Sunbeam Complaint - Sunbeam Heated Mattress Pads and Heated Blankets Suck!
MISSISSIPPI -- Are you serious?
"gas discharge devices in the connector at the foot of the blanket"
" (Low E) feature every blasted blanket manufacturer seems to feel is necessary to shield the paranoid public from those 'hazardous' electromagnetic fields."
First of all there are NO "gas discharge devices in the connector at the foot of the/any Sunbeam blanket!!" That is 100% plain bullcrap - whoever is trying to pass that GAS DISCHARGE DEVICE garbage around, and that "hazardous electromagnetic fields" crap as well. The latter supposedly being AC related to 60 cycle line transmissions IF it were even present in any present day Heating Blanket / Mattress Pad device - which it is NOT! Small 12-14" personal Heating Pads YES - as they are purely AC line powered unless otherwise stated as being DC powered.
What you are trying to describe as related to "gas discharge devices in the connector at the foot of the blanket" is VERY OLD blanket technology that was around in the 50's & 60's, and possibly even the 70's, but by the end of the 70's and into the 80's new PTC technology took over the industry! If you are still using a 40 or 50 year old Heating Blanket then you are a FIRE accident waiting to happen!
I don't care who it is saying that rubbish, but it's totally FALSE - whether it's some so-called EPA Engineer type who is spreading this manure around or whoever it is - they are full of crap and know nothing about what they are saying here or anywhere else online in forums or otherwise.
Here is why I say that.
If you were really up on your Electronics 101 classes then you would KNOW that the PTC Heating Elements found in many of these current day Sunbeam model "Heating Blankets and Mattress Pads" are actually driven by a switched DC Microprocessor controlled voltage sense and an AC current controlled via a TRIAC! The double (split) PTC flex Heating Elements (or virtual heater wires if you like) in and of themselves are approx 24 ohms each BTW (as by actual Ohmic measurement and being low resistance in nature). They are now sensed and feedback loop driven via a pure "non-mechanical" electronics Microprocessor controlled circuit (non bi-metallic contacts that is) through a heater switch (actually a Triac) that is a variably switched AC voltage and current source found in the latest redesigned main Digital Display Controllers. The newer present day PTC Heating Elements have NO "gas discharge devices" - period!
I have myself personally taken apart my present day Heated Mattress Pad's "Heating Element Sensing Module" that was recalled under that CLASS ACTION LAWSUIT against Sunbeam for faulty Heating Mattress Pads & Blankets. (see lawsuit settlement info further below)
Of course the/any warranty was voided out at this point unless you were actually sending in the defective "Heating Element Sensing Module" for that $15 settlement check. At which point if you wanted to open it up it was just a matter of 4 screws is all.
This was on my very last supposed 5-year warranted Full Size "single controller" Premium Heated Mattress Pad that was replaced not once, but 4 times under full Factory Warranty, and with a return shipping RGA label each time as I requested and demanded - notice I said "demanded". I surely wasn't paying for any shipping on something that was their fault to start with!
Btw - each time the new replacement Premium Heated Mattress Pad was washed only 1 time after 1 Winter season (approx 4-5 months use at best), and it was washed as per their washing directions btw - ONLY ONCE.
After the washing and drying the Heated Pad's power output was always down approx 1/3 to 1/2 less that of the full 180 watts of rated/stated factory designed output power. From a normal 3 or 4 setting I'd have to crank it up to a 7 or 8 just to get the same heat comfort. On my latest (degraded) Heated Pad (that I'm still currently using) I actually have to crank it to a MAX 10 setting after just 2 machine washings, so every time it was washed it seemed to degrade by roughly 33% or there abouts.
That Power Loss was determined by taking an actual DVM Ohmic measurement of the PTC Heating Elements themselves when brand new against that of a similar Ohmic measurement after washing it just once, which when brand new it will measure approx 50-55 ohms across the 2 pins farthest away from the NOTCH in the newer 3-pin connection blocks. I measured this same or very close Ohmic reading on a brand new Heated Mattress Pad in a Walmart store for comparison, and everything still measures the same as far as design goes. One Pad I measured actually was about 45 ohms or less if I remember right.
