Monday, February 28, 2011

Check One Off My List

There are many things I want to do before I shuffle off this mortal coil. Some examples...I want to see Australia by train, I want to sail the inside passage to Alaska, I want to learn to fly, I want to own a classic convertible automobile, I want my own home theater (I'm working on that one as you well know). So far, fairly normal. Then we come to one of the more offbeat ones. I've always wanted my own soda vending machine. Well, I can now check that one off!

I just purchased, at auction, an early sixties Vendo V63 unit, in Pepsi colors. This one is the smallest of the vending machines Vendo made in those years. It has seven flavors, and can hold nine cans per flavor...hence the "63" in the model number. Pictures are at the end of this post.

Now, I'll answer the questions I get in the usual order.

What did you pay for it? $160, plus a normal buyers premium from the auction house.

Does it work? Yes, it does. Well, in the most important ways, yes it does. The coin-op unit is original to the machine as far as I can tell, and needs a bit of TLC to fully function. However, you can put coins in and operate the dispensing mechanism. It needs some cleaning inside, and bit of general repair. However, when you plug it in, the compressor purrs like a kitten, the unit cools inside very quickly and shuts off like it should, and it holds the cold for quite a while before the compressor has to run again. All the pieces which are expensive to fix work very well.

What are you going to do with it? Restore the outside to something resembling its original colors and condition, recondition/replace the insides so everything works reliably, then put it in my home theater, stock it with soda and beer, and use the snot out of it! Duh. *grins*

Are you going to charge people or make it free? The jury is still out on that one, however I'm leaning towards setting it up to charge 10 or 25 cents, and making the appropriate coinage available to anyone that wants a cold drink. There is something visceral for me in the act of depositing money and letting the unit operate as it has for the forty-something years since its birth. From my research online, that amount of money is pretty close to what a can of soda would have cost from the 1960s to the 1970s as well.

So, here I go...embarking on another of my projects, although this one is a bit more mechanical in nature than some of my tech projects. But hey, it's always good to get your overalls on, roll up your sleeves, and tackle something with a screwdriver, a pair of pliers and some good old elbow grease. Wish me luck, and I'll keep y'all posted on my progress!

Sundown, Out.

There she is! I don't like the black.
I think it will end up Pepsi blue.

Inside the service door. It's missing
the coin box, but that's easy to get.

Dispensing systems don't get much easier
than gravity!