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9 Volt battery powered heating element that is small and can reaches 380 degrees F Answered

I would like the heating element along with the battery to fit into an Altoids tin. I have copper wire (.064 gage), nichrome wire (low gage), stainless steel wire (.064 gage), 304 stainless steel wire mesh, and many tools including a soldering iron. I would be willing to use a smaller battery as well which would be even better. Ideally it would be able to power a LED light as well. Hope you guys can help, feel free to email me if there are any further questions.  


Hi, I have an aluminum (at least I think the aluminum is the element), heating element 70mm x 30mm x 6mm hollow with insulted wires coming from it, - it is 12v DC and draws 40 watts. On top of that, my power supply is obviously gonna be 12v, and 3.5 amps equaling 40 watts I believe.

ac plug dimmer element
12v -> 12-24v -> 12v
3.5amp-> 8 amps -> 3.5a
40w -> 96-200watts -> 40w

1- Will I have to use a certain width or type of material for the 'wires', considering than this element will be wired to a 12-24v dimmer switch working @ 8 amps? .
2- If the dimmer switch is turned up full, will it start to 'dim' the current immediately, in other words will I have the full spectrum of the dimmer switch to dim with? Or just buy a 12v 40w dimmer if they exist?
3- Would this have to be earthed to the mains plug? And what amp and fuse would my mains plug need?

Power = Volts x Amperes = 42 watts/

I do Not know of any AC plug dimmer or element that uses 12v

You mention a power supply. What is the 0 to ?? peak volts and max current ?

Hi all

This sounds awesome.

I am looking to HEAT the end of a pipe to around 150-200 degrees but would prefer battery power.... Any thoughts

the idea is to melt plastic pellets so they can be pushed out the front as a string of filament.

This may be unrelated but if I was wanting to heat 200-250ml of water to roughly 60 degrees Celsius with a portable battery set up. It's different to the idea of a vapouriser I understand but if anyone could shed some light on this it would help greatly. Mitch


3 years ago

So here is how to reliably join copper and nichrome wire'.




What's the reason for the diode and resistor? I thought maybe to avoid infinite current but the nichrome is a resistor, so I can't figure why it would be needed.

Nichrome wire will see 4.5 volts as will the led and 175 ohm resistor as a parallel circuit independent of the hot nichrome wire.

A red led will develop 1.1 volts [4.5 -1.1 = 3.4 volts] across the 175 ohm resistor. The led & resistor current will be I = Vr / ohms => 3.4 / 175 = .0177A or the indicator led will be using 17.7ma.................

I was trying to do something similar but i wanted it to heat water to just below boiling and still have it be very much portable in fact i want it super small. But i just cant think of any ideas, I have had a few but they just don't seem to work. Any ideas for that

Hi, hope this thread is still active.

I am just learning about Vapourisation and I want to make my own one aswell.

I do not know what to do how to start and what I would need.

Size is not a problem for me but i would like to know specs and everything i would need to know.

Could you please assist me with this...

It's a double edged sword -- hook the wire up in series to the battery. 

It is a linear resistor. longer = more ohms resistance.
The longer the wire, the less current will flow.
The shorter the wire, the more current will flow.
The more current flows = the hotter the wire.

The shorter the wire, the more energy is dissipated, the hotter it will get, BUT, the hotter it gets, the more heat it will dissipate to the air (heat transfer is a function of the difference between the hot and cold side).  Yay thermodynamics.  If it were a vacuum, only the radiated energy would cool the metal and it would get VERY hot, but because it's in air, it conducts and convects heat away, until it reaches an equilibrium of energy in = energy out.  THAT equilibrium point is the temperature a given piece of wire will be at; there are really about 6 variables here at play;
  • electrical length of wire (resistance)
  • specs of wire (resistance per length, thermal mass)
  • voltage
  • current (related to the above because of ohms law)
  • air temperature, pressure, humidity
If you plan to use this as a soldering iron or the like, it will be terrible, because while it will get HOT, because it has low thermal mass, it won't be able to heat OTHER things very much (A watt or two of power max, because 9v batteries are terrible).

As iceng says below (above?) without temperature feedback and a circuit controlling the current into the wire, it will be 'as hot as it can'.  hotter does not necessarily mean more total energy.

I do not intend to use it as a soldering iron. I want the wire to heat up to about 380 Degrees F for short periods of times. I have a momentary button and will only be pressed for short periods of times. That is a very helpful description, Thank you so much! Below I listed the more specific wires. So any chance you could tell me length of wire to use and I am not set on a 9V battery, what battery would you suggest?

Right, but what I'm getting at is the ability to get up to x degrees is easy when you're only heating a tiny element.

Let me reiterate - WHAT do you want it to do?
i.e. If you want a computer don't say you want a thing with circuits.

I am trying to make a heating element to heat pipe tobacco just enough to get the vapor. I will be using it in an insulated altoids tin.

yes...tobacco...right :)

No reason it won't work, I'd go with 3xAA or AAA batteries -- cheaper and you'll get better run time.

There isn't much mass to vaporizable materials, so that won't be a problem, it's just a matter of getting the right current for the right temperature, and the easy way is to just MAKE one and see how hot it gets, then adjust.

Perfect advice! Thank you, my main problem was using the 9V battery, could you explain why that is? The same circuit would not heat when using 9V but would when using just one AA.

because a 9v battery is garbage at producing current.

Sorry you cannot solder the nichrom wire, it night get hot enough to
self disconnect.

You need to use mechanical split screws to attach the nichrome wire
to connect to copper lead in wires .

Fiber screw downs will not work unless they are high temperature;


Check the spec of your battery - Most 9 volt square batteries PP3 do not have a large current supply capability.

i.e. it will go flat very quickly.


5 years ago

How do you plan to measure the nichrome wire temperature.

Some measuring TC ( Thermos-Couples ) will cool your wire before
it can reach temperature.

What I can't tell you is how long to make the wire to get the temperature.
I would need the resistance per foot and the exact kind of wire.

Use a remote optical IR temp measure tool under $40


The wire I am using is "High-Temperature Nickel Wire, .010" Diameter"
Not sure what TC is, but I will look into what that means.
I have an infrared thermometer, which I am pretty sure that is what you are referencing?
Thank you for your quick response.
Let me know if there is any further information you need to help!

BTW yes an LED with a series resistor can be lighted at the same time.