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Product Troubleshooting and Redesign

Designing a Better Heating Controller for a Heated Clothing Company.


A manufacturer of heated clothing was experiencing field failures with their heating controller. Safco was asked to assist in troubleshooting the reason for the failures and to recommend and design a new controller. Given the customer’s no questions asked, lifetime guarantee these failures were a serious issue.


  • Safco engineers worked closely with the customer to identify the root issues of the failures
  • The controller device had to support 16.5A continuous load.
  • The in-line housing was very small and somewhat inadequate for heat dissipation.
  • The current design allowed for the controller to be attached to the battery supply backwards. This backward assembly caused catastrophic failure to the chip and PCB.
  • Further investigation suggested the current design allowed the user to connect too many accessories into the controller, overloading the circuit.


Through an innovative Safco design incorporating a microprocessor, the customer’s product was upgraded in the following manner:

  • State of the art microprocessor with dual and single channel outputs was incorporated into the design that facilitated comfortable handling of 16.5A in a very small in-line housing
  • The use of the microprocessor facilitated performance of the controller in the customer mandated operating temperature range between -40°C up to +80°C.
  • The new design incorporated reverse polarity protection to prevent catastrophic failure if the controller was connected to the battery supply incorrectly.
  • Overload/short circuit protection was also included in the new design to prevent failures even if the user connected too many accessories to the controller.
  • In addition to these performance benefits designed into the product, the new design also provided better feedback to the user through flashing, multi-color LEDs. These flashing LEDs alerted the user of certain operating conditions and problems.

For more information about how Safco can help troubleshoot your issues, contact us today.

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Related Safco Topics:

Troubleshooting,  Engineering and Design