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Gadget Freak Case #218: Finally – A Decent Space Heater Thermostat

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armorris
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Platinum
Winter will get here before you know it.
armorris   6/29/2012 10:28:43 AM
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I know it's out of season right now, but winter will get here before you know it. I built three of these thermostats last December and they served me quite well. I have received numerous requests from friends and family to build some units for them. They are great for a hobbyist, but they are too labor-intensive to build and sell without printed circuit boards. They're otherwise pretty cheap to make. I used the shells of the three remote controls I hacked up to make two volume controls (GF #192) and a fan control (GF #198). Now, I'll have to buy enclosures and outlets for the power units of any more thermostats I might make. The remote control enclosures were perfect for the job. You can probably buy a remote control at a flea market or a garage sale that has lost its transmitter or doesn't work. Or you could just build one of my remote control gadgets and use the shell from the hacked remote.

Ann R. Thryft
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Blogger
Re: Winter will get here before you know it.
Ann R. Thryft   6/29/2012 12:21:28 PM
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Andrew, thank you for coming up with this design. In our case, mountain winters can be especially cold in a sort-of-insulated cabin on stilts, so our thermostat problems are keeping the space heater downstairs on for a longer time at a given heat output.

Rob Spiegel
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Blogger
Re: Winter will get here before you know it.
Rob Spiegel   6/29/2012 1:59:01 PM
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Given the heat around the country this summer, winter can't come too soon. I never thought I'd say that. This thermostat is a great idea. You identified a real need, Andrew. The thermostats on space heaters are useless.

Tim
User Rank
Platinum
Re: Winter will get here before you know it.
Tim   6/29/2012 6:20:47 PM
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I can see the need for this product. It is kind of surprising that space heaters do not have these already. Andrew, good job on coming up with something new.

Charles Murray
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Blogger
Re: Winter will get here before you know it.
Charles Murray   6/29/2012 7:59:29 PM
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I agree, Tim. It's very surprising that space heaters don't have this technology. This is definitely a problem waiting to be solved.  

78RPM
User Rank
Gold
Re: Winter will get here before you know it.
78RPM   6/29/2012 9:54:07 PM
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I agree with you that it is surprising that manufacturers did not think of this. It's such an inexpensive solution to a problem that should have been noticed.

You know what would be cool? Imagine an option where a ZigBee enabled the thermostat to be mounted across the room -- anywhere in the room so that we get to enjoy a more average temperature from the heater.  Yeah, that's not as simple and elegant, but it might be an add on.

deanEdinburgh
User Rank
Iron
Decreasing wasted power, increasing temperature control
deanEdinburgh   7/1/2012 2:05:16 AM
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Well done Andrew with this gadget - once again you've managed to put together a really impressive gadget that is useful in improving power utilization and control of the heater operation.  But putting the thermostat controller in the ambient temperature zone, the feedback between the environment and heating element is improved considerably, giving more comfort and control to the user.  Impressive!

DickB
User Rank
Iron
Neat gadget, but a standard thermostat also works
DickB   7/2/2012 9:26:09 AM
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I had a similar issue with the built-in thermostat on my 5000W Fahrenheat Ceiling-Mount heater when I installed it in my garage.  It was pretty easy to add a relay and a standard wall-mount thermostat to get better control over the temperature. A good alternative if you don't want to build a gadget.

j-allen
User Rank
Gold
Space heater thermostat
j-allen   7/2/2012 9:30:35 AM
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Controlling the heater by sensing the actual room temperature is a definite advantage.   I plan to do it this winter by using a regular old household thermostat and a relay, either mechanical or solid state. 

un4givun2
User Rank
Bronze
Re: Winter will get here before you know it.
un4givun2   7/2/2012 9:36:58 AM
Not to burst anyone's bubble, but these have been on the market for at least 15 years.

I buy mine from Northern Tool. They are digital. You can get 120V or 240V single phase rated units. They even have a digital readout with the target and actual temp readings. They plug directly into a wall socket and fit flush with the wall socket. Then the heater cord plugs into it.

It's always fun to build things you can call your own. However, ALL electrical appliances must comply with UL. If something were to happen to this home made thermostat and caused a fire you could be held liable! The Insurance Company could try to make you a criminal.

I think I paid $50.00 for mine at Northern. I think Amazon sells them for even less!

Here is a link to Amazon's: http://www.amazon.com/Lux-Heating-Cooling-Programmable-Thermostat/dp/B000E7NYY8

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