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Vending apparatus and method having improved reliability

Image Number 9 for United States Patent #5586684.

A vending apparatus of the type having drop shelves, wherein the shelves are retained in an upright position by a solenoid, and wherein, when so positioned, the solenoid forms a series electrical circuit with the shelf, such that the position of the shelf can be tested by testing the integrity of this series electrical circuit. The vending apparatus can be equipped with an acoustic input, such that upon receiving a particular acoustic input signal, the machine will automatically test the position of the shelves by testing the shelf/solenoid circuit, and in this way, an inventory of the contents of the vending machine can be performed.

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