending machine, particularly a beverage vending machine, including a central processing unit (CPU) for controlling operation of the machine, memory means for storing programme data for the CPU, and real time means for supplying real time signals to the microprocessor, the CPU being responsive to the real time signals and cleansing time data stored in the memory means for controlling a periodic cleaning cycle of the machine. In a beverage vending machine such a cleaning cycle may include delivering washing, cleaning or sanatising fluid to mixing funnels and/or chambers and liquid delivery passages of the machine. Conveniently, the memory means includes an accessible memory which is programmable with cleansing time data by actuation of a manual keyboard, so that the time at which the cleaning cycle occurs can be readily altered to suit requirements. The invention enables the operational and maintenance costs of a beverage vending machine to be significantly reduced. It provides the advantage that interior components, which require daily attention, may be constantly maintained in ahygienic condition. It provides the further advantage that the machine may only have to be serviced once or twice a week, depending on its usage, which represents a considerable saving in operational costs compared with the operational cost of servicing existing beverage vending machines.

The CPU programme may incorporate an audit facility. A vending machine operator can then obtain a detailed printed record of all the relevant information relating to the cost of commodities consumed and the cash taken. This record removes the need for physically monitoring the stock and cash and, therefore, considerably reduces the normal administration required as all that is necessary is for the cash to be checked against the print-out. Hence, according to a feature of the invention, the memory means includes counting means for maintaining at least individual totals of the numbers of each product dispensed and the sum of cash deposited in the coin sensing mechanism for the total number of products vended, and means is provided for coupling a printer to the control circuit and is responsive to the coupling operation to switch the CPU into a mode in which it controls read-out and printing of the data stored in the counting means. From another aspect, the invention consists in a control circuit for a vending machine, including a CPU for controlling operation of the machine memory means for storing programme data for the CPU and programme switch means for switching the CPU into a mode in which it controls the storage of vending and operating data in the memory means, said memory means thereupon being programmable by operation of the vend selection keyboard of the machine. The CPU may be arranged to control all the operational functions of the machine and the control circuit may include an accessible memory for storing data entered via the keyboard and a read only memory storing the main operating programme of the CPU. The vend selection keyboard can only be used to programme the accessible memory upon operation of the programme switch, and the arrangement is such that the data entered via the keyboard only alters the operating data stored in the accessible memory and does not affect the main programme. The machine may include a visual display for displaying data contained and entered in the machine via the keyboard.

The invention is particularly suitable for controlling the operation of a beverage vending machine. It permits such a machine to dispense a wide selection of hot and cold beverages to suit different tastes, and the precise control afforded by the electronic circuitry enables the dispensing of drinks of consistent quality. In one embodiment, the invention provides thirty three different selections of beverages. Moreover, the invention enables the price of each main selection, that is, coffee, tea, etc. to be individually and easily changed and, if required, the microprocessor can be programmed to vary the individual selling prices automatically.

Hence, the CPU may be responsive to real time signals and time data stored in the memory means in order to disable the coin sensing mechanism of the machine, or programme the microprocessor to respond to different vending prices from those to which it is normally responsive, for at least one predetermined period during each twenty four hour period. In a preferred embodiment, the accessible memory of the memory means is programmable by actuation of the selection keyboard, so that free vend, or different prices and the period or periods for which they are applicable can be readily changed.

In order to conserve energy, the CPU may be programmed to switch-off electrical power to the heating component or components of the vending machine when the machine is not required to be in operation. This reduces the overall power consumption which, in turn, considerably reduces running costs. Hence, according to another feature of the invention the CPU is arranged to be responsive to real time signals and time data stored in the memory means in order periodically to switch-off the heating component(s) of the machine for a predetermined period. For example, the CPU may be arranged to switch- off the heating component (s) at night time, or at week ends, or both, at a predetermined time and switch-on the electrical power at another predetermined time. Here again, the accessible memory is conveniently arranged to be programmed with the required time data by operation of the vend selection keyboard, so that the periods during which the heating components are switched off and the length of such periods can be readily changed.

The control circuit according to the invention may include an electrical power cell which, in the event of disconnection or failure of the mains electricity supply, prevents loss of data from the accessible memory and/or continues operation of the real time means so that when the mains supply is restored, the control circuit will be supplied with correct time signals and carry out all relevant periodic operations at the required time.

Use of a CPU allows for considerable flexibility in the operation of a vending machine. In a beverage vending machine, for example, it will be apparent from the above that it may be used to control the timing and operation order of virtually, all the motors, valves and solenoids of the machine functioning to dispense a cup of beverage. It receives data from the coin sensing mechanism of the machine and is responsive to actuation of the coin sensing mechanism to compare the coinage deposited in the coin mechanism with the selection code entered on the keyboard and, if valid, operate the cup delivery device and the appropriate ingredient discharge devices to dispense the selected beverage into a cup at the dispensing station. It may monitor the sold out condition of the machine and take appropriate action when necessary. Information regarding prices and ingredient quantities per cup can all be easily entered via the keyboard. Given price and quantity information by the operator, the machine can calculate such information as the cost of making all the vends and the total vends of each type made etc.. This information can be printed onto paper by a hand held printer unit.

