Open Forum

Dexter coin pulse/starting washer for WDF

  • 1.  Dexter coin pulse/starting washer for WDF

    Posted 7 days ago
    I'm in a quandary.   My WDF is picking up, but I don't have a good way for the attendants to start the machines, other than handing them money.  Which is crazy; it has worked so far, but as business picks up, it's going to get unmanageable.

    I have looked into managing the machines (Dexter A-models) via Fastcard or other card systems, but (no offense to you guys who swear by them) at $1,200/machine or whatever it's simply not anything that makes sense.

    I could use painted coins, but I really don't want to hand-pick stuff out of my coin sorter, that looks like a huge waste of my time, sorting the dollars and quarters takes long enough as it is, even with a high-speed machine.

    So I've thought about two options.  One is not as good as the other, and I need some technical help.

    1.  A key-operated switch.  Put the key in (something secure-ish) turn it and each turn adds a dollar to the machine.  Obvious downside is no audit trail.

    2. An Arduino-based keypad.  Store 20,000 unique one-use codes in the Arduino.  Type in the seven-digit code, it sends enough pulses to start the machine, then log the code to the WDF customer.

    What I don't understand is what Dexter means by "pulses" that have to get sent to the circuit board.  Does "pulse" mean closing a connection, or does pulse mean sending a 5 volt signal?  Has anyone played around with A-model circuit boards?  I can't seem to find a Dexter schematic or instructions on the coin wiring.  I understand "L" and "R" but how do I interface with it?

    Or does anyone have any good ideas for WDF accounting?

    ------------------------------
    Luigi
    ------------------------------


  • 2.  RE: Dexter coin pulse/starting washer for WDF

    Posted 7 days ago
    Luigi,

    Set up a WDF department with a few OPL machines that start with the push of a button.  These machines would not be accessible to self serve customers.   Far cheaper than adding Fastcard to your old Dexters.

    ------------------------------
    Larry Adamski
    Muskegon Laundromat
    Spring Lake MI
    (616) 566-1987
    ------------------------------



  • 3.  RE: Dexter coin pulse/starting washer for WDF

    Posted 7 days ago
    I like that idea, but it doesn't work for me.  The whole purpose of the WDF is to increase the usage of my capital equipment and as it grows, I can easily see us using a good part of the whole laundromat in the late hours to get the work done.

    And you also introduced a mystery:  how do I "push button start" a Dexter A-model?   This would have been super-easy in the old days with the coin slides, but now I haven't seen a solution.  Is there a "push button" conversion kit for the Dexter coin-drop?

    ------------------------------
    Luigi
    ------------------------------



  • 4.  RE: Dexter coin pulse/starting washer for WDF

    Posted 7 days ago
    Luigi,

    I recommend buying NEW OPL equipment which is NOT coin operated - it starts by pushing a button.  If you want to do WDF the right way, you set up a separate department for that service.   What you're thinking about will surely damage your self serve sales in multiple ways.  If self serve is not important to you,  then make a Master Plan to convert the facility to WDF only and set it up for fast, efficient production.

    ------------------------------
    Larry Adamski
    Muskegon Laundromat
    Spring Lake MI
    (616) 566-1987
    ------------------------------



  • 5.  RE: Dexter coin pulse/starting washer for WDF

    Posted 7 days ago
    I have to politely disagree.

    I have a couple hundred thousand dollars invested in capital equipment that does exactly what I need it to do, and for about eight to ten hours a day, it isn't utilized.  Why in the world would i duplicated the equipment to solve a simple problem like creating an audit trail?  At a minimum, I could just spend $20k and put in a card system which is smarter than duplicating a bunch of washers and dryers I already own.

    I'm not sure I get what you mean by doing WDF "right"?  Obviously we're doing it right, because it's growing fast enough for me to need to not lose audit control.  I have a WDF plant sitting unused from about 10:00 at night until perhaps 7:00 in the morning, I don't get why I would duplicate that.  I also don't understand how I would be affecting my coin sales; do you mean through theft?

