beverly hillbilly storm windows and cybernetic heat control

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JR.
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beverly hillbilly storm windows and cybernetic heat control

Post by JR. » Fri Dec 06, 2013 11:10 am

My outlet adventure was related to my DIY TOD heater controller (time and temp). I modified one of my processor boards with opto isolator and triac to control a small heater just for my back bedroom that only needs heat at night.

I have tried without complete success to play with duty cycle on my small auxiliary (850W) heater to make it quieter. It has a bad habit of rattling at start up. I didn't want to generate RF with a light dimmer type control so I decided to only switch the heater on/off at zero crossings. To prevent generating a DC component, from being on an odd number of half cycles, I kept the duty cycle time base an odd number of half-cycles so any DC term alternates every other timebase period so nets out to 0V DC. I found that using 5 half-cycle time base was audible, so settled on 3 half cycle time base. This gives me a 1/3, 2/3, 3/3 power options, and the heater was quieter at lower power, but still not dead silent.

My next experiment was to try a newer, more modern cheap aux heater, since mine was probably 40 YO. The cheapest walmart aux heater was significantly more power whihc was not a bad thing, but used a fan, (not great). It was nice to have the extra heat, but the fan noise was undesirable, so I experimented with dropping the voltage to the fan to slow it down. Long story short after attempts to make it work without a fan that failed spectacularly, I never got as quiet as the old school simple resistance heater.

Finally I upped my game to buy a modern baseboard heater. Most of these are 240V but I found one 120V model from Lowes. It's 1kW and runs dead silent. There was some new heater (paint?) smell the first few days but now I have silent running. :D :D I figure the 1kW is capable of heating the room into the high 60's with outdoor temps down into the low 30's, with '20s like we had a couple weeks ago the room temp dipped a little, but that's ok in the middle of the night while I'm under the covers. If we have a really cold spell I can turn on the old in wall heater at a low level to help make up the difference.

part deux

I decided to upgrade my storm windows. House was cheap construction using single pan glass windows and permanent outside screens. For a few years now I have relied on "red neck" storm windows, basically drop cloth plastic stapled to the inside of window frames. This helped quite a bit reducing the cold breeze in winter months, and keeping summer heat out, but the reduced visibility sucked. I decided to upgrade to "beverly hillbilly storm windows" . Basically I sourced some clear window film (glorified saran wrap), that I used to cover both sides of some 1"x2" wood frames that I built to nest snugly inside the window sills. Now instead of single pane glass, I have 3 air tight barriers capturing two air pockets for insulation, and I can actually see outside again. I only built these for windows I actually wanted to see out of, in rooms I actually use . I made one for the big 4'x8' picture window in my main room, that I previously left uncovered and single pane. So this should reduce some heat loss there.

I just finished these last week so I need to wait for the next cold snap to see how much better they keep the heat in than my previous approach, but the extra sun light is nice. For my window with air conditioner I made a two part frame. A clear top part that stays in year round, and a bottom part that I can remove in the summer for running the air conditioner. Last summer this air conditioner stayed covered up, and now my house is even tighter so I am making progress.

It's hard to see new progress on my electric bill, since the power company geniuses decided to build a new coal power plant for my region... Massive cost over runs and still not making electricity yet, but they got a rate increase of 15% to pay for part of their pink (gray) elephant. We will pay for the rest of it later. :oops:

Now I need it to get cold outside again so I can see how much better my 1000W vs, old 850W and new improved storm windows do. 8-)

JR
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Re: beverly hillbilly storm windows and cybernetic heat cont

Post by JR. » Fri Dec 06, 2013 3:37 pm

heater,jpg.jpg
heater,jpg.jpg (40.69 KiB) Viewed 27121 times
Here is pix of heater and DIY controller. The 12 bicolor LEDs in a row on top show heat target in red... and actual temp in green. The double red on left means temp is off scale below display <60', and single green LED mid scale indicates room is low mid 60's.. there is another group of LEDs that light one, two, or three LEDs for 1/3 power, 2/3 power, or 3/3. Heat won't turn on until maybe 9pm so room temp may go even lower as cold front is just now hitting. The wire going up the wall is my temp sensor, two or three diodes in series. I could obviously make the line cords and wires shorter or move this stuff around. You can see the old in-wall heater to the left (it made noise too).

Tonight is forecast for low 30's so it will be doing it's cyber magic.

JR

[edit- combination of more power and better windows, last night was no problemo... bring on the cold... :D
Last edited by JR. on Sat Dec 07, 2013 3:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: beverly hillbilly storm windows and cybernetic heat cont

Post by JR. » Fri Dec 06, 2013 3:40 pm

Here is a pix of the BHSW note: you can actually see through it. :D
P1010073.JPG
P1010073.JPG (55.66 KiB) Viewed 27121 times

JR

PS: Just for chuckles I bought some saran wrap at the supermarket just to compare and for around $0.03 sq/ft the saran wrap was very competitive. It would be nicer in wider rolls but not all that different. The expensive stuff can be shrunk with a hair dryer to make it smooth, but I didn't bother.