A beverage machine embodying the invention may dispense an acceptable choice of consistent quality beverages to meet a potential market demand of twenty four hours a day, seven days a week, on an economical basis. It will be appreciated that the invention can provide savings in labour, maintenance, administration and energy costs. The control circuit may be constructed of solid state components mounted on a printed circuit board and the components of the machine may be of modular design and, consequently, be easily removed and replaced. The layout of the components may be arranged in such a way that easy access is available for service engineers and an engineers test

facility may be built into the programme of the microprocessor and this self-diagnostic fault-finding system allows an engineer to rectify problems in the shortest possible time. As a result, and in conjunction with the reliability factor associated with the use of an electronic control circuit, it is believed that the maintenance costs of a machine embodying the invention can be reduced, for example, In the case of beverage vending machines, by up to 30% of the current cost of maintaining existing beverage vending machines.

In order that the invention may be more readily understood, reference will now be made to the accompanying drawings in which:-

Figure 1 is a perspective view of a beverage vending machine embodying the invention,

Figure 2 is an elevational view of the machine with the door open and showing the interior of the cabinet, and

Figure 3 is a block circuit diagram of the electronic control circuitry of the machine, including an enlarged front view of the customer selection panel of the machine.

Referring to Figure 1 of the drawings, the machine comprises a cabinet 1 having a front door 2 allowing access to the interior of the cabinet. Disposed on the front of the door, within a recess 3, are a coin receiving slot 4 and rejection button 5, a customer selection panel 6, a coin return opening 7 and a

dispensing station 8 from which a selected cup of beverage is dispensed. The customer selection panel 6 is illustrated in more detail in Figure 3 and comprises a customer selection keyboard 9 having twelve touch button keys, that is, ten keys 10a identifying digits 0-9, a "cancel" key 10b and a blank key 10c, visual displays 11 of the purchase price of a cup of coffee, tea, chocolate, other beverage and cold drinks, a visual display 12 of the code number entered in the machine, via the keyboard 9, and a visual display 13 which is arranged selectively to display other information, such as, real time or the sum of the coins inserted into the machine upon initiation of a vending operation. Below the visual displays 12,13 are a series of lights 14 indicating the state of operation of the machine. Printed on the facia of the panel at 15 is information regarding the different beverage drinks which the machine can dispense and the code number required to be entered into the keyboard in order to select a desired drink.

Housed within the cabinet 1 is a drink dispensing mechanism (see Figure 2) which basically comprises a hot water tank or boiler 40 for supplying hot water for hot beverages, a water chiller (not shown) for cold drinks, ingredient canisters 41, mixing bowls and whipper chambers 42 for mixing hot beverages, pipes 43 for delivering beverage to the dispensing station 8, a cup dispenser 44, for example, in the form of a turret or carousel containing several stacks of cups for individual delivery to the dispensing station, via a chute 45, a waste liquid container 46, syrup containers 47 for cold drink ingredients, and various electrical solenoids and valves and motors which are selectively operable to deliver a selected beverage in a cup at the dispensing station. Mounted on the back of the door 2 is a coin sensing unit 32 for detecting coins inserted into the machine via the slot 4, operator's switches 48 for permitting manual control of certain operations, and a slidable door 56 permitting access to the dispensing station when the front door 2 of the cabinet is closed. This equipment will not be described in more detail as its arrangement and construction will be readily understood by the skilled reader and it forms no part of the present invention.

The source of electricity for the machine is a convenient 220-240 volt mains supply and the machine's electrical system is isolated from this main supply by a transformer (not shown) which steps down the voltage to 110 volts. An isolation switch 49 is fitted to the cabinet and is operated by the cabinet door 2 to remove power from the machine when the door is opened. The electrical control system which is mounted on the back of the door, at 57, has been designed by using three main printed circuit boards, namely, a microprocessor control circuit, a triac output for driving the solenoids, valves and motors, and a power supply. The microprocessor control circuit is illustrated in Figure 3 and will now be described in more detail.

Hence, referring to Figure 3, the control circuit comprises a central processing unit in the form of an 8-bit microprocessor 20 having a temporary data store 20a and interconnected via data, control and address buses 21,22,23 with a programmable read only memory (PROM) 24, a random access memory (RAM) 25, a real time clock 26, a keyboard interface 27 coupling the customer selection keyboard 9 to the microprocessor buses, and output and input interfaces 28,29. Data access to the RAM 25 is via a memory protection circuit 29 and the RAM and real time clock are connected to an auxiliary electrical power source in the form of an Ni-Cad power cell 30 which, in the event of disconnection of the mains supply or mains supply failure, prevents loss of data from the RAM and allows the clock to continue to operate so that when mains supply is restored and machine displays the correct time and carries out all the time relevant operations, which are hereinafter described. The output interface 28 supplies data signals from the memories, clock and keyboard interface to the front panel visual displays 11,12,13, the motor and valve driving circuitry 31, or triac board, and the coin sensing unit 32 under the control of the microprocessor 20. Input data from the coin sensing unit 32 and various machine switches are read into the system by the input interface 29. The machine switches comprise at least a key-operated engineer's switch 50, a separate key-operated management switch 51 and a free-vend switch 52 (see Figure 2).

