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Topic: Coffee machine automation (Nespresso) (Read 11802 times) previous topic - next topic

kris92

Nov 16, 2013, 12:31 am Last Edit: Nov 16, 2013, 02:13 pm by kris92 Reason: 1
Hi !
I live in France so i don't know if Nespresso coffee and capsules are available and known elsewhere.
But in case you know what Nespresso is, here is the challenge :
We share a Nespresso coffee machine in the office. Today we were kidding about the fact that it will be cool if we were able to be notified (by email) if the water reserve is too low. Then, going further, we were thinking that it could be great if the water reserve could be filled automatically if water is low. Still going further, imagine that you can launch coffee preparation from your PC, by selecting the type of coffee you want (Ristretto, Arpeggio, Roma etc...).
Here are the main functionnality required :
- CPU board with ethernet (Arduino + Ethernet)
- water level sensor (ok, easy to implement)
- auto fill water reserve when low (ok, easy to do with a solenoid valve)
- if a Ristretto is required by the user, then automatically put a Ristretto capsule in the machine, close the coffee machine cover, put the cup, start coffee making.
- Capsules reserve management : i can't have a Ristretto if no more capsules are available in the reserve !


In red my points of failure....

We will have to hack a Nespresso machine  :)

Any idea will be appreciated !

Regards,

PaulS

Quote
In red my points of failure....

What have you tried? What actually happened?

I think you need to add some items to your list:
- have robot deliver the coffee
- have robot drink the coffee

krazydarcy

Yes, even in Wellington, New Zealand we have a Nespresso shop (Lambton Quay, opened a few weeks ago).  Ignoring the fact a proper espresso machine is better - and you can get super-automatic espresso machines, a few questions tyou have to answer before you could design it.

Water tank.  basically a ball-cock float valve in the water tank (smaller version of what a toilet uses) connected to a in-line water filter which in turn is connected to your cold water supply pipe would do the trick.  I did see a blog on a coffee site where someone did that to their espresso machine.  No electronics required for this part.

Does your machine already feed from several hoppers of pods? if not then you would need to build a dispensing system and I'd say a loading mechanism.
If so (or you manage to construct a working one) then a sensor in each "bin" to detect if empty (or second for nearly empty)

Then you need to set the machine to the mode for the drink type you are requiring (after checking on resource availability).

Also don't forget the machine's waste bin (where the spent pods go to) - either a full/nearly full sensor or possibly have some sort of drop chute into a bin under the counter.

I suspect that the mechanicals would dwarf your machine if its a manual loading nespresso machine.

Break the steps down to little simple blocks and then look at each seperatly.  You can have several momentary on micro switches on one analog input (same as how the freetronics 16x2 lcd screen does it's buttons - ( http://cdn.shopify.com/s/files/1/0045/8932/files/16x2LCDShieldv2.pdf  ) which saves on digital i/o pins

tronixstuff

After reading all that, I went and made a double ristretto and pondered your project. Biggest trial I can see is getting the pod in and then pushing the lever which locks it in.
A couple of Arduino tutorials at http://tronixstuff.com/tutorials - My Arduino book - http://nostarch.com/arduino. Please don't ask for help via direct message - use the forum!

kris92

#4
Nov 16, 2013, 02:41 pm Last Edit: Nov 16, 2013, 03:01 pm by kris92 Reason: 1
yes i have to build a pods dispensing system, certainly motors and rails based...
I will certainly need a cup dispensing system too !

Quote
Biggest trial I can see is getting the pod in and then pushing the lever which locks it in.

I agree...

I know that some machine models are electronic and automatically locks the lever when a pod is inserted. Maybe by hacking this electronic part of the machine it could be connected to the Arduino and by the way controlled by it.
(but the opening of the lever is still manual on these machines...)

Thanks to point me the "drink type" and the "waste bin" !
Choosing drink type remotely remains a problem....maybe it could be achieve by sending an little impulsion to the right electronic part(s) of the machine.
Regarding the "bin", your idea about a drop chute into a bigger bin (outside of the coffee machine) seems great. I think it can be relatively easy to do by hacking the machine (again).


alnath


UnoDueTre

#6
Nov 16, 2013, 03:29 pm Last Edit: Nov 16, 2013, 03:33 pm by UnoDueTre Reason: 1

I think you need to add some items to your list:
- have robot deliver the coffee
- have robot drink the coffee


And the most important one:
- have a reset switch handy for when the caffeine crazed robot starts running amok.

On a serious note, it's a great idea but I suspect the "interface" parts (both mechanical and electronic) will be quite a challenge.
A simpler "solution" would be to use a webcam to monitor the amount of water still available, assuming that the water reservoir is visible.
Of course it will not allow the ordering of cappuccinos or macchiatos.
Below is a link to a very famous setup using a webcam to monitor a coffee pot:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trojan_Room_coffee_pot

kris92

#7
Nov 16, 2013, 03:50 pm Last Edit: Nov 16, 2013, 03:52 pm by kris92 Reason: 1
Quote
use a webcam to monitor the amount of water still available

Seems to be overkill and not as simple as using basics water level sensors such as :
http://www.ebay.com/bhp/float-level-switch
or this little killer : http://www.dfrobot.com/index.php?route=product/product&product_id=690

But you gave me a new idea : automatically order new pods when reserve becomes low  ;)


UnoDueTre

Yes, using the webcam for only monitoring water level is an overkill compared to a float level, however with the webcam you automatically get to see the status of the machine by way of the LEDs and/or the LCD display if your model has them.

The other advantage is no invalidating of warranty with modifications.

Quote

But you gave me a new idea : automatically order new pods when reserve becomes low   :)


Nestle should give you a discount.  :)

kris92

#9
Nov 16, 2013, 04:12 pm Last Edit: Nov 16, 2013, 04:22 pm by kris92 Reason: 1
To me, a webcam would be only usefull to monitor the whole system during prototype test  phase (is the dispensing system works well ? is the cup at the right place ? does the coffee overflows ? etc...)

Regarding my project, i don't really care about invalidate the warranty  ;)


UnoDueTre

OK fair enough.
Please keep us posted as to your progress, I for one am quite interested in your project.
It reminds me of a similar project I did many years ago where I automated my microwave oven and kettle using a small ATX form factor motherboard running Linux.
Of course automating a microwave oven and a kettle is much simpler then a coffee machine but was still loads of fun.

kris92

For sure, i will let you know ! thanks for all your ideas, it was helpfull !

craigcurtin


For sure, i will let you know ! thanks for all your ideas, it was helpfull !


I think you could make this super cool by building it out of Lego - how good would that look in the office ?

The hopper for the pods is fairly easy - build an individual "Tower" for each type of pod and using a stepper to pull out the correct pin for the POD type required and drop it onto a LEGO tray to place it in the machine - hardest part is actuating the pod input mechanism reliably on the actual machine itself

Craig

kris92

yeah ! Lego seems a great and funny idea !  :)  :)
Will have to hack the Lego Electric Train to make it Arduino controlled !

Fun fun fun !!  :)

kris92

#14
Nov 22, 2013, 08:47 pm Last Edit: Nov 22, 2013, 08:53 pm by kris92 Reason: 1
Regarding the "bin", i was also thinking about using a little pression sensor to determine if the bin is full or not.
(Of course if it is full, you will not be able to get your coffe until it is emptied)

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