Nichrome Wire Heater

Thread Starter

andregtable

Joined Mar 8, 2016
32
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.
 

GopherT

Joined Nov 23, 2012
8,012
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.
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.
 

cmartinez

Joined Jan 17, 2007
7,060
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.
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?
 
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Thread Starter

andregtable

Joined Mar 8, 2016
32
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.
 

tcmtech

Joined Nov 4, 2013
2,867
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.
 

Thread Starter

andregtable

Joined Mar 8, 2016
32
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.
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
 

SLK001

Joined Nov 29, 2011
1,548
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.
 

ronv

Joined Nov 12, 2008
3,770
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
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.
 

Thread Starter

andregtable

Joined Mar 8, 2016
32
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.
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
 

ronv

Joined Nov 12, 2008
3,770
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
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.
 

Thread Starter

andregtable

Joined Mar 8, 2016
32
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.
The issue here is that i dont know how to use a "simple PWM" or it really isnt that simple to me
 

ronv

Joined Nov 12, 2008
3,770
Something like this would probably be more than big enough
The issue here is that i dont know how to use a "simple PWM" or it really isnt that simple to me
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.
 

wayneh

Joined Sep 9, 2010
16,399
The issue here is that i dont know how to use a "simple PWM" or it really isnt that simple to me
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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