The operation of the control circuit is monitored by a watchdog circuit 33 which has two functions. One is to monitor the microprocessor 20 by detecting the pulse signals produced by the microprocessor during its operation. If the watchdog circuit does not detect any such pulses during any one second period, it automatically resets the microprocessor and opens the reject escrow of the coin sensing unit 32. This escrow holds inserted coins until a drink selection is made so that money can be returned prior to making such a selection. The circuit 33 also operates when the door switch 49 is activated. Its second function is to quench any airbourne noise, whether internal or external by means of an aerial 33a which is run through the wiring harness of the machine. If any noise is picked up by the aerial, the watchdog circuit activates and automatically resets the microprocessor and opens the reject escrow. The sensitivity of the aerial can be adjusted by means of a potentiometer (not shown). Stand-by Mode

When in use, the machine is normally in its stand by mode, whereupon the READY light at 14 is illuminated to indicate that the machine is waiting for a customer to insert a coin or make a selection, if free drinks are being dispensed. The visual display 13 may be blank or it may display the time of day depending on an engineer's option. At certain time of the day, free or reduced price drinks may be available in which case the FREE light 14 is illuminated In the stand-by mode, the microprocessor 20 is instructed by the PROM 24 to monitor the coin unit 32 and the keyboard 9 and the machine is constantly checking to see if all cups have been dispensed from the cup dispenser 44 or if the waste water container 46 is full. If either of these two conditions occur the machine will turn on the NOT IN USE light 14 and shut-off the water supply to the machine. Apart from displaying the clock time, if required, the machine may be totally inoperative until the NOT IN USE condition is rectified, either by emptying the waste container or by supplying more cups. If the machine is NOT IN USE or in its automatic self-cleaning or sanatising mode, to be hereinafter described, the READY light 14 is switched-off; also the blocker line is removed from the coin unit.

The circuit incorporates an energy conservation control programme. For a certain time period during each day (usually at night) and/or at weekends, the microprocessor 20 is programmed to switch-off the heater of the hot water boiler 40, thus saving energy. When in the stand-by mode, instructions stored in the PROM 24 tell the microprocessor to monitor the real time clock 26 and compare its time and day with those stored in the RAM 25. An engineer can optionally set the RAM to determine whether the microprocessor switches-off the heater during this time period for weekdays, weekends, both or neither. He can also set the start and finish times of this period. The RAM is programmed with the required Information upon the engineer actuating the engineer switch 50 and entering data via the selection keyboard 9.

When the data detected by the microprocessor 20 is such that the heater is required to be switched- off, signals are sent from the microprocessor to the output interface 28 to switch-off the heater via the driving circuitry 31, disable the coin unit 32 and illuminate the NOT IN USE lamp 14 on the control panel. At the end of the timed period, these conditions are reversed. At one time during each 24 hour period, usually at night, the machine is arranged automatically to clean itself. This self-cleaning operation may take eight minutes to perform and a SELF-CLEANING light 14 is illuminated to indicate this state. The time at which the machine starts its self-cleaning cycle is set in the RAM 25 by actuation of the keyboard 9, similarly to setting the energy conservation period(s). .

Whilst in the stand—by mode, the microprocessor reads the real time clock 26 and compares the reading with the self-cleaning time stored in the RAM 25. If the two times are identical, the machine starts its self-cleaning cycle as follows. Data signals are sent via the output interface 28 to switch-on the SELF-CLEANING lamp 14, switch-off the READY light 14, switch-off the machine water inlet valve, and disable the coin unit 32. After a preset two minute delay to ensure the machine water boiler 40 has attained the normal operating temperature, the microprocessor deactivates the heater driving circuitry and activates the water valves to flush the beverage mixing system and delivery system using hot water at a minimum temperature of, for example, 83ºC. The delivery of hot water is sequentially activated to each indivi dual beverage mixing bowl and chamber 42 for a preset time. After a 10 second delay the hot water valves are reactivated to flush the beverage mixing. and delivery system as previously explained. Thereafter the self-cleaning light 14 remains on whilst the microprocessor switches on the heater driving circuit and the machine water inlet valve but keeps the coin unit 32 disabled for a further 5 minutes to ensure the machine hot water temperature returns to its normal setting. Finally, the SELF-CLEANING lamp is switched- off, the READY lamp is switched-on and the coin unit 32 is enabled, all via the output interface 28. In the stand-by mode, occasionally, an engineer may wish to test the operation of the coin unit 32 without affecting the cash count in the RAM 25. This can be accomplished by activating a suitable switch in the processor circuitry. Such a switch may, for example, be incorporated in the engineer's switch 50. A continuous tone is heard to remind the engineer that the machine is not in its normal state. Coins may be inserted into the coin slot 4 and their accumulated value displayed at 13. By pressing any key on the keyboard 9, the coins are rejected, the display returns to its normal state, the continuous tone stops and the machine returns to its stand-by condition. A facility also exists for manually initiating flushing of the machine. This is initiated by activating a flush switch at 48, whereupon the hot water valves, via which hot water is discharged from the boiler, and the cold water valves are sequentially opened for a short while. The NOT IN USE condition is not monitored in this mode. Vend Mode

