Beginners Guide to Cleaning Coin Mechanisms

Basic maintenance is key to keeping your vending machines looking good, functioning properly, and making you money. One key part of maintaining any machine is to keep the coin mechs clean and functioning smoothly. In this beginners guide, I’ll show you how to do this fast.

When I get used machines, the first thing I do is take the whole machine apart and clean it. After that, the coin mech gets a good once over. Some experienced operators will take the whole mechanism apart and clean each piece independently. However, I don’t recommend this to a beginner unless you have an identical, functional mechanism to use as a guide when putting it back together. So, in lieu of dismantling the complex coin mechanism, here’s the basics of how to clean it.

When I clean a mechanism, I use 2 products to get the job done. The first is petroleum jelly, which is a thicker lubricant moving parts, and lasts longer on moving parts. The second, believe it or not is spray glass cleaner. It grabs dirt and grime and makes it easy to blot out with a paper towel. As a bonus, the soaps inside the spray are very effective at getting into all the little nooks and crannies of the mech, and work as a lubricant themselves to keep everything running smoothly. I begin by taking the mech and turning the handle without a coin in it until it stops. In this gap I spray some glass cleaner, then turn the handle back. Then, I spray a little glass cleaner into the coin slot before sticking a coin into the mech itself, and then turn the handle all the way around for a “vend”. This assures all of the moving parts have gotten some glass cleaner on them. Turn the handle again so the gap is again visible. Use a piece of paper towel to blot out any dirt you see. If there’s a lot of dirt or dust, I will add a little more glass cleaner before repeating the process a few times. When the mech is sufficiently clean inside, turn the handle so the gap is again visible. Now, take a pea-sized amount of petroleum jelly, and place it right there. Take your coin, and run a few test vends so that the jelly is throughout the mech operation. You may notice that the coin will pick up a lot of jelly- don’t worry about this, as the mech will have more than enough- the coin is just getting the excess. I usually run about 5 test vends before stopping. By then the coin comes out pretty clean and the mech should handle like butter.

If your machine has a really dirty mech, as in it’s full of something like melted candy, you may have to take the mechanism apart. If you don’t have an identical mech to look at for comparison, I highly recommend you look up some diagrams before you try dismantling one “blind” as mechs have a lot of parts that all have to go back together in a very precise order to function properly. Good sources for this is A&A’s parts catalog (which has some excellent explosion diagrams) or any existing manufacturer at their respective websites.

If you run into trouble, there are lots of knowledgeable people who can help you over at the VENDiscuss forums.


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