Molex provides capacitive switch for high-end washing machines

Date
08/02/2012

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Touchpanel provides simple, reliable, and attrtactive user interface

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Molex has partnered with a major multinational appliance manufacturer to develop capacitive touchpad panels for two high-end Class-A energy-saving washing machines. Molex capacitive switches and panels use capacitive-field-sensing technology to implement a user interface with no moving parts in a variety of home-appliance, consumer-medical, and industrial-product applications. "Capacitive switch technology offers a proven upgrade to mechanical controls in electronic user interfaces," says Steve Fulton, engineering manager, Molex. "The washing machine user panels encapsulate imaginative ideas and robust engineering for enhanced functionality, and exceptional product reliability with energy savings." The capacitive switch panel designs incorporate solid-state circuitry in a robust interface that is highly resistant to multiple key presses, water, contaminants, and EMI. Molex capacitive panels allow easy appliance cleaning and are available with a variety of cosmetic options, including IMD (in-mould decoration). Both machine models feature multiple wash cycles, requiring numerous tightly spaced capacitive key sensors and icons. A single 44-pin microcontroller handles all panel functions. UART 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. Key Features: Molex Capacitive Interface Panel Model A

  • IMD with a curved front surface embellishment
  • Enhanced 17 user touchpad panel keys, plus touch sensing wheel input with 16 user selections
  • Attractive custom LED lighted display with 13 digits and 29 icons
  • Lighting and capacitive sensing from rear of IMD bezel, with 42 additional backlights implemented via light guides and side-fire LEDs
  • Bright and dim mode for every lighting element
Molex Capacitive Interface Panel Model B
  • Tempered glass panel with second surface printing provides a mirror-like touchpad appearance
  • Appealing 16 user touchpad panel keys, plus touch sensing wheel input with 10 user selections
  • Attractive custom LED display with 16 digits and 17 icons
  • Lighting and capacitive sensing from rear of the glass, with 31 additional backlights implemented via light guides and side-fire LEDs
  • Convenient fading feature to achieve gradual brightness changes
Molex

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