McDonald's ice cream machines are notorious for their frequent breakdowns, and iFixit, an American repair company, is working to make them easier to repair.
In a video released last Tuesday, iFixit, known for its consumer electronics disassembly and repair guides, disassembled a McDonald's ice cream machine to investigate the cause of its frequent breakdowns. According to the same video, at the time of its publication, it was estimated that at least 34% of ice cream machines were broken in New York state alone. According to the US company's analysis following this video, McDonald's ice cream machines have overly complicated error codes. This, coupled with an exclusive repair contract between McDonald's and the machine's manufacturer, Taylor, creates a heavy reliance on service technicians, making the process both costly and time-consuming. The company Kytch had already developed a device that translated error codes into simple instructions for repairing ice cream machines, but McDonald's quickly squashed this initiative, citing unproven "safety risks", according to Elizabeth Chamberlain, iFixit's repair specialist.
In this context, the iFixit team decided to "take the law into their own hands" due to the limitations imposed by US copyright law. In the video published, Elizabeth Chamberlain, iFixit's sustainability director, expressed the team's desire to create a device similar to Kytch's that could read the error codes of these machines, but they are unable to do so due to the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), and the software that is blocking access to the machines.
Thus, iFixit and Public Knowledge have requested an exemption from the law for this purpose, similar to the one they obtained for other products, and have therefore asked Congress to reintroduce the Freedom of Repair Act.
The continuation of the original article via The Times of India can be read here.