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Cordless 1500 Watt Hand-held Blow Hair Dryer

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by hevans1944, Dec 24, 2014.

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  1. hevans1944

    hevans1944 Hop - AC8NS

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    My wife's daughter is a licensed cosmetologist here in Virginia Beach. She would like the hand-held blow dryer she uses constantly every day to be sans power cord, because the cord frequently gets tangled on either the chair or the customer while the dryer is being used. So, she asked her husband to "invent" a cordless dryer.

    Since we are visiting with them for Christmas, he sought my advice on how to do this. I examined the dryer and discovered it is rated 1500 watts with 125 V AC power. I asked how long it takes, on average, to dry and style hair. About fifteen minutes is minimum, but some take much longer... thirty minutes or more if there is a lot of hair to dry.

    So, I figured, no problemo. I just need to fit an inverter and a 1500 watt-hour battery in the handle... Not! Her hands aren't that big.

    So, Plan B.

    Wait! There is no Plan B.

    Does anyone have any ideas on how to make a cordless 1500 watt hand-held blow dryer for hair? Should weigh a little (two pounds?) and do a lot (run continuously or at least fifteen minutes). I am thinking something along the lines of Tesla wireless power transmission, but I can't seem to find Nikola's notes on exactly how to do that. Plus, the salon patrons must not notice the method of wireless power transmission... no arcs, sparks, tingly sensations, or odor of ozone.

    Best I've been able to come up with so far is a handful of cylindrical super-capacitors stored in the dryer handle and a really fast charging stand. You just swap out a depleted capacitor for a freshly charged capacitor as necessary... but maybe every two or three minutes is my SWAG (Scientific Wlld-Ass Guess) on this. Maybe a graphene supercapacitor would work, if the gravimetric energy density is large enough... the weight must not cause carpal tunnel syndrome in the user.
     
    Supercap2F likes this.
  2. Bluejets

    Bluejets

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    The way Dewalt and others get around having a large battery is to locate it in the lower part of the handle away from where one holds the device.

    In the base if you like, but no way around heavy batteries except to say the new 4Ah lithium are much lighter that the older nicads.
     
  3. hevans1944

    hevans1944 Hop - AC8NS

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    I suspected as much, considering my experience with Li-ion cells in Craftsman power tools. I started out using 19 V so-called "Die Hard" nicads in my hammer drill/power screw-driver, but quickly changed over to Li-ion when Sears made those available for their Craftsman battery-operated tools. As nearly as I can determine the technology just isn't there yet for high-wattage applications. Even if I could find a supercapacitor of sufficient capacity with, say, 4 V initial terminal voltage, that requires about 375 A input to the inverter at 100% efficiency. Ain't gonna happen anytime soon, unless someone perfects a Mr. Fusion energy converter the size of a "D" cell producing 115 V AC at 2 kW. I would buy one of those for a dollar!

    I told my folks that the technology just wasn't there yet.
     
  4. chopnhack

    chopnhack

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    Aside from the nanocrystalline products the military has been playing with, I would think low tech - retractable reel mounted on the ceiling :D

    [​IMG]
    courtesy of Harbor Freight
     
  5. KJ6EAD

    KJ6EAD

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    Using Lithium ion batteries, you could drive a 1500W load for 30 minutes with a 15-20 pound battery pack. This could be worn in a backpack configuration. The battery pack would probably cost around $500.00.

    There would be no increased carpal tunnel syndrome risk but vertebral disk degeneration could occur as well as lymphedema of the arms from the backpack straps. :eek:
     
  6. Bluejets

    Bluejets

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    The pendant style mentioned above is a good idea.
    Would not have to be a reel as such, just a ceiling rose at the top with a suspended outlet on a fluro chain.
    Plug in your existing hairdryer from there.
    Image shows industrial type but there are smaller, neater domestic/commercial types.
     

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  7. KrisBlueNZ

    KrisBlueNZ Sadly passed away in 2015

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    I was thinking about putting some kind of quick-plug/quick-unplug socket on the back of the chair, but the roof idea sounds much better.

    The hair dryer's weight would need to be supported, using a chain perhaps, or some plastic-sleeved wire as used for retractable clothes lines. Put a strong attachment point, preferably attached to something strong and metal inside the dryer, at the top middle of the dryer so it stays in the "ready for action" position.

    Move the mains wire so it exits the top as well, and attach it loosely to the chain/cable using any of many simple methods. Spring load the chain/cable at the other end so the dryer dangles above operator head height but can be easily pulled downwards for use.
     
  8. Bluejets

    Bluejets

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    I don't think the weight of the hair dryer would be a problem.
    If the existing dryer was plugged into a standard pendant outlet such as pictured below, the lead would also be out of harms way most of the time, assuming the ceiling suspension point was calculated correctly.

    Most dryers have a "keyring" on the top balance point so this could also be used to suspend the dryer from the same pendant fixture when not in use.
    Might be difficult to calculate a good mounting height though as it seems no matter where I install things like this, I nearly always get a call back requesting "can you make it a bit higher".

    The spring-loaded chain is a good idea though.
     

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  9. hevans1944

    hevans1944 Hop - AC8NS

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    Many thanks for the ideas so far.

    I had already suggested suspending the dryer from the ceiling and was shot down immediately: "Yeah, some salons do that (she could recall only ONE!), but if one stylist or hairdresser does it in any particular shop, they all have to do it." Ain't gonna happen where she works now. This "policy" is probably to maintain some sense of decorum I guess... can't have everyone going off in their own direction! I can't wait to see her co-workers faces when she walks in with her palm-sized Mr. Fusion blow dryer with infinitely variable heat and speed controls. I will be there of course to witness the event, since by then I will have made a ton of money on this.

