Keypad / Control Panel / Touch Pad / Controller Overlay Repair Kit for Health Mate, Sun Spirit, High Tech Health / Thermal Life
Our Infrared Sauna aftermarket keypad overlays for Health Mate, Sun Spirit, and High Tech Health / Thermal Life were designed to address one of the most common points of failure that we frequently encounter with membrane-style resistive touch keypads with four digit LED displays. Two overlays are included in the kit. One for the inside keypad and one for the outside.
For this specific generation of products, the failure of the membrane keypad assembly accounts for approximately half of the control system failures we encounter.
Keypads that can be fixed using this overlay kit include following models:
Health Mate 012-0034C Health Mate 012-0034D
Sun Spirit 012-0048A High Tech Health / Thermal Life 012-0037C
Several models of Health Mate, Sun Spirit, and High Tech Health / Thermal Life saunas incorporated a 4-digit membrane overlay keypad with a green face or black face on Health Mate branded saunas, brown for those branded as "Sun Spirit", or blue for High Tech Health / Thermal Life. For these specific keypad, the membrane overlays tend to fail prematurely, resulting in the the buttons shoring, ultimately causing them to be in an intermittent or permanent "on" state.
Furthermore, many of the domed discs covering each of the contact layers break off entirely. The missing dome may or may not affect functionality, and at the very least appear cosmetically unappealing.
Telltale signs of failure of the keypad overlay:
Overwhelmingly, the majority of problems with Health Mate membrane-style keypads are due to one or more shorted buttons on either one or both of the keypads.
When this occurs, you'll usually (but not always) see the time on the display as you would normally expect. You’ll also typically hear the keypad beep as it normally should when plugging in the sauna.
Pressing the buttons however will not perform the actions as they would normally, such as activating the sauna or the lights.
Other telltale signs include:
Runaway Temp or Time button - After turning on the sauna, you may also see the keypad increasing or decreasing the value for the time or temperature without pressing any of the buttons. This is because one of them is "stuck" in a depressed state.
"Double Beeps" - Listen very carefully when you press any single button. You should always hear just one single beep whenever you press down on any button on the keypad, and no beeps should be heard when you release. If you either hear no beeps at all, beeping on release of a button, or if you hear two (or more) beeps in very short succession every time you press a single button, then you almost certainly have shorted buttons on your keypad.
"Phantom" button presses - You start hearing beeping noises in the middle of the night, and seeing activity taking place on the keypad when no one else is around, which may lead you to believe that your sauna has suddenly become cursed or demonically possessed.
What causes these failures?
There are three main causes that we've found to be the primary culprits:
1. Normal wear and tear of the buttons themselves is one of the primary causes for membrane keypads. This is particularly evident by the fact that the most frequently pressed buttons (On, Time Up, and Temp Up) are usually the buttons to usually fail first.
2. Continuous expansion and contraction of the membrane substrate layers of the keypad due to temperatures that continuously swing between high and low during the course of several years of use are another cause of failure over time.
3. The green-faced (and most common) version of the Health Mate's keypad overlays also included electroluminescent backlighting. This feature is was causes the keypad to light up and glow from behind for several seconds after any button is pressed. While the backlighting makes the keypad easier to see in the dark and can be aesthetically pleasing, it's also prone to fail and is the third major culprit. This is because the electroluminescent backlighting (unlike the LED backlighting that's more commonplace today) requires an unusually high 60 volts to function. Over time, and for a variety of reasons, this higher voltage can arc through the substrate layers, and be the cause for a variety of problems.
Designed for Durability
Repairing hundreds of Health Mate, Sun Spirit, and High Tech Health / Thermal Life systems with these control pad problems has afforded us a unique perspective on the root causes of the premature failures of these keypads. By addressing all of the aforementioned issues head-on in our aftermarket design, our replacement overlays are substantially more robust than the original design.
To address issues 1 and 2, we've manufactured our redesigned aftermarket keypads to be entirely flat. This is because the more costly "domed" buttons used in the original keypad, while perhaps being more tactically aesthetic, have the tendency to break at the button edges and fall off after a few years of use. Moreover, our keypad manufacturer states that the lifespan of a keypad with domed buttons is typically just 1/5th that of flat button keypads.
Anecdotally, this last point would coincide with the fact that domed keypad failures account for about half of the problems we see in the systems we service from the generation of Health Mate sauna equipment these overlays are designed to fix.
In stark contrast, the flat style HMKV-1B keypads from the prior generation as well as the even older 535-CM series almost never exhibit these issues. That's not to say that they don't ever fail, but it's rare.
In order to address issue 3, we've done away entirely with the electroluminescent backlighting. And as such, our aftermarket keypads are not prone to the host of issues caused by those versions of Health Mate’s keypads that implemented this feature. They won't glow effervescently in the dark, but they'll work.
1. Remove the keypads. To do so, you'll need a Phillip's head screwdriver and either an exacto-knife or a razor blade. Using the exacto-knife or razor blade, gently peel back each of the four corners and remove the underlying screw.
In some rare cases, you may find only three screws, with the fourth screw location being occupied by a cylindrical thermal sensor which is held in place with hot glue. It should be obviously different in appearance if this is the case. If so, then simply leave the sensor in place, and remove the other three screws.
If your sauna has two keypads, one side will we a little heavier as if falls toward you, so take extra care that it doesn't drop as you remove the last screw.
