Free "freedom clip" turns off K-Cup DRM

Been tried in a related copyright pretext:

Almost worked.

That’s pretty much how Sega v. Accolade went. It didn’t work for Sega.

Lexmark tried the copyright angle a bit more aggressively, with the ‘toner loading program’ and the ‘printer engine program’ and their lockout chips on toner cartridges. The court concluded that, even if potentially copyrightable, the use as a purely functional component of a lockout system rendered them ‘functional’ rather than ‘creative’ for copyright purposes and that (at least for the purposes of selling interoperable toner cartridge chips), Static Control Components could go about their business.

So far, no dice; but judicial outcomes have an unnervingly stochastic feel to them, so next time, who knows?

1 Like

it takes about five minutes to boil enough for a four cup teapot.

Sure, but there were, at last count, about a bajillion different makers of these kinds of coffee machines, each of which seem to have their own unique podule thinga-mi-jig. Currently, where I live, George Clooney is desperately prostituting himself in a futile effort to get me to drink Nescafe’s take on this idea; the Nespresso. Funnily enough, in an example of interesting timing, our home espresso machine recently went on the fritz, and my partner did a full court press in an attempt to invite George into our house. So far he’s been relegated to that stupid ‘boutique’ (WTF? They’ve built an entire glass-fronted goldfish bowl temple to what is basically single serve instant coffee sachets. There are more small coffee roasters in this town than you can shake a stick at, and even Starbucks is retrenching because no one except the tourists wants their watery muck. I don’t expect it’ll last too much longer) and her workplace.

Agree 100% but even with my 230v kettle it still takes 60-120 sec/l depending on how much lime scale I let build up, we try to run reverse-osmosis filtered water now to keep it clean which is the big time waste. I couldn’t believe how fast it was first time I used it, I didn’t know they even existed in 110 countries.

The UK plug is a big chunky beast and I usually chop it and buy a replacement euro plug vs using an adapter, at least the voltage/Hz is compatible. I have modded American stuff by throwing a diode in one side to half rectify it down to 110vac, worked for dumb stuff like a sandwich maker.(edit, might have worked but see below, double peak voltage 110v-0v vs 55v-55v QUADRUPLES wattage and burns down houses!!)

Other than the obvious safety 220v is so much nicer, an American trained brain simply rejects the tiny wires used inside ovens and other high watt appliances. The biggest downside is how much more important good grounding is for the zaps from metal cases far from proper ground.

Yeah, but what about the rights of these companies to the future income stream that is predicted by the consumers they’ve rightfully gained?!?

Seriously though - I have a hard time fathoming the insane processes within companies that generate these types of schemes almost as much as that of the people who buy into them. I do think that it is incumbent on all of those who feel this is bad trend to make it clear to the MBA’s that it won’t be profitable - (with projects like this!) lest a situation arise like that of injets where the raw materials are hard to obtain in commodity form.

In every boardroom some enterprising person is trying to invent a new corporate life hack to get that tiny edge. Even a small edge produces a big bonus for an individual leading a big corporation, even though this hack ends up causing pain to millions with one more small increase or tax on getting by.

220V is actually quite safer.

As wiring ages, the resistance on the junctions is increasing as they corrode and (especially in case of aluminium wiring, wherever the owners are hapless enough to have it) flow under the pressure of the clamps. This happens with both voltage systems.

However, for the same power a 110V system requires twice the current. So far so good.

Except that, because U=RI and P=UI, and therefore P=RII=R*I2, the power loss (and therefore heating) on the same resistance is exponentially related to the current, so twice the current yields four times the heating on the same parasitic resistance.

More heating yields more thermal expansion, so more mechanical stresses with the load-unload cycling, so faster mechanical fatigue of the joint, so it gets loose faster, which in turn increases the parasitic resistance (and heating).

So now we have a nice runaway effect, where joint degradation accelerates the joint degradation. And one of the most crucial factors is four times higher with 110V than with 220V. And the end of this is a bit too often with a fire.

Add the factor that the US buildings are a bit too often somewhat flimsy wooden designs, and we have a recipe for trouble.

I would like to see a comparison of how many people die due to direct contact with electrical current vs exposition to smoke from bad-joint-initiated fires, in both 110V and 220V systems.

1 Like

Thought. US houses often have both 110V for common appliances, and 220V for heavy-duty ones like washing machines and dryers. The 220V branch could be easily tapped, extended to the kitchen, and terminated with e.g. the robust UK plug, for use with UK-imported fast-boiling tea kettle.

1 Like

I just know I get zapped far more often on 220v than in my 110v days, OTOH survivor bias I still live despite the zaps and I remember my 110v shocks as worse.


I got both. (The 110V when on vacation, living at a friend’s house, and not resisting an invitation to track down a circuit fault. I was used to the screws on the sockets being from the front, so when I grabbed one to pull out of its well, by its sides, I got it thumb-to-fingers of full current. ZZZAP. The 220V ones are a bit harsher than that, but I survived a lot, some of them solidly within the could-kill range. Learned from each, or at least tried to. Pro tip: don’t rely on the L and N pins being where they should be; also do not believe too hard that a Chinaman used brown for L and blue for N, when reclaiming a power cord.)

1 Like

Strictly speaking, instant coffee is coffee that has been brewed in a giant percolator, and then freeze dries. While some k cups are, in fact, pods of freeze dried coffee, many more are grounds sealed in a disposable mesh container, which are brewed in the traditional fashion Nespresso is similar, except that it’s brewed with steam, making it more similar to espresso.

