Wednesday, December 20, 2017

How to Fix a Sleep Number Bed Wired Controller With Hard to Push Buttons

Okay, I'll fess up on this one. The controller buttons on my wired Sleep Number Bed controllers had been getting harder and harder to push. I looked up the cost of replacement controllers and after they removed the defibrillator I was struck by the knowledge that I would have to see if I could fix them. I still stalled until after the warranty ran out even though the controllers weren't covered in the warranty.


With my heart in my throat, I assembled my tools not knowing if I was going to fix it or screw it all up and have to buy very expensive new controllers.  Here's what you need.

  • Phillips screwdriver
  • 4 Q-tips
  • Alcohol
  • Cotton swab

Unplug the electric cord so you don't sock yourself and follow the directions under the pictures below.

First turn the controller over and remove the three screws. Gently lift off the bottom half.


Remove the screw from the circuit board and remove the board and the wires gently.

Note the carbon buildup on the contacts below the up and down controller buttons. 

Remove the buildup by gently rubbing the affected area with a Q-tip moistened with alcohol. Immediately dry the area with a cotton ball so as not to damage the circuit board. Watch out as you do not to dislodge the LCD screen assembly.

Next clean the button contacts of any buildup. Gently rub with a Q-tip moistened with alcohol and dry immediately with a dry cotton ball to prevent damage to the contact.

If the screen assembly does fall out, don't worry. In the photo to the right, you see the screen and the plastic platform. There is a conductor pad stuck to the LCD screen. It's easily dislodged from the screen. Don't worry if if comes loose.

 The circuit board looks like this if the LCD screen falls off. Don't worry. Everything sits in place and works fine. Nothing to worry about reconnecting.

To reset the LCD screen, first place the connector pad in the position shown in the top half of the plastic housing as shown.

Next lay the LCD screen race down in the frame and put the plastic platform over it with the solid top facing up.


Lay the circuit board face down over the buttons and screen on top of the front plastic plate. Align the center screw and tighten it down securely. Fit the cord into the mounting slot as shown.

 Reset the back plate over the front plate and replace the three screws. Tighten the controller assembly and you're done.

Note the carbon residue left on the Q-tips.  Flip the controller over. Plug the pump back in and give it a try. You'll find the controllers work as easily as they did when they were new. And you won't need a defibrillator because you had to buy new controllers.

 That's all there is to it. It wasn't nearly as difficult as I feared it would be.  This was a much easier project that I thought it would be. Fix it and your spouse will think you're a genius, especially if you don't show her (or him) this article. Let 'em think you are brilliant.

© 2017 by Tom King

* If you attempt this repair while your bed is still under warranty it may mess up the warranty though I don's see why or how it would. Check out your paperwork first to see if there will be a problem. Likely not, though. If you've got wired controllers, your bed is probably way out of warranty by now. That said, we've never had any trouble with our Sleep Number beds other than the stiff controller buttons.  Love our Sleep Number bed!

Sunday, October 22, 2017

A Quick Emergency Stretcher

Rule 1: Don't move an injured patient, unless his life is in immediate danger. You can do more damage moving them, so in most cases wait for the paramedics. If, however, the injured person is in a dangerous place like near a fire, rising water or bad weather or dangerous animals are approaching you absolutely have to move an injured person, here's a way to make a quick sturdy stretcher using stuff that's easily available.

Gather up these two items.
  1. A blanket, tarpaulin, sheet of plastic or something blanket-like. On a beach you could use a couple of large beach towels, a sail from a sailboard or some pull the cover off the umbrella.
  2. A couple of poles, two tree limbs or long pipes or rods to use for the handles. Two sailboard masts could provide your poles or the umbrella posts. Anything long and straight can work.
Making the Stretcher:
  1. Lay out the blanket on a flat place so that the long edge of the blanket is toward you with the short edges to your left and right.
  2. Lay one pole on top of the blanket about 1/3 of the way over from the right edge of the blanket.
  3. Fold the right flap over the top of the first pole and lay it across the blanket toward the left side.
  4. Lay the second pole on top of the left edge of the blanket that was folded over about a third of the way from the left edge of the blanket. 
  5. Fold the left flap over the top of the pole and lay it all the way across the top of both poles.
Moving the Patient:

