I was asked to repair a personal massage belt recently, which had developed an annoying habit of cutting out, mid-treatment. Over email, I confessed that I did not know what a massage belt was, but was reassured that is was used to treat lower back ailments and nothing more personal. Phew.
Make and model: Invitalis Vitalymed Flexi massage belt
Fault reported: Cutting out
Cost of replacement: About £40.00
Cost of parts: £1.29
Hours spent on repair: 1
Tools needed: Small flat-bladed screwdriver, soldering iron
Sundry items: None
Repair difficulty: 2/10
Cups of tea: 1
Biscuits: 1 Goldbar
These devices are sold on Amazon and are usually available at events, such as the Ideal Home Exhibition and alike. This belt offers the wearer a lower back massage by means of two rotating arms with smooth spheres, hidden behind a soft pad. The spheres also emit infra-red, if required.
I don’t know much about this kind of thing, but I had noticed that the power cable for the belt was a standard female 12VDC connector, used on many types of domestic equipment.
With the power applied and with some wiggling, the belt would occasionally come on and then fail, indicating a loose connection. The trick here was to find out where.
The belt is zipped together and access to the wiring was easy. The belt’s power connector ran to a switch/mode box and then on to the motors and other gizmos within (see photos in slideshow).
After cutting into the cable, testing continuity, I found two problems; A break within one of the cable cores and a faulty female power connector. Luckily, connectors like this are abundant and a quick look on eBay revealed lots for under £2, delivered. As it happens, I bought a high-quality connector and flying lead, intended for a CCTV camera, to fit the belt.
The last step was to reconnect some good cable, reconnect the new connector and make good with soldered joints and heat shrink, to keep everything nice and tidy. Before I solder things, I always make sure I’ve not cross-wired anything, by proving continuity with a multimeter. In the past, one has been known to blow things up by not taking this sensible approach!
After reassembly, it was just a case of powering up and switching on. Gladly, I hadn’t crossed any cables and it now worked again, happily ever after.