    The question I'm asking is whether anyone understands the Dexter computer board interface, and if anyone has a pin-out schematic and can define what "pulse" means, or if they have a work-around that lets coin machines get started without handing actual cash over to employees.  Or if they hand cash over, how to make a non-time-wasting manner of accounting for the coins.

    ------------------------------
    Luigi
    ------------------------------



  • 6.  RE: Dexter coin pulse/starting washer for WDF

    Posted 7 days ago
    When I sold the Dexter line, they sold a push button start button. There still is one being used in my old house. Try calling Dexter tech support for help.

    ------------------------------
    Larry Larsen
    Laundromat123.com
    Anaheim, CA
    Distributor - Insurance - Consulting
    Cell: (714) 390-9969
    ------------------------------



  • 7.  RE: Dexter coin pulse/starting washer for WDF

    Posted 7 days ago
    Edited by Michael Walsh 6 days ago
    Luigi,

    Hopefully,  our Dexter experts will not be overly proprietary about the pulse width or the type of pulse required.  By type of pulse from experience some circuitry based on a variety of car wash coin payment panels & what we went through (relay wise) to replace the old Airpacs on our ADC 285s ... it might be 0V switching by a short to the PCB's ground plane.

    If it were mine I would think possibly in terms of an external relay acting as sort of programmable interrupt for the pulses.  Since I did & continue to work with Arduino ... I will say that I was told that the industrial version of the UNO or Mega from Rugged Circuits out of Grand Rapids, MI that we are using has a better internal clock.  The external relay banks (1-16 relays) sold by Adafruit, SainSmart & AliExpress  etc. are very low cost & have proved to be reliable in our testing.

    Definitely less long term cost IMHO than a card setup.  That does not mean that I don't see some merit with cards.  I am not like rabid against those vendors' niche & I hope they are not rabid against other approaches' niche &/or business model etc.

    ------------------------------
    Michael Walsh www.kingkoin.com
    King Koin Laundry, Car n Dog Wash
    Bismarck ND
    ------------------------------



  • 8.  RE: Dexter coin pulse/starting washer for WDF

    Posted 7 days ago
    As you were typing that, I was looking up the schematic.  It sure looks like it's just closing two wires, but perhaps the schematic doesn't tell the whole story.  The Imonex specifications discuss the "pulse" that they send, I wonder if the "pulse" is just a switch closure.  It sure looks pretty straightforward from the schematic.

    zCBkUrS4TwGPRwTY5sBy_schematic.png

    I have Imonex hooked up right now, so I have both "coin switches" active, the "right" is dollar coin.  It appears as if just shorting out BRN/BRN will trigger a coin drop.  So an Arduino with a keypad could fire up a washer.

    I don't want to get too fancy, but I could even go Bluetooth or Wifi, if wifi I could start it from the cloud.  I couldn't do anything else, but that would be enough, my attendant could start the machine from his/her phone by entering the customer number, so I have an audit trail.

    Or I could do standalone, just upload 10,000 unique six-digit codes that only work one time each, I give out the codes to the attendant on a per-customer basis.

    Some Dexter expert, please show me where I'm headed off the wrong path...


    ------------------------------
    Luigi
    ------------------------------



  • 9.  RE: Dexter coin pulse/starting washer for WDF

    Posted 6 days ago
    Hi Luigi, I'm very interested in the raspberry pi (or other simple interface you might develop or devise). I have a group of Dexters that fall into a WDF category that you are describing and would similarly like to find a better way to monitor and audit our WDF quarters , as that activity is occurring during our self service hours (apparently to Larry's - and I agree and acquit to a certain extent -great dismay and criticism).

     I was thinking that a very low tech solution to your particular problem might be to simply remove the keyed coin boxes at the start of the wdf shift and put back into place when that wdf third shift ends and the normal work day begins. Your attendants would be starting machines with the repetitive feed of a single quarter. The tickets would tell the story of that shifts machine usage and serve as a pseudo-audit.

