We'd heard the rumours that this was going to happen and, it appears, that the rumours were in fact true yet again. Indesit have launched "smart cards" to reprogram their appliances which include washing machines, washer dryers, dishwashers, cookers and some refrigeration products.
Indesit states that this "technological innovation" is intended to make the machines easier to program. We don't think so.
From the Indesit website:
"Indesit Company Smart Card Technology
Indesit Company is pleased to announce a significant technological innovation, designed to make programming our electronics systems easier:
This technology incorporates two key components:
1. The Smart Card. Which contains the individual programs for our range of Laundry, Dishwashing and Cooking products (currently stored on the Eeprom).
Indesit Company Smart Card
2. The Smart Card Reader. The device that enables the program files to be downloaded from the smart card onto the module board simply by connecting it to the control board access point located on the rear of the appliance.
Indesit Company Smart Card Reader
Smart Card & Reader in machine
The introduction of the Smart Card Technology will provide the following benefits:
* No need to carry separate Eeproms and the associated module boards
* No need to replace Eeproms on the board with the risk of program corruption due to electrostatic discharge or damage to the Eeprom itself whilst plugging it in to the module board
* Download the new program file from the card through the reader and receive confirmation that the program has loaded
* Provided that the electronics board is not faulty, no need to replace the entire module - You can simply download the new program from the Smart Card saving you both time and money.
This new Smart Card Technology is already available on our newly launched products and will be incorporated into all new product platforms.
As part of our commitment to continuous product improvement, we will be introducing Smart Card Technology across the entire EVO 2 range of module controls too. This will mean that all existing modules and their associated Eeproms will be phased out by the end of 2008.
This process has already begun with the replacement of the C00143068 module by the new Smart Card Technology module C00254298 that provides electronic controls to many of our best selling Hotpoint washing machines and washer dryers. Full replacement Smart Card information is available
If you are a Trade Customer we will contact you shortly with full details on how to order Smart Cards and Smart Card Readers and how to use them with the new modules. As the new module range is expanded we will be updating all Indesit Company's technical information tools such as Partfinder and Tradeplace.
In the meantime, if you have any comments or questions, please do not hesitate to contact your Account Manager at any time."
Obviously, from this, it seems fairly safe to assume that consumers, as with previous versions of the EVO2 software, will have no way in which to reprogram their own boards and if they wish to self-repair the only option is to have an engineer replace the PCB and reprogram the board as they will be supplied blank.
In other words, for board faults at least, consumers will be forced to have an engineer call to any of the Indesit made machines from Hotpoint, Ariston, Indesit, Cannon and Scholtes.
Prices have yet to be announced.