Sunday, October 21, 2007

Hair Dryers Installed

I took a few hours today to get the small hairdryers installed.

In order to have a convenient switch to activate the hairdryers, I hijacked the defroster knob switch. I was lucky enough to have this option on my car. The wires from the defroster knob sit in their own plastic tube, so it was easy to find the yellow/red wire going towards the center wiring column of the car under the clutch pedal. This wire provides 12V when activated, just the thing I need to fire up the 12V DC relay.

Here's the travel hair-dryer attached to the heater intake on the passenger side of the car. The coupling is just short enough to let the hairdryer not interfere with the hood spring. The pipe clamps make the whole thing very snug.

Here's the DC relay mounted on the firewall just behind the middle battery box above the foot pedals. I used two 10-32 rivnuts to bolt this thing in. The two hair-dryers are tied into the terminals on the left. The negative battery cable is on the lower right (black wires) and the upper right comes from the positive battery post in the fuel compartment with an inline 10 amp blade fuse.

Remember the yellow/red wire from under the dash in the top picture? It's tied into the top coil terminal on the relay here. Since the chassis of the car is ground, I simply tied the bottom coil terminal to the mounting bolt (small blue wire).

For testing, I started with one hair dryer on the "low" setting with 5-amp fuse. It ran well (albeit loudly) and provided a slight warming into the cockpit. If I put the hairdryer on "high," the 5-amp fuse blows immediately. The hairdryer is very loud on "high" so I put both hair dryers on their "low" settings and used a 10-amp fuse. I suppose in desperate move to heat the cockpit, I could put in a 20-amp fuse and run one hair dryer on "high" since the high setting pulls about 15 amps. I'll try the "low" settings for now and see how it goes.

Next up: experimenting with an optocoupler to capture voltage for the "fuel gauge"


onei57 said...

Tim, are the hair dryers 12 volt?

TimK said...

The hair-dryers are standard 120/240V travel hair-dryers from Fred Meyer, the cheapest I could find. Apparently, I've heard from multiple sources that they run fine on DC voltage (100-180V range) when on the 120V setting. I didn't try the 240V setting, but I suspect it would run much cooler. Typically, these products are fairly simple in that they run two heater coils in parallel at 120V and in series at 240V.

Gizmo said...

Tim, check the 240V setting. It might just be a mechanical limiter to the switch so it can't be run on medium or high. I lived in Singapore for a couple of years. I just put a piece of tape over the handle on my Fred Meyer hair-dryer so I didn't accidentally run it above low and it ran just like I had it on high but at 120V instead of 240V.

TimK said...

Thanks! I'll check it out. Tim