    Perhaps a silly solution but might be workable for you.


    Kurt

    ------------------------------
    Kurt Van Hook
    Willow Creek Laundromat
    Carrboro, NC
    ------------------------------



  • 10.  RE: Dexter coin pulse/starting washer for WDF

    Posted 6 days ago
    Hey Luigi,

    I understand your issue perfectly.  Luckily the way I am approaching it at my store is I have my C-Series Dexter's hooked up to dexter live. I am building my own POS software to integrate with dexter live.  My attendants will login into the POS, and the POS will start the appropriate machines.  My idea is I will be able to track a timeline of the full life cycle of the order.

    ------------------------------
    DEMETRIOS VASIADIS
    14th Laundry
    Long Island City NY
    ------------------------------



  • 11.  RE: Dexter coin pulse/starting washer for WDF

    Posted 6 days ago
    Yes Luigi you can upgrade to C-series Dexter controls. This will cost you about $600 per new board per washer. Plus you have to buy Dexter live computer (one per location) and wire everything. Then you will be able to start a washer from the cloud. There are still problems with dexter live. If you have any plus cycles set up then starting a washer for free will actually start it with all plus cycles and not with a simple base cycle.

    Demetrios, I wonder how you will control Dexter live from your POS? How would you integrate Dexter Live. From my understanding they don't provide any APIs to interact with it.

    ------------------------------
    S P
    SSF Wash & Dry
    dffg CA
    ------------------------------



  • 12.  RE: Dexter coin pulse/starting washer for WDF

    Posted 6 days ago
    I asked Dexter before about API access. Haven't heard back.  Essentially I am using their web interface from my POS. Not ideal but it's the best I can do for now.

    ------------------------------
    DEMETRIOS VASIADIS
    14th Laundry
    Long Island City NY
    ------------------------------



  • 13.  RE: Dexter coin pulse/starting washer for WDF

    Posted 6 days ago

    have my C-Series Dexter's hooked up to dexter live
    DEMETRIOS VASIADIS,  02-10-2019 11:57
    Yep, that was my go-to solution, but yet again, Dexter disappoints.  I have A-models, so I have to "upgrade" to the C-series (new computer board, new water sensor for probably $500) to use Dexterlive.

    Nope.

    And I was ready to order the equipment and start setting it up, but as I've said before, Dexter finally got dragged into 2002 just a couple of years ago.  None of their stuff networks unless it's the very latest model.

    They do have good stainless steel.  But as I was researching this, I saw the specs on those junk water valves:  nine measly gallons a minute.  With my water pressure, with a real, non-plastic-piece-of-junk valve, I could fill a T900 in less than ten seconds, probably closer to five.  But no, we all get to stare and wait for the water.


    ------------------------------
    Luigi
    ------------------------------



  • 14.  RE: Dexter coin pulse/starting washer for WDF

    Posted 6 days ago
    Luigi,

    We used painted quarters for awhile and that became really time consuming separating them out.  A hardware solution is going to be the best in terms of preventing employees from pocketing the money.  The downside is without an audit trail, they could start machines for free and provide a 'friends and family' discount, but at least they're not pocketing money.

    A lot of laundromats using quarters use a spiral notebook to create their own audit trail, but it is super time consuming to record that information and even more time consuming to make it meaningful.

    Hardware is going to give you the most security in terms of getting quarters out of your employees hand, but another approach is through software.  Through software it can create an audit trail, show you which machine each employee is using, how much that employee spent on the wash and fold order, and at the press of a button you can see all of the orders an employee worked on during any time period, and see how much they spent on machines as a percentage of the dollar amount of the wash and fold order.  And if you see a certain employee is consistently spending over 40% or so on each order, then you know they're probably spending too much...or putting too much in their pocket.  It's not fool proof, but it may be more cost effective than reoutfitting your machines.  Everything is time stamped so if the employee says they started 3 machines for a certain order, it's easy to verify.

