Breakthrough capacitive switch design deployed in high-end washing machines

“Capacitive switch technology offers a proven upgrade to mechanical controls in electronic user interfaces,” states Steve Fulton, engineering manager, Molex.  “The washing machine user panels encapsulate imaginative ideas and robust engineering for enhanced functionality, with exceptional product reliability and energy savings.”

The capacitive switch panel designs incorporate solid-state circuitry in a robust interface that is highly resistant to multiple key presses, water, dirt, contaminants and EMI.  Molex capacitive overlays and panels allow easy appliance cleaning and are available in a variety of cosmetic options, including in-mould decoration (IMD), glass or virtually any non-conductive material.

Both washing machine models feature multiple wash cycles, requiring numerous tightly spaced capacitive key sensors and icons. A single 44-pin microcontroller handles all panel functionality. Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter communication for sensor reporting and lighting control ensures consistent responsiveness and panel lighting levels in the user-controlled bright and dim modes. The power button has been integrated into the Molex capacitive panels to provide additional power savings when the appliance is not in use; a dead front appearance hides the icons until the power button is activated.

Molex Incorporated

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