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Thread: Heating Blanket Problems

  1. #1
    Registered User Luthier's Avatar
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    Default Heating Blanket Problems

    Instruments I can build but my electronic knowledge leaves a lot to be desired. My indispensable heating blanket is not working any longer. It was made for me by a good friend who is on vacation. Any ideas on where I might take it to be fixed?
    Don
    http://www.donkawalek.com
    "The only thing achieved in life without effort is failure."
    Dum Vixi Tacui Mortua Dulce Cano

    future workshops:
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    Appomattox, Va.

    http://holidaylake4h.com/banjmand.php

  2. #2
    Builder-In-Training Steve Etter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heating Blanket Problems

    Anybody who knows electrical/electronics should be able to help. You might want to call an HVAC guy or maybe an appliance repairman. If it stopped working all at once and there was no excess heat or smoke, it is most likely a broken wire. If you are really unlucky here, you might have burned out a heating element. Finally, if there is a dial with which you control the temperature, you may need to replace it - prossibly a rheostat (aka - a variable, high-current resistor).

    Steve
    http://lutheriefromscratch.blogspot.com

    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. - Albert Einstein

  3. #3
    Registered User Luthier's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heating Blanket Problems

    Thanks Steve. After an exhaustive day of trying three different places I was told o try, the folks at the last place looked at the schematic and didn't laugh at me. They took and and will trouble shoot it for me at the beginning of the week. Then I will try to find the part(s) I need to replace. I have become really dependent on that thing. I am using to heat my slats for banjos.
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    http://www.donkawalek.com
    "The only thing achieved in life without effort is failure."
    Dum Vixi Tacui Mortua Dulce Cano

    future workshops:
    March 29th - April 3rd 2015
    Holiday Lake 4-H center,
    Appomattox, Va.

    http://holidaylake4h.com/banjmand.php

  4. #4
    Andrew C. Jerman
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    Default Re: Heating Blanket Problems

    I got the impression that you had some sort of custom made system. If its just a heat blanket then I'd think it would be cheaper to replace it then to have it worked on. I'd guess the bench charge would be as much as the blanket. If you're set on repair then I'd try an industrial electrician. The kind that would rebuild motors and such. I had one rework some ceramic heating elements for my conveyor oven. The issue he mentioned about the repair which may apply to you was that he had to use a special high temp solder that wouldn't soften by the heat of the element.

  5. #5
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    Default Re: Heating Blanket Problems

    Don, is there something wrong with the blanket, or is it the control box? If it is the blanket just get a new one, but if it is the control box you can probably eliminate it and run the blanket direct. Make sure you have a timer as the ON - OFF switch. Do you know what the rating is for the blanket? (watts per sq. inch) I use a 4 watts per sq. in. without any temperature control, just turn it off when the wood gets hot enough to bend.

  6. #6
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    Default Re: Heating Blanket Problems

    I repaired one where the AC lead in wires had become unsoldered to the terminals where the nichrome wires terminate. I carefully cut away the silicone rubber, resoldered the wires with some fairly high temperature resistant silver bearing solder, and then used high temp rated RTV silicone rubber to reseal the whole thing. After a couple of years, it's still going. I also have a dead one that will not respond to treatment, so I'm batting .500 on repairs. What the heck, they earn their keep.

  7. #7
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    Default Re: Heating Blanket Problems

    Oh, there's nothing more to a heating blanket than there is to a light bulb. There are no electronics. It's just AC voltage (or DC for that matter) in connected to a long bit of nichrome wire that zigzags around in there. It's essentially a short circuit, but the resistance of the nichrome controls the current and causes the wire to heat up.

  8. #8
    Registered User Peter LaMorte's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heating Blanket Problems

    Check continuity see if you have a broken wire in the blanket and work back from there.

  9. #9
    Registered User big smiley guy's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heating Blanket Problems

    Most likely a wire or solder has been broken. Sometimes it's the lead going into the blanket - that's easily repairable. Sometimes it the connection at the blanket - this can be slightly more difficult depending on if there's damage to the blanket connector. The third place is somewhere in the blanket and that's pretty much catastrophic. I've repaired blankets and had them work okay for a while. Generally, they start working inconsistently or intermittently and have to be replaced.

