Tools Featured in this Teardown

Introduction

You will learn about how the unit is engineered, and how to do a partial disassembly. Note: This describes the heating/cooling which is part of 2nd generation ChiliPad / ChiliCube system (introduced in 2014(?), and not the first generation unit (mostly sold pre-2015) which was more squat, and had a handle on top.

This teardown is not a repair guide. To repair your ChiliPad ChiliCube, use our service manual.

Unhook the cube from power and from the circulating tubes connecting it to the mattress pad. Drain water from the cube. (not completely necessary if a little dribbling is OK.) Drain water from the cube. (not completely necessary if a little dribbling is OK.)
  • Unhook the cube from power and from the circulating tubes connecting it to the mattress pad.

  • Drain water from the cube. (not completely necessary if a little dribbling is OK.)

Add Comment

Note that one of the screws we need to remove is under the "QC Passed" sticker. If you are still under warrantee, and you don't want ChiliTechnology giving you grief for messing with something you own, slide a razor under the "QC Passed" sticker, and "store" it by parking it on one of the other stickers on the cube.
  • Note that one of the screws we need to remove is under the "QC Passed" sticker. If you are still under warrantee, and you don't want ChiliTechnology giving you grief for messing with something you own, slide a razor under the "QC Passed" sticker, and "store" it by parking it on one of the other stickers on the cube.

  • Since 2 out of 2 of your editor's ChiliCubes needed to go back for repair during the first year, You'd better treat that sticker nice!

Add Comment

Notice hole with red arrow pointing to it.  This is the reset for what is probably a thermal breaker. According to ChiliTech support, you stick a (very long) pencil down here to reset the breaker, do this if the heater on your cube does not work. (or works poorly.)
  • Notice hole with red arrow pointing to it. This is the reset for what is probably a thermal breaker. According to ChiliTech support, you stick a (very long) pencil down here to reset the breaker, do this if the heater on your cube does not work. (or works poorly.)

  • Resetting the thermal breaker might take several tries, its hard to tell if you did it right. It seems to be a mechanical thing, and not a microswitch like you might use to reset your router.

  • You need that heater, because ChiliTech has changed the instructions for the cube since 2014. Now you need to be able to turn the heat up to high (even if you only use your cube for cooling.)

  • Every month, they recommend 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide and run it at 90º for 20 minutes.

  • Every 3rd month they want you to put 1/4 cup of hydrogen peroxide in, and run the cube on high for 6-8 hours.

  • Better invest in stock in peroxide and distilled water companies!

  • This is all to cook the bacteria that grows in these things. Don't tell your spouse if they are squeamish about that sorta stuff, just tell 'em you are experimenting with a new way to brew beer.

Add Comment

Remove 10 screws. Four of them are in deep narrow holes which presumably are intended to prevent casual disassembly like this. You will find most regular #2 philip's screwdrivers are not long and/or narrow  enough. Remove 10 screws. Four of them are in deep narrow holes which presumably are intended to prevent casual disassembly like this. You will find most regular #2 philip's screwdrivers are not long and/or narrow  enough.
  • Remove 10 screws. Four of them are in deep narrow holes which presumably are intended to prevent casual disassembly like this. You will find most regular #2 philip's screwdrivers are not long and/or narrow enough.

Add Comment

Once unscrewed, you can lift bottom part of case off cube.
  • Once unscrewed, you can lift bottom part of case off cube.

Add Comment

Unhook connector for small ribbon cable which connects control board on top of cube with circuit board on bottom of cube. Flip cube over (carefully supporting the inside mechanism--its not attached to the case anymore) and then lift case off. Don't go yanking it away brusquely, that control cable may have gotten pinned underneath even though you disconnected it.
  • Unhook connector for small ribbon cable which connects control board on top of cube with circuit board on bottom of cube.

  • Flip cube over (carefully supporting the inside mechanism--its not attached to the case anymore) and then lift case off. Don't go yanking it away brusquely, that control cable may have gotten pinned underneath even though you disconnected it.