    Here's a screen shot of the information the attendant taps in, using their mini tablet.



    The software we use at our laundromat keeps track of how much everyone spends on machines on each order.  There are options to automatically deduct the amount spent from the register or you can print out a ticket showing their daily expenditure.

    Keeping track of the machines used on each order has also helped us, so when there is a shift change it is easy for the new person to know where each order is, so we can stay productive at all times and not have to stop laundering, because of an upcoming shift change. As you can see above, we know exactly which machines order #560 is on.​  We still have coins in our employees' hands, but this has been working pretty well for us and we didn't have to retrofit 200 machines.

    ------------------------------
    Matthew Simmons
    Laundry Operator and
    Wash & Fold Software Consultant
    www.CurbsideLaundries.com
    (562) 533-0053
    ------------------------------



  • 15.  RE: Dexter coin pulse/starting washer for WDF

    Posted 6 days ago
    Luigi ,
    a cheap way to do it is install Payrange on several machines that will be used by your staff.
    Like this you can use a credit or debit card to start the machine , and your customers can still use the machines.
    Payrange cost $100+ per machine .
    Only problem is that you will have to pay a commission to use to the CC processor , but if 4% is the price to pay to be safe???

    ------------------------------
    Laurent Broda
    My Sunny Laundry
    Miami Beach FL
    ------------------------------



  • 16.  RE: Dexter coin pulse/starting washer for WDF

    Posted 6 days ago
    Laurent and Matthew,

    I like both of your suggestions.

    In terms of Payrange, I think I have this solved, but we'll see.

    I got into the top of one of my Dexters today and dorked around with the wires leading to my Imonex drop ($.25 and $1.00).  I learned that the schematic i posted at the top is correct, you only need to connect two wires together to get either a $1.00 or $.25 credit.  The downside is that I figured out what the "pulse" that Immonex talks about means.

    The wire connection has to be very short, I was doing it by hand and it counted down very fast.  So this means it probably can't be longer than one-tenth or two-tenths of a second, not a big deal to do that.

    So I'm going to experiment on Tuesday with duplicating the app that Laurent suggested.  There is a small microcontroller that I just bought for $12 that has a wifi onboard.  It also has a cloud-enabled control site.  You power it up, it broadcasts its own SSID.  Log on with your phone, tell it the wifi network you want it to hook up too, then it phones home.  Log into the manufacturer's site (first 100 devices free) and you can program stuff, but for experimentation, you can turn a pin "high" for a moment.

    I'm going to hook up a board with two solid-state, low-voltage relays ($10.00) to this board (I can't remember the name, it's compatible with Arduino), hook the relays up to the two sets of coin drop wires and see if I can pulse credits from my iPhone.  If I can (which I'm sure I can), then it's just getting some html written to log each machine turn on.

    This is pretty much Payrange without the "pay" part.  They seem to do the exact same thing, you pay them, they send a pulse or series of pulses to the coin drop via the internet.

    My vision right now is pay to have someone put together an audit-trail reportable web page.  The attendant or manager logs in, fires off each machine that needs it by putting in the customer name.

    Obviously, still some potential for fraud, but the current tupperware container of money "hidden" in the Bounce box is simply too tempting for me to leave the way it is.

    I'm not some kind of microcontroller genius, I bought an Arduino kit to mess about with a couple of years ago and didn't even get the first project to work.  I pulled it out last night and made an LED blink, which is the same thing as making a relay close.  Then, shopping for a Wifi expansion board on Amazon, I learned that some smart company had already written all the code for the back end to go from my phone to closing a relay five times to start a machine.

    If this works out right, I will only have to wire four wires from the controller to the relays, then wire the four wires from the coin drop to the same relays, then log into this website to start the machine.


