donation counter for collection point (not a money counter)

Hello, I run a fundraising effort in the area and am wanting to find a way of getting an estimate of how many donations are made in the money collectors, allowing me to determine average donation amounts. I'm not interested in somehow counting the money, but rather detecting how many times change or bills would pass through the slot.

These collectors are similar to a Salvation Army collection bucket, to give you an idea. It would need a ten second delay before counting a new donation to allow for people putting multiple bills or coins in. The counter would need to be reset each day, either automatically or with a button; the ultimate, if achievable for under $100, would be a memory that could give an hourly breakdown and up to a 90 day history that could be exported to a spreadsheet.

The slot the money passes through measures a half inch wide and three inches long, and this device would need installed on the inside of the collection bin to be protected from the elements.

Is this possible? Is there an existing project that could be adapted? Thank you in advance.

It's totally doable. An infra red diode and emitter would be perfect for the job of detecting anything passing through the slot. You then have a choice of either just keeping a running tally (I'd suggest in EEPROM) or, for a few dollars more, you could include an SD card to log the time of each transaction.

Edit: :'( I was beaten to it.

A little IR emitter/detector should be just fine.

The emitter can be set to always be HIGH(on)m and all you would need to do is look at the state of the detector. You will need a state machine to only increment once per coin or bill, but that is very easy and you already have that example with the arduino software under Examples.

You will get some inaccuracy if two or more coins or two or more bills go in at once. People are not going to drop a lot of small change in, coin by coin, nor are they going to put two or more bills in separately if they're folded together.

Hi, just a suggestion, instead of detecting objects going in the slot, detect a hand over the top of the tin. The hand will normally stay close to the top of the tin while putting multiple items in the slot.

Tom...... :) Thats my ten cents worth...... :D

Henry_Best: You will get some inaccuracy if two or more coins or two or more bills go in at once. People are not going to drop a lot of small change in, coin by coin, nor are they going to put two or more bills in separately if they're folded together.

That's why he said 10 seconds of non-donation before counting the next one. It's just a big debounce.

I would put in a pair of pairs. one pair on each axis to create an X shape.

the odd coin may pass through without hitting the beams.

RTC, and SD card. if you have a lot of them and want to know what locations are best and what time of day is best, you would also need to note that information in some manner.

I think that for under $100 you can get this to work. with an ardino, a ReaTimeClock, an SD card and a GPS tracker.

not sure of the power needed