Good bye (and good riddance) to our Sleep Number bed
Please refer to this page for a little background about our frustration with this bed. After I removed the bed, cut up the air bladders and dissected the air pump and control electronics I think I have an idea of why the electronics failed so often. The tip-off is that this particular bed was specifically engineered for and sold to Winnebago Industries and if I know Winnebago, they squeezed every nickel possible from the Select Comfort vendor, owner of the Sleep Number brand.
When I looked at the opened-up controller/air pump assembly to study valving, wand interface, air valves, etc., what Select Comfort did was to leave a few parts out of the controller board that would permit both sides of the bed to be controlled simultaneously. In the Winnebago unique version of the bed, only one side could be adding or removing air at a time. I also suspect the hand control wands (as I call them) were designed and engineered to a very low price-point, hence the dismal failure rate.
Since this was our first (and only) Select Comfort product, I have no idea if the foam rubber used was a lower quality, but I do suspect they have different grades of materials used just like in all mattress construction. Now to be fair to the Select Comfort business, we have friends that love their residential version of the mattress and Jane and I actually enjoyed our Sleep Number mattress when the controls worked. As a side note to this diatribe, when I review our web site statistics, one of the top search terms that bring visitors to janeandjohn.org has something to do with Sleep Number beds and air pump problems. 'Nuff said.
Out with the old :)
A huge advantage for the Sleep Number bed is that it can be disassembled and removed in pieces unlike a traditional mattress (unless you use a chain saw.) Remove the air tubes (push the latch or just cut the hoses), unzip the cover, pull the air bladders out, the foam rubber, plastic formed corners, air pump and pitch in a handy trash can. Say a few parting words to your bed and be sure and wish it a happy eternal life in a nearby landfill (or your local green Sleep Number bed recycling facility.)
What we chose
We visited a reasonably large furniture store (at least for our little city) that had a huge section set aside for mattresses and we tried out several brands, grades and kinds of mattresses (box springs, enclosed box springs, foam/box springs, pure foam rubber, etc.) What we liked was a 100% foam mattress that was just a bit on the firm side but would contour to your body after a few minutes. After sleeping on it for the first night, I thought - OH NO! Made an expensive mistake, what to do? Second night - hey, this is okay. Third night - wow, I love it! This is the only mattress where I can comfortably lie on my stomach for a long time without my back killing me.
Yes, I know - get to the point. Our requirements were: a) about the same thickness as the Sleep Number bed - 8", b) as light weight as possible since we have storage under the bed, and c) the ability to flex when we raise the bed (and of course it felt comfortable!)
The winner is:
Tempurpedic Cloud Prima. It's just a bit thicker than the Sleep Number bed and a little heavier but a really good substitute for the air bed.
Missing from the pix: the cover and plastic formed corners
The new foam mattress. USA! USA! Made in Albuquerque, NM (crappy cell phone pix)
Oh, it's so.. beautiful...
That's how I felt after horsing the new mattress in the coach!