Why don't microwaves use MX switches?

Okay, we all know the answer here…cost and touchpad depth.

But it really irks me that one of the best applications for MX switches is not common.

I know of several microwaves that had to be serviced or replaced simply because the touchpad stopped working. You know, those zero-depth keypads with no tactile response.

This is the perfect application for MX switches and why they were designed: millions of keypresses, never-fail, resistant to dust, consistent press, and the possibility of tactile response.

14 or so switches would cost like $7 max. They can sell a 65% keyboard for $15 in China, so a numpad-sized thing should be $10 max. 14 keys should be mass-produced for another $7. So $24 or less for the whole thing, I should hope.

That’s more than a touchpad costs, but man, would it make a microwave more pleasant to use, and durable. So what if it adds bulk. Microwaves can’t be ‘thin’ anyway. I guess it wouldn’t be competitive, because the touchpad microwave would be $20 cheaper?

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I’d say that it wouldn’t look as sleek. While the individual buttons would likely be both mechanically and functionally superior, you just won’t get that smooth look. Personally though, a flat interface with proper tact switches could look just as good and may be more reliable than the EC membrane keypads.

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It makes me think of how Kailh manufactures MX switches specifically for arcade gaming machines, for the button-presses or even the coin-operation.

So yes, with the right keycaps, it could work. Or just use low-profile. Or even use low-profile switches and keycaps. With stable [non-Cherry] housings, they would be straight, aligned, and wobble-free.

I agree that it would have a more 1970s look to it. But not really - with sleek doubleshots, maybe transparent alphas & backlighting. Something like this Domikey render:

That would be a pretty sleek microwave UI!

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I would be down for that. Except, maybe the metal of the pins/leaf would interfere with the waves?

It would give me a good reason to use microwaves a whole lot more, and I can’t stop chuckling what r/MechMarket posts would look like if it actually came to fruition:

[US-CA][H] Paypal, Local cash [W] Microwave60 w/ MX Reds or Blues, Grey/E-Yellow Ano

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I think practicality would depend heavily on where the microwave is being used. For example, it is commonly placed above or adjacent to the stove - in those environments, it would be regularly exposed to vaporized oils. It would probably slowly coat the stems over time, making them gunky and sluggish.

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Yes, the touchpads are easier to clean off oils from in a kitchen environment.

Maybe dustproof stems?

Funny you make this post, my microwave is nearing 25 years and still alive and kicking.

The buttons are not great, but they still work, honestly I’m not sure if they are buttons because they just sink a bit and not actually press.

Only 2 issue is the handle getting broken this year and glued back (ABS shell) and the closing detection mechanism being annoying, which I’m sure I can fix/change, but I keep putting it off.

Maybe if it used an MX switch for the closing mechanism it would last several more years.

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Something had been nagging at me in my memory banks and then I searched and found this article from last year.

Clearly a high-speed installation.

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Yes, I’d like to see something more purpose-built.

I just tried a low-profile tactile switch, the Kailh orange one. It’s actually pretty good. I’d be happy to use those on a microwave, or keyboard.