In the stand-by mode, the microprocessor is instructed to monitor the coin unit 32 and keyboard 9. Either the insertion of a coin, or a customer selection, if free drinks are being dispensed, places the circuit in its vend mode. Instructions controlling the microprocessor 20 in this regard are stored in the PROM 24.

Once in the vend mode, the time is no longer displayed in the visual display 13 as this is used for displaying the coin total.

If the FREE light 14 is illuminated a valid selection entered on the customer keyboard 9 sets the circuit into the vend mode. If the required vend is not free, then coins must firstly be inserted into the coin unit 32, whereupon the coin unit transmits signals identifying the value of the coins inserted into the unit to the microprocessor via the input interface 29. The microprocessor sums the coins and stores the total on the display 13, via the output interface 28, in its own temporary data store 20a, and in the RAM 25. Data entered via the keyboard is similarly read, displayed in the display 12 and stored. The microprocessor checks to see if the drink selection code entered via the keyboard 9 is valid and whether enough money has been inserted. The vend prices are stored in the RAM 25 and are constantly displayed in the displays 11. More coins may be inserted if insufficient, or a new code may be entered until a valid selection and sufficient money have been detected. The microprocessor 20 then instructs the coin unit 32, via the output interface 28, not to accept any more coins until the vend has been completed. The cup dispensing solenoid is energised by a signal from the microprocessor via the output interface and the driving circuits 31. In a similar manner, the relevant motors and valves are operated for time durations stored in the RAM and transmitted via the output interface to the appropriate driving circuits 31 under the control of the microprocessor. The code entered into the keyboard is used, to determine which motors and valves are energised. When sufficient money is inserted for the required vend, then the selection display 12 is blanked allowing more money to be entered and a new selection to be made. This effect can also be caused by entering an invalid selection code or by pressing the "cancel" key. When money has been inserted, the reject button 5 may be used prior to entering a valid selection. This rejects the coins and returns the machine to the stand-by mode.

When a valid selection has been made, the READY light 14 is switched-off and the machine dispenses the beverage. Counters, embodied in the RAM 25, are incremented to inform the accountancy programme of the vends dispensed and the cash taken, etc.. Once the vend has been made the machine delays for a few seconds before re-illuminating the READY light. This is to allow the water to drain into the cup. The circuit then returns to its stand-by mode when it resumes its system monitoring.

Within six time periods during each 24 hour period, the microprocessor 20 may be instructed to give free or reduced price vends. The start and finish times of each period may be programmed into the RAM 25 upon actuation of the key-operated engineer switch 50. This switch signals, via the input inter face 29, that the microprocessor must accept data via the keyboard 9. The engineer also inserts a code into the RAM to determine whether free vends, reduced price vends or either are to vended during these time periods. Whilst in the stand-by mode, the microprocessor reads the actual time of day from the real time clock 26 and determines whether or not the time is within one of the six time periods programmed into the RAM 25. If it is, the microprocessor interrogates the RAM to see if free or reduced price vends are required. If free vends are required, the displayed prices 11 are set to zero and the coin unit 32 is disabled via the output interface 28. If reduced prices are instructed, the reduced prices stored in the RAM are displayed on the visual displays 11 via the output interface 28. The displays 11 show full prices at times outside these time periods. Free and reduced price vends increments special counters in the RAM for use by the accountancy programme. Print Mode

Each time a cup of beverage is dispensed, counters located in the RAM 25 are incremented in the following way. Instructions written into the PROM 24 tell the microprocessor 20 to read the data stored in the counters in the RAM. To this, it adds a number stored in its own temporary data store 20a and restores the summed value back into the RAM. The counters in the RAM count the different types of vend, the cash taken, the cost of dispensing free or reduced price vends, the total number of vends dispensed and the number of free and reduced price vends. When accountancy information is required, a printer (not shown) is plugged into the output interface 28 via a socket 54 on the back of the door, and this automatically closes a switch which instructs the microprocessor, via the input interface 29, to initiate the accountancy programme. Data stored in the RAM is accessed to the printer. Some data is used in conjunction with the information entered by the machine manageress into the RAM to give data relating to the actual cost of the vends. Any access to the printer is encoded into a suitable form for the printer by the use of a "look-up table" stored in the PROM. When all the information has been printed, the printer is removed from the machine.

