Arduino,  Hardware

Making my washing machine smarter – Part 5

<< Continuation of Part 4

The time is now .It is time to connect the new guts to my washing machine, and check if everything works as expected. Well, almost… I just remembered that when I prepared my washing machine for the modifications (part 1), I didn’t prepare the start button, which will be pressed using our relay, and this way, will start the washing program.

The modification should be simple. To solder a couple of wires to the start button. We will see how it turns out 🙂

First, we will open the top lid of the washing machine and find the way to unmount and disconnect the control panel. In my case, it was secured with four screws and some plastic clips. After disconnecting the cable connectors, I had the whole panel in my hands.

Factory fingerprints included in the price

To save money, the rest of the pieces are fixed using plastic clips (you know, screws are expensive). But well, this makes our work easier 🙂

The working area. From left to right, temperature button, centrifuge, and lastly the button we are looking for: the start button.

The width of the circuit board traces make me think the voltage is low. When I started the project and designed my board, somehow I thought it was goint to work with mains 230v AC, but it seems I was wrong. Does this affect our board? Not really. We could have save some money by using a soild state relay, or even a transistor, instead of the mechanical relay, but oh well… It will work regardless 🙂

The next step is to solder a couple of wires to both terminals of the button. The wire I had on hand at the moment was some paralell speaker wire, I think about 0.75mm², which is totally overkill for this use, but it is what I had. Any possible fault will not be caused by a thin wire in this case

With this, we can close and mount again the control panel. The last step is to connect our circuit box and test 🙂

To place the box inside the machine, I chose a spot in the front top right corner, just below the top lid, and I used some natural holes in the metal framing (I had to drill a couple too) to pass some zip ties to hold the box in place. I think this should be enough. A couple of connection strips and all was done.

The moment of truth…

I tested it and… it worked!. Both the command to start the washing program and the signal of washing cycle complete worked flawlessly, and my OpenHAB server was sending the notifications like a charm, so I closed the box, isolated the connection strips with some electrical tape and fixed them using a couple more zip ties, and I ended the project

So proud! 😊

As of today, this project has been working for a year and a half, and I am pretty happy about it. I had a problem once, but it was caused by a OpenHAB update, not the microcontroller.

What do you think? Has someone made a similar project? What would you change? You can tell me below, in a comment 🙂

So, what’s next? Continuing with my smart air conditioner of course. If you have not yet read Making my air conditioner smarter – Part 1, you can check it out. It surely will be as entertaining as this project 🙂

See you in the next post!

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