Nichrome Wire Heater

Discussion in 'The Projects Forum' started by andregtable, Mar 8, 2016.

  1. andregtable

    Thread Starter Member

    Mar 8, 2016
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    Hi i am currently working on creating a heating element for my car. It will be heated with nichchrome wire enclosed in heat resistant rubber. I am so confused on how the car will power the wire and how I will be able to control the temperature of the wire (needs to bee less than 350 Fahrenheit).

    I know my description is vague but if you have any questions i can answer them easily, my main concern is powering the wire and controlling the temperature. Budget is not a major issue here.

    Thanks for your help.
     
  2. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    You want a radiant heater or an air stream heater?
    I'm thinking about 40 amps will do it.
     
  3. tcmtech

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2013
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    Didn't your vehicle come with a factory equipped heater? o_O
     
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  4. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    Can you sketch out what you are trying to do? Then take a picture of it and post it. Picture will show us how big this thing is and where we can hide the thermometer or other temp control circuitry.
     
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  5. GopherT

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 23, 2012
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    350F seems more like a pizza oven than a factory heater on your F150.
     
  6. cmartinez

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 17, 2007
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    There are many ways to accomplish what you want. But first it would be really helpful to know exactly what you're trying to do... can you tell us what is it specifically that you're trying to heat with that arrangement?
     
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
  7. #12

    Expert

    Nov 30, 2010
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    You don't actually touch the nichrome, you let it heat the air.;)
     
  8. wayneh

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    Sep 9, 2010
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    He could be making a bong for all we know. :confused:
     
  9. #12

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    I think that's called an e-bong.:D
     
  10. cmartinez

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jan 17, 2007
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    or maybe an auto-bong?
     
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  11. andregtable

    Thread Starter Member

    Mar 8, 2016
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    Haha sorry I didn't explain enough. This is a "protoype" I am working on, basically I want the nichrome wire to be enclosed in the heat resistant rubber that i have, then attach it to my wheel wells to prevent snow from building up in the well. The mechanical aspects I have no problem with I just need help with the wiring and circuitry of the project. I am nearly clueless when it comes to electronics.
     
  12. tcmtech

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 4, 2013
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    Okay why do you think you need to meant the snow and ice out of your wheel wells? I am curious being I live where it's normal to have snow or worse for 6+ months a year and I have never felt that snow and slush buildup in the wheel wells was a major concern on my vehicles.

    That said if you are looking to melt snow/ice off of a heated rubber sheet you certainly don't need 350 F. Anything a degree or two over 32F will do just fine and with that you need to know what your rubber sheet is capable of in terms of thermal transfer/dissipation per unit of area.

    My rough estimate would be that at worst you would need around .5 watts per square inch to keep freezing slush from sticking while moving. Stationary a fraction of that would work being after all once you melt the boundary layer between the frozen slush and the rubber sheet it can't hold on.
     
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  13. andregtable

    Thread Starter Member

    Mar 8, 2016
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    I agree that 350 F is way hotter than needed but the rubber is rated a 399 F before it melts so that is just the limit.

    From what i have tested 110 F is a good temp to have it at because its not too hot to the touch but is relatively good at keeping the snow off
     
  14. SLK001

    Well-Known Member

    Nov 29, 2011
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    Maybe you could adapt some heat tape (used for wrapping pipes to keep them from freezing) to your application. They are sealed from the elements. I doubt that bare (unprotected) nichrome wire would last too long in that environment.
     
  15. ronv

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 12, 2008
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    If you don't mind doing some experiments you can buy different size wire that you could probably match to your battery with no other controls.
     
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  16. andregtable

    Thread Starter Member

    Mar 8, 2016
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    I would prefer designing something that i can make multiples of and put on all 3 of my cars. I dont want to have to test a ton of combinations over and over again
     
  17. ronv

    AAC Fanatic!

    Nov 12, 2008
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    You don't have to do it every time, but you will probably need to do it once or twice no matter what you decide (unless you can get @#12 to calculate it for you). I did a similar thing for a golf cart seat heater. In that case I used simple PWM to vary the final temperature.
     
  18. andregtable

    Thread Starter Member

    Mar 8, 2016
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    The issue here is that i dont know how to use a "simple PWM" or it really isnt that simple to me
     
  19. ronv

    AAC Fanatic!

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    Something like this would probably be more than big enough
    Something like this would probably be more than big enough and cheaper than you can build it.
    The thing I have no idea about is wattage needed to do what you want to do.
     
  20. wayneh

    Expert

    Sep 9, 2010
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    Don't worry, you can buy instead of make. There are tons of PWM controllers for sale on e-bay. Think of it as getting a dimmer. Just be sure to get one rated well above whatever specs you need. Those e-bay sellers might be a little generous in their claims.

    Do you have someone's design you are following? I'm a little skeptical this will work. A metal wheel at 30mph in sub-freezing temperatures will dissipate a butt-load of heat. I really don't think you can get enough heat into it to make any difference. Add to that the fact that you need a lot of heat to thaw ice, and I just can't see it. If we're talking about a stationery wheel, maybe.
     
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