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I bought a brand new dishwasher and within minutes of installing it, the dishwasher started itself, as in clicked "normal" and then clicked "start" all by itself. It has capacitive buttons and it seemed it was registering phantom button presses. I fiddled around and tried a few different things but nothing seemed to help. So I called Maytag and they sent out a repairman. He replaced the control panel and the problem persisted. He then replaced the second circuit board (there are only two, one of which is the control panel), and the problem persisted. Finally, Maytag replaced the entire unit. The problem has continued, and once again it started within a few minutes after installation.

At this point, I find it unlikely that the problem is in the dishwasher. I suspect the issue may be dirty power or a wiring issue in my wall. They tested the outlet with a basic outlet tester and everything was fine.

So, where would you recommend I go from here? I know capacitive buttons can be sensitive to noise on the wires, so I suspect dirty power of some sort, but I have no idea how to prevent that. Should I try an uninterruptible power supply and see if the problem disappears? Is there a simple noise filter I can install inline?

The phantom button presses are very frequent. This makes testing a solution and seeing if it works simple and conclusive. I'm just not sure where to start or if this is the right direction to go.

  • One outlet or all outlets? Have you tried using an extension cord and testing it in various outlets in the house? – Alaska Man Aug 17 at 17:49
  • I have tried the few outlets under the sink, but not the extension cord. I will give that a try. – Joe Mac Aug 17 at 18:01
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    Randomly? Randomly would suggest that it happens many times when the unit has been plugged in for hours. or is it only one time when it is first plugged in? (That would not be random) – Alaska Man Aug 17 at 19:53
  • It is random, occurring frequently. I've found no rhyme or reason. It doesn't happen when the fridge or AC kicks on. I've jiggled wires and replaced the old receptacle. – Joe Mac Aug 17 at 23:39
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Most likely, you have a bad ground connection in your outlet, maybe even your house. Capacitive switches are referenced to ground, so when there is no ground connection, or the ground "plane" has a lot of electrical noise on it, it can "infect" (for lack of a better word) your equipment, you get random capacitance and seemingly random functioning of the controllers looking at the capacitive switches.

Electrical noise of this type, called "Common Mode noise" when it is referenced to ground, is created by things like inverters, bad computer power supplies, cheap LED drivers, etc. etc.. One thing you could try is to disconnect everything electronic that you own, see if the problem goes away, then plug things back in one at a time to see if it returns. If it does, the last thing you plugged in is the culprit.

My bet: you bought some LED lamps or fixtures that had prices that were almost too good to believe. A lot of absolute crap is being spit out of factories in China that bear no approvals, no testing labels (or counterfeit ones), etc., but they can sell them on internet sites like Amazon or eBay without any consequences.

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  • I thought something like this might be a possibility. I will look into this. Just so I understand, are you saying that in the circuitry, power uses the NEUTRAL line for reference but the capacitive switches use EARTH GROUND for the reference? – Joe Mac Aug 17 at 23:43
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    Yes. Neutral, although usually connected to ground at the service, is NOT a "ground" connection, it is a "groundED current carrying conductor". So when you want a small signal circuit that needs to be reference to ground, you don't want to make that to the neutral connection, because you don't want the possibility of it having to carry current. So it is referenced to the chassis ground plane. – JRaef Aug 18 at 23:58
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    I did some troubleshooting and the problem seems to be solved. It has been working for almost a month now. I used a simple outlet tester and it indicated that everything was good, including the ground connection. However, I discovered in the main breaker panel, where neutral and ground are supposed to be shorted together, that the connection was barely connected. So ground wasn’t completely floating, but wasn’t shorted either. I repaired that connection and it has worked perfectly since then. – Joe Mac Sep 17 at 3:36
  • For those reading this...if you do this be sure that it's really a main panel and not a sub-panel after a disconnect or another panel where the ground and neutral bars are supposed to be isolated. – Ben Franske Sep 17 at 19:17

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