Drinks Machines

(Mike Ando) #83

Another intermittent update on these machines!

It’s been working for a while but hasn’t been announced in this thread yet, but RFID payment via your HSBNE membership card is now available on both the local drinks and the important drinks machine! We’re still working on creating a super easy way to load money onto your card that doesn’t require a person to do it for you, but for now talk to @nogthree and he can sort you out.

More local drinks have been purchased. I’m having difficulty getting international drinks at a decent price, so my apologies for this machine running a bit low. I hope to have new international drinks on offer soon.

(mmm, sugary goodness)

I’ve been changing around the drinks on offer quite a bit. Most recently, Mountain Dew is back, as is Pasito! Also for a limited time, Vanilla Pepsi Max is on offer, just to keep things interesting.

Also, people are still stealing from the Change Exchange. This is another reminder that it’s for exchanging change only, not for borrowing or loaning, and it is most certainly not a take-a-dollar-leave-a-dollar style charity tray. If you take coins from it and don’t immediately put in the same amount of notes, you are stealing, and that ain’t cool, yo. In an effort to try and prevent this from happening, I’m going to start reporting on how much is stolen, and when. I have historical records of this too, but I’ve decided to only start posting the recent ones.

  • Between 8:30PM on Tuesday 17th of October and 4:30PM on Saturday 21st of October, $1 was stolen from the Change Exchange.

Finally the international machine’s offerings are a bit bare and I’m about to change it up so I won’t list its current options right now, but the local drinks machine options currently on offer are as follows:

  • Coke
  • Fanta
  • Mountain Dew
  • Pasito
  • Random
  • Vanilla Pepsi Max
  • Creaming Soda
  • 600mL Water

(Mike Ando) #84

I’m still having difficulty acquiring imported soft drinks at a reasonable price (well I can get them for $3.50 a can, but given we currently sell them for $2.40 that’s not really feasible :stuck_out_tongue: ). And my sources for 375ml cans of Mother have all dried up too. I’m not giving up though, and I still have some surprises planned. Nevertheless, I’ve changed things around and added new options - to both machines!

First up, a price drop! To make room for some newcomers in the international machine, Nexba Cola has been permanently shifted from the import machine to the local machine. This sugar-free, caffeine-free Cola is a favourite of some of the members, and now it’s only $2 a can. This is because I do my best to find the cheapest prices and then I pass the savings on to yoooooou!

But that’s not all that’s been happening in sugar-free land. Our small stock of Vanilla Pepsi Max has been depleted, so it’s time for another never-before-stocked flavour… Coke No Sugar! Even though it contains 0% sugar, this drink tastes incredibly close to actual Coca-Cola, way closer than Coke Zero, with almost none of that bitter after-taste that most artificially-sweetened drinks have. Coca-Cola Amatil have mentioned that they plan for this flavour to eventually completely replace Coke Zero, but until that happens I may alternate between Coke No Sugar and Coke Zero, depending on what people prefer.

(No Sugar > Zero Sugar)

But wait, there’s more! A second new flavour has appeared, this time in the international machine, and it’s… Coconut Water! Straight from Thailand and special for those who have been requesting healthier options, these cans of 100% coconut water have no added sugar other than the sweet, sweet taste of all-natural coconuts.

(No relation to the Stargate SG-1 character Chaka)

It’s also important for me to mention this right here - these cans of coconut water may have the usual style lever & push-hole on the top, but the cans are closer to actual cans than than normal drinks. They are much stronger, mostly because they are not made of Aluminium. Aside from the fact that you can stick magnets to them, this means you should not attempt to use them in the can crusher as you’ll break the crusher, and you should not put them into the aluminium can smelting bin but the regular recycling bin. In fact I’m going to say that a second time but bigger:

The Coconut Water cans are not made of Aluminium. Do not attempt to crush them in the can crusher or you’ll break the crusher. Do not put them in the smelting bin with the other cans or you’ll taint the metal.

The current drinks line-ups are as follows:

Local Cold Drinks:

  • Coca-Cola
  • Nexba Cola
  • Mountain Dew
  • Pasito
  • Random
  • Coke No Sugar
  • Creaming Soda
  • Water 600ml

Vigo’s Imported Emporium:

  • Cherry Coke
  • Dr Pepper
  • A&W Root Beer
  • Coconut Water
  • Strawberry Fanta

(Stuart Longland) #85

Okay, the former part I worked out before attempting to destroy the crusher. Basically I noticed it was taking more force than normal and stopped right there.