The best way to move the patient is carefully. Here are the steps.
  1. Lay the improvised stretcher next to the injured person, parallel to their body. 
  2. Get as many people as possible to help you lift. The more hands you have helping you, the easier it is to move the patient's body as a single unit. 
  3. Be careful not to allow damaged body parts to move. I could cause further injury if you try to straighten a broken limb or bend a damaged spine. 
  4. Lift the patient straight up and move his body slowly and lower it onto the top of the blanket. The patient's weight on top of the blankets will hold the blankets in place and prevent them from slipping from the poles. 
  5. Put two people on either end of the stretcher or four people, two on each end and lift by the poles. 
  6. When you carry the stretcher away, make sure everyone carrying it walks out of step with each other. This prevents the stretcher from swinging. If you walk in a march step, the rhythm of your step will cause the stretcher to swing back and fort and can cause those carrying it to stumble or drop the handle.
  7. If you have four people carrying the stretcher, put one on each end holding the poles and the other two walking alongside holding the poles at the center. 
Note:  Before you lift and go, practice a few times quickly so everyone knows what they are going to do. It's a good idea, if you work with kids and/or in wooded or isolated places, to practice making one of these stretchers so you can do it quickly.

© 2017 by Tom King

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Recycling Candle Jars

Bathroom Epsom salts storage jar.
Thrifty folks like me just hate to throw away those lovely candle jars when the candle is burned away to nothing but a puddle of candle wax, a little metal square and the black smoky residue on the sides. These things make nice canisters for all sorts of things like canisters for dry ingredients like Epsom salts, coffee creamer, sugar, salt, and even flour and dried beans. You can also refill the jar with wax and string and make another candle.  Here's how:

Coffee creamer jar ready for label.
My Sweet Baboo wanted something decorative to go with her driftwood and rock collection on the bathroom cabinet. We had a small candle that was burned down all the way. Here's how we did the glass container shown in the photo above.

  • Burned out glass candle jar and lid
  • Boiling water
  • Bottle brush
  • Microwave
  • WD-40
  • Decorative stickers
  • Label
  1. Heat the candle jar in the microwave until the candle wax is liquified.
  2. Pour off the wax. Pour boiling water in the candle jar while the jar is still very warm from the microwave. Add a little dish soap.
  3. Scrub the inside of the jar with the bottle brush.
  4. If there is any wax residue left inside the jar, spray the inside of the jar with WD-40. Wipe it out with a rag or paper towel and the wash again with a brush, soap and water.
  5. Repeat until the jar is clean.
  6. Our bathroom decorative scheme is nautical. Sheila planned to put Epsom Salts in the jar, so I made a clear label on my computer that had a border and put "Sea Salt" on the label.
  7. Next we put shells and starfish stickers strategically on the outside of the jar as shown.
  8. Position attractively in your bathroom or kitchen or whatever spot you have in mind for your new sealed container.

  • Old candle jar
  • Candle string
  • Small washer
  • Candle wax or paraffin
  • Scented oil 
  • Pencil
  • Old pan
  1. Melt the old wax and remove the stub of string and metal weight.
  2. Clean out the jar as shown above. 
  3. Melt the wax slowly in the pan on the stove. Stop when it liquifies. Don't boil.
  4. Add scented oil till it smells as strong as you like and stir it in.
  5. Tie one end of the candle string to the small washer. Cut the string so it is a few inches longer than you need to reach the top.
  6. With the washer on the bottom of jar, lay the pencil on top of the open jar across the center and tie the string to the center of the pencil to hold the string vertical.
  7. Gently pour the hot wax into the jar and fill to a half inch or so from the top of the jar. 
  8. Allow to sit and cool and when hardened, trim the the string level with the top of the jar. 
  9. Your new candle is ready to go. 
The nice thing about old candle jars is that they have a seal so that the jars can be made relatively airtight.  They're handy for a lot of things and you get that lovely smell when you burn the candle the first time before you reuse the jar.


Swan Creek Candle Company - (wax, scent and supplies)

Alternate Jar Cleaning Method (Youtube)

Three More Ways To Clean Candle Jars

© 2017 by Tom King