Free Laundry

While waiting for his clothes to dry, our reader [xaio] decided to poke around and see how his building’s coin laundry system worked. It turned out to be ridiculously simple. All he needed to do was jumper the cable coming from each machine and they’d run without issue. We wonder why the relay box is so big. In any event, it could certainly benefit from a more secure installation.

52 thoughts on “Free Laundry

  1. Erm… great. Why are you guys posting this?! Get some cool hardware mods, some more audio stuff, or maybe some way to make an easy synth keyboard using a single oscillator, something _cool_. Most hackers aren’t too concerned about getting free laundry or simple relay boxes. I’m sorry but that’s just boring. This site is great but it could do with a how-to section if you aren’t going to post any interesting or relevant hacks. Don’t get me wrong, most the time you guys are great, but lately… are you running out of hacks or something?

  2. I think it relevant and cool. It is amazing how many common items we interact with everyday, technology that people have interacted with for generations even, that no one has ever bothered to THINK to hack. It appears no one has even given the first thought as to how to keep them secure in even the most rudimentary form from intrusion or even simple repurposing.
    People need to think to make even brutally simple observations like this is MORE, not less, about the world we live in.

  3. I enjoy reading these articles and hacking in general if for nothing more than to understand how everything works. Sure, most people know ‘what’ things do, but rarely ‘how’.

    Also, I hope my (soon to be completed) entry makes the page!

  4. So one particular kind of washer can be defeated in a trivial way. That’s hardly worth calling a “hack.” I can’t decide which is more “rediculous,” the quality control on the posts or the quality control on the spelling!

  5. Ryan’s total audiophile. Which is like the hacker community equivalent to hacked people.

    Never have I seen more money wasted then on audio wires that could have easily been just as effective as coat hanger wiring.

  6. This is a hack. It is useful in that it reminds all of us that if you take a moment and observe, you can save yourself a lot of trouble and headache by NOT overengineering a hack. Kudos. Ryan: stop bitching, you didn’t like it, cry me a river.

  7. @tom 50% of hacks are made that result in pirating or in the physical world done that go against the intended usage of a device. Hacks are like the rest of life, some can be used for good things some for bad things.

    This site is just a plethora of all hacks, how you use them is to your own discretion.

  8. That’s a huge coin supply. The ones here in the states have the coin mechanism built into the washer, and the washer is supplied by direct mains power. Inside the machine it likely has the relay set up to something similar, so I guess we’ve already been down this road of free laundry.

  9. I don’t need to steal laundry service, in fact severe allergies to formaldehyde and rose-based perfumes make me physically sick as I even pass a place to do laundry.

    Blame “fabric softeners” and drier sheets. I get a rash if I wear anything that has had downy in it, even when washed a couple dozen times in safe detergent.

    I don’t see stealing laundry service as an ethical high ground. But this should make people more aware. (I consider busting your way out of a plaster and composite board houses a hack, but in fiction people always stay locked in a room, go figure. I would punch or kick my way out of the wall if it came to that, think outside the box.)

  10. @nubie:
    I like that “locked room egress hack”!
    you should post it!

    I mean, uh…waaa hackaday isn’t leet enough for me, waaa.
    Another post on hackaday, more mewling from the peanut gallery.
    Go figure that one.

    Ethically, well you shouldn’t steal.
    Technically, well the apartment should secure their stuff.
    People steal!

    Wouldn’t this really be more of an exploit anyway? lol.

  11. the point is that the 50volt cable comes from the miele washing machine and the relaybox is from another company. so it seems to be an convantional way to interact with a washing machine at least from miele.
    Casual i know that the relay box ist just 1/4 as big as the case.
    p.s. thats a useful comment

  12. This is alright, but I would like to have seen something that actually interacts with the RS-485 bus on the washer/dryer to pull it off. It is silly to think that the protocol that they are using is so insecure to be fooled by a simple jumper though.

  13. Suppose you were the owner of the washing machines, paid for the machine, water, and electricity. Now a bunch of hacks just used your services without paying. How long would you keep the machines there? Would you pay for a more secure system? Or would you say it wasn’t worth it?

    It is a minority of theives that screw up good things for the rest of us.

  14. @moliski

    If I was the owner I wouldn’t rip my tenants off by charging 2.50 euros, which is ~$3.50US for a flipping wash/dry in machines straight from the 1980’s. They probably don’t dry ANYTHING.

    Similar to how my landlord it. It used to cost 50centsUS(couple of months ago) to wash/dry in their shitty driers. Now it is like 1.50 or 2.00 and I have to run everything through twice. If this worked for my machine I would use it.

  15. back in school someone figured out how to reprogram the washers and dryers in my dorm. everything was self contained in the washer, and using the buttons on the front you could reprogram it to charge 0 quarters instead of the 12 quarters it was asking for.
    just had to make sure to change it back to 12 quarters after you were done so nobody else caught on.

  16. the machines in my apt. basement got their little computers in a frozen state somehow one time (“ERR”), so i unplugged and replugged them to reboot it. and so I found that about a 1/4-second power bounce will give you free washing minutes.

  17. Hey! This is great! Here’s a hack for you: Why not get out your 36″ pry bar and rip into the change box on that thing! Free money! While you’re at it, might as well use that pry bar to “hack” into the local ATM as well! Way to go, guys…

    This is lame.

  18. i have to agree with ryan….lately it looks like you guys cant find things as interesting to post as before a little while.i dont specifically say that for the laundry thingy,but in there new stuff in the team?

  19. Okay, sorry to make so many people upset but it was just my opinion. I guess it’s good that they put something out here for everybody and yeah, it’s probably the fault of the people who just complain and don’t even send in recommendations for something better. Maybe it’s just because I don’t use a coin operated washer, lol

  20. Love the hack, would like to see more of these, bit like the barcode hacks you had earlier,

    I’m thinking along the lines of security through obscurity that just goes unnoticed in everyday life.

    Reminds me of the old basketball light systems, they used a simple relay too and someone had wired it up to a spare circuit breaker above it, so all you had to do was flip the extra circuit breaker and the lights would go on, flip them off and the coin slot worked as normal.

  21. home entertainment hack? it’s a photo of a washing machine and boasting about stealing. it’s not a good hack, it’s trivial.
    better put up how to fake atm slots and use radio modules to collect credit/debit card data. yeah.

  22. Thanks for this post. This is a great example of insecurity and hackability in an everyday scenario. Don’t listen to the six year old kids posting comments that this is boring just because it is not a technologically involved hack. (Who let them on the Internet anyways?)

    Sometimes the best hacks are simply some of the most simple ones that haven’t been implemented yet, and I believe this post emphasizes that philosophy.

    I appreciate the healthy balance of technologically involved hacks for those who have time to implement them, and quick and easy hacks for those who don’t have a ton of spare time on their hands.

    Keep up the good work Hackaday!

  23. @tom

    ‘the act of stealing’
    I don’t even know where to start on that.
    Lots of hacks are illegal for stupid reasons, don’t post your baby crap nobody wants to hear about it.

    I’m a little late on this, but still.

  24. My trick for free laundry was to always check the rubber seals and lint traps in the machines for coins before starting a load.
    I’d usually find enough for laundry and a coule of sodas

Leave a Reply

Please be kind and respectful to help make the comments section excellent. (Comment Policy)

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.