Add Comment

Here is what cube looks like from back, side and front. From the back, you can see the ports for the circulation hoses at the bottom, the water reservoir above, surrounded by insulation foam, and heat sinks left and right. Its not clear if you can remove the heat sinks without damaging the reservoir. There is the left-side fan.  Noisy! Look to my guide to fan replacement to make your unit quieter.
  • Here is what cube looks like from back, side and front.

  • From the back, you can see the ports for the circulation hoses at the bottom, the water reservoir above, surrounded by insulation foam, and heat sinks left and right. Its not clear if you can remove the heat sinks without damaging the reservoir.

  • There is the left-side fan. Noisy! Look to my guide to fan replacement to make your unit quieter.

  • Those are probably thermostats on top of the heat sinks.

Add Comment

Underneath, where most of the electronics are located. This hangs upside down during normal use. Note that there is actually a third fan in every unit to cool the power supply (and pump?). Luckily this fan is quieter. Note that there is actually a third fan in every unit to cool the power supply (and pump?). Luckily this fan is quieter.
  • Underneath, where most of the electronics are located. This hangs upside down during normal use.

  • Note that there is actually a third fan in every unit to cool the power supply (and pump?). Luckily this fan is quieter.

Add Comment

Your author's cubes both had this thin red cable floating with one end loose. This is the antenna for the wireless control.  (Radio as opposed to infrared like your TV wireless control, because you may not have good line-of-sight.) Water pump, and small fan. Power supply.
  • Your author's cubes both had this thin red cable floating with one end loose. This is the antenna for the wireless control. (Radio as opposed to infrared like your TV wireless control, because you may not have good line-of-sight.)

  • Water pump, and small fan.

  • Power supply.

The red wire is the antenna.

stevengpreston - Reply

As you will see, the fans in this unit are not designed for easy removal or replacement The 2 screws supporting the fan are on the heat sink side of the bracket/shroud, so we remove the bracket first, so we can get to those screws next. Remove four screws holding the bracket/shroud to the heat sink. The 2 screws supporting the fan are on the heat sink side of the bracket/shroud, so we remove the bracket first, so we can get to those screws next. Remove four screws holding the bracket/shroud to the heat sink.
  • As you will see, the fans in this unit are not designed for easy removal or replacement

  • The 2 screws supporting the fan are on the heat sink side of the bracket/shroud, so we remove the bracket first, so we can get to those screws next. Remove four screws holding the bracket/shroud to the heat sink.

Add Comment

The fans are connected in series to a single header on the main circuit board. You can not do a tool-less (or even splice-free) replacement of the fans.
  • The fans are connected in series to a single header on the main circuit board. You can not do a tool-less (or even splice-free) replacement of the fans.

  • The fans are connected to one another, and to the circuit board via a path under the "deck" (actually above, when right-side-up.) There are cable ties way underneath, and to get to that, you would need to disconnect almost everything else on the cube, including the pump and all of the circuit boards.

Add Comment

Unwilling to disconnect the pump, your author instead has just demonstrated what would be removed next. You must remove 3 screws anchoring the pump. There is a bit of play with the silicone tubes connecting the pump to the resevoir once the deck is disconnected The pump has got some stand-offs and silicone grommets to isolate vibrations from the rest of the cube to keep things quiet.
  • Unwilling to disconnect the pump, your author instead has just demonstrated what would be removed next. You must remove 3 screws anchoring the pump.

  • There is a bit of play with the silicone tubes connecting the pump to the resevoir once the deck is disconnected

  • The pump has got some stand-offs and silicone grommets to isolate vibrations from the rest of the cube to keep things quiet.

Add Comment

Remove 4 screws apiece from the main circuit board, and the circuit board for the power supply. Once the pump and those boards are removed, you can access the 4 screws attaching the deck to the heat sinks and reservoir. Once the pump and those boards are removed, you can access the 4 screws attaching the deck to the heat sinks and reservoir.
  • Remove 4 screws apiece from the main circuit board, and the circuit board for the power supply.

