Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Things Are Heating Up

Now that Winter is upon us, (-3F tonight) it's time to pull the Electric Jet out of service for winter maintenance. I basically have three projects: Add a heater; Improve headlights; Fix the door and window operation.

Heater: I have mocked up a possible heater setup ... and it seems to work well. Now I have to install in the car.

At first, I planned on installing an electric ceramic heater, as many have done, but decided against that because of potential safety issues. I think hot water will work better.

I bought a small hot water heater tank that is used in the winter as an engine block heater. (eBay) It has a 1000 watt 115vac heater element and will work on 96vdc, just fine. (Tank heaters are available up to 2000 watts.) I used a small 12 vdc hot water pump used in solar hot water systems to circulate the water. (El-Sid pump). Hooking all this in series with a new VW heater core, I proved that it will put out a good supply of hot air.

I will wire it in, in such a manner that I can run the heater on aux. home power for a time before departing, so as to pre-heat the car interior. When I'm ready to depart, I will switch it over to car power.

Before you ask: The whole heater system will require about 1,100 watts of power, when ON. Compare that to the 20,000 watts of power the car uses in normal cruise. This computes out to about an added 5% requirement, which in most cases will not affect power or range to any appreciable amount.

I think this will be a safe system, with minimal amount of controls required. If it starts to overheat, the hot water heater tank has a internal cut-off thermostat switch.

What could be easier?