The latter … I (mis-)understood the bin for “cans”, not specifically aluminium cans. I do apologise for that, but didn’t know that fact until I stumbled on this very post. Your message is clear, and succinct, but misplaced: a message on the vending machine would fix that.

(Mike Ando) #86

At some point between around 11pm of Tuesday the 9th of January and 4pm of Tuesday the 23rd of January, someone helped themselves to some of the Cherry Coke that was in storage. Because this individual didn’t even open the box correctly, cans fell out of the floor and were badly dented. This individual then tried to re-pack the box (minus their taking), but because some of the cans were so misshapen, this could not be done properly. In fact these cans were so dented they cannot go in the vending machines (or even stand upright), so the effective cost to us is not just what was taken but the ones that can’t go in the machines as well. And before anyone asks, no it wasn’t a matter of someone wanting an alternative flavour (not that that would make this behaviour okay) - Cherry Coke was already in the import machine, with more than enough already in there that it was nowhere near running out.

(Photo taken the 9th of January - the Cherry Coke where it should be)

(Photo taken the 23rd of January - the Cherry Coke box has been opened, dented cans sitting in the top minus what was removed)

I can’t believe I have to actually say this, but I guess it needs to be said - don’t steal from the drinks machines, the change exchange or those sitting in storage. I do this not just as a service to members but also as a fundraiser. And it is incredibly demoralising for me to put in so much work sourcing, stocking & maintaining these machines to earn us some money only to have people outright disrespect them to the point of literally stealing from my efforts. :frowning:

(Mike Ando) #87

It’s been a few months since my last update. Know what that means? NEW FLAVOURS TIME!

I’ve had trouble finding some of our old flavours so I’ve now got another supplier I’m dealing with, particularly for the international drinks. Since we were running low I’ve gone and stocked us up again.

(522 cans. Filled to the very top. The back seat & front passenger seat were both full too!)

First, the local machine. Nexba Cola is out, unfortunately likely for good, because I can’t find a good supply for it in can form. In its place is… Kirks Diet Lemon! Still a “low energy content” option, the tang of the lemon does a good job to hide the fact that it uses artificial sweetners. Our supplies of Creaming Soda have been exhausted too, so replacing that option we have Kirks Ginger Beer making a comeback! I do love me some ginger beer.

Now for Vigo’s Imported Emporium! Coconut Water is gone for now - this was one of the most controversial flavours we’ve ever had, with some people strongly loving it while others strongly hated it. Curious! Either way, in its place is the ol’ faithful Grape Fanta back again!

(You may remember this flavour from the recent broadway adaptation of the classic story, “Grape Expectations”)

That’s not all though. Because it’s been hard to find regular suppliers of multiple flavours, It’s been a while since Vigo has a completely full selection available. I’ve managed to remedy this, with once again a brand new flavour we’ve never had before. Please welcome… L&P!

(Lemon and Paeroa, together at last.)

Straight here from over the ditch in New Zealand, this tastes pretty close to its name - spiced lemon. Normally only available here at insane prices (seriously $4 a can isn’t uncommon), I’ve got a source for this option at a reasonable price. I’m still not sure how that works, but I think it involves black magic.

Finally, the member card swipe payment system is now at a point that it’s available to more users! That’s something that’s so complicated and an achievement important enough that it deserves its own thread. Check it out over here for details, including how you can add money to your member card and start using it straight away. Super big props to everyone involved in making that happen.

The current stock in both machines are as follows:

Local Cold Drinks:

  • Coca-Cola
  • Diet Lemon
  • Mountain Dew
  • Pasito
  • Random
  • Coke No Sugar
  • Ginger Beer
  • Water 600ml

Vigo’s Imported Emporium:

  • L & P
  • Cherry Coke
  • Dr Pepper
  • A&W Root Beer
  • Grape Fanta
  • Strawberry Fanta

(Mike Ando) #88

A curious thing happened a few weeks ago - the local Cold Drinks machine started playing playing up, entering random states of operation, wouldn’t always vend products, wouldn’t always accept coins (or would sometimes just eat them), etc. I pulled some things apart and you’ll never believe the cause… The solid metal frame to one of the dispensing mechanisms cracked. For real - snapped all the way through, in fact. This caused a can to get stuck, the mechanism to lock up, and then the mechanism lost its points of reference in its rotation. These machines are very dependant on everything running correctly all at once to operate, so this single fault caused a cascade of others throughout the machine as electricity found alernate routes through the relays. No wonder it was playing up!