This automatically instructs the microprocessor, via the input interface 29, to return to the stand-by mode. At this time, some of the counters in the RAM are reset to zero. Engineer Mode

As indicated above, actuation of a key-operated engineer switch 50 whilst the machine is in its stand-by mode sets the machine in an engineer mode which enables an engineer to regulate certain functions and conduct fault-finding test. This mode will now be described in more detail.

When the machine is switched into its engineer mode, a bleeper is arranged to sound to remind the engineer that the machine is in this mode. The latter can be divided into four sub-sections, namely, a) engineer sub-mode b) keyboard test c) input test d) output test. The engineer sub-mode is selected when the engineer switch is first actuated. Engineer Sub-mode

This sub-mode allows an engineer to set up all the variable parameters of the machine, such as, motor and valve timings, prices, options, etc.. Each parameter is depicted by its own code number which ranges from 01 to 78. When this sub-mode is entered, the first code number 0 is displayed in the display 12. The value of this parameter is shown on the far right display 13. This value is also shown on the relevant price display 11. This value can be updated by repeatedly pressing the '9' key on the keyboard 9 to increment the value, or by repeatedly pressing the '8' key to decrement the value. Pressing the "cancel" key 10b sets the value to 00 and pressing the blank key 10c displays the next number and value. A particular parameter may be accessed by typing the code number on the keyboard. This number and its parameter value will be displayed and the value can be updated as before. All values, apart from 24 hour real clock times and conversion factors, are two digit numbers. The clock times are four digit numbers and are displayed on both of two consecutive code numbers. The lower code number allows the left hand two value digits to be modified (i.e. the hours) and the upper code number allows the right hand two value digits to be modified (i.e. the minutes). For example, the self-cleaning time is displayed as:-

40 0200 The 40 is the parameter number which represents the hours of the time at which the machine starts self-cleaning. The 0200 is the actual self-cleaning time of the clock. Depressing the '8', '9' or "cancel" key only affects the left hand digits of the time, i.e. the 02. Pressing the key 10c displays:- 41 0200

Now, the '8', '9' or "cancel" keys only affects the right hand two digits, i.e. 00.

A conversion factor is also entered into the machine. This is the calculation of ingredient dispensed in a preset time which then enables the microprocessor to compute cost per gramme against the dispense time. In most cases conversion factors are the number of hundredths of a gramme dispensed in one tenth of a second. However, for chocolate, it is the number of tenths of a gramme dispensed in one tenth of a second; for the syrups it is the number of tenths of a cubic centimeter dispensed in one tenth of a second. All conversion factors are rounded to the nearest whole number when entered. Each conversion factor is also a four digit number and is displayed under the same code number. For example, the conversion factor for coffee is displayed as:- 65 0966

Depressing '8', '9' or "cancel" key only affects the left hand digit of the conversion factor i.e. 09. Pressing the key 10c. still displays the same code number:- 65 0966

Now the '8', '9' or "cancel" keys only affect the right hand two digits i.e. the 66.

Entering the code number 78 sets all of the parameters, from 0 to 74 to preset workable values. Code numbers 75 to 77 relating to the boiler heater cut-out times must be set manually by the '8', '9' or "cancel" keys as before. By way of example, a description of each code number and its preset value appears in Table 1 appended hereto. To return to the stand-by mode of the machine the engineer removes his access key to the switch 50 and presses key 10c; the bleeper then stops.

Whilst in the engineer sub-mode the other sub-modes may be accessed by entering on the key board the number 79 for the keyboard test, then 80 for the input test or 81 for the output test. In any of these cases the display is blanked. Keyboard Test

This sub-mode is accessed by entering 7980 in any of the other sub-modes. Once in this sub-mode the displays are blank until a numeric key is depressed. This causes every digit of the display to show the value of the selected key. Each key may be tried in any order. Selecting the '8' key should light every segment of all nineteen digits to check correct operation of the displays and associated circuitry. If the engineer access key is removed and a key pressed twice, the machine returns to the stand-by mode. To access any of the other sub-modes one must first return the machine to the engineer sub-mode by depressing the "cancel" key 10b or the blank key 10c. Input Test

This sub-mode is accessed by entering 79 in the engineer sub-modes. The purpose of this sub-mode is to check the operation of all the switches and micro-switches connected to the microprocessor. If all the switches (excluding the ENGINEER key switch 50) are in their normal "off" state, then the displays are blank. However, if one or more switches are activated the display shows a number indicating which switch is activated. In the event of two or more switches being activated at the same time, the switch with the higher number is displayed. If the ENGINEER key switch is removed the machine returns to the stand-by mode and the bleeper stops. If 80 is entered on the keyboard, the machine goes into the keyboard test sub-mode. If 81 is entered the machine goes into the output test-mode. If 82 is entered the machine goes into the engineer sub- mode and displays the first code number. Output Test

