Instructables

DIY mini heating element

I have a container (8cm by 8cm by cm) to store powdery food. But the food gets clumped together to the container walls. As such, I am thinking of coming up with a mini heating device to keep the container warm to prevent the clumping of the powder food. Am quite noob to this and would like to hear suggestions and ideas to come up with a simple diy device.

I am developing a joint warmer for athletes. For example, slide it onto your calves to warm them up in a non-impact way.

I need it to be flexible, durable, and safe.

I found a component similar to a small heating blanket. How could I hook this up to an Arduino to create a product that detects when the heating component gets too hot? (So it won't burn the user.) Could I implement a timer? Or a temperature detector? How would I do this?
From reading this and from the issues your trying to fix I would go a compleatly differant route. Instead of heating it to avoid clumping, (I don't think that would work any way if its connected to a fish tank) think about using a small motor with blades attached to stir the food so it doesn't clump. If the container is round you could do that and there would be no problem. If its square then I would mod it so it was round and maybe even a funnel shaped bottom. If the motor kicked on at the same time it automaticly fed, you could use the same power and servos you already use. Just my thoughts on the issue.
Toga_Dan1 year ago
air circulation might also be important. Sometimes heat alone just makes things hot and damp. Perhaps a fishtank airpump dedicated to blowing warmed air into the bin?
kurtselva (author)  Toga_Dan1 year ago
Seems like a good alternative idea but this method seems a little more costly than using a heating element..
Pump $5 dunno how much shippin is

http://www.filtersfast.com/P-Marina-50-Hagen-11110-High-Power-Air-Pump.asp?gclid=CP-ex8S2obMCFYVFMgoddygAhw

heat without airflow can also be bad re: fire hazard. I dunno how big your food bin is, but seems flaky food is an insulator. It could trap heat.
kurtselva (author)  Toga_Dan1 year ago
So actually what I want to know is whether heating the container will help me solve the problem of food clumping..

And if it does, are there any commercilly available mini heating element that could do the job?
Kurt, how competent are ya with electrical schtuff? Some answers I can give only work if you understand electricity.

1) understand electrical theory?

2) know how to work w/ electrical tools + materials?
kurtselva (author)  Toga_Dan1 year ago
I'm actually a mechanical engg student. But my somehow my project also involves this kinda electronic stuffs which I do not have expert knowledge in.

However, I do know some basic stuffs about elcetricity..

Hope you guys with better electronic knowledge could give me some suggestions
lemonie1 year ago
Put the container in a warm place.
Heating it electrically is something that shouldn't be done.

L
kurtselva (author)  lemonie1 year ago
The place of storage is in an air conditioned room with no sunlight..

So need to using a heating element would be ideal
Your air-con' isn't working right if it's too humid?

L
kurtselva (author) 1 year ago
Are there any commercially available small sized heating element (heat to abt 40-50 degree celius) and battery operated?

Have tried searching the net but not able to find one that suits my need..

If anyone has any suggestions, pls do PM me. Thanks.
The simple solution would be to throw some dry rice or pasta in with the feed.

But if you want a cool DIY solution then use a power resistor shorting a power source. You'll need to do some math to figure out how many amps you can safely draw from the power source and what size power resistor to use to not exceed that amperage. The resistors will heat up and keep things nice and warm.

Though if moisture is the issue i think a dehumidifier kind of solution would be best. Add a cold surface to the enclosure so all the moisture is attracted to it and then drained out of the container. You can use a Peltier cooler and 12VDC power source to get your cooling. Or you can utilize the hot side of the peltier for keeping the container warm.

There are many ways to go about solving this problem.
kurtselva (author)  mpilchfamily1 year ago
Is there a way to use a flat mini heating element to heat the container? Temperature needed would ard 40-50 degrees celsius.

And is there any mini heating element that runs on batteries?
Toga_Dan1 year ago
They manufacture heaters for a coffee cup. Immerse it in your mug, boil up 1 cup. That's probably too hot for ya, but if you wire 2 or 3 in series, they'll run cooler.

I think of this because
1) it's clean enough for contact with food,
2) the exposed surface is not the actual element, so ignition is not as great a concern.

I've got 1 here. If u like, I can send a pic.

You might also consider air movement. A heater in a fluffy bin of stuff might get pretty hot due to the stuff insulating it.
kurtselva (author)  Toga_Dan1 year ago
How about using a flat mini heating element and place on the outside of the container (instead of placing in inside with the powerder food)..This should work as well?

You'd be better using a dehydrating agent...

You could rig up something using a van dehumidifier - however you'd need to make sure the anhydrous material doesn't end up in the food, since most are poisonous...
Toga_Dan1 year ago
you could use desicant packs. I think they can be re-used after heating to dry em out.
kurtselva (author)  Toga_Dan1 year ago
Thought about it too but the container is not seal-tight..there is an opening in the container.

Ok let me give a few more details: This is actually an automatic feed dispensing system for fishes and the opening is a must. But powdery food are not suitable for usage due to the clumping of the food.

I have done my research and desicant packs are not suitable for usage here due to the continuos exposure to moisture via the opening. Hence, a heating device would be the only suitable option here.
They manufacture heaters for a coffee cup. Immerse it in your mug, boil up 1 cup. That's probably too hot for ya, but if you wire 2 or 3 in series, they'll run cooler.

I think of this because
1) it's clean enough for contact with food,
2) the exposed surface is not the actual element, so ignition is not as great a concern.

I've got 1 here. If u like, I can send a pic.
Don't know what the powder is but how about throwing in some crackers? You'll have to change them once in awhile but they will absorb the moisture...
kurtselva (author)  digitaltripper1 year ago
Well, I do not want to mix the food with the crackers..haha

Looking for a more engineering solution..Hence, a heating device..
You could use one of those USB-powered thingies that keep your coffee warm.
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