Molex Incorporated has partnered with a multinational manufacturer of major appliances to develop capacitive touchpad panels for two high-end Class-A energy saving clothes washers. Molex capacitive switches and panels use capacitive-field-sensing technology to enable user interfaces with no moving parts in a range of medical, industrial, consumer and home appliance product applications.
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-mold decoration (IMD), glass or virtually any non-conductive material.
Both washing machine models feature multiple wash options, 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 laundry appliance is not in use; a dead front appearance hides the icons until the power button is activated.