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Interfacing the Bartendro with an Arduino

I bought a Bartendro dispenser and can't seem to get anything to work. I split a CAT-5 cable and connected the appropriate ports on the Bartendro to the corresponding Arduino ports.

Despite what I tried, I couldn't get the lights to even turn on.

According to the documentation, I expect the lights to turn on if I simply apply power to it. Is this correct? Could I simply have a faulty unit? Thanks.

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Hi Nick,

The easiest way to connect to and control a Bartendro Dispenser is through your computer and an FTDI device. Something like this. Keep in mind that the Dispenser needs a 5V supply, but the UART signals should be 3.3V (the dispenser is 5V tolerant though). Then all you do is start a terminal program and connect to the appropriate serial port at 9600 baud 8,N,1. Type an exclamation point '!' at the prompt and your dispenser should respond with a message. Type 'help' and it should spit out a list of the commands you can use.

The LEDs will not work unless the Vin voltage (Dispenser pin 1) is greater than 12V. Also, by default, the numerous LED patterns won't work unless you provide a square wave with 2ms period to the SYNC signal (pin 7) on the dispenser.

If you decide to use an Arduino to send the SYNC signal and also want to send commands from your computer's command prompt through the Arduino, you'll need to use something like the SoftwareSerial library. This leaves the native UART of the Arduino as the computer interface, and allows you to set another set of pins (something like 10,11) as the software UART to communicate with the Dispenser.

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Alright, I'm trying to talk straight to the Bartendro over Serial. No arduino involved at all.

I've connected the FTDI device you linked to the bartendro and my computer. I'm using CoolTerm for OS X as a Terminal Program.

I select the USB serial port, connect on 9600 8,N,1. No matter what I type, (either '!' or 'help') nothing is returned from the bartendro.

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Double check that your RX and TX are not swapped and that the Dispenser is receiving 5V. Make sure that you connect the ground pin of the Dispenser to the ground pin of the FTDI device too.

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I am using the 5V FTDI connector that you linked to. Unless the RX and TX in that connector are swapped, then they are correct. I have also tried a separate FTDI cable, both with the same results (that is to say, no result).

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Did you try swapping RX and TX? Did that work? Let me know if you're still stuck and I'll try to help you narrow it down.

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I don't know what you mean swapping the RX and TX. Again, I'm using the connector that you linked, and there is no way to swap any of the wires. It plugs straight into the bartendro.

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Which of the two comm methods are really working with the Dispenser - text or binary?

The gitHub docs indicate the dispenser uses a binary packet while this website indicates there is an (undocumented) text interface ... Control a Dispenser from a Computer

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They should both work, although the text method is going to be much easier to use if you're just controlling 1 dispenser.

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Nick will be eternally grateful.