  • Once the pump and those boards are removed, you can access the 4 screws attaching the deck to the heat sinks and reservoir.

Add Comment

Once the deck is loose, you can lift it a tiny bit to see the wiring harness underneath.  The pump above the deck is still connected to the reservoir below the deck through holes in the deck, so there is not much play.
  • Once the deck is loose, you can lift it a tiny bit to see the wiring harness underneath. The pump above the deck is still connected to the reservoir below the deck through holes in the deck, so there is not much play.

  • Notice that the "deck" has a flange at the edge, and surrounding each of the penetrations to the deck. When this is right-side up, these flanges will supposedly capture any water which happened to spill between the filler neck and the case, or slight internal leaks elsewhere, thus preventing the water from getting to the electronics.

  • Mind you, the splices for the fan harness would be sitting in any puddle captured by the deck (but at least that would only be low voltage DC.)

  • The fans must be connected together and their wiring cable tied together before the pump is attached in the factory, meaning you are forced to cut the wires to replace them unless you completely disconnect the deck and the pump.

Add Comment

Your author was unwilling to disconnect the reservoir from the pump or heat sinks, so there are some parts of this cube which will remain unseen until it dies for good. The best view possible for the thermal breaker reset switch. Connectors to main circuit board, black is pump, red is small fan, white is harness for two large fans.
  • Your author was unwilling to disconnect the reservoir from the pump or heat sinks, so there are some parts of this cube which will remain unseen until it dies for good.

  • The best view possible for the thermal breaker reset switch.

  • Connectors to main circuit board, black is pump, red is small fan, white is harness for two large fans.

Add Comment

Netmammal

Member since: 04/30/2015

759 Reputation

4 Guides authored

Team

Local Hero Tech Support Member of Local Hero Tech Support

Business

1 Member

4 Guides authored

13 Comments

where can i gey replacement pump ? Thanks,Art

art838 - Reply

where can i get replacement pump ? Thanks,Art

art838 - Reply

I haven't needed to replace my pump, so I do not have that info. I would 1st suggest contacting Chili, but according to an Amazon reviewer for the previous version of their cube, they were completely unhelpful.

Based on the markings on the pump in my photos, I came up with the following requirements to find a pump:

o 0.24 Amps at 24 V DC, which means it should not consume much more than 10 watts 24 DC

o 6 Liters/Minute, which is 1.5 Gallons/minute, 360 Liters/hour, or 95 Gallons/hour (GPH). I think that measurement is taken with a head of 2.2Meters or 7.2 feet (head means the vertical distance water is moved)

o A centrifugal pump which has mounting pads and can be rigged like ours. You will have to disassemble the pump I found and rotate the inlet/outlet cap 90 degrees. I hope it goes in right direction...

This from amazon may work:

http://a.co/392FAtj

Reply & let us know what happened (I'll write it up if you want), tell us if that part worked!

Netmammal - Reply

Do you have an idea how the unit actually cools the water? What I gather from your pics is that it's just conductive heat transfer to the large heat sinks (somehow) as the water warms up? Mainly does it actually have a mini A/C compressor in it or anything? Or does it just cool by pulling ambient air across the heat sinks. Thanks!

Jason Perez - Reply

You are right. This system does not cool the water below ambient. As it turns out, this is usually just fine, unless you happen to be sleeping in a room which is above 95°! I found that even on hot nights, I found it too cold if I selected the lowest temp. My understanding is that most waterbeds have heaters in them because it would be very uncomfortable to be sleeping on something that was even 80°. That carries away a lot of heat. We are used to having things gradually adjust to our temperature. When they continue to carry away the heat from our body instead of warming up slightly, it eventually feels pretty cold (think about sitting on a metal seat on an old-school chairlift when you are skiing, thats why the new ones are plastic.)

Netmammal - Reply

Great guide. Thank you for the insight.