    ------------------------------
    Luigi
    ------------------------------



  • 17.  RE: Dexter coin pulse/starting washer for WDF

    Posted 6 days ago
    Just make sure this stuff doesn't break when your ISP changes your IP address.

    What I've learnt through experience is that developing your own solutions from scratch always seems very exciting and potentially cheaper. However, most of the problems will come in the form of reliability and scale.

    When you have a one man operation, this may work, but as you scale to multiple locations/stores, you do not want to be the guy who is in charge of fixing everything.

    ------------------------------
    S P
    SSF Wash & Dry
    dffg CA
    ------------------------------



  • 18.  RE: Dexter coin pulse/starting washer for WDF

    Posted 6 days ago

    Here's a screen shot of the information the attendant taps in, using their mini tablet.
    Matthew Simmons,  02-10-2019 14:21

    Matthew, that looks fantastic.  Did you write it yourself?  Is it a commercial program?

    The only downside is that our attendants don't speak or read English (and may not actually read Spanish, either with some) so I have a hard time integrating technology.  A scrap of paper with "17" taped to a machine works fine, but the main software we are using is mostly empty of entries, other than billing information.  That's my responsibility to fix, but i suddenly got religion when I had to keep coughing up cash over the past couple of weeks to keep the machines started for the big increase in volume.

    I'm probably being overly paranoid, but something doesn't sit right and I really want to get cash off the floor of the store.



    ------------------------------
    Luigi
    ------------------------------



  • 19.  RE: Dexter coin pulse/starting washer for WDF

    Posted 5 days ago



    Matthew, that looks fantastic.  Did you write it yourself?  Is it a commercial program?
    Luigi Gratiano,  02-10-2019 18:08


    Thank you.  We built the software for ourselves, mainly so we could have one system handle the pickup and delivery and use the same software for in store wash and fold transactions too, plus we didn't have to train our employees on two different systems either.  We started off just using the software ourselves, but now a lot of other laundromats are using it too, from Hawaii to New York.

    BTW, Pretty ingenious with the circuit boards & breadboards you're using.  My father in law is an electrical engineer and teaches electronics at a local high school.  I'm looking forward to showing him your post.  He loves sharing with his students real world examples of the things you can do with circuit boards.



    ------------------------------
    Matthew Simmons
    Laundry Operator and
    Wash & Fold Software Consultant
    www.CurbsideLaundries.com
    (562) 533-0053
    ------------------------------



  • 20.  RE: Dexter coin pulse/starting washer for WDF

    Posted 6 days ago
    Luigi,

    What is the maximum # of machines your would ever need for WDF?  Would they be grouped somewhat close to each other in case you hard wire?  That would have a bearing on the # of inputs & outputs & external relays if you go with starting from the WDF counter after the washer(s) are loaded. Just in case the WDF processor person would prefer to load the machine(s) & do the start from a central HMI touchscreen.  Like you say ... maybe an Android or an IOS app would be reliable enough???

    Your schematic based on the Imonex is revealing enough.  There should be no problem having 2 external relays out of a 16 relay external relay bank that is wired with an Arduino type of wireless or wired main control.  Each relay will have a unique identifier in the Arduino-Mega Code so you never start the wrong machine.  Input would have to come from the central HMI touchscreen. ​ The logging can go to an SD card or other data storage device.

    The following approach could possibly be better than the merchant fee based solutions suggested or $600 per machine suggestion but definitely more costly than the Arduino ... Rasp Pi ... ESP family with their variety of shields to mount approach.  Our 2 Room Dog Wash is using a variation of this:                       https://ezautomation.net/eztouchplc/plc/eztouchplc_menu.php

    There are standalone modules also https://blog.squix.org/2015/03/esp8266-module-comparison-esp-01-esp-05.html to consider.

