Friday, May 11, 2012

Taking the Coin out of "Coin Operated"

A few years ago the company I worked for also had their hands in apartment rentals. In trying to improve their facility they purchased at auction a truckload of brand new commercial coin operated washers & dryers intended for a bankrupt laundromat. Fortunately for me the units were never used and still had the original wrapping on them. Having picked up more then they needed at a good price I was offered for free a new washer & dryer for my home as opposed to buying a new set costing me an upwards of $400 & up. The only downside to the units were the fact that they were coin operated which wasn't to much of an issue as I had the coin tray key so I could use the same 5 quarters for both the washer and dryer.

While the system of using the same coins worked well for a number of years after some time it just became tiresome. Having no luck finding answers online I asked my father an engineer with over 30 yrs experience in the field of Industrial Operations how to remove the coin aspect of the units his response was one of "Don't do it!!, the machine won't work correctly." Trusting my father as all kids do no matter how old they get I left it alone until a few weekends ago thanks to the tooth fairy needing to borrow some coins from me I was stuck in a situation where I couldn't do my laundry due to not having $1.50 in quarters and every time myself or my wife would go out somewhere we would forget to get quarters once again I needed to find a better solution.

While I did have the key to the coin box I was missing the more important key that unlocks the compartment where the machine timers and start leaver are located. Taking a drill and a 3/8 drill bit I proceeded to drill out the lock to grant me access to the control compartment.

After opening the lid and getting a better look at the control mechanism I already noticed that to spite what I had been told previously this was going to be an easy "hack" in a manner of speaking.

For those who don't know the inside of a coin laundry machine, when the coin tray is pressed in all the way a arm pushes the timer spring loaded lever back and allows the tray to move the timer forward engaging the machine. Simply removing the coin part would allow me to do the same function with out the need for the coins.

Looking inside I noticed the only thing holding the coin mechanism in place was 4 #2 Phillips machine head screws and a long threaded bolt. After loosening the timer I removed it from the machine to give me more working space, as you can see you don't have a lot of room to work with.

After removing the plastic coin guide that allows the coins to fall into the coin tray I proceed to remove the screws and the 1 bolt.

On the bottom of the coin tray past the cover are arms like levers that allow the coin tray to fully engage the timer as long as there are quarters in the tray other wise it stops dead as it should when trying to move the tray forward.

Removing the pin that holds the arms in place allowed me to remove the arms and allowing the coin tray to engage the timer fully without the need for coins as you can see from the short clip below

The same type of system holds true for the dryer with regards to the coin tray removal and arm's that allow movement when the coins are in place. The only big difference between the two units other then one is on the right side & the other is on the left is that the timers are different as you can see from the video below.

The purpose of putting this little short blog post out there was to help those who may be in the same situation that I was in, as you would be surprised the number of well maintained laundry equipment that you can find for sale under $50, but unfortunately are over looked due to the Coin aspect.