In step 9, the red wire is the antenna for the remote control.

Steve Preston - Reply

Regarding cooling: I would assume that it has some kind of peltier device between the reservoir and the heat sinks. Did you see any wires indicating such? If not, this is really an awful waste of a design opportunity...

nathan.corbett - Reply

I would disagree. This is already an overly expensive and overly complicated device with reliability problems. No where is any owner claiming that it does not keep them cold enough, if you owned one, you would understand why you do not need anymore cooling than what is already provided. Why make an expensive complicated device more expensive and more complicated?

Netmammal -

Any idea what causes an F1 error?

I have two units... the first can be healed for several days by just unplugging for an hour and restarting.

The other is hard-broke...

Thanks!

Kert Jans - Reply

Kert,

I would try calling Chili Technology first (even if your warranty is up, they might give you advice) failing that, if you have not tried resetting the thermal breaker as I describe in step 3 above, give that a go. I had to do it several times to get it to "take". When you are fishing around with a pencil or whatever, its sorta hard to tell if you have found the button or not, and then it requires more pressure than I expected, as it is NOT a tiny micro-switch.

If you have not run the thing through the hydrogen peroxide 6-hour on high treatment, give that a go, its probably just gunked up with growth.

Good luck!

-Dave

Netmammal - Reply

Since both of my Chilipads are out of warranty, I decided to see if I could find the cause of the F1 error.

I made some extension cables and connected sensors from my "good" Chilipad to the "bad" one until the bad one started working again. The sensor connected to the NTC connector was the cause. I followed the wires and they go into the water tank. It appears to be a thermistor or equivalent. The good unit's sensor measured 13K ohms, the bad units sensor measured 500 ohms. If the cable is disconnected, the display indicates an F5 error. I inserted a 20K potentiometer in place of the sensor, the resistance value directly corresponds to the temperature indcated on the display.

Here is a table of temperature values vs resistance:

Temp Resistance

Hi < 6000

109 6000

108 6200

100 7500

90 8800

80 10000

70 12000

60 14500

56 16000

Lo > 16000

Continued in the next post...

Kert Jans -

If one can find an equivalent thermistor with these characteristics, replacing the existing one with it will in-theory fix an F1 error. Temporarily replacing my sensor with a 10K ohm resistor made my unit operate. But...after testing, the water in the tank of the good unit was ice-cold and the repaired units water was ambient temperature (it does not chill the mattress).

Regarding the existence of Thermo Electric Cooler (Peltier) devices in the unit.I actually emailed Chills customer service and they confirmed that there are four Peltier devices which touch the water tank. If you follow the red/black wires from the TEC connector on the circuit board you can see they go deep inside the unit to the Peltier devices.

Measuring the resistance from the TEC connectors on my bad unit indicates an open circuit, therefore there is also something wrong with them. I am going to send this unit back for repair since I don't want to dismantle it to the extent that would be required to access the peltier chips.

Kert Jans -

On a side-note: I tried an experiment to make my own Chilipad cooler...at least until my other unit comes back from being repaired. I purchased the following components:

Amazon:

TEC1-12706 Thermoelectric Peltier Cooler 12v 92Watt

SUPERNIGHT DC 12v 360Watt Power Supply (could be smaller)

ZJchao 200ml Acrylic Water Tank Cooler

Youbett Aluminum Water Cooling Block

Anself Mini 4.8W DC Micro Brushless Water pump

Food Grade Vinyl Tubing 10ft 5/16 ID 7/16 OD

DC12v Heat Cool Temp Thermostat Control Switch

Frys:

Enermax ETS-N31-02 CPU Air cooler

Total cost, about $50...

It doesn't cool as fast as a Chili unit...but works...

adding one or two more Peltier devices with heat sinks should make it cool faster.

Kert Jans -

Add Comment

View Statistics:

Past 24 Hours: 9

Past 7 Days: 32

Past 30 Days: 191

All Time: 2,200