    Fiverr expertise could be helpful with programming but you should have a way of testing everything whatever that engineer or programmer revises ... immediately to avoid frustration.  They will quote & provide a reasonable guarantee for you so it won't be like you will be giving that hire a blank check etc.  You would have to do your part on the hardware side.  You might want to touch base with them to see what hardware they prefer.  Most of them are English fluent if I remember right when I touched base with some of the.  I believe Ken Barrett has used the "free lance experts" Fiverr some too.

    Keep us posted on any issues ... since this is also related to working around the lack of standards for how coin mechs interface within our industry.

    Imonex has a variety of coin mechs but the Imonex dollar - quarter coin mech that we used on one of our Coin Op Vacuums did not seem to have any issue with parallel switching with the schematic.  In other words sharing another switch with each of their inputs.  We did something similar with our Megatouch countertop 50+ game arcade machine with its MEI bill acceptor & an IDX 6 distinct coin acceptor.

    Remember ... one step at a time ... usually applies....



    ------------------------------
    Michael Walsh www.kingkoin.com
    King Koin Laundry, Car n Dog Wash
    Bismarck ND
    ------------------------------



  • 21.  RE: Dexter coin pulse/starting washer for WDF

    Posted 6 days ago
    Hey SP,

    Luckily I have a degree in computer science. I am building it as a hybrid solution.  The database is hosted in AWS using RDS.  The application for the store is built using. Net with all the printers for the POS portion and dry cleaning tags.  There will also be an external web app for taking online orders.

    ------------------------------
    DEMETRIOS VASIADIS
    14th Laundry
    Long Island City NY
    ------------------------------



  • 22.  RE: Dexter coin pulse/starting washer for WDF

    Posted 6 days ago
    Michael,

    You are brilliant!  I hadn't thought of only using one controller, I was planning on putting a different controller on each machine, but obviously, all I need are the thin wires to each.

    Here's where I stand:

    1. I have proven conceptually that closing a connection between the two wires that go to the Imonex will trigger either a $.25 or a $1.00 credit on the machine
    2.  I just spent the last hour on my Arduino and using a commercially available web interface, I proved that pressing a "button" on my iPhone can turn on and off an LED
    3.  I just ordered a $12.00 Wifi Arduino that will not require the tether to my computer as well as a four-relay board  (for those of you who don't know what we're talking about, an Arduino is a tiny microcontroller designed for the hobbiest.  It's a little computer that puts out five volts at pins you designate, or senses inputs on other pins, it costs $15.00 or so) so I should be able to press a button and turn on a relay, which will connect the two wires.
    4.  With a total of about $20 worth of parts, I should have one or two machines set up that my WDF manager can start using his iPhone.  For another $15.00 or so, I can buy the 16 bank relay board and trigger a whole bank of machines.
    5.  This does not conclude my problem though; I won't have an audit trail.  I think to create the audit trail, I will have to have a custom-built web page connected to a Mysql database and a way to interface to the Wifi Arduino in the store.  Both of these are a bit beyond my technical abilities, but even if this is a couple thousand dollars, I will feel good about the investment.
    6.  But this may only be half-necessary, the website (Blynk) that connects the cloud to Arduinos has an API, so a simple Mysql page with some calls to Blynk will probably do the trick.  I might even be able to do that myself.

    Below are some pictures of my "work" so far.  Mostly I've just been rooting around, wondering if this could work, the answer is a resounding, "yes".  Since I don't have the Wifi board yet, I use a USB cable connected to the Arduino.  I don't have any relays, so I'm using an LED as the test source, and I can make the LED light up, or go off, just like I need a relay to connect and release.   So conceptually, this whole thing should work.

    I'll probably fry all my computer boards on my Dexters, giving me a chance to upgrade them to C models and buy Dexterlive for $2,500.