This sub-mode is accessed by entering 7981 in either the engineer or 81 in the input test sub- modes. The purpose of this sub-mode is to allow the engineer to energise any of the motors, valves or lamps, etc., that are connected to the microprocessor. This sub-mode helps in diagnosing faults in the machine. For example, the microprocessor can be instructed to energise a particular motor. If this motor is not running the engineer should check whether the relevant light emitting diode on the triac board is on. If it is, then the microprocessor and triac driver is working correctly. There should be only the one LED on in this case. If the LED is "off" then either of the two boards could be at fault, in which case electronic test equipment may be used to diagnose the fault to a component. If the LED was "on" then the fault may be in the triac, the connector to the triac board, the cable to the motor or the motor itself. Of course the same method and results can be applied to any of the other devices being driven from the microprocessor.

When this sub-mode is entered, the displays are blank and all the outputs are turned off. Each output is referenced by a two digit number from 01 to 31 inclusive. A code number is entered on the keyboard and is displayed. Only numbers in the range 01 to 31 are accepted. Pressing the key 10c. turns that output on, whilst pressing the "cancel" key 10b turns it off. Entering a new code number automatically turns off the previous output if it was left on. If a code number is incorrectly entered, a new number may simply be entered. The NOT IN USE conditions are not monitored in this or any of the other sub-modes, and care must be taken to ensure that the waste container, for example, does not overflow.

To return to the stand-by mode of the machine the engineer must remove his access key and then enter any of the two digit code numbers. All outputs are returned to the stand-by mode state and the bleeper stops. If it is wished to enter the keyboard test sub-mode enter 82, enter 79 for the input test or 7980 for the engineer sub-mode. Now, all outputs are turned off.

This completes the description of the engineers mode. As can be seen, the first sub-mode is used to affect the day-to-day running of the machine, whereas the last three are used to assist the engineer in testing and fault-finding. Management Mode

The activation of the key-operated management switch 51 whilst in the stand-by mode places the machine in the management mode. The bleeper sounds to remind the manager or manageress that the machine is in this mode. The purpose of this mode is to allow the management to enter information of a variable nature into the processor control circuit. This information may be:- the price paid for each Ingredient the quantity bought for each ingredient the VAT rate and the present time of day and present day of week. Each of the above variables is referenced by its own code number which is displayed in the display 12. These numbers range from 01 to 25 and 0 is displayed when the management mode is entered. The number in the display 13 shows the value that was last entered for that variable on a previous occasion. If it is wished to change this value then the new value is simply entered from the keyboard 9. If a mistake is made whilst entering a value then pressing the "cancel" key 10b clears the old value, whereupon the new value may be entered. Once the correct value is displayed in the display 13, or if it is not wished to change the old value, then the key 10c. must be pressed. This displays the next code number and associated value, and this may be modified in a similar manner. By successively pressing the key 10c, the code number 24 is displayed. This relates to the clock and should show the present time of day. This displayed time will not now be updated by the clock, but shows the time at which step 24 was reached. If it is required to change the time, the new time is entered on the keyboard. When the key 10c is pressed the seconds counter of the clock is reset to zero i.e. at the beginning of the displayed minute. By pressing the key 10c, the code 25 is displayed which indicates day of week from 1 to 7

(1 indicating Monday). No further action can now take place in the management mode.

It may be possible to return to the standby mode at various points throughout the management mode, but not at every point.

To return to the stand-by mode, the management access key is removed and the key 10c pressed, whereupon the bleeper stops signalling that the machine is in its stand-by mode. If at any time the machine refuses to display the next code number, then a fault has occurred. This may be due to unrealistic data being entered such as very small quantities (e.g. 0) for ingredient quantities. To rectify this, the machine is switched off and then on again. This causes the machine to enter the management mode at step 01 again provided the management key is still in place. The correct information may now be entered in order.

By way of example, Table 2 appended hereto shows the code numbers and their meanings for the management mode.

Whilst a particular embodiment has been described it will be understood that modifications can be made without departing from the scope of the invention.

MANAGEMENT MODE

Code Information to be entered number

01 Price of COFFEE

02 Quantity of COFFEE in grams

03 Price of TEA

04 Quantity of TEA in grams

05 Price of CHOCOLATE

06 Quantity of CHOCOLATE in grams

07 Price of SOUP

08 Quantity of SOUP in grams

09 Price of SYRUP 1

10 Quantity of SYRUP 1 in cubic centimeters (c.c)

11 Price of SYRUP 2

12 Quantity of SYRUP 2 in cubic centimeters (c.c)

13 Price of MILK for coffee

14 Quantity of MILK for coffee

15 Price of MILK for tea

16 Quantity of MIIK for tea

17 Price of SUGAR for coffee

18 Quantity of SUGAR for coffee

19 Price of SUGAR for tea

20 Quantity of SUGAR for tea

21 Price of Cups

22 Quantity of CUPS

23 VAT percentage in 0.01% steps (e.g. 15.00% would be 15.00)

24 Present TIME of day in 24 hour clock system 25 Present Day (Monday = 1)

All prices are entered in pence.

