This question matters because electric blanket controllers fail all the time. These devices can malfunction because of one or more of the following reasons:
1). Are you sure your controller has failed?
A consumer on this Fixya thread encountered a situation where the controller wouldn’t stop blinking. Additionally, the controls refused to respond. When he contacted Sunbeam’s customer support team, they told him to plug the controller directly into a wall outlet.
Apparently, using an extension cord prevented the controller from receiving sufficient power. Similar problems can arise because of power strips and surge protectors. Confirm that your controller is well and truly dead by plugging it into a wall outlet. You don’t want to replace a healthy controller.
Controllers can die because of overheating. One or two instances of overheating are acceptable. If the controller won’t work, unplug the blanket. Wait thirty minutes to an hour. This allows the controller to cool down.
Once temperatures drop, the controller should work as expected. However, continuous overheating can do permanent damage to the controller.
Open the controller and find the white thermal fuse between the two resistors. This Reddit post has a helpful picture showing you what to look for. Test the thermal fuse with a multimeter. This will confirm your theory that the blanket shorted. This can occur because of numerous factors, including an electrical surge, factory defect, and the presence of moisture.
Even if you have a washable electric blanket, you must remove the control switches beforehand. Otherwise, you risk exposing them to moisture, which can cause irreversible harm.
5). Loose Connections
Even if you always handle the electric blanket carefully, you can never rule out loose connections. They can interfere with the controller’s operations, preventing the blanket from generating sufficient heat.
6). Factory Defect
Some electric blanket controllers have factory defects. They were faulty from the start. In some situations, it can take weeks or months for these defects to manifest. In other cases, the blanket will refuse to work from the start.
While some people replace their electric blankets every few months or years, these devices can easily last ten years. That ten-year duration comes up a lot because health and safety experts want consumers to replace their electric blankets every ten years.
But you can use yours for more than ten years if you want. However, once the device reaches the end of its lifespan, the controller will be one of the first components to fail.
When the controller fails, you might be tempted to replace it. However, replacing a control unit will cost you roughly 80 percent of the blanket’s price tag. In other words, you’re better off replacing the entire electric blanket. Better yet, use the following steps to fix the controller:
1). Connect the blanket to a wall outlet. Don’t use surge protectors, power strips, and extension cords. If the wall outlet is too far away for you to use, make sure the extension cord still works. Replace it where necessary.
2). You can also replace the wall outlet and power cord. Sometimes, a controller stops working because the wall outlet and power cord have failed. Don’t proceed with this drastic step without pressing the power cord firmly into the wall outlet and the connector.
You also have cases where the controller fails because the power cord is loose in the outlet and controller’s socket. Ensure that the connection between the power cord and controller is firm.
3). Perform a reset. A reset will eliminate electronic glitches. Electric blankets don’t have reset buttons. Use these steps to perform a reset:
- Unplug the power cord from the wall outlet.
- Pull the power cord out of the controller.
- Wait several minutes.
- Plug the power cord into the controller and wall outlet.
- Turn the power on.
If the controller starts working, you had an electronic glitch. Now that glitch is gone. If it returns, you should ask a professional to troubleshoot the electric blanket. Some other problem is plaguing the controller.
4). Fix the loose connections. A layperson can’t perform this task because it means checking everything from the power cord to the elements in the blanket and the connections in the controller. You can’t trust a layperson to open and tamper with the electric blanket’s internal components without causing even more harm.
5). Naturally, if the blanket has exceeded its lifespan, you should replace it. But what if the controller is the only defective component? Can you replace it without getting a new blanket? Consider the following:
- When the controller fails, order a new one from the manufacturer. You may choose to replace the entire blanket after considering the cost of both devices.
- You should replace old Sunbeam controllers with new Sunbeam controllers. But what if you can’t access Sunbeam blankets or their controllers? Or maybe you allowed your warranty to lapse, and a brand-new Sunbeam controller is too expensive. You can buy replacement controllers and blankets from non-authorized retailers.
- Buying a controller from a non-authorized retailer is risky unless you select a reliable company with a solid reputation. Additionally, you should match the controller’s size to the blanket. If you submit the model number (on the back of the controller), the retailer can find you a suitable replacement.
- Some people use controllers from different brands because the model they want to replace is no longer in production. Fortunately, that is not true for Sunbeam. However, you may want to experiment with a different brand because an original sunbeam controller is too expensive for you.
- Opinions surrounding interchangeability tend to vary. Some people will tell you that all controllers are the same. Therefore, interchanging them is not a problem. Others say the reverse. They expect this practice to trigger a short or even fire because the technology between the controllers you want to interchange may differ drastically.