    Here it is in pictures.
    First, the connector to the Imonex, I just used a wire to short the black and white pins:
    kOXmGb9oSIJZWuFcGL0B_connector.jpg
    Next, I ordered this "AT power cable" from Amazon, so I can connect the two cables with my gizmo in between

    HjlEnRIbTMmD9fLWfOYQ_connector connected.jpg

    Next, I used the web service to place a "button" on my iPhone that was connected to pin 13 on the Arduino.  I tried two different settings, an "on or off" and an "on until let go".  Both worked, but neither is exactly what I need to trigger the "pulse".  I named the project "T300" because I am experimenting with that machine since it's the easiest to dork around with since it's low.


    lyOjRVYwSgep8BQ7MUPV_iphone button.PNG
    Lastly, here is the extremely simple breadboard hooked up to the Arduino.  I don't have a relay in my starter kit, so I used an LED.  I didn't use a resistor on the first one, so it burned out, so hence the resistor.  You'll note if you look carefully that the only things I needed to wire up were a USB cable (also supplies power), one wire from pin 13 (that's the one that gets powered up when I press the "button" on my iPhone), a red and a black power wire, one LED, hooked up to pin 13.  I mean, this is grade school level.

    K4x7GqbSHrAUoozEwLRM_simpleboard.jpg

    I press the button on my phone, the LED lights up.  So with just a little more programming, I'll press the button and a small solid-state relay will close five times for one-tenth of a second each, starting my machine as if I had dropped dollar coins.

    ------------------------------
    Luigi
    ------------------------------



  • 23.  RE: Dexter coin pulse/starting washer for WDF

    Posted 6 days ago
    Well done. One recommendation is to make sure this wifi isnt the guest wifi at the store. Try to make it as hard as possible to sniff the wifi traffic. Even better if you can hardwire the arduino to your network and not use wifi.

    ------------------------------
    DEMETRIOS VASIADIS
    14th Laundry
    Long Island City NY
    ------------------------------



  • 24.  RE: Dexter coin pulse/starting washer for WDF

    Posted 5 days ago
    DEMETRIOS,

    On our SonicWall router we had two wifis setup by the installer.  One wifi is public that requires a more publicly shared password.  The other wifi is more private with the password kept secret.  I have not used the private one yet but it seems like it could be helpful when we setup some strategically placed wifi wireless surveillance cameras since our ISP provider has a robust total bandwidth of about 75 mbps.  Also the ISP has included 5 static IP addresses.

    If Luigi had a similar router setup as I described above ... would that tend to solve all his wifi concerns???


    ------------------------------
    Michael Walsh www.kingkoin.com
    King Koin Laundry, Car n Dog Wash
    Bismarck ND
    ------------------------------



  • 25.  RE: Dexter coin pulse/starting washer for WDF

    Posted 5 days ago
    Since you have Imonex, why not use a $ token that is easy to distinguish from $ coins. Your already sorting coins so it shouldn't be too much more bother to sort a 3rd one. When your ready to upgrade equipment you will have the opportunity to move into the technology that works for you without spending a bunch on older equipment now.

    ------------------------------
    Brad Seder
    Brad Seder Person
    Santa Rosa CA
    ------------------------------



  • 26.  RE: Dexter coin pulse/starting washer for WDF

    Posted 4 days ago

    Since you have Imonex, why not use a $ token that is easy to distinguish from $ coins. Your already sorting coins so it shouldn't be too much more bother to sort a 3rd one.
    Brad Seder,  02-11-2019 23:10
    This is a great idea (as well as the idea that I just take out the coin boxes and let one dollar coin drop start all the machines).

    While I initially considered your idea, my coin sorter doesn't sort tokens...I already use quarters and dollar coins.  It's my understanding (I could be wrong) that my Cummins coin sorter can't also do tokens.  I'd love to hear from folks that use combination quarter, dollar and token and how you do it.

    I'm still waiting for delivery for my Arduino boards and parts to complete my little hobby project.

