So there I was, helping to wire up some heated seat covers, but with a twist.
Instead of using one switch for both back and bottom, I wired them up for independent use (one switch for bottom, one for back). These were nice little switches with a light when turned on. Lights in switches need a ground and a positive to light up. I daisy-chained the ground wires on all the switches for a clean installation.
Needless to say, it didn't work out the way I had planned it. If it did, this would be a boring column and you wouldn't learn anything from my mistakes.
Bad grounds are the most common cause for weird electrical issues, so I should have known what was going on. However, I told my friend how I wanted the ground wires run, so there should be no issues. Problem is, he didn't listen to me, and I was sitting there drawing wiring diagrams and thinking diode thoughts to stop power back feeding. Diodes are the one-way valve of the electrical world and in rare situations they can be used to stop electricity flowing in the wrong direction. I've used them before in a couple of flatfenders with great success and was thinking that maybe this was one of those rare times.
I don't understand what the heating element is made out of as well as I should. I just figured it was a resistor that simply got hot when electricity flowed through it. In this case, the problem wasn't my lack of understanding the heating element-I forgot the most important thing.
I forgot the cardinal rule of automotive electronics: If something isn't doing what it is supposed to do, check the ground. Had I remembered that from the beginning, I wouldn't have worked out a fix with diodes to fix a problem I didn't have.
So here are a few helpful hints on grounding, and the diagram of what I was dealing with, so you can get a chuckle at my wanting to use a bunch of diodes to fix a bad ground.