(The can stuck in the broken mechanism)

(Inside of the vending machine, the vending motors & sensors all exposed - one of these things is not like the others…)

(That metal wasn’t very thin either. There’s a surprising amount of torque in these 110V motors!)

With the help of @Drew_Spriggs the broken parts of the mechanism have been swapped with an extra spare one that I ordered way back in 2013 when I was first repairing these machines. Looks like planning ahead paid off!

However, this is also a good time for me to clean and lubricate everything in both machine. There was a bit of friction in the mechanism of the failed line, not enough that I think it solely caused the failure but it definitely contributed to it. I don’t think I’ve ever done a full service of everything before, so now’s as good a time as any. This is a rather tedious task taking nearly an hour each line, and unfortunately there’s only room for one person to stand in front of the machine with their arms up inside it, so it’s not something that could be sped up with more help. I’ve done most of the local/Cold Drinks machine mechanisms (only 2 left), and once that’s done I’ll attend to the electronics then move on to the import/Vigo machine. The machines are mostly operational while I’m working on them - swipe payment may be down while I’m physically working on them but otherwise everything should be okay with them.

Oh yeah, and Pasito has been swapped with Kirks Creaming Soda too!

(Mike Ando) #89

…And one more thing that deserves its own post.

I’ve been threatening to do something like this for literally years, and it’s finally happened.

With the AGM and the new Exec, I thought now was a good time to celebrate with something a little different.

The Random line now contains a single can of Oatmeal. For reals.

(Oatmeal is “mostly” a liquid after all)

If you’re the lucky one to score this, it’s your choice to have it cold or heat it up first (opening the can a crack then placing the can in boiling water works if you don’t want to dirty another bowl).There’s even a little foldable spoon in the plastic bit on top!

In case you’re worried, this is not going to become a regular thing (not unless people like it & ask me for more randomness in the random line). I just couldn’t resist being a little evil for once. Mwahaha. :japanese_ogre:

(Mike Ando) #90

Since it first broke down in April, it’s been many weeks & late nights of constant work, but I’ve finished most of the servicing necessary on the local Cold Drinks machine. All that remains is to diagnose some flickery neon lights in lines 4 & 8 (currently Mountain Dew & Water). These lights aren’t just for aesthetics to let you know when a line is empty - they do triple duty as both motor ballasts and grounding points as the machine operates, so having them work properly is important. We may just need to replace them; if so I’ll wait until I’ve finished servicing the other machine so I can order any necessary parts all at once.

Now to do it all over again on the Vigo import machine… :weary:

(Hovo) #91

I have a machine similar to the ‘local’ drinks machine sitting in the warehouse at work ready for me to get time to strip it for parts. The compressor failed and the coin mech was on it’s last legs so I purchased a new machine.
Some parts like the seal and motors are close to brand new.
Not sure if there are any parts in this machine that might help you out.

(Mike Ando) #92

Off the top of my head, if it’s being stripped for parts I can think of a few things we’d use! Not sure if it’d be easier to give you a list of parts (if they’re good condition I can think of a bunch of “nice to haves”), or we organise a time for me to drop by & remove them myself.

(Joshua Hogendorn) #93

I’d be happy to help just move the whole thing to the space if people think that would be the way to go.

(Mike Ando) #94

I’ve been posting weekly updates on my progress in Discord, but I thought I’d start putting them in here so that way there’s a better record of it and all that jazz.

After four more hours of work this Tuesday, I’ve finished testing all the microswitches and neon indicator lights in the Vigo imported drinks machine. Two of the neon bulbs in this machine are dead and need replacing (also these are a completely different style to the other machine’s ones, so we can’t just order 4 of the same style). They’ve been added to my list of parts needing to be replaced.

Two of the six dispensing mechanisms in the Vigo machine have been checked as good, properly cleaned & lubricated. One of them used to squeak rather loudly and now it’s completely silent, so that’s a good thing. I’ll continue to work through servicing these machines as I am able.

(Mike Ando) #95

Because my other half is currently recovering from surgery, I wasn’t able to be at the space long or spend much time on the machines today. Nevertheless I managed to clean, check & service all the electronics to the third line’s dispensing mechanism in the Vigo imported drinks machine. It’s not a huge amount of progress this week, but it’s still progress.

(Drew Spriggs) #96

@riumplus - there is no need to apologise for or justify the ‘little’ work you’ve got done; as the person almost solely responsible for keeping the Space deliciously hydrated (as well as a significant earner for us), I know everybody is very appreciative of all the work you do!

