May 26, 2011 AT 11:02 am

Arduino Controlled Dishwasher

Arduino Controlled Dishwasher via Arduino blog.

The control panel on the front of it died, it failed from corrosion getting into the laminated plastic PCB that it’s made up of. Not really repairable, just meant to be replaced, except that it’s a $150 part. From what I could find online, it seems to be a common failure, so why buy an overpriced part that’s just going to fail all over again?This is one of the things I love about the Arduino, it allows me to consider alternatives that I’d have NEVER been able to consider before. If I had to program a controller in assembly, or flat do it with just discrete chips, I’d have never considered this as an option. But with the Arduino, not only can I build my own controller, but it’s almost stupidly simple to do.

Source and build photos here.



  1. Most excellent. Talk about taking control of your stuff. What struck me was when he commented about the pre wash. He found a better way of working the system and tailored it to make a better product. While this is not all wiz bang with pretty lights, this is the exact thing that we want people to see. This would have been a hunk of trash if he had not taken the time to make it his own machine. With the new brains, this things life was probably doubled if not more. Great work.

  2. Great hack. Most dishwashers are going to fail in a more non-fixable manor such as developing a major leak, burned out motor, pump or heating element though. Hopefully the non-fixable guts in his will last long enough to make this repair worthwhile.

    I once had a water bed heater that died when the mechanical controller wore out. I couldn’t buy just a new controller, I had to replace the entire heater which would have entailed draining the bed to get the new heater under the mattress. I built my own controller using a common 1N4004 diode as a heat sensor (the PN junction voltage drop is a function of temperature) and a 741 op amp wired as a comparator. A 7805 provided a 5 volt reference voltage and a 10 turn pot adjusted the trip point. The op amp controlled the heating element though an optoisolator driving a triac. I calibrated the unit by dunking the water proofed diode in a glass of water with a thermometer in it. I was able to push the diode sensor far enough under the mattress without having to drain the bed. I salvaged the needed connectors from the broken controller. I don’t know if I’d use an Ardunio today for the same purpose as the analog controller was very quick to build up. (I also no longer have the water bed, that’s one fad whose time has come and went!)

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