ok...here's the recap:
1. i had the "clean light 7x flashing" problem, which resulted in not-very-clean dishes.
2. i did NOT check the heating element as it looks fine (i.e. no ash or grey coloring), and the interior of the machine was always very warm upon ending a cycle.
3. replaced the control board. machine worked fine for a few cycles, then the flashing clean light problem came back.
4. reset unit as instructed and machine again worked fine for a few cycles, only for flashing clean light to resurface.
5. i got used to simply resetting every time i used the machine, which worked out, until the touch panel started lighting up strangely and i couldn't even reset it any longer.
6. replaced the touch panel and reset the machine. all lights on touch panel work fine.
7. we are back to square one: the machine works fine for a few cylces then reverts to the flashing clean light and dirty dishes.
8. any ideas? desperation is setting in...
i just saw this from the service notice related to the "clean light 7x flashing" problem:
"Once a heater fault is detected and the condition resolved
the electronic control must be reset by initiating a service
diagnostic cycle. NOTE: Using the RAPID ADVANCE
CYCLE will cause the blinking LED condition to reoccur
because there is insufficient time to heat the water.
Check the product Tech Sheet for the correct cycle
the $64,000 question: what is the "service diagnostic cycle"? maybe i haven't reset the unit properly after having installed either the control panel or the touch pad? HEEEELLLLLPPPPP!