  10. #10
    Registered User Luthier's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heating Blanket Problems

    I do thank you for all your help. I did bring it to a an industrial electronics enterprise that work on electric motors and such. There are no solder connections to the "control box" which also houses a thermostat. They will be calling early in the week an I will share with you what I find out.
    Don
    http://www.donkawalek.com
    "The only thing achieved in life without effort is failure."
    Dum Vixi Tacui Mortua Dulce Cano

    future workshops:
    March 29th - April 3rd 2015
    Holiday Lake 4-H center,
    Appomattox, Va.

    http://holidaylake4h.com/banjmand.php

  11. #11
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    Default Re: Heating Blanket Problems

    As others have said, you don't need a control box; you can just plug it in directly. For some control, a simple household dimmer switch(that we all have in our homes...) is all that's needed. Anyone can wire that up, even if you know nothing about electricity. We could walk you through it. Once you find the right temperature, just mark the spot on the knob or slider with a sharpie, and you're set for life.

    My 2 inch wide blanket recently died(broken somewhere within the blanket); I'm learning to love the hot pipe once again. A cast iron pipe and propane torch is hard to beat or reliability

  12. #12
    Registered User Luthier's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heating Blanket Problems

    Thanks again for all your great help. I really think it is something in the control box itself. At one of the workshops I gave, I met a great person and we have been good friends ever since. He is a mechanical engineer. He posts on the board here as well and made me the set up that I have. I have it at the electronics shop and they are going to let me know what the problem is and then
    I will go from there. In the meantime, I have my maple slats soaking in a tray with water and Glycerin and I built a steam box. Some of the wood has been kiln dried. Some has not. You can do kiln dried wood but you have to introduce moisture back into it. Check out the cool jig I came up with to bend the wood for the (don't shoot me) the banjos I am making.
    Don
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    http://www.donkawalek.com
    "The only thing achieved in life without effort is failure."
    Dum Vixi Tacui Mortua Dulce Cano

    future workshops:
    March 29th - April 3rd 2015
    Holiday Lake 4-H center,
    Appomattox, Va.

    http://holidaylake4h.com/banjmand.php

  13. #13
    Builder-In-Training Steve Etter's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heating Blanket Problems

    Quote Originally Posted by Luthier View Post
    (don't shoot me) [because of] the banjos I am making.
    Don
    Don - I fear you misunderstand - I think everyone here agrees that banjos are beautiful instruments. The craftsmanship that goes into building one is to be admired. I, personally have enjoyed looking at many a banjo hanging on the walls of various shops.

    Steve
    http://lutheriefromscratch.blogspot.com

    Two things are infinite: the universe and human stupidity; and I'm not sure about the universe. - Albert Einstein

  14. #14
    Registered User Luthier's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heating Blanket Problems

    Not a problem. I post here more often than any other of the forums on the web. I build other instruments as well as mandolins and I was just sort of kidding around about the banjo thing. BTW. When I do play or jam with a group of musicians and I am playing the banjo......I do it with discretion, respect and consideration of all the folks in the group.
    LOL.
    Don
    http://www.donkawalek.com
    "The only thing achieved in life without effort is failure."
    Dum Vixi Tacui Mortua Dulce Cano

    future workshops:
    March 29th - April 3rd 2015
    Holiday Lake 4-H center,
    Appomattox, Va.

    http://holidaylake4h.com/banjmand.php

  15. #15
    Mandopicks Dick Hutchings's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heating Blanket Problems

    I do it with discretion, respect and consideration of all the folks in the group
    Wow, never thought to do that in all the years I've played banjo.
    Richard Hutchings

  16. #16
    Registered User Luthier's Avatar
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    Default Re: Heating Blanket Problems

    All fixed!!!! It was just a fuse!!! Woo Hoo!!!
    Don
    http://www.donkawalek.com
    "The only thing achieved in life without effort is failure."
    Dum Vixi Tacui Mortua Dulce Cano

    future workshops:
    March 29th - April 3rd 2015
    Holiday Lake 4-H center,
    Appomattox, Va.

    http://holidaylake4h.com/banjmand.php

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