Friday, August 28, 2009

The Chair and the Base

My quest began by looking for a better office chair or even a recliner but nothing looked like it would completely solve the problem. Normal office chairs just don't allow you to recline without bending your body in half and many recliners have only one position and are too soft for my taste. Then I realized that the most comfortable chair I sit in each day is my car. If you think about it, it's specifically designed to minimize fatigue and allow people to sit comfortably for hours The main reason it's so comfortable is that it's powered which allows me to change the position frequently and effortlessly.
So, I set out to find a car seat and after a few phone calls a local junk yard invited me to come browse their luxury import inventory. I was very disappointed to find that the seats in most cars were destroyed by people who had removed dashboards, steering wheels, and radios, and by rain from doors left open. Too bad because a good powered seat for a luxury car can cost $2000 new.
After much looking I found a keeper. With muddy feet and scraped shin bone, I removed a beautiful tan leather powered passenger-side seat from a burgundy late-model BMW sedan. Crushed on the outside and obviously totaled, the car looks like it protected the occupants and provided me with an excellent centerpiece for my project. Unfortunately the equally beautiful drivers-side seat had become the resting place for a VW transmission and a small swarm of lady bugs who for some reason found gears and oil more appealing than a tree trunk - so much for evolution.
Removing the seat was fairly easy and I was careful to clip the wires on the car-side of the connector for the seat's power. Another feature of this seat was that the power controls were on the seat itself and not on the door like the Mercedes. That eliminated the need to create a wiring harness to an outboard switch assembly. There were 5 wires total but 2 of them were a larger gauge which was a clue that they were the power. The others are probably seat and belt switches but I ignored them. I used a common 12VDC, 3 amp regulated power supply which can be found at Radio Shack or other electronic supply shops.
My seat cost $100 but your mileage may vary.
Next, I need a platform to mount the seat on that was sturdy. The base is made with a piece of 1/2" plywood cut to 2' x 4'. 2x4's were used on the bottom for support.

No comments:

Post a Comment