Claims

1. A control circuit for a vending machine including a central processing unit (20) for controlling operation of the machine, memory means (24,25) for storing programme data for the central processing unit, and real time means (26) for supplying real time signals to the central processing unit, characterised in that the central processing unit is responsive to the real time signals and cleansing time data stored In the memory means for controlling a periodic cleaning cycle of the machine.
2. A control circuit according to claim 1, characterised in that the memory means includes an accessible memory (25) which is programmable with cleansing time data in response to actuation of a manual keyboard (9), whereby to enable alteration of the time at which the cleaning cycle occurs.
3. A control circuit according to claim 1, characterised in that the memory means includes counting means for maintaining at least individual totals of the numbers of each product dispensed and the sum of cash deposited in the coin sensing mechanism (32) of the machine for the total number of products vended, and means (54) is provided for coupling a printer to the control circuit and is responsive to the coupling operation to switch the central processing unit into a mode in which it controls read out and printing of the data stored in the counting means.
4. A control circuit according to claim 1, characterised by programme switch means (50,51) for switching the central processing unit into a mode in which It controls the storage of vending and operating data in the memory means, said memory means thereupon being programmable by the operation of a vend selection keyboard (9) on the machine.
5. A control circuit according to claim 4, characterised in that the memory means includes an accessible memory (25) for storing data entered by the keyboard (9) and a read only memory (24) for storing the main operating programme for the central processing unit, said keyboard being actuatable to programme the accessible memory upon operation of the programme switch means, the arrangement being such that the data entered via the keyboard only alters the operating data stored in the accessible memory and does not affect the main programme.
6. A control circuit according to claim 2 or 4, characterised by a visual display (11,12,13) for displaying data contained and entered in the machine via the keyboard.
7. A control circuit according to claim 1, characterised in that the central processing unit is responsive to the real time means and time data stored in the memory means in order to disable the coin sensing mechanism (32) of the machine, or programme the central processing unit to respond to different vending prices from those to which it is normally responsive, for at least one predetermined period during each twenty four hour period.
8. A control circuit according to claim 1, characterised in that the central processing unit is responsive to the real time means and time data stored in the memory means in order periodically to switch-off a heating component or components of the machine for a predetermined period.
9. A control circuit according to claim 1, characterised by an electrical power cell (30) connected to the memory means and/or real time means so as to prevent loss of data from the memory means and continued operation of the real time means in the event of disconnection or failure of the mains electricity supply to the control circuit.
PCT/GB1983/000153 1982-06-08 1983-06-08 Vending machines WO1983004447A1 (en)

Priority Applications (2)

Application Number Priority Date Filing Date Title
GB8216618 1982-06-08
GB8216618 1982-06-08

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Cited By (15)

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Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US4783747A (en) * 1986-03-04 1988-11-08 Sanden Corporation Control device for an automatic vending machine
DE3816966A1 (en) * 1987-05-18 1988-12-01 Coca Cola Co Getraenkeautomat for the delivery of drinks in containers of different size
DE3816479A1 (en) * 1987-05-13 1988-12-08 Coca Cola Co Data acquisition device for an output system post-mix getraenke
EP0317441A1 (en) * 1987-11-19 1989-05-24 Schlumberger Industries Display door device
GB2209861A (en) * 1985-10-09 1989-05-24 Barcrest Ltd Operating system for a coin-freed machine
WO1990006565A1 (en) * 1988-12-07 1990-06-14 Giuseppe Stefano Piana A system for dispensing measured amounts or packages of products by means of automatic vending machines
FR2703988A1 (en) * 1993-04-15 1994-10-21 Vouillaume Distribution Sa limestone masking device and bacterial prevention automatic distribution.
EP0621567A2 (en) * 1993-04-20 1994-10-26 Taselburg, S.L. Improved coin selector
EP0676731A1 (en) * 1994-04-04 1995-10-11 Fuji Electric Co. Ltd. Fixed quantity drink vending machine
WO1996006541A1 (en) * 1994-09-01 1996-03-07 Contractfin A-G Self-contained automatic citric juice extracting and dispensing machine
EP1526485A2 (en) * 2003-10-20 2005-04-27 Kraft Foods UK Ltd. A beverage vending machine installation
GB2409197A (en) * 2003-12-15 2005-06-22 Mars Inc A beverage dispensing system comprising adaptive energy management
WO2011050799A1 (en) * 2009-10-27 2011-05-05 Natalie Stepanow Vending and packing machine for loose foods
EP2823737A1 (en) * 2013-07-11 2015-01-14 Miele & Cie. KG Method for operating of a beverage preparation device and beverage preparation device
WO2016016191A1 (en) * 2014-07-30 2016-02-04 Nestec S.A. Dispenser with openable door

