Parlevel - MDB Machines Setup & Considerations

What is MDB?

In a vending machine, the MDB line is a 6 prong socket on the VMC (vending machine controller) that provides both power and data for the machine's bill validator, coin mech, and any attached cashless device. 

These components are daisy chained together through the MDB line and so all receive sales and other information from the machine board, regardless of whether a cashless device is being used or not.

In the VMS, setting up a vending machine with MDB means the machine will receive MDB transactions and not Dex files. There are some differences and considerations to take into account when considering setting up a machine as MDB.



The main difference between MDB & Dex is the form of information received by the VMS from the machine. 

A Dex file includes machine meters, alerts, and sales info. MDB transactions are just a line of data listing what was sold for a single transaction, providing the sale amount, MDB alias, product price, payment type, and a timestamp. Unlike Dex, which comes in batched according to a schedule and transactions are timestamped accordingly, MDB will list a timestamp per transaction (so long as the connection is stable enough to send information properly).

Some considerations for using MDB instead of Dex are as follows:

  • Since MDB transactions do not include cash meters, including records of change given by the machine, limited sales information may affect cash consolidation.
  • Individual MDB transactions are stored on the device until sent. Device memory is limited, so if the cellular connection isn't stable enough to send transactions regularly, then the memory may clear and the transactions will be lost entirely. 
  • MDB machines will require the assistance of Parlevel Hero Support to set up correctly. Best practices for setup are listed in the next section.


MDB Machine Setup

The following are steps to set up an MDB machine, according to best practices.

  1. Create your machine as offline in the VMS with the proper planogram applied. Please see this article regarding offline machine setup.
  2. Contact your Customer Success representative or a Hero Support agent with a list of your MDB device IDs before visiting the machine. These devices will need to be created in the system in order to have the transactions report to your VMS.
  3. Once devices are confirmed as created, you may visit the machine, attach the MDB device, and vend out from all machine slots. Each slot will send its unique MDB alias so that Support can map the incoming transactions to the VMS machine. You may want to confirm with Support during this process.
  4. Once online and mapped, the MDB machine will function similarly to a Dex-enabled machine, the most notable difference being that an MDB machine is serviced via Manual Parlevel and not a Fill Dex. 

Most machines are upgradable or able to use Dex instead of MDB. If you would like to confirm this for your specific machine model, contact your Customer Success representative or the machine manufacturer. Please provide the machine model and the VMC board firmware version.