    Since I was already there in Virginia Beach for Christmas (I am safely back in Dayton OH now), I asked some more questions about blow dryers. For example how long does a professional-quality blow dryer last? About two years, max. What is the failure mode? There are two: the heating elements wear out and the motors start to spark or smoke. Customers really get upset when the sparks and smoke appear. So, I think a more practical hair dryer would use a brushless motor and PWM control of the heat and blower speed. How much is a professional beautician willing to pay for a good hair dryer? Two hundred dollars, tops. Name brands preferred. So there. I guess she is stuck with what she has now, cord and all, for awhile.

    So here I am back in the Rust Belt of the US of A, out of ideas and almost out of interest. But it was a pleasant visit, and all the grandkiddies got oodles of new toys and such. I just hate the twelve-hour drive going to and fro.
     
  10. BobK

    BobK

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    Electric cars require huge batteries because the energy/weight ratio is much lower than gasoline.

    So I propose a gasoline powered hair dryer. Burning gasoline (or another liquid fuel) would provide the heat directly, 100% efficiency. And a small gas engine like the kind used in model aircraft to provide the airflow.

    The only thing left to solve is the noise and fumes ;)

    Bob
     
    hevans1944 likes this.
  11. hevans1944

    hevans1944 Hop - AC8NS

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    I like this idea! :D

    The fumes are no problemo because we will use little hydrogen and oxygen canisters (like those used for pressurized CO2 carbonation seltzer bottles) for fuel! The only combustion product is water vapor (steam)! As for noise, that should be a relatively trivial problem to solve with excellent state-of-the-art mechanical engineering design.

    This oxy-hydrogen fuel will be burned, in a highly controlled manner of course, in a micro high-speed gas turbine, which will drive a larger coaxial turbine-driven fan blowing heated dry air (heated from the gas turbine exhaust with a heat-exchanger) at infinitely variable flow rate and temperature. For a slightly higher cost, the Primo Professsional model will feature a computer-controlled waste-gate that will allow a portion of the steam exhaust to mix with the air flow over the hair to an operator-selectable level of moisture content.

    This exclusive feature of the Primo Professional opens up new dimensions of stylistic creativity that will be appealing to the most jaded of tastes, and will subject you to the absolute envy and jealously of your co-workers. At least until they buy one too.

    Thanks, @BobK for this brilliant way to power the hair dryer! I will steal it immediately and start production as soon as the mechanical engineering details are worked out. Umm... that could take awhile since I am an electrical engineer, not a mechanical engineer, so feel free to apply for patents in your name in the meantime. I will be working out the details of the electronic control system while waiting for someone else to perfect the micro gas turbine mechanism. Could that use programmable magnetic coupling to the blower to simplify or eliminate the need for gear trains? Is mechanical engineering too far off-topic for Electronics Point?

    73 de AC8NS
    Hop
     
    KrisBlueNZ likes this.
  12. KrisBlueNZ

    KrisBlueNZ Sadly passed away in 2015

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    Great ideas Bob and Hop!

    I was going to suggest using an engine with very low mass, operating with some kind of variable friction load, to provide the heat directly, as well as spinning the fan. That might be safer than a gas turbine, although probably a lot less impressive.
     
    hevans1944 likes this.
  13. hevans1944

    hevans1944 Hop - AC8NS

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    There is room for impressive as well as sedate operation. It all depends on the clientele. A shop in a mall, catering to walk-ins and low-budget (non-tipping) teenagers might attract such customers with a high-pitched winding-up sound, perhaps accompanied with flames temporarily shooting out one end, especially if advertised through large windows or closed-circuit TV monitors. Mall vendors will do almost anything to attract a walk-in customer.

    Oh, did I mention that Virginia Beach (the home of this new product) is also host to Naval Air Station Oceana, with constant jet-airplane activity, 24/7/365?

    On the other hand, an engine with very low mass, operating with some kind of friction load to provide heat directly while spinning a fan, could be packaged very nicely as either modern (chrome and sleek lines) or steam-punk. I prefer steam-punk personally, but modern would be okay too. Can you provide some more details to flesh out your idea for possible theft and production?

    Hop
     
  14. Bluejets

    Bluejets

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    You could make a really efficient blower (no heat required) with a C-130 and a small wind tunnel....then just wheel the customer in and out...:eek:
     
  15. Gryd3

    Gryd3

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    No one mentioned the device specifically needed to have a traditional gas engine...
    You need airflow, and heat. What crossed my mind was a small turbine, or constant combustion chamber and an "air amplifier" ring...
    There would potentially be no moving parts... as the burning fuel would create a higher pressure gas that would be used as an alternative to compressed air, or a fan used in existing systems. The question would be, how long could it possibly last with an ergonomic friendly fuel canister? (Of course, Hydrogen, or another safe fuel would be required)

    On a tangent now... would hydrogen fuel be acceptible? The bi-product is simply water and hot air... but blowing steam on one's hair may give different results than blowing hot dryer air onto the hair.
     
  16. KJ6EAD

    KJ6EAD

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    If I were really going to try to improve the salon blow drying process for both the client and stylist, I'd build the dryer into the chair base, feed the air to a nozzle through a lightweight hose and put the dryer controls on the hose nozzle. The hose would never be in a position to damage the coif as it would if attached overhead and noise levels could be significantly attenuated while reducing the mass being lifted and manipulated by the stylist.
     
    KrisBlueNZ, chopnhack and hevans1944 like this.
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