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Old 01-29-2013, 08:54 AM   #1
fluid_360
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Join Date: Jan 2013
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2011 STI 4dr
Black

Default Heated seats behavior?

Hi everyone, I'm new to NASIOC and this is my first posting. I searched for hours and read every thread about heated seats that I could find, but I couldn't find any specific info about my issues with heated seats. The car is a 2011 STI limited.

It seems the seats won't heat unless there is weight on them. Other posts have mentioned this and I assume there is a weight sensor or something so the seats don't heat unnecessarily in the event they are left on (and to prevent burning up the heating elements). I understand this, assuming it's correct, but it kind of defeats the purpose of warming up the car before driving if the car interior air temp is warm but the leather seats are ice cold. Is there, in fact, a weight sensor or something for the heated seats?

When I start the car in the cold morning and turn on the seat heaters nothing happens until about 10 minutes after I get in and start driving. This is true of both driver and passenger seats. I tested this by starting the car on a cold day (~10F) and turned the driver's seat on and left the heat from the fans off. After 15-20 minutes both seats felt exactly the same to my hand, i.e. cold. Then I turned on the passenger seat and started driving by myself. In about 10 minutes the driver seat heated and the passenger seat was still cold (I kept the heat in the car off). I put a 10lb weight on the passenger seat and after 10 minutes I felt the seat and I could sense it had warmed a little but not nearly as much as the driver's side. Maybe 10lbs is not enough weight? After 20 more minutes the passenger seat was still barely warm, nothing like the drivers seat. However, when someone is sitting on the passengers seat it warms up the same as the drivers seat. Also, when the seats finally do warm up, it is the lower back/lumbar region of the seat that heats, not the seat bottom where your butt goes. Is this normal behavior for heated seats?

I read the owner's manual which had some info about the operation of heated seats and safety info etc, but found nothing about how the seats work or where the heater elements are located within the seat.

Any thoughts are appreciated, thanks!
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:11 AM   #2
Loyale93
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Default

Welcome to the forum, and congrats on filling out your profile.

What you're describing makes some amount of sense. I'll have to give that a try on my car. It may also be that the heater elements are far enough below the surface of the seat (so as not to burn the seat or its occupant) that you can't feel it unless you're sitting on it.

Make sure you post over in NESIC to say hi as well.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:11 AM   #3
SpamBot
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Completely normal. You won't feel any heat from the heating element unless you're sitting on it. No weight sensor or anything like that, it's just a matter of the amount of insulation between the element and your butt.

If the elements got hot enough to warm up the seat with no weight on them, they would probably burn up when you sat on the seat.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:15 AM   #4
Crazy_pilot
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I think part of the issue might be that without your weight on the seat the cushion isn't being compressed onto the heating coils fully and not effectively conducting heat into the seat material. This might be why a small amount of weight makes the seat slightly warm. I think 10 lbs is below the threshold of the weight sensor.
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Old 01-29-2013, 09:51 AM   #5
KOJAK-02-WRX
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It has to do with the heating elements themselves. This is a exerpt from process technology's description of their new smartone immersion heaters.

If the temperature goes down, so does the resistance (thereby increasing power output). If the heat transfer is restricted, as would happen when i.e. operating in air, the temperature will increase (as will the resistance) resulting in reduced power output. (PTCs are used in car seat warmers or hair dryers for example – the product reaches a predetermined maximum temperature and then turns itself down.)
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Old 01-29-2013, 10:53 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Crazy_pilot View Post
I think 10 lbs is below the threshold of the weight sensor.
There is no weight sensor associated with the seat heaters.
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Old 01-29-2013, 11:06 AM   #7
ChrisET
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Hmm I have a 2012 impreza and I always remote start car and when I get in usually 7 min after seat is warm. Is this bad practice?
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Old 01-29-2013, 02:33 PM   #8
mclrn227
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They always take about 5 minutes to heat up for me, before I really notice it. The heating element is under the padding so when you aren't sitting on it there's a lot more air and space between the surface of the seat and the heater. When you sit on it, that's all compressed and your butt is only a few think layers away.
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Old 01-31-2013, 07:19 AM   #9
fluid_360
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Thanks for all the info everyone. It makes sense why they don't feel warmed up until I sit on them for a while. How about the location of the heating elements? Once the heat is flowing, I only feel the heat in the lower back/lumbar region, not on the seat where your butt goes. Anyone know if this is normal?

Thanks again.
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Old 02-01-2013, 06:51 PM   #10
Bluefoton
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The butt and upper thigh level are heated as well. I think we just feel it less because there is more padding on the horizontal part of the seat - and the lower back is way more sensitive to temperature than a fat hairy arse. Think where it bothers the most when you're slowly walking into a cold pool or lake...
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Old 02-02-2013, 12:27 PM   #11
sMaestro
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Default Official Info

I would like a little more information about the seat heaters too. I find myself wondering exactly how they work and the manual doesn't give much detail.

I'm not sure about weight sensors, but my Chevy S10 would only turn on passenger arse warmer if the seat belt is fastened. The Drivers seat would always work when the switch was on. Makes perfect sense, except for the warming up the car scenario, the passenger is SOL.

Pontiac seats default to off and can be toggled through three modes with a button. This assures the seats aren't on unnecessarily but also doesn't work for warming up.

Anyone have any official info on the inter working of these seats? My only real concern is my wife leaving my passenger seat heater on since she only rides sometimes. Can you tell I'm starting a family migration from GM to Subaru
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Old 02-02-2013, 06:26 PM   #12
crick0234
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thats interesting. i usually turn it to max and it heats up fine within a few minutes in the car, then i turn it down. but i'm not in a limited, so maybe the leather makes a huge difference in heat transference vs alacantera?
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