At the end of the day it comes down to the question of “what are products for?” In the U.S. (and many other places too, I expect) there has been at least a nominal tradition of - “products are created to satisfy a customers need.” Which is one of the main reasons for the business tradition of honoring a returns policy or warranty if a good fails to meet the need for one reason or another. This trend seems to be a subversion of that ethos perhaps reflecting the shift in corporate culture to consider the “shareholders” rather than the consumers to be the true “customers”.


Well said; customers, or rather purchasing public are a resource to be farmed for cash often with the crappiest product the market will bear; the shareholders and board are the only customers if importance.


Pointless DRM is some manager’s job role; it will always be with us :wink:

1 Like

Still an ecologic disaster. Why can’t people just make themselves coffee?


Convenience, time, taste, variety? Many reasons.
Good to have all the options to choose from. That includes the option to make coffee the good but time consuming way as well as those little overpriced cups.

I predict that the next round in the K-cup DRM war will involve an “expiration date” hashed with a key and printed as a barcode on the lid of the pod.

1 Like

Aargh! Your diode is not reducing the peak voltage, so the insulation may be inadequate on the US appliance. Also, with a resistance like a sandwich maker, doubling the voltage quadruples the power, so half wave rectification is still overpowering it. If you manage to burn down your house by using an appliance in this way, your insurance will be invalidated. It is simply not worth it.

Have I by any chance met you on an IEC technical committee I wonder?

I have never seen a UL listed BS1363 plug/socket, so the note above about insurance invalidation applies. But I think that the US 220V plug will work just fine. Fit a suitable circuit breaker.

What are you doing? I am a former R&D engineer, who has worked with system and appliance testing (including up to 10kV DC and 10kA), and in my entire career I have never had an electric shock. Mind you, I have seen some horrible things in Southern Europe and I would never get involved in anything electrical in the PIIGSM countries.

Contrary to what many people believe, there is NO safe limit for electric shock and people have died of cardiac fibrillation following shocks of less than 2.5mA. Nor do electricians become acclimatised to shocks; their is no evidence that tolerance builds up. I have this from the relevant experts at H&SE in the UK, I have read the papers, and rule number 1 is disconnect before working, rule no. 2 is check the circuits before reconnecting, rule number 3 is check all external screws for either isolation (inserted into reinforced insulator) or effective earthing.


By a factor of two, I’d guess. The thing is likely to live if in short duty cycle, like the sandwich maker, and may heat fast (and may not even overheat if there is a thermostat inside), but I’d not trust it much as reliability will be impaired.

A better way, for resistive loads, would be a triac regulator. Only few more parts. Still, could go wrong and cause trouble, and the thermal fuses, the last line of defense on heater-equipped appliances, may not be reliable on 220V if rated for 110V.

I don’t think so. :stuck_out_tongue: Why? :innocent:

From what I saw in the US, I’d rather trust the UK one, paperwork or not. (Also, the UK plug has a built-in fuse.) The US specs are rather flimsy in comparison, according to a relative who worked in appliance certification testing facility.

Could do the job, but I’d do it with a wrinkled nose. Good comment re the breaker.

You are lucky. Or handy. Or with a well equipped lab and good procedures that aren’t annoying enough to be skirted routinely.

Ohh, the South… Ukraina and Russia and the neighbouring areas can be quite worse.

Some people are predisposed. Most can withstand the 10 mA. Not all.

There can be a survivor bias in play; when you survive enough, you are tested to not have a weakness in your body that would do you in with a moderate shock. (Doesn’t mean that you’re guaranteed to survive a stronger one.) They also lose the flavor of something New And Exceedingly Dangerous, though they definitely won’t become any more pleasant.

I agree totally. Though there is an exception when you have to work on exposed mains, e.g. when repairing a power supply or diagnosing a faulty washing machine board (been there, done that, kept my distance and it was my colleague who got zapped instead) and cannot dictate the conditions (the wiring harnesses are too short and you work in forced position, etc.).

There is also the possibility of doing a simple operation on exposed switch, when you cannot switch the breakers off due to other equipment, or do not know where the breaker for the given branch is. Been there a few times; the trick, when you use a litz wire cable, is to solder a short piece of rigid copper one on the end (and secure with a heat-shrink tube); then you can hold it with pliers and push it into the screw clamp or under a screw head with ease, unlike the alternative that’s similar to pushing rope. Work very slow and deliberate, do not fight the wires, if something does not go into the place without fight take a break and think it through. I never got zapped when deliberately working this way, it was always either something exposed and under test/repair/construction in the lab or in the field, or some stupid mistake when I thought the wire is either N (and trusted the Chinese-made colors without testing, this introduced an error into my lab wiring that lingered there for years and was probably responsible for at least two shocks I got for this exact trusting-N reason; after the latter I tracked the problem down and it explained the former one) or switched off. (Or something old and worn and genuinely having a problem. Or an old house with two-wire wiring, N and Earth connected (in accordance with the old specs), and L and N swapped in the breaker box (NOT in accordance with the specs, old or new); that one was a fat zap from a keyboard chassis. Ouch.)

An old trick for current limiting in case of a fault is a lightbulb connected in series with the device under test. A short or overcurrent will light up the bulb instead of tripping the breakers. The nonlinear dependence between filament current and filament resistivity is leveraged here.

On a side note, a good trick to improvise a low-current isolation transformer is hooking two transformers (e.g. 220/12V) back to back. Power supplies in standby mode or low-loaded do not take much current so it is often enough.

1 Like