I'd think a solar gate charger/opener would supply enough juice. Add a
car battery, and you can power the portable credit card validation and
But then you're paying for the credit card service, the cell modem,
etc. Add a video camera (working or just for show) and that'd probably
I like the 'make them drive up to the house' idea. Much cheaper.
If not that, I'd go with Todd's idea, but they make locks that you can
open once then the key is trapped. Then you have to come and extract
the key, which you can replace in the dispensing unit. You've probably
seen them in bus stations, airports, whatever. But I'll be those aren't
cheap either, unless you find a set of those lockers being tossed.
I mean, you can do it...but that's a lot more work than a sign pointing
them up the road to your house.
But yeah, bills into used candy-bar-style machine that drops key, which
they insert into locker to open door and get wood would work. You just
need the used vending machine, the locks/keys/the fairly large (I bet,
if it's going to run a vending machine) solar charger and a few car
batteries, then build the lockers themselves, and you're good to go.
Fasten the vending machine to something sturdy, and put it under an awning.
You know...now that I think about it, if that vending machine isn't
running a compressor to cool the contents (and I don't think those kind
are), its power needs might not be that extreme. So maybe you wouldn't
need that big of a charger/battery. What you need is someone closing a
bowling alley. :-)
On 11/21/2010 9:12 PM, Todd Walke wrote:
> There are 12v-powered bill validators that you could power
> with a car battery and a solar charger. Probably too expensive for
> this application, though...
> Here's a thought. Inspired by the pay lockers you'd find at
> bus stations.
> Step 1: Build a wood bin. Think individual cubicles, each
> holding a "stack" of wood. Each cubicle has a door with a lock. Each
> lock takes a different key.
> Step 2: Find a cheap, used vending machine that takes bills.
> Vending machine goes on the porch, where there is electricity and it's
> out of the weather. Vending machine dishes out keys. Each key has a
> tag indicating which door in the wood bin it opens.
> A sign goes at the end of the drive. People pay at the
> vending machine, take the key and open a bin to get their wood.
> Only flaw - you'd need people to leave the key so you can
> re-stock it into the vending machine. You could make several extra
> keys for each lock, that's cheap. But if they keep the key, what
> stops them from returning later to open that bin again and getting
> free wood? You could replace a lock every time someone takes the key
> - that'd work if the locks are cheap.
> Or think up a mechanism that trips when the key is turned,
> preventing the lock from rotating back to the lock position (where the
> key can be removed). That'd work if the locks only permit the key to
> be removed in one position.
> Anyway, that's an idea off the top of my head. If I win the
> contest I'll expect a nickel royalty per stack :)
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