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US3338153A (en) * 1964-04-06 1967-08-29 Universal Match Corp Vendor
EP0018718A1 (en) * 1979-04-05 1980-11-12 Mars Incorporated Vending machine accountability system
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GB2067311A (en) * 1980-01-03 1981-07-22 Vendops Ltd Beverage dispensing machine
EP0036734A1 (en) * 1980-03-20 1981-09-30 Vgl Industries Limited Improvements in and relating to vending machines
US4305328A (en) * 1979-08-29 1981-12-15 Umc Industries, Inc. Coffee vendor
GB2077228A (en) * 1980-06-03 1981-12-16 Express Dairy Management Ltd Vending machine for liquids
US4328539A (en) * 1978-07-28 1982-05-04 Amf Incorporated Sequence controller with microprocessor
GB2086114A (en) * 1980-10-22 1982-05-06 Miyashita Toshio Vending Machine Control System

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Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
US3338153A (en) * 1964-04-06 1967-08-29 Universal Match Corp Vendor
US4328539A (en) * 1978-07-28 1982-05-04 Amf Incorporated Sequence controller with microprocessor
GB2054910A (en) * 1978-10-06 1981-02-18 Trafalgar Ind Inc Method for controlling a sequence of operations
EP0018718A1 (en) * 1979-04-05 1980-11-12 Mars Incorporated Vending machine accountability system
US4305328A (en) * 1979-08-29 1981-12-15 Umc Industries, Inc. Coffee vendor
GB2067311A (en) * 1980-01-03 1981-07-22 Vendops Ltd Beverage dispensing machine
EP0036734A1 (en) * 1980-03-20 1981-09-30 Vgl Industries Limited Improvements in and relating to vending machines
GB2077228A (en) * 1980-06-03 1981-12-16 Express Dairy Management Ltd Vending machine for liquids
GB2086114A (en) * 1980-10-22 1982-05-06 Miyashita Toshio Vending Machine Control System

Cited By (23)

* Cited by examiner, † Cited by third party
Publication number Priority date Publication date Assignee Title
GB2209861B (en) * 1985-10-09 1989-12-28 Barcrest Ltd Operating system for a coin-freed machine
GB2209861A (en) * 1985-10-09 1989-05-24 Barcrest Ltd Operating system for a coin-freed machine
US4783747A (en) * 1986-03-04 1988-11-08 Sanden Corporation Control device for an automatic vending machine
DE3816479A1 (en) * 1987-05-13 1988-12-08 Coca Cola Co Data acquisition device for an output system post-mix getraenke
DE3816966A1 (en) * 1987-05-18 1988-12-01 Coca Cola Co Getraenkeautomat for the delivery of drinks in containers of different size
EP0317441A1 (en) * 1987-11-19 1989-05-24 Schlumberger Industries Display door device
FR2623644A1 (en) * 1987-11-19 1989-05-26 Schlumberger Ind Sa A door has display
WO1990006565A1 (en) * 1988-12-07 1990-06-14 Giuseppe Stefano Piana A system for dispensing measured amounts or packages of products by means of automatic vending machines
FR2703988A1 (en) * 1993-04-15 1994-10-21 Vouillaume Distribution Sa limestone masking device and bacterial prevention automatic distribution.
WO1994024643A1 (en) * 1993-04-15 1994-10-27 Vouillaume Distribution S.A. Anti-furring and anti-bacterial device for vending machines
EP0621567A2 (en) * 1993-04-20 1994-10-26 Taselburg, S.L. Improved coin selector
EP0621567A3 (en) * 1993-04-20 1994-11-17 Taselburg Sl Improved coin selector.
EP0676731A1 (en) * 1994-04-04 1995-10-11 Fuji Electric Co. Ltd. Fixed quantity drink vending machine
US5601218A (en) * 1994-04-04 1997-02-11 Fuji Electric Co., Ltd. Fixed-quantity drink vending machine
WO1996006541A1 (en) * 1994-09-01 1996-03-07 Contractfin A-G Self-contained automatic citric juice extracting and dispensing machine
EP1526485A2 (en) * 2003-10-20 2005-04-27 Kraft Foods UK Ltd. A beverage vending machine installation
EP1526485A3 (en) * 2003-10-20 2005-06-22 Kraft Foods UK Ltd. A beverage vending machine installation
US7669740B2 (en) 2003-10-20 2010-03-02 Kraft Foods R & D, Inc. Beverage vending machine installation
GB2409197A (en) * 2003-12-15 2005-06-22 Mars Inc A beverage dispensing system comprising adaptive energy management
WO2011050799A1 (en) * 2009-10-27 2011-05-05 Natalie Stepanow Vending and packing machine for loose foods
EP2823737A1 (en) * 2013-07-11 2015-01-14 Miele & Cie. KG Method for operating of a beverage preparation device and beverage preparation device
WO2016016191A1 (en) * 2014-07-30 2016-02-04 Nestec S.A. Dispenser with openable door
US9944508B2 (en) 2014-07-30 2018-04-17 Nestec S.A. Dispenser with openable door

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