My dishwasher's button assembly is causing problems. Replacing it costs $200 and I've read that it's a common failure (so it might just happen again). I can bypass the button assembly and just run the default cycle (good enough for me), by using a wire to connect the 7th and 13th pin in the below image.

enter image description here

My plan was to connect each to a pushbutton switch so that I could close everything up and just operate with a button. However, while I can use one piece of copper wire to touch the tips of each pin and start the cycle, if I try to wrap the pins with two separate wires and then touch them together (to simulate the pushbutton switch), it doesn't work.

What's wrong and how can I resolve this?

Do I really need the wires to be touching the tips of the pins specifically? If yes, is there some part I can use that would simulate the push-in ribbon assembly that was designed to go here? It seems too tight to solder... Would that work?

Or is it that the amperage is too low to carry across two lengths of wire? Should I be using a different kind of wire? (I'm using 20 gauge copper wire that actually came from a jewelers kit.)

  • What is your basis for believing you can start a cycle by connecting pins 7 and 13? Has this ever worked? Are there any other switches on that board which are "normally closed"? Any elements which are not a bare switch? That is, does this board have other functions which might be necessary? Jul 27 '21 at 21:41
  • @Harper-ReinstateMonica - Yes, as I say in the question, I can successfully start and stop cycles by touching 7 to 13 with a single length of copper wire. I'm sure there are other functions on the board, but I'm just looking at shorting this one connection. Thanks!
    – Lime
    Jul 27 '21 at 22:26
  • I am just confused about whether you are trying to tap connections on the board, or eliminate the board. Jul 28 '21 at 1:16

The trick is getting the wire to stay on the pin. Definitely want it on as much of the length of the pin as you can. There is a techique called "wire wrapping", but that requires special tools - simply wrapping or crimping a wire by hand will not give you a reliable connection.

Your best bets are:

  • Solder - Wrap the wire and make it a permanent connection with a bit of solder. Not super hard, provided you already have a soldering iron and know how to use it.
  • Find a matching connector with a ribbon cable and separate/strip wires from the ribbon cable to connect to the switch. While this is similar to ribbon cables commonly found in older computers (e.g., floppy drive in older PCs, hard drives using IDE, etc.) the connector has to be exactly the right one based on dimensions (length, width, spacing between pins) and number of pins (in this case, it looks like one row of 14 pins).
  • Find a wire/connector that can go directly on one pin with a tight fit. Something like this might work:

jumper wires

The good news is that this type of wire/switch is not carrying 120V/many A - it is likely 12V or less and a few milliamps. So almost anything should work if you can figure out how to connect it reliably.

  • 1
    +1 for the last bullet. Easy, non-destructive and allows easy future "enhancement" if OP wants to use a different program.
    – jay613
    Jul 27 '21 at 20:03
  • 1
    Awesome - those wire connectors were exactly what I was hoping existed, but I didn't really know how to google for it. Hopefully they are small enough to fit between pins... I may be able to cut away the plastic casing from the receiving pins to allow a bit more space. Thanks!
    – Lime
    Jul 27 '21 at 22:28

If the one-pin breadboard plugs in the other answer don't work out (they seem the easiest approach) you could use your existing ribbon cable by cutting it off at the button assembly, plugging it in and then you'll be able to separate and strip the required wires to work with. This destroys the button assembly but I'm presuming that either you'll never want to replace the buttons, or if you might, then the new button assembly includes a new ribbon cable with plug.

Another approach (not the easiest) if you're comfortable with soldering: desolder that ribbon connector and solder new wires straight onto the board. The back of the board looks like this and I've pointed to the connector's pins: enter image description here

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