How-To Guide :: Frozen Beverage :: Auto-Fill
Spaceman’s Auto-Fill is an option that is available on our line of Frozen Beverage machines. The auto-fill system is built into the machine and cannot be added after the fact. Spaceman’s autofill system is designed to work with a variety of pumps, including water pressure-based Brix pumps, along with other food-safe liquid pumps like those offered from Flojet and Fluid-o-Tech. The purpose of the auto-fill system is to automatically re-fill the mix-hoppers in the machine from a much larger container located elsewhere in the bar or restaurant (usually within the walk-in freezer). Spaceman does not provide the pump, tubing, or other items external to the machine.
The Spaceman Autofill system consists of a Microcontroller, two optical fluid level sensors, and a solenoid connected to a dispensing spout. External water-resistant connections for a user pump are also provided if the user is going to utilize a powered liquid pump.
Special Note: The connector provided for the external pump only acts as a switch. It is rated for 5-24VDC or 24-110VAC. The user must provide the power required to operate their pump.
The system operates on a simple loop. When the product level is reduced to the low-sensor in the hopper, the solenoid will open, allowing product to be pumped into the machine hopper. When the product level is full again, the solenoid will shut off, indicating the hopper is full. This cycle will repeat so long as there is product in the user’s larger remote container and power provided to the autofill system.
On the rear of the machine are two connections per auto-fill system. A ¼” John-Guest push-connect fitting, as well as a 2-pin water-resistant electrical connector.
Step 1: The user should connect their product supply line to the John-Guest fitting using an appropriate food-safe tube or adapter, such as one found here. If using a chilled-line, ensure refrigeration and insulation is installed appropriately.
Special Note: Spaceman highly recommends using an injection-molded adapter to connect to the John-Guest fitting on the machine. These fittings are less prone to leaking than simply using tubing. It is also highly recommended to support the tubing once connected utilizing zip ties or some other method to prevent excess strain on the fitting.
Step 2: The other end of this tubing should be connected to the user pump and storage container as follows:
Step 3: If utilizing a powered pump that needs to be turned off and on, wire the pump to the electrical connector as follows:
Special Note: Included with your AutoFill machine are two pre-wired Pump Connectors. These wires may be extended or shortened based on need. Please note that the length of the wire may impact the voltage sensed by the system, and wires should be kept to as short of distance as possible. If longer wires are required, it is recommended to place power supply as close to machine as possible.
To utilize your autofill system, simply turn the autofill power-switch on the side of the machine to the ON position.
If the product is low in the hopper, the autofill system will open the solenoid and if connected, turn on the user pump. Product should begin to flow into the system until the hopper is full.
- Turn the autofill system OFF anytime you are cleaning the machine, the remote system is empty, or you are not actively filling the machine hopper. Failure to do so may cause premature failure of the solenoid if it is left on too long.
- Spaceman recommends having the autofill system OFF during cleaning and following the user manual for regular filling of the hopper during cleaning procedures. This ensures that machine is purged, primed, and filled correctly prior to turning the autofill system on. It will also extend the life of the autofill system and its components.
The micro controller is equipped with the following status lights:
- Sensor Indicator Light (Green) :: These lights are illuminated when the sensor detects air.
- Relay Indicator Light (Red) :: These lights are illuminated when the solenoid should be open and user pump should be powered, or more simply, when the hopper should be filling
- Filling Indicator Light (Green) :: This indicator light is illuminated when the microcontroller is calling for filling of either the left or the right hopper.
Failsafe: The autofill system has an emergency fail-safe timer enabled. If it takes too long for the system to fill the hopper, the system will shut off to protect the components and prevent over-filling. If this event occurs, you can reset the system by turning the power OFF, and then back ON.
Leaking: If product is leaking from the John-Guest fitting, first ensure that the adapter or tubing used is cut perfectly straight, and is not pulled in a weird direction. Push-connect fitting may need to be replaced if this occurs.
Not Pumping: Failsafe may have occurred. First reset the system by turning the power OFF, and then back ON. If this does not resolve the problem, check autofill microcontroller for appropriate lights to ensure sensors, relays, and microcontroller are working correctly.