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CANMAN

How to Install a Little Buddy Interior Car Warmer

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I saw the Little Buddy Interior Car Warmer in Rons (Leadwing) car and liked the sturdy metal construction and small size as well as 900 Watts of heat so I purchased one at Home Hardware for $86.99 plus tax.

However the unit does not have an on/off switch which means it will run continuously when plugged into the outlet smart built into the passengers footwell (when the block heater cord at the front of the car is energized).

I use a timer to energize the block heater 1-2 hours before I leave in the morning, and I didn't want the interior warmer to run for the whole time and didn't want to have to plug and unplug it every morning so I added an on/off switch myself.

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Installation of the heater is straightforward, there is a mounting bracket you attach under the dash, (sorry no pic of this) I went to Home Depot and purchased a package of 3/16 x 3 flat socket head stove bolts, item #846-802. Suppose you can buy them at Home Hardware when you get the heater. There are 6 bolts and 6 nuts in the package.

Other than a drill, drill bit and wrenches these are all the tools you need. (inline switch optional)

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Use 2 bolts and nuts on the mounting bracket, then add 2 more nuts to each bolt, so you use all the nuts in the package, each bolt has 3 nuts on it.

Pull the cardboard cover off the underside of the passengers side dash, DO NOT drill or screw the plastic dash (not structural) fit the bracket at the edge of the plastic dash with the bolts going upwards behind the edge. There is a Pot Metal brace above the edge of the dash. It has a lot of holes in it. Don't use the holes they are too big, locate the stove bolts so both are touching solid metal beside the holes, mark and drill 3/16 holes in the Pot Metal.

CAUTION: The pot metal is soft and easy to drill thru, there is the airbag assy above this on the 450 so be careful.

Tighten the bolt and first nut on the bracket, remove the last nut, and screw the 2nd nut down about 1 inch from the end of the bolt (do this on both bolts).

Insert both bolts into the holes you drilled and add the 3rd nut to both and tighten the 2nd and 3rd nuts on either side of the Pot Metal brace (they turn in opposite directions to clamp both sides of brace).

Reinstall the cardboard cover and take out the Foam Block of Death to fish out the 3 prong electrical connector, route it out the hole beside the heater control cable, make sure it doesn't interfere with the heater control, there is a bit of velcro on the plug to stick it on the carpet.

The Little Buddy comes with a nice weatherproof cable and grommet to run a lead out the firewall of the car, seeing how smart already did this step for us I omitted this step. (you can use the cable on another car)

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Cut the cable at least 6 inches away from the connector so you can reuse the cable in another car.

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You just have to slide the back part of the male plug on the cable, strip the wires and hook them up to the terminals inside the plug and reassemble the plug, plug it in and you're done. (I wish it was that simple)

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THE INSTRUCTIONS ON PAGE 2 FIGURE 7 OF THE INSTALLATION AND OPERATION GUIDE THAT COMES WITH THE HEATER ARE WRONG! (I have sent the manufacture a letter)

They identify the Neutral wire by:

1) "Neutral" label on wire.

2) Ribbing on cord jacket.

3) White lettering on cord jacket.

But the wire with the White lettering is not the same as the one with the "Neutral" label and it has smooth insulation?

Because of the contradictory/confusing nature of the instructions I decided to take the Little Buddy apart to see which wire went where.

(If you take yours apart you will void the warranty!)

It is double insulated and you can't just meter from the heater coil to determine which lead goes where because the heater and motor are in parallel and you get feed thru.

I had to disconnect one of the marret connectors to meter the connections.

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This is what I found, THE INSTRUCTIONS ARE BACKWARDS.

The Live wire (Black) has the Ribbing on the cord jacket and the "Neutral" label.

The Neutral wire (White) has the smooth insulation and white lettering on the cord jacket.

This may only be a manufacturing defect on only my unit, but due to the incorrectness of the instructions in figure 7, I don't think so.

The motor will still run in the right direction and the heater will still work, but it's still wrong to mix up the Live and Neutral wires for safetys sake.

I did all this because I wanted to add an on/off switch to the cable which should be installed in the Live (Black) wire, to switch the current before the load (heater).

That part was easy.

Just cut only the Live wire (Black) the one with the ribbing and strip the insulation.

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Open the inline switch and lay the cable thru it, then wrap the wires around the screws in a clockwise direction on both screws and tighten, reassemble sw.

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Here is a picture of competed heater with inline switch, just slide onto mounting bracket and plug in.

CANMAN

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Today I received a phone call from the manufacturer (I sent a letter about the instructions).They thanked me for identifying the problem and acknowledged that I am 100% correct, they will immediately correct the problem.So my corrections will only apply to the Instruction and Operation Guide printed 24/09/93.I am sure any instructions printed after this date will be correct.CANMAN

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I received no printed instructions when I got my "Little Buddy" so I installed it using the wiring that was already hooked up to it and a little "shade-tree mechanic" know-how. That was almost 2 years ago and it was worth every penny I paid to get it. It has worked flawlessly since it was installed. I have it on a timer, so an on/off switch wasn't needed.

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Timer is a great idea but I already have a timer to "energize" my oil pan heater about an hour before I need to start the car.I was thinking more along the lines of a thermostatic switch so that it comes on with the oil pan heater but only runs long enough to warm the car to a certain temperature........The problem would be making it small enough and routing it somewhere away from the heater.MZ

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Any old room thermostat will work, as long as it is meant to control the full current, i.e. baseboard heaters. The ones meant only to control a low 24 volt signal to a central furnace won't work, of course, although you could use a relay controlled by it.The problem is that the air will warm quite quickly, but you really want to keep the heater on for longer so all the interior parts warm up as well. That will help keep the car warm until the engine starts putting out some heat. With 900 watts I wouldn't worry too much about overheating and melting some plastic parts. Some care as to where the unit is blowing is probably in order, though. A timer to start the heating of both the block heater and the interior 60-90 minutes before you leave is the best.

Edited by Alex

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