A few years ago my son-in-law bought a Maytag dishwasher for a family of four. The unit had a plastic surface-mounted control on the door and integrated push-button controls. You know the type: one large sheet of plastic, with bumps and labeling representing buttons. Pushing the "button" flexes the plastic and closes a mechanical button switch behind.
Recently, two of the buttons stopped working, the one labeled NORMAL, and the one labeled START. My first guess was electrostatic discharge (ESD).
When my son-in-law called for repair, he found that the cost of a service call and the cost of the repair added up to slightly less than a new dishwasher. This sent him to the nearest big box store where he bought a new Whirlpool dishwasher.
This unit has its controls integrated into a similar plastic panel; in this case, they are along the top edge of the door. While installing the unit, the technician advised:
Be sure you wipe off any moisture that gets on this panel. If moisture gets down into the electronics in the door, they will fail. About half of the units I replace are three to four years old, and have failed that way.
There are three problems with this design:
- The control panel is on the top edge of the door, horizontal. Any water will stand on the panel, not run off.
- The control panel will get wet every time you open the door mid- or end-cycle when water and steam come out of the unit.
- The control panel is on the edge of the door, invisible when the door is closed. There are no external indicator lights, so the only way to find out if the unit has finished is to listen carefully for washing noises, or to open the door.
Given the input from the installer, I now think the Maytag failed from moisture, not ESD, and expect the Whirlpool to fail similarly before too long.
This entry was submitted by Charles Glorioso and edited by Rob Spiegel.
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