How to Troubleshoot 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.

The Basics

If you are mechanically inclined, careful and pay attention to details, 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.

Troubleshooting Scenarios for Electric Recliners

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.

Take Inventory

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 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.

Here are some tips and suggestions:

  • If chair has no power, check outlet first
  • Check all wiring and connections in the chair electric system for damage
  • Replace the most obvious failed part first
  • Inventory the electrical components
  • Price all parts in the system in case you have multitple failures*
  • Ask your dealer (or manufacturer) about known component failures for your chair

* 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!

My Hand Control's Not Working - That's All!

Perhaps a replacement hand control (or activation button) 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.