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for The Animal Vending Machine

The Animal Vending Machine is a smart enrichment device that accepts tokens in exchange for a food reward. Animals must insert tokens into the token receptacle. As the token travels down the token chute, the token color sensor detects the specific pink color of the token. This triggers the motor, which turns the knob on the food hopper. Food is dispensed out of the food output. Users can control the amount of food that is dispensed per token using the dial inside the machine.


Animal-Facing Side

This is the "front" of the vending machine that attaches to the mesh.

Machine Interior

Red pieces are meant to touched by users on a regular basis.

Quick-Start Instructions

  1. Mount the machine to the outside of an enclosure with 2 inch x 2 inch square mesh

  2. Turn on the machine AND the battery. The machine's on switch is located on the computer housing plate, and the battery switch is located on the battery itself

  3. Fill the hopper with food and remove the white hopper cap

  4. Remove the rodent plug

  5. Use the dispenser advance button to turn the motor so the hopper knob can fit inside the cradle. Ensure that the hopper knob cradle's open side is facing upwards. Place the hopper in the cradle

  6. Prime the machine by using the dispenser advance button until a bit of food comes out

  7. Use the dispense quantity dial to select how much food you’d like to come out

  8. Press the system wake button to wake the machine, and test with a token
    Note: the machine will go to "sleep" after 60 seconds of inactivity. The machine will not detect tokens if it is asleep. The machine can be woken up by activity in front of the motion sensor on the animal-facing side of the machine or by pressing the "system wake" button. For more information, see the "Electronics" section of this guide.

    When finished using The Animal Vending Machine, replace the rodent cap, remove the tokens from the machine, and turn off the machine and the battery.


  1. Hang machine on 2" x 2" steel square mesh via upper hooks

  2. Place lower hooks onto mesh

  3. Clamp lower hooks using the red handles on the inside bottom corner of the machine.

  4. Tighten the upper hooks using the red knobs until the bottom delryn hooks are slightly taught. They should have a little give to them. Be wary of over-tightening the machine because the bottom hooks can snap under too much tension.

    To dismount, follow the above steps in reverse order



The machine runs on battery power. The machine and the battery must both be switched on for the machine to work.


The machine goes into a dormant state to preserve battery power, which is indicated by a slow "breathing" light on the main computer housing panel. The machine will not detect tokens when it's asleep, There are two ways to wake the machine from its dormant state: (1) activity in front of the motion sensor located on the animal-facing side of the machine, or (2) pressing the green system wake button located on the computer housing panel.

IMPORTANT: the battery must be switched on to charge. The battery has green lights to indicate how much charge is left.


The machine has a color sensor located inside of the token chute. This sensor determines when a token has been inserted into the machine and triggers the motor to spin, causing food to dispense.

The machine also has a motion sensor on the animal-facing side. It detects when an animal is near, and wakes the machine from its dormant state so it's ready to look for tokens. The machine will not detect tokens in its dormant state.

Brain Panel

The machine's "brains" are housed inside of a case with a panel on the front. The panel includes:

  • System status indicator - indicates if the machine is awake, asleep, or if there's an issue (see next section, "System Status")

  • Power switch - turns the machine on and off

  • Dispenser advance button - toggles food hopper rotation. Ensure the food hopper knob cradle is "open" before you insert the hopper

  • System wake button - manual button to wake system from sleeping state

  • Cloud status light - indicates if machine is connected to the 3G cell network to upload data and allow for updates

  • Dispense quantity - allows user to set rotation of food dispenser to control food output

Brain Panel_edited.jpg
System Status

The system status lights indicate the state of the machine. In an effort to save battery power, the machine goes into a dormant state when it hasn't detected motion or a token in a few minutes. The machine only looks for the pink colored tokens when it is in its awake state.

  • Flashing color other than red = machine is on and “awake”. It is ready to detect a token

  • Flashing red = machine is on and “awake”, but the food dispenser is set to zero so no food will come out

  • Slow “breathing” light = machine is on but is “asleep”, so the motion sensor must be triggered or you can press the System Wake button to activate the machine

Cleaning & Maintenance

  • The hopper is food-grade and is washable with soap and water

  • To wash the tokens, use soap and warm water

  • If the token chute gets dirty or is jammed:

    • Unscrew four red thumb screws

    • Gently remove token chute and clear jam

    • Use wet wipes or paper towels to clean inside of chute–use care on the color sensor part of the token chute. The acrylic acrylic window inside of the token chute is easily scratched

    • Washing the token chute is possible, but contact Nick & Emily PRIOR to washing because the fragile color sensor is housed in the token chute and it is not waterproof

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