Keypads provide outstanding durability and flexibility

08-02-2022 | Variohm | Connectors, Switches & EMECH

Variohm EuroSensor offers a new range of keypads and controllers from the Italian manufacturer Blink Marine to its extensive product portfolio. Powerkey, PowerTrack, and Powerkey Pro series keypads provide outstanding durability and flexibility through models that include CANopen, J1939 and RS485 communication profiles and deliver industry-leading features such as relegendable buttons with customisable/interchangeable inserts and fully configurable and personalised LED indicators plus LED backlights.

These keypads are further characterised by a smart and ergonomic design, making for easy vertical or horizontal orientation into the customer's application. With IP67/IP69K protection ratings, UVB 400 sunlight protection, and salt spray and chemical resistance to the harshest substances, the keypad's ruggedised construction are ideal in the most demanding environments. With their proven usage in machine control and switching applications ranging from agricultural, off-road, transportation, and construction vehicles to motorsports, marine and defence equipment, these keypads are a perfect complementary product line for the company's extensive range of sensors and transducers.

The PowerKey1000 and 1400 are offered in 10 and 14 key versions. With CANopen (Device Profile 401d) and J1939 protocols, the range may be customised for the key symbol imagery and the number of LED's assigned to each key. They comprise a backlight to aid use in low light settings. The PowerTrack series is based on the same style and design as the PowerKey but comprises a rotary encoder and six keys to manage complex scroll functions that can be assigned through CANbus/J1939 and read into a compatible HMI display. Customisation options are available, including multicolour LEDs.

Software features across the entire product range including 'Event Status Transmission' where the keypad can message the communication bus revealing a button press or a button release – allowing digital systems to have similar input acknowledgements as that of the latching position of a mechanical switch. 'Periodic Status Transmission' indicates each button's press or release status as a continuous broadcast of messages where the frequency can be adjusted over a wide range. Also, 'Periodic Heartbeat' continuously broadcasts with a wide frequency adjustment range to deliver the keypad functions correctly.

These keypads have plug-and-play configurability and are supported with comprehensive programming manuals. The company's keypads are also offered with a unique motorsport protocol to allow communication with some motorsport controllers with limited CAN programming capacity. While the keypad software is more complex, the controller software burden can be lighter.