How to hack a Coke Machine

This one is from the email archives. It is a bit old, but a neat trick anyway.

Want to dazzle your friends with your technical prowess while checking out
the profitability of a vending machine route? Read on. Most Coke machines
built since the late 1990s can be “hacked” with a simple access code. Once
you enter the code, you can find out all kinds of information about the
machine’s sales.

1. Find a Coke machine that has an LED screen. The small screen will
typically scroll a message such as “Ice Cold Cokes.” If the machine’s LED
display simply displays the price, the steps below may not work.
2. Enter the access code by using the drink selection buttons. The
default access code is 4, 2, 3, 1, but the buttons aren’t numbered. They
will either say nothing or have pictures of “Coke, “Diet Coke,” “Sprite,”
and other Coca Cola products on them.

* If the buttons are in a column, button 1 is the top one.
Button 2 is the second one from the top, and so on.
* If they are in a grid or other format, button 1 is the top
left one. Button 2 is the one directly to the right of that, and so on.
3. Scroll through the menu to find out information about the machine.
Once you enter the correct access code, the message on the LED screen will
change. Typically it will say “EROR,” but on some machines it may simply
display a number. Use the buttons to navigate the menu.

* Press button 1 at any time to return to the previous menu or
to exit the menu to go back to normal mode.
* Press button 2 to scroll up through the selections.
* Press button 3 to scroll down through the selections.
* Press button 4 to select the displayed menu option.

Example Menu Options

1. EROR: This menu option displays error messages for the machine,
including problems that occurred with the refrigeration system, the
vending mechanism, the bill changer, and the bill validator. To see error
messages, press the select button (button 4) when the display shows EROR,
and then scroll through to see specific errors. Select an individual error
to see more details. Generally if only one type of error has occurred you
won’t be able to scroll through other error options.
2. CASH: This option allows you to see the machine’s total historical
cash intake, as well as the resettable cash counted for each drink
selection. Press the select button when the the LED display shows CASH.
This will show you the historical cash counted by the machine. Note that
it will include fractions of a dollar, such that if it displays 1352425,
the historical cash count is $13,524.25. Use the scroll buttons (2 or 3)
to navigate to the cash counts for each slot (each beverage selection).
The number displayed will show first the slot number and then the revenue
for that slot number since the last time the counter was reset. In some
machines, it will be preceded by the letters CA or SL (for “slot”).
3. SALE: This option allows you to see the machine’s historical total
number of sales, as well as the resettable number of sales for each drink
selection. It works like the CASH menu above, except that the numbers
displayed reflect the number of beverages sold.
4. RTN: Sometimes labeled EXIT, this option allows you to exit the menu
completely and return the machine to normal mode. Press the select button
to exit.

Alternate Menu

On machines with two panels of six buttons on each side, the same 4-2-3-1
code will access the Electronic Counter for the machine. After accessing
this menu, press 1 to see the total lifetime sales, 2 for the total
lifetime items sold, 3 for a breakdown of items sold of each selection, 4
for a breakdown of cash generated for each selection, and 5 for the
machine’s internal temperature. After a while without input, the machine
will return to the normal menu.


* This only works for Coke machines, which may sell products such as
Barq’s Root Beer, Sprite, Dasani, Evian, Fanta, Fresca, Frutopia,
Powerade, Hi-C, Minute Maid, Nestea, Odwalla, Mr. Pibb, Planet Java, Power
Ade, Seagram’s Ginger Ale, Simply Orange, Sparkletts, or Tab in addition
to Coke and Diet Coke.
* In general, these are the only options you can access without having
the door unlocked and open. Different machines may list these options in
somewhat different formats, so experiment a bit to learn what each new one
* If you need to exit the menu quickly (i.e. when you just can’t wait
another second to buy an ice cold Coke) press the change (coin return)
button. This will normally quit the menu.
* On some machines, holding the coin return button will display the
machine’s inner temperature.
* Vending machine owners or service people have the option to change
the access sequence from 4231 to some other combination of buttons, but
they rarely do. This is probably because having one code makes it easier
for anyone to service all the machines along a route. It may also be
because the information you can access through the external menu with the
door closed is limited and fairly harmless.
* There are several videos available on the internet that show people
using this hack. Many claim to be able to change prices or get a free
drink, but the videos don’t actually show them doing so.
* In order to get to the same menu in a machine that sells Pepsi
products, simply enter 1,3,2,4. All the menu options with be the same.
(This does not seem to work on all Pepsi machines)
* This might also work on some Coke vending machines that have a
numeric keypad instead of buttons for specific drinks. Enter in the Coke
code as usual, and you’ll get to the sales menu!


* This may be illegal in some jurisdictions, and it will generally be
frowned upon by store staff or machine service people, so exercise caution
when trying it out, and be sure to follow any applicable laws in your
* Don’t do this if there’s a line behind you.
* You might waste your time doing this, as Coca-Cola has distributed
new firmware to their vendors that would render these instructions

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