Troubleshooting Electrical Problems
Disclaimer: Any work you perform on your furniture is at your own risk. Tension springs and reclining mechanisms can seriously injure you. Seriously.
If you (or someone you know) are mechanically inclined, careful and have attention for detail, you can do this preliminary check yourself. If you have any doubts about your abilities or do not follow instructions well, do not attempt. Contact a repair tech for repair service.
Let's get started.
Checking Wiring Condition & Connections
If your chair has no power, check the outlet first. To make sure you have power, plug in a light in the same plug you use for your chair.
If you have power at the outlet, but the chair has none when plugged in, unplug the chair and place the hand control where it cannot come in contact with anything that could turn it on. (Some units have battery back up and may work when power is out or unit is unplugged.)
Next roll the chair forward and over onto the floor, so you can look underneath. If the footrest is stuck open, carefully roll the chair onto its side.
Check all the wiring, looking for any breaks in the coating (bare wires) and smashed or damaged areas. Check all connections to make sure they are tight.
Tip: Always make sure the electrical cords are routed so they cannot get caught in the reclining mechanism or base unit, or underneath the floor base.
During your inspection, you'll also want to inventory the components in your electrical system. Sometimes power surges can take out more than one part at a time. So make a list. The parts you'll be looking for include -
- Hand Control or Activation Button
- Power Supply - may be external, mounted underneath chair or built onto motor
- Lift Motor(s)
- Junction or Relay boxes - may be located inside the outside back frame or behind the seat
- Massage Motors - when mounted inside the padding, these will not be visible. Do not attempt to pull them out!
- Heating Elements - also mounted inside padding, do not remove
Your chair may be equipped with many of the above parts or just a select few. By making a list, you now have the big picture of your electrical system and can get replacement part quotes as needed. (You'll also need your chair ID#s for replacement part quotes and to make sure these parts are still available.)
No High-Tech Magic Diagnostic Tool
In this day and age you'd think there'd be a simple way to determine the exact electrical part that has failed on your chair. Some newer models even have built-in diagnostics that send error messages to your hand control for that purpose. Unfortunately, when overall power is lost, the messages cannot display. Or when the hand control does not function well enough to view or receive those messages, you're in the same boat.
And that's why the trial-and-error method is still used today to fix your furniture's electrical problems. Here are some steps you can follow:
- If chair has no power, check outlet first
- Check all wiring and connections in the chair electric system
- Inventory the electrical components
- Ask your retailer (or manufacturer) about known component failures for your chair
- Replace any obvious failures - power supply light does not come on, replace it
- Price all parts in the system in case you have mulitple failures*
- Order the most obvious culprit first, then cross your fingers
* Replacement parts may not be returnable! So be careful regarding what you order. Common part failures may include virtually any component in your system.
Tip: If the retailer where you purchased your chair is willing to loan you electrical parts to determine exactly which part(s) have failed, take them up on their offer!
Here are some common troubleshooting issues.
My Hand Control's Not Working - That's All!
Perhaps a replacement hand wand is all you need. Sometimes, however, there are multiple part failures, like when your chair's electrical system is damaged by a power surge. That's why I recommend using a surge protector.
I Hear A "Clicking" Sound When I Try The Hand Control
Track down the source of the "clicking" you hear. Some lift motors and junction (relay) boxes will make this sound when that part fails.
Also see, Common Problems