One of those prior 4 replaced Heated Mattress Pads mentioned above actually measured closer to 40 ohms, so I guess there is a bit of an Ohmic variance even when they are brand new factory wise. Again - all mine were the FULL SIZE model, so I'm just guessing that the Queen & King sizes will measure a bit differently in Ohmic value.
I've never had one fail on me just from normal use and/or from not washing it, as mine all seemed to fail (degrade) right after actually washing them. Unless everyone here and elsewhere online is just fibbing about that failure part, and they too are washing them to make them fail as well?? Just guessing on that last part though, as if the washing part truly is not the cause of degradation and failure - then something else definitely is wrong with all these CHEAP "Made in China" Mattress Heaters and electronic products in general, and at that point our own Government should just pull the plug on all this cheap JUNK from even coming into the USA from China to begin with! How this crap can even get a UL listing here in the USA is beyond me!
What really got me to wondering as to what was actually happening there at Sunbeam as of late was what actually happened there some years ago around (1997/98). See - some years ago after they almost went bankrupt the actual employees ate their pride and losses, and then more or less bought out the company to save it from going totally under and losing 6000 more jobs. It was the focus on 60 Minutes I believe it was. A big turnaround company wise in or abouts 2001/02, and with no real product complaints at all.
Then a few years later in 2003/04 is when all these present day problems started to arise, especially with all the defective Heating Blankets and Mattress Pads, etc. Probably all due in part from lousy Made in China electronic sub-component parts, and then those products flooding our store selves as a result. It's been getting worse and worse ever since the mid 90's - as to all this CHEAP failure prone "Made in China" crap hitting our shores!! It's always something new! If it's not LEAD found in their painted products then it's something else like tainted MILK products, or tainted TOOTHPASTE of all things! What nest?
I doubt that it's only Sunbeam Corp (or whatever their new company name is now - I forget) that is feeling that flack right now, as I'm seeing more and more cheap ass electronics based products failing shortly after purchases. AND - it's all Made in China too! Go figure huh? Just think about the huge landfill burden all that cheap Made in China failed junk is now causing us by filling up all our landfills with more worthless toxic mess!
Btw - The very last time my Premium 5-year Heated Mattress Pad was replaced - guess what? They replaced it with a lousy cheap ass made 1-year warranted replacement instead. When I received that lesser quality replacement I complained to them about it, but it just went on deaf ears, as the CS gal there was very RUDE to me to say the least, and didn't even want to talk to me! Instead they just gave me a CHEAP 1-year warranted model so they could just write me off and get rid of me permanently no doubt!
That last time around was just before the lawsuit of 3-4 years ago, and it proved to be a breaking point for me too - as to never wanting to buy another one of their products ever again!
There was a bright spot to it though, as it worked out quite nicely to be in my favor in the end. The good part about it was that they sent me out 3 more QUEEN size Premium 5-year Heated Mattress Pads (by mistake I think?), but they also never wanted them sent back either. Each time they just said to keep it. Weird huh? I'll say! I took all 3 and sold them for $45 each, as the store price was like $60-70 at that time. Their loss my gain! Oh well.
That right there was just another strange turning point as far as I saw it, as it just added to the continued poor Sunbeam service for one reason or another. Either that or they were just trying to get rid of more defective product stock?? POINT BLANK - Anyone's guess?
This was also the 5th time that the 4th prior defective Heated Mattress Pad was replaced FREE OF CHARGE with another Premium Heated Mattress Pad of same quality. Only problem with Sunbeam this last time around was that they BALKED on replacing the defective Heated Mattress Pad with an identical 5-year Premium warranted model, and for good reason. See - it was right in the mist of that Class Action Lawsuit that I didn't know was going on at that time. That's why!
BTW - In that lawsuit Sunbeam lost big time, and in doing so I too was contacted by them - as to that Class Action Settlement decision or outcome. They lost another ton of money (or company revenue as it were) in as little time as 4-5 years from that company's recent bankruptcy restructuring. One bad turn after another!