    ------------------------------
    Luigi
    ------------------------------



  • 27.  RE: Dexter coin pulse/starting washer for WDF

    Posted 5 days ago
    Edited by MARTHA MORRISON 5 days ago

    Hi Luigi,

    We opened 10 months ago with an attended self serve + WDF laundromat.  We have new Dexter washers and dryers.  The systems we had installed includes FastCard readers for card payments, coins (quarter + dollar coins) and Clear Token (bluetooth phone app).  We have a solid customer base who enjoy Clear Token because they can walk in with their phones and leave their purse in the car.  People always have their phones with them.  Seeing how society, in general, is mobile phone driven, we felt Clear Token was a link to the future in our laundromat.  Attendants use Clear Token for WDF.  We bought a store mobile phone in order to have all transactions on one phone number.  Clear Token reports provide us use by phone number, machine number, time and date.  Clear Token records pulses and each pulse is equivalent to a quarter.  As attendants use Clear Token they record credits (pulses) for each WDF on a Clear Token spreadsheet I created.  This is carried in to my customer WDF spreadsheet and creates my audit trail from which I monitor costs and determine appropriate pricing.  Using Clear Token allows us to avoid using cash for machine starts with our WDF service and is an easy way for attendants to start machines while giving us a managed and controlled system.   If you've not heard of Clear Token, check out their website.  I think you will find it interesting because it sounds like what you are describing in the creative design you have put together.



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    MARTHA MORRISON
    Twin City Laundry
    Longview, WA
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  • 28.  RE: Dexter coin pulse/starting washer for WDF

    Posted 5 days ago
    After all the talk about modifying your machines, I like the clear token method.
    Straightforward.

    Imonex sells some coin drops with Clear Token installed in them.

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    Paulie B
    Multiple Mat Owner since 1976
    New York City, NY
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  • 29.  RE: Dexter coin pulse/starting washer for WDF

    Posted 5 days ago
    Martha and Paulie,

    I went and looked at Cleartoken; that's pretty much what I'm building for $25, minus ongoing transaction fees and cost of the cleartoken installation and equipment.

    I would not be surprised at all if Cleartoken was using the exact same Blynk interface to switch a microcontroller (certainly not a hobbyist Arduino, but once you build it on a breadboard, it's easy for a pro to make a small dedicated circuitboard for very low cost).

    All we (Cleartoken, Fascard and me) are doing is sending some html across the internet, through a wifi connection and triggering a "pulse" or series of pulses.  I can trigger a pulse on my little guy by executing this html line right now:

    http://blynk-cloud.com/eb3e1055ed6e4a3eaf9ad5ab7090e9a/update/D13?value=0

    I'll translate it:  Blynk-cloud.com is the web service (free to hobbyists), the long "eb3..." is my unique "token" that was assigned to my program I wrote (not really, I just downloaded an example), "update" sends the action, "D13" is the pin that it turns on plus five volts and here, it is "0" to turn off the pin.

    If enter that line, then enter one that is exactly the same, but with value=0, it will turn off the LED then turn it back on.  From any web browser in the world, or embedded in a web page.  I don't need to pay a transaction fee to do this. The audit trail will be a little harder to implement, but not much.  Log into a secure web page, there will be two entries:  machine number and customer last name (probably both pull-down, but I haven't thought this through yet).  Enter the machine you want to start and the customer name, press "start", that html is activated five times on the dollar coin wires and the machine can be started.  The website logs the machine, amount to start the machine and the customer.

    That's it.  I don't even need to use my app on my phone, but I can do that too.

    In fact, if I can get this working well, any type of payment through a website would work, Paypal would be easiest.  I'm not building a micropayment system, but the machine interface is crazy easy.

    I wish I were better at programming, but this is sort of a fun challenge.

    By the way, when I was researching Cleartoken (seriously, I wonder if they use the Blynk service to power their pulses?) there was a picture of the Imonex plug on top of a Dexter with a hand holding it that looked just like the picture I took yesterday, I found that amusing.

    Here's theirs:

    ujDAmZfS5alfvwqLWdim_Screen Shot 2019-02-11 at 7.14.18 PM.png


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    Luigi
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