[edit- Last night was the first real cold spell since I finished the windows. I could see condensation on the bathroom glass window suggesting an air leak, so I added some rubber molding to seal that off... The other windows look dry. :D [/edit]
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Re: beverly hillbilly storm windows and cybernetic heat cont

Post by mediatechnology » Fri Dec 13, 2013 12:51 pm

I like the windows. Very clever.
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Re: beverly hillbilly storm windows and cybernetic heat cont

Post by JR. » Fri Dec 13, 2013 2:46 pm

Thanx... I like the improved visibility, and I sealed up a 4'x8' picture window in my main room that was single pane. House is much tighter/warmer now. :D

For the bedroom window with air conditioner, I made a two part BHSW so i can remove the bottom half to use the air co in summer months.

The combination of 1kW heater and tighter windows has allowed the cybernetic TOD to hold room temp with overnight temps down in the low 20's (so far). In the daytime with heat turned off the bedroom cools down to off scale low (probably 50's), At night it takes a couple hours to get back up to normal temp target.

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Re: beverly hillbilly storm windows and cybernetic heat cont

Post by JR. » Sat Jan 10, 2015 9:23 am

I finally found the hard weather limit for my 1kW heater. A couple nights ago was down in the single digits and my heater failed to keep up. THe room temp was off scale (<60') low. Not a major problem I just have to turn on the old in wall heater that still works, but the room temp is not as closely regulated.

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Re: beverly hillbilly storm windows and cybernetic heat cont

Post by emrr » Mon Jan 12, 2015 9:19 am

Progress! Sounds good. We have storm windows over 1930 glass, not well sealed. They need to one off for painting this spring, and get better sealing to slow the drafts.
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Re: beverly hillbilly storm windows and cybernetic heat cont

Post by JR. » Mon Jan 12, 2015 11:15 am

emrr wrote:Progress! Sounds good. We have storm windows over 1930 glass, not well sealed. They need to one off for painting this spring, and get better sealing to slow the drafts.
Air leaks are a huge source of heat loss. When I added my red-neck interior storm windows they served the dual function if insulating the window with extra layers "and" better sealing it against leaks. On windy nights I can hear the clear film inner window flapping on one of my bedroom windows revealing that the outer window is not well sealed.

I also invested in weather stripping my kitchen door, even though there is an outer storm door, the cold air getting in was significant, House is now much tighter. It made a bigger difference than I expected in the summer for reduced air conditioner load.

But my recent experience reveals that my walls, and floor, and ceiling are not all that well insulated. Modern houses are surely much better built in this regard.

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Re: beverly hillbilly storm windows and cybernetic heat cont

Post by JR. » Mon Jan 26, 2015 12:09 pm

Sunday while it was the same temperature outside as in my un-heated bedroom I revisited my red-neck storm window for the window that still has the air conditioner in place. I made a two part storm window one for the top window and half, and one for just the air conditioner. I discovered that this clear film had apparently fatigued from the wind flexing it and torn. I patched up the tear and tried to seal up the outer window better where the two overlap due to the air-conditioner. I can still hear some flapping on a windy night so may need to deal up the outer window better.

=======
To better manage winter low over-night temps I bought a 1500W baseboard heat unit to replace my former 1kW unit that clearly could not keep up during single digit outdoor temps. SInce my DIY thermostat blew up with 1850W load (triac failed and one wire unsoldered). I broke down and bought a commercial smart thermostat. I was a little disappointed to give up some programmed temperature flexibility (the commercial set back thermostat only saves two temperatures... normal warn, and night time set back cooler. Ironically I wanted to do just the opposite, heat the bedroom at night and leave it unheated during the day time. I was able to game the settings using night for day...

As I suspected the commercial thermostat had a much larger heat sink on their triac. Probably 3"x3" by 1/2 thick aluminum fins. I could make my old rube goldberg thermostat control the 1.5kW heater with a new heat sink, but nah... the commercial thermostat looks better.

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Re: beverly hillbilly storm windows and cybernetic heat cont

Post by JR. » Sun Apr 12, 2015 12:25 pm

The 1500W base-board heat unit had a buzz/rattle that the former 1000W unit did not... I traced it to a seam running the length of the heater where the sheet metal was only held firm by small bent tabs. I looked for high temperature epoxy but settled on some Permatex (red RTV) gasket maker. Designed for making gaskets for automobile motors so adequately high temp.

It works like a charm.. the base-board heater is not acceptably quiet... A slight hum while standing right next to it, but silent from across the room (where I sleep).

The red permatex is visible, so I may follow up with some white touch-up paint, but now I have quiet, accurate heat, just in time for air conditioner weather. :roll:

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