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Fast door heater for a frozen auto door

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by phaeton, Nov 22, 2005.

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  1. phaeton

    phaeton Guest

    hello-

    I have a 99 Ranger pickup which would otherwise be completely
    irrelevant to this ng, but something I battle each winter in Wisconsin
    is that the driver's side door tends to freeze shut. I can usually get
    the passenger side door open and crawl across but it's a bit of a
    hassle, esp. since it is a manual transmission.

    I've gone all over the door looking for water leaks but can't find any.
    It's freezing in a couple of small spots where the rubber stoppers
    contact the door, and it must be condensation or the act of opening the
    door that gets it just a little wet when I open it. Not a lot of ice,
    but just enough to make me worry about someday pulling the doorhandle
    off trying to open it.

    So i came up with some lame-brained idea of running a small length of
    wiring in the door sill with some small, localized "heat sources" in
    the areas where it freezes. A hall-effects sensor (or even magnetic
    reed switch) in the rear window can be used to turn the heat on if I
    put a magnet (small rare-earth type, fastened to my keychain) up to it
    on the outside. I can power the whole thing with the 12V accessory
    jack in the dash. In theory it sounds like it'd work....

    However, what should I use for the heat sources? A small bit of
    nichrome wire? If Nichrome, where do I get it (old cigarette lighters
    or toasters from the junk yard?) and what should I wrap it with?
    Should I use tiny light bulbs (there's room for the 12V grain-of-wheat
    and pea-sized HO Railroad bulbs)?

    Any other suggestions/