Hacked Gadgets Forum

October 14, 2014

AirWick Freshmatic Teardown – Bypass Protection Method

at 4:07 am. Filed under Teardown

  AirWick Freshmatic Teardown_8361


You probably have a few of these AirWick Freshmatic room fragrance sprayers in your house. One thing I noticed on the packaging was it could only be used with AirWick refills. I was curious how they could tell the difference between Airwick and generic refill canisters. Turns out there is a Vishay TCNT2000 Reflective Optical Sensor that is at the heart of their protection scheme. It simply looks for the black bars that are printed on the neck of the spray can. As the can is sprayed the sensor is watched to ensure the black bars move past the sensor when expected. If the bars aren’t present the system immediately flashes the red light indicating. You can see in the video below that it continues to monitor the sensor for about a second after the motor is turned off to ensure the plunger eventually moves back to the correct position. The build quality is amazing for a small throw away device. When you consider the device is basically free when you purchase a set of spray cans with the sprayer it reminds me of inkjet printers which were often almost free in the hopes that you will spend hundreds on replacement inkjet cartridges. 

If you end up with a damaged neck label which prevents a can from spraying or if you have some cans that don’t have the the barcode present you can download and print the barcode here, it is basically some 2mm black and white stripes.


AirWick Freshmatic Barcode for Can










May 2014 of dysfunction its sold men a cialis . Below reviews, comments by and a of 7...

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18 Responses to “AirWick Freshmatic Teardown – Bypass Protection Method”

  1. NoOne Says:

    “…download and print the barcode here…”

    You linked the Vishay Datesheet NOT the Barcode PDF

  2. Annie Says:

    Links for the barcode return the TCNT2000 datasheet.

  3. Athrax Says:

    Wait, what…. those two little bars on the nozzle/plunger
    of the spraycan are their copy protection? This is yet another
    DMC scheme that can be defeated with a sharpie, then.


  4. Dude Says:

    I guess they put a design patent on the can or the plunger part of it.
    This is a classic trick to keep the competitors away as you require s feature to look a particular way and then you put a design patent on it so nobody can something looking close to it.
    it is like requiring an original Picasso drawing on the thing and suing anybody who would sell one featuring a “fake” one.

    Some packaging material manufacturers did the same trick a few years ago: the packaging machine required a special “barcode” on the carton that was protected by a design patent. You could only buy the material from the original manufacturer (who sold the machine quite cheap). And that means big bucks when it affects millions of milk cartons…

    Somehow it’s cool to see all the tricks companies have to protect a product, but it is somehow creepy and certainly disgusting when it means screwing consumers (Inkjet and some 3d printers for example)

  5. Derek K. Says:

    Could you pop the sprayer tip off of the Airwick can and the tip off of a competitor’s can and swap the tips to get the competitor’s can to work? I’ve tried this trick with a Time Mist sprayer (which takes Country Vet cans) and an Off-brand where the Off-brand had “wings” protruding from the sprayer tip that made it too tall to fit in a Time Mist sprayer. Swapped the empty CV can’s tip onto the Off-brand can and it slotted right in, and sprayed like it was supposed to.

  6. Alan Parekh Says:

    Hi Annie,

    Thanks for that note. It has been corrected.


  7. Per Jensen Says:

    I’m sorry, but it really escapes my mind, why you would want to have any of these devices in your home, spreading nasty chemicals all over. If you read the MSDS on the chemicals used, they are more toxic and harmful than leaded solder :/

  8. i0design UK Says:

    Hi Alan, great video of the tear down, what video equipment are you using? I have only one comment so I hope you don’t take offense, Solder is not pronounced sodor, I don’t mean to be picky but we Brits always include the ‘L’ when we say solder.

    I also agree with your sentiments about charging peanuts for the dispenser and then hike the price up on the re-fills, that really bugs me.

  9. Alan Parekh Says:

    Never thought of the hazards of the stuff Per. Something I should start to consider!

  10. Alan Parekh Says:

    Hi IOdesign,

    I am using a Canon video camera and still camera for everything. Audio is recorded via a Zoom mic. Funny how different areas pronounce things so differently. I won’t think any less of you even though you say solder incorrectly. 🙂

  11. Iw2 Says:

    K C A E should have been an easy guess 😉

  12. o4tuna Says:

    Excellent tear down & explanation. Thanks, Alan.

    i0design UK: I say Aluminum, you say Aluminium ;p

  13. Hackeando o Bom Ar Air Wick Freshmatic | Rafael Ramalho Says:

    […] algum tipo de “sensor” e logo fui pesquisar mais sobre ele. Achei um post no HackedGadgets sobre ele e descobri que era um Vishay TCNT2000 Reflective Optical Sensor, um sensor de […]

  14. WJ Says:

    After watching this I took a look inside my Freshmatic and the little sensor is missing as are the black stripes on the cannister. Maybe they stopped implementing it??

  15. Aditya Kaloge Says:

    Please tell me the type of motor used and the chip how was it made?
    I’m in a great need of your help.
    PLEASE LEND me the technical specifications if you can.
    And the Video is Superb.
    Perfect Explanation.
    I’m an Engineering student from India.

  16. Alan Parekh Says:

    Hi Aditya,

    The motor is a regular DC motor and is just powered with DC of one polarity.

  17. Michał Says:

    Interestingly, mine does have a warning against using third-party refills, about the flashing led, but there’s no sensor and no LED. I am going to mod add a microcontroller and make it spray only during the day and not when I’m at work.

  18. abbtech Says:

    Strange. Possible just a scare tactic.

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