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Interfacing an old arcade cash reader with an Arduino

Arduino TeamApril 2nd, 2020

After picking up a free arcade machine, YouTuber “Another Maker” has naturally been considering what to do with it. One of the more interesting components included is the 1/5/10/20 U.S. dollar bill acceptor, which he outlines in the video below.

The cash reader is powered by a 12V supply, and “emulates” quarter inputs to the machine by sending multiple signals for each bill. Meaning, a dollar would be output as four quarters, five times that for a five dollar bill, and so on. This functionality is shown at the end of the clip on an Arduino Mega with an LCD keypad shield. The machine also has a 5V input, which can activated by an Arduino to make it flash LEDs and reject all bills when “business is closed.”

The code that enables it to read the device can be found on GitHub. And in case you’re wondering what Another Maker ended up building…