(Mike Ando) #97

This week’s update: the rest of the Vigo machine’s line 3’s dispensing mechanism has been cleaned, polished & lubricated and is all good… This is so much work x.x

It’s also worth mentioning… The can of Oatmeal in the Random line has been dispensed! @nathanbeveridge was the lucky recipient. This was originally supposed to be a one-off thing, but given how well it was received by so many people, I might do this again some time in the future with something different. Not right away - acquiring another interesting can is roughly an hour-long dedicated trip for me, so it’ll happen when I actually have time… And when you’re least expecting it. :wink:

(Mike Ando) #98

Both the electronics and the mechanics in line 4 of Vigo’s machine have been cleaned, polished, lubricated, adjusted and tested to be all good. Only two more left to go… Blaaaah.

And just because, here’s a photo of the dispensing mechanisms in this machine in case you ever wondered what they look like.

(So many bits, bobs, doohickies and dealies all over. All running off 110 Volts!)

(Mike Ando) #99

I need to spend some time working on my Popcorn machine in stead of the drinks machines, because it not being 100% operational over winter is hurting my sales a bit. That doesn’t mean I did nothing to the drinks machines this week though.

There’s been another flavour shuffle - Coke No Sugar has been swapped with Kirks Diet Lemon! Don’t get too comfy with Diet Lemon though, it won’t last long until I do another swap, so get it while you can!

Also, we had a report of a can of Coke from the machine that had gone bad. I still don’t know why it went bad (I didn’t get a chance to taste or see it). If it happens again, please let me know; if there was one bad can then there’s a chance others from that box are also bad too.

Also also, I’ve got a few more ideas and future plans for the Random line… I’m gonna start introducing unique options a bit more frequently than once every few months. Consider these like rare loot drops - maybe only 1-in-10, if that - but they’ll be in there, I promise!

First up is something a little familiar - Coconut Milk. Unlike the previous coconut water, which is a completely different thing that tastes different too, this is in a standard Aluminium can so it won’t break the can crusher. There’s only one can of this in there… So how lucky do you feel?

(Fun fact! Coconut water, milk, cream and oil are four different liquids all made from the same nut, not counting coconut rough or hot cocoa)

I’ve got the next random can after this one all ready to go. Let the games drinks begin.

(Stuart Longland) #100

I sort-of miss the coconut water, it was quite a refreshing alternative to the sugary stuff.

Still, I can understand the focus on drinks that are readily available and actually make money for the space.

You’ve been doing a great job maintaining those machines, and even some of the WICEN members have been buying drinks occasionally. Your efforts are greatly appreciated. :slight_smile:

(Mike Ando) #101

I’m running very low on mental energy lately so this post will just be short and to the point, skipping my usual witty banter.

Coke No Sugar is gone from the local drinks machine and has been replaced by Pepsi Max. The cola wars continue.

L&P is gone from the import machine and has been replaced by a brand new, never-before-vended flavour, A&W Creaming Soda. I’ve wanted to get some for years but hadn’t been able to find a reasonably priced supply before. If you’ve never had it before, this stuff is waaay smoother & creamier than the normal creaming sodas available within Australia and tastes almost nothing like Kirks’s “Candy” soft drink.

(A&W Cream Soda is best cream soda)

The Coconut Milk has been dispensed from the Random line, so the next new random can has been added… Sangaria Hajikete Orange Soda. Hailing from Japan, “Hajikete” roughly translates to “burst”. Will you be the lucky one to score this can?

(Sangaria is the same company that makes Ramune)

Finally… It’s probably time I start reporting this again. Between 9:45pm last Tuesday the 7th and 4:57pm yesterday Tuesday the 14th, $1 was stolen from the change exchange. Which is such a great motivator for me to continue volunteering my time with these machines. :frowning:

(Mike Ando) #102

The electronics and mechanics in line 5 of the Vigo imported machine have been cleaned, lubricated & serviced. It looks like at some point there was a fire in this line as some components are still damaged while others have been repaired or replaced. My guess is it happened around one of the connectors to the motor and the motor wire winding, and it happened prior to us owning the machine as the most likely source of it is newer than the other stuff. I’ve cleaned what I can and wrapped some of the damaged wires in electrical tape, but they may need replacing in the future. The gearbox in this line is making a bit of a crunching noise and is on its way out, but should last us a few more years at our current usage patterns. However line 6 in particular has quite a few damaged wires, so that one’s gonna take me a while to carefully clean and tape up all the melted-through wires.