Cherry sensors and subminiature switches from ZF Electronics improve water softener controls

11th December 2009
ES Admin
Cherry subminiature switches and sensors from ZF Electronics are used to improve salt usage and regeneration in water softeners more effectively than competitive products due to two factors: Cherry subminiature switches can be supplied in a space-saving module package and Cherry sensors offer greater dimensional consistency due to a special low-pressure mould process used in their manufacture.
The composition of water varies from area to area according to the local geological rock type. Water softeners are one of several ion exchange devices used to improve water quality by removing particles and mineral deposits present naturally in many water sources. Their most common use is the removal of calcium and magnesium ions present in “hard” water which cause scale buildup in plumbing, staining of fixtures such as baths and taps, and over the longer term, damage to appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines.

Cherry switches, including DB subminiature switches, are an integral part of the water softener timer mechanism which controls the backwash and recharge cycles. Some manufacturers use a miniature switch with a simulated roller-style actuator that fits into the cam gears during operation. Certain manufacturers’ gang sub-miniature switches to achieve this function. Cherry DB subminiature switches offer an advantage over ganged switches as they are supplied in a module package which takes up considerably less space than this approach.

Cherry sensors, specifically MP1014 low-profile sensors and MP1013 snap-fit sensors, are also used to measure the flow rate of water softeners. A custom housing similar to the Cherry MP101301 housing was designed and manufactured for one supplier. The sensor monitors a spinning magnetic turbine and a signal relative to turbine speed is then sent back to the microcontroller. The microcontroller in turn calculates water flow and usage, enabling the water softener to manage salt usage and regeneration more efficiently.

The Cherry sensor was selected because the low-pressure moulding process ensures a dimensionally consistent product, whereas competitive offerings are encapsulated using the epoxy method.

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