Multi Control Device combines excellent robustness with sophisticated haptics

January 07, 2013 // By Christoph Hammerschmidt
ALPS Electric has developed the RKJXW2 Series Multi Control Device ideal for integrated control of automotive equipment. With this device, the vendor addresses the needs and requirements of automotive electronics.

The versatile  Multi Control Device  are designed in particular for use in navigation systems, air-conditioning systems and infotainment products.

Car navigation systems are now essential items for vehicles and the number of units in the market keeps rising, topping 50 million units in March 2012, an increase of around 12% from the same time the previous year, and 53 million units in September 2012.

Besides improvements to navigation accuracy, the popularity of navigation systems is sustained by increasing functionality as they take on features like automatic map updating, TV viewing, music playback, rear view camera, and interoperability with smartphones. But while this enhances the comfort and convenience of the vehicle cabin, greater functionality requires more buttons and dials for operating those functions. Add other controls, such as for the air-conditioning system, and operation becomes very complicated.

Another issue, stemming from the use of bigger displays to improve visibility and make watching of TV or DVDs easier, is that more systems are being installed on top of the dashboard rather than in the center console and therefore hard to control via a touch panel in the display. In such cases, safety demands that the driver can have certainty about the controls when operating them directly to keep the amount of time that the eyes are averted from the road to a minimum. The device must also provide clear-cut feedback and have excellent robustness.

ALPS Electric provides a solution to these issues having developed the RKJXW2 Series Multi Control Device enabling operation of a number of controls with a single device, the first such device in industry to achieve both a satisfying operating feel and robustness. Combining a stick controller for eight-direction and center push operation and an ALPS-made EC40A ring encoder for rotary control, the RKJXW2 Series enables a wide range of operations with a single device.

Developed using original mechanical design technology to produce a clicking sensation during eight-direction operation,