2. The heavier side (if that should come out first) contains both the keypad as well as all the keypad electronics. First be aware of the ribbon or ribbons from the keypad on the other side of the wall. There should be only one if your sauna's keypads did not include electroluminescent backlighting (e.g. some four-digit Health Mate black-face keypads). Those that did include backlighting, (e.g. all green-faced keypads) will have two ribbons. Gently remove them from the black connectors where the electronics are located being careful not to damage the black connectors.
3. Next, you'll most likely have two cables that lead into the walls of the sauna. These are the five pin connector that leads to the power box, and the cable leading to the temperature sensor. In a few rare cases you may only have just a single cable that leads into the wall to the power box. In this case, you'll find that the temperature sensor hot-glued into one of the four corners replacing one of the four screws. If yours is the latter, you must make sure that the side containing the sensor is installed as the inside control panel for the sensor to correctly detect the inside temperature. In either case, one of the remaining cables will be attached with a beige five pin connector. This is the cable used to connect the keypad to the power box. Do NOT pull on the cable to remove it. Instead, make sure to pull it out by grabbing it from the white plastic connector housing.
Also be careful to not let the cable drop down into the walls of the sauna as you'll want to reconnect once the new overlays are positioned.
4. The second cable (if found) is a two wire cable that will lead into the wall of your sauna, and is connected to a white 2-pin connector on the back of the heavier "electronics" side of the keypads. This ultimately leads to your sauna's temperature sensor. Remove this wire from the keypad, again making sure to leave it draping outside the cavity left by the keypad and not allowed to slip inside the walls of the sauna. This second wire will only be found if both of your keypads had four screws to remove in Step 1.
5. Peel off and remove the old overlay from one of the keypad sides entirely from the aluminum backplate. After peeling off the original overlay, you'll probably have some residual glue that's still stuck to the board.
6. Clean the rest of the glue left behind from the original keypads. This is important, as any area that's not perfectly flat can put pressure against the back of the new keypad, which may result in false button presses. Using 91% Isopropyl Alcohol available at any supermarket and a light metal brush or dish scrubber, remove any remaining adhesive left after removing the original overlays. Don't panic if some of the alcohol ends up on the circuit board. It evaporates quickly and won't damage the electronics.
The aluminum back plates should be nice and shiny:
7. Now you're ready to move forward with the new keypads. Both are identical, so you can begin with either one. Start by looking carefully to see if the face of the keypad is glossy or dull. If appears dull, then you'll need to remove the thin layer of manufacturing film that's still in place. You can most easily pull it off starting at one of the four corners. Once removed, the face of the new keypad should look very glossy.
8. Now turn over the replacement keypad and look to see if the manufacturing film is still present covering the tinted lens. If so, remove that as well. Be extra careful to not leave fingerprints on the inside of the lens, as it's more difficult to clean once installed.
9. It's important that the remaining steps be performed with careful attention and without distraction. When you're ready to proceed, carefully peel back the wax paper backing to reveal the adhesive on the new keypad, being careful to not allow the connector strip to get stuck to the adhesive backing. If your original keypad included electroluminescent backlighting, you'll notice that the new keypad only has one ribbon cable instead of two. The absent ribbon cable is no longer needed as the backlighting is no longer present.
Once removed the sticky back side look like this:
Also make sure that you remove any wax paper that might remain under the ribbon cable, but make sure the ribbon cable remains free and doesn't get stuck to the overlay once this remaining piece is removed:
Be aware that once the sticky side makes contact with anything, it will not want to let go. And once it's pressed against a flat surface, it will be nearly impossible to remove without damaging the new keypad in the process.
10. Carefully position the cable through the slit opening toward the bottom of the aluminum keypad. It's also important that you make sure the cable is fully extended, and that part of the cable doesn't fold or crimp between the sticky backside of the keypad and the aluminum backing.
11. Align the new keypad, and maintain as best as possible some sense of awareness of all four sides so that it aligns as perfectly as possible with the aluminum back plate. You may wish to have someone help as another set of eyes, and help with two of the four corners while lowering it down. (Of course, that way you'll also have someone else to blame if it's not correctly aligned). Take care to not press down firmly on the four corners at this time, as they still will need to allow access to the underlying screw. (Don't panic if they should grab a little. Just don't press down on them yet).
12. If you're working on a Sun Spirit sauna, you can continue below. All others with Health Mate or High Tech Health saunas will need to repeat steps 4 through 7 for the second keypad.
13. On the electronics side, insert the flat green ribbon from the new overlay into the black connector where the original overlay was connected previously.
14. Bring the keypad(s) back to the sauna. It's recommended that you begin with the side that includes the electronics, as this will make it less likely that the cables that were draped over the edge of the keypad cutout in the wall are not inadvertently jarred, causing them to fall into the walls of the sauna, and reconnect the two wire temperature sensor to the white connector on the back of the keypad.
15. Next, reconnect the 5 wire data cable that leads to sauna's power box.
16. Place the keypad back into the wall of the sauna and replace the four screws under each of the four corners of the new keypad. Once in place, you can push down on each corner to tack them down. For those with Sun Spirit sauna, your can plug your sauna back in and use your new keypads.
17. To replace the second of the two keypads, you'll first want to look through the cavity to get a visual reference for where the ribbon cable will need to be positioned, as you'll need to feed it though and position it by feeling for the connected and positioning it by touch.
18. Once the ribbon feels firmly in place, replace the screws on the secondary keypad.
You can now plug your sauna back in and use your new keypads.