Tag Archives: dollar bill validators

UNDERSTANDING Dollar bill validators

UNDERSTANDING DOLLAR BILL VALIDATORS ON A VENDING MACHINE

Many people that buy vending machines don’t realize that the dollar bill validators have to be serviced on a regular basis. Dollar bill validators have rubber parts, such as belts, tires or wheels that wear out or slip over time. A good comparison as to how long these units will last is to compare them to the tires on your car. Do you drive 5,000 miles a year or 25,000 miles per year? The more you use these units the more wear that occurs on the rubber parts. Another factor is what environment or type of location these are used in. If you drive your car down a dirt or gravel road the tires will wear out much sooner than if you drive on smooth asphalt, the same principal applies to the rubber parts in the validators. More about this later when we discuss the types of locations.

HOW LONG DO THEY LAST

Based on our data from repairing hundreds of bill validators every year we have found some overall trends. The average life of all bill validators has proven to be about fourteen months in an average location with medium volume. We have large vending companies that bring in validators for repair in as little as five months in high volume accounts. We have had small vendors bring in validators for repair after three years in a slow office type account with low volume. Once again the above numbers are only averages based on ‘all’ validators returned for repair over a period of time.

TYPES OF LOCATIONS

Locations that seem to be ‘hard’ on dollar validators can include but are not limited to laundromats, metal grinding facilities, paint and body shops, stone or masonry facilities, work areas with spray booths or other airborne matter. Locations that are ‘easier’ on dollar bill validators usually include offices, retail outlets such as auto dealerships, pet stores, department stores etc. You do not want to choose a location based on the wear and tear on the dollar bill validators. Many of the locations that have the most wear and tear are also some of the best locations.

CLEANING CARDS

Many of our customers purchase cleaning cards in an effort to extend the life of their validators. These cards do not reduce wear of the rubber parts. The way these cards work is to clean the dirt and grime that might build up on the belts and other rubber parts. When this buildup occurs it makes the belts ‘slick’ and therefore they do not grab the bill properly. While I have never personally used any of these cards we do have customers that buy these cards from us by the box, so I can only assume they work. I was told by one customer that using a card can extend the life of the validator up to one month. I have learned that if you use these cards make sure to buy the ‘non alcohol’ type cards, as they will not harm the surface areas of the belts and will not ‘fog’ optical sensors.

TYPES OF VALIDATORS, MAKES AND MODELS

There have been many types of validators made over the years. Here are some of the more popular types and the pros and cons that we have found with these units.

Ardac, USA15/3. Pro; this compact validator opens easily to clear the bill path unlike other makes of the same vintage that do not. Bi-directional acceptance. Con; small drive belts that come off the drive wheels easily if the customer tries to cheat the unit by pulling on the bill after it has been inserted. Weak drive motors on the earlier units go bad quite a bit of the time and are very expensive to replace. Accepts $1 bills only.

Maka (now called Conlux) NB10/15 model. Pro, validator opens easily to clear the bill path unlike other makes of the same vintage that do not. Bi-directional acceptance. Good bill acceptance rates. Con; accepts $1 bills only, except its age, many of these units still in service functioning well. Mars VFM1/3. Pro, bi-directional acceptance, VFM3, high level, low level interface. Snack bezel allows use in many snack machines. Con; validator does not open to clear bill path, should jam occur the validator has to be partially disassembled to clear the jam. Due to its age the magnetic heads have become worn on many of these units and causes them to have poor bill acceptance rates, accepts $1 bills only.

Coinco CBA2. Pro, long belts give the unit a very long life. Con; one way acceptance, validator does not open to clear bill path, should jam occur the validator has to be partially disassembled to clear the jam. 110 volt, Single price only interface.

Coinco BA30. Pro; validator opens easily to clear the bill path unlike other makes of the same vintage that do not. Bi-directional acceptance. Quick bill acceptance. Flash codes to diagnose trouble with the validator. Dual interfaces, can use with 24 volt MDB machines as well as single price units. One of the most popular dollar validators ever made. Con; when new would accepts $1,$5,$10,$20 bills, due to its age and the board being non upgradeable it now only basically accepts $1 bills.

Coinco Mag50, similar to BA30. Pro; validator opens easily to clear the bill path unlike other makes of the same vintage that do not. Bi-directional acceptance. Quick bill acceptance. Flash codes to diagnose trouble with the validator. Dual interfaces, can use with 24 volt MDB machines as well as single price units. Con; when new would accepts $1, $5, $10, $20 bills. Due to its age and the board being non upgradeable it now only basically accepts $1 bills, unless made after around 2003.

Coinco Mag Pro, similar to Mag50. Pro; validator opens easily to clear the bill path unlike other makes of the same vintage that do not. Bi-directional acceptance. Quick bill acceptance. Flash codes to diagnose trouble with the validator. Dual interfaces, can use with 24 volt MDB machines as well as single price units. Flashing lights give visual appeal. Con; when new would accepts $1, $5, $10, $20 bills, due to its age and the board being non upgradeable it now only basically accepts $1 bills, unless made after around 2003.

Coinco Bill Pro. Pro; validator opens easily to clear the bill path unlike other makes of the same vintage that do not. Bi-directional acceptance. No control box for flexible mounting. MDB splitter harness built it. Most Bill Pro BP2 units can be updated to take the newer $5 bills. BP4 models can be updated to accept $1,$5,$!0,$20. Con; weak drive motor, minimal flash codes.

MEI VN2000 series validators. Pro; very reliable bill acceptance. Bi-directional acceptance. Compact size with soda bezel installed. Validator opens easily to clear the bill path. ‘Flash Port’ models can be updated to accept the new $5 bills. This unit has now become the new standard of the industry. Con; separate power harness, expensive kit required to install ‘snack’ style bezel to replace VFM3.

Conlux NBM3000 series validators. Pro; very reliable bill acceptance. Bi-directional acceptance. Validator opens easily to clear the bill path. Flashing lights on the newer models. Most of these can be updated to accept the new $5 bills. Built in splitter MDB harness. Con; a little noisy when accepting bills, large bill box too deep to fit many soda machines.

We hope this article has given you more information about your bill validators and helps you in choosing units that are right for your vending machine needs. If you are currently using any of the older validators mentioned in this article that have major cons and have them fail, you might decide it is worth it to move up to a newer, more reliable style of validator.

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