Heated Car Seat Teardown and Repair

Solarbotics Ltd
January 11, 2017

Here's a little makeover of an inexpensive aftermarket heated car seat heating pad that stopped working.

Designed to activate and warm up when sat upon, the electronics face a fair amount of abuse: since the seat is a soft frame, the wires inside constantly move and flex with the body. They are also subject to harsh temperature changes with frequent (very) cold weather heating and cooling cycles, adding to a situation ripe for a malfunction, which happened to one of our staff when he couldn't warm up his tush one cold Canadian morning...

Dragging it into the lab, we peeled back the covers to discover the usual and not-so-usual suspects.

Broken wires:

The old wires had a PVC jacket that had dried out and cracked.



The wires would then flex at these cracks and break:


We replaced those wires with our GroovyNoodle silicone wire, which is able to resist flexing and temperature fluctuations very well.



Sketchy Safety?

Here's a picture of the sketchy activation switch we found inside the bottom part of the seat. It's designed to close when under "bum load", and directly pass power to the heating coils. We're not experts at auto-grade accessory manufacturing, but we were surprised that it wasn't a logic "bum-detected" switch that triggered a suitable relay or FET elsewhere. And the lack of a thermal reset fuse surprised us.




All broken wires replaced! Almost all the PVC jacket wire had cracked and disintegrated, so we replaced it with our better-quality GroovyNoodle silicone wire. This wire is extremely flexible, high strand count, and a temperature-ignoring silicon jacket. Perfect for inside this car seat heater.


All necessary repairs and upgrades were done just in time for the next stretch of (very much) cold Canadian winter.



July 18, 2016
New Product: Motors & Driver

28BYJ-48-16 16:1 Stepper Gearmotor $5.85 Originally designed for control of HVAC vanes and similar low-demand equipment, these stepper-motor gearboxes have lots of hacking potential. This is the lower torque / higher speed 16:1. 28BYJ-48-64 64:1 Stepper Gearmotor $5.85 Originally designed for control of HVAC vanes and similar low-demand equipment, these stepper-motor gearboxes have lots of […]

August 24, 2012
New Product: OPEN BEAM! (..and some othe...

We have a pretty darn big announcement for you today: we're now distributing Open Beam! It's a new handy-dandy construction system that got its start from Kickstarter, and is gaining a lot of immediate support. Right now, we're stocking all the items except for the kits, which we'll probably bring onboard in the near future. […]

October 21, 2000
New Distributor & Science News

Solarbotics is happy to introduce a new distributor in Toronto, Canada - Bug'n'Bots. Owner Steve Jones have been involved with BEAM for a while now, and is d

May 20, 2005
Closed for Holidays

Just another quick note that Solarbotics will be closed for Victoria Day, Monday May 23. Any orders received after 2pm today will not go out until we open back up on Tuesday the 24th.

1 2 3 253
Solarbotics Ltd Logo
Solarbotics has been operating for more than 25 years, bringing electronics know-how and supplies to both the electronics professional and hobbyist. We'll be happy to help you too!

Solarbotics, Ltd. is not responsible for misprints or errors on product prices or information. For more information, please see our Terms and Conditions.

Warning: This product contains chemicals known to the State of California to cause cancer and birth defects or other reproductive harm.
Please visit www.P65Warnings.ca.gov for more information. This item was manufactured prior to August 31, 2018.

Copyright © 2024 Solarbotics Ltd. All Rights Reserved