For details about the Sunbeam Electric Blanket Class Action Settlement contact Sunbeam® Bedding at 800-892-7684
Also see online articles regarding the same:
Class Action Settlement: Texarkana Gazette
Lawyer Turns Up The Heat on Sunbeam
Objection to Notice Successful
That lawsuit involved over 30 MILLION blankets btw!! So at $15 each that was one BIG hit in the pocketbook.
$450 million dollars give or take!
Participants in that lawsuit must be owners of a Sunbeam blanket manufactured before May 1, 2000, and they must also destroy their old blanket (read why further below). Again - It is estimated that more than 30 million of these blankets were made and sold to consumers in the United States alone.
Again - as I said before earlier - the/any implied warranty was voided out totally once that defective "Heating Element Sensing Module" was cut out of the defective Heating Blanket or Mattress Pad. That or else after it was opened up for any other reason other then sending in the defective "Heating Element Sensing Module" for that $15 settlement check - esp if you weren't returning it under the settlement terms at that point.
Beings that I am a highly degreed Electronics Super Tech myself I knew that if there was any way possible to fix/repair my (degraded) Heating Mattress Pad myself then I was not going to sacrifice it by cutting out that supposed defective "Heating Element Sensing Module" - that what was in my mind the soul culprit of the Heated Mattress Pad's failure to begin with, and that it was at the very heart of the failure itself. AND I surely wasn't going to send it in at my own cost btw, not for no lousy $15 in settlement. NO WAY!!
I also now know EXACTLY what is in that "Heating Element Sensing Module" that Sunbeam is now asking you to PHYSICALLY cut out of the defective Heated Mattress Pad or Heating Blanket, and then send (it/them) back in to their Settlement Claims Office (I forget where it is now?), as per the terms of that Class Action Lawsuit (again at your own cost I might add) just to supposedly get a $15 settlement check per each defective module. My original Heated Mattress Pad had cost me $40-45 at either Kmart - Target or else Walmart - I forget which.
I decided NOT to waste the postage and time to do this if I could indeed fix my own Heated Mattress Pad myself, and then hopefully get more use from it - as you yourself or anyone else for that matter would surely hope to do. These are the latest ones that come with the digital display heat controllers and the 3-wire "sensing" connector!
AHHH - therein lies the problem, and it has nothing to do with NO bullcrap "gas discharge devices in the connector at the foot of the blanket" either - as there are NONE!!
There are only 4 electronic components inside that small (white in color) "Heating Element Sensing Module" - (3) resistors and (1) Amplifier transistor. That's it! All are SMT mounted on a micro PC board, and the (3) resistors all checked out OK to spec. The Amplifier transistor though is still in ?, as I have yet to locate an exact replacement part so I can eliminate that as being the problem with LOW wattage output.
It's very possible that it's a bad Chinese made Silicon semiconductor product/component to begin with - either that or else it is indeed leaking electronically while in use. That or else water from washing the Heated Mattress Pad has damaged that transistor somehow. If that transistor checks out OK then the PTC Heating Element itself is bad, and that is what is causing all these Heating Blankets and Mattress Pads to fail prematurely!
The reason I say this is because I already ruled out the Digital Controller being bad, as I swapped out Controllers with a known GOOD spare, and the same problem persists. The supposed bad Heated Mattress Pad's Controller worked just fine on my "yet to be used" brand new warranty replacement Premium Heated Mattress Pad. I'm still working on that "Heating Element Sensing Module" transistor part, and I think I have found the SMT device if the p/n is correct. Lets hope so anyway. Watch for my updates online, or contact me via email here if that is even possible.
These PTC Heating Elements that Sunbeam is using in their Heating Blankets and Mattress Pads design do have some drawbacks and inherent failure problems just by their very design to begin with. I won't go into them here, but the online Patent Spec outlines them in the various PDF files, and they can be viewed for free online by doing a Google search under Heating Blanket Controllers or else PTC Heating Elements for electric Heating Blankets.
When I find out more I will try and post the results here if that is possible
Hang in there and try and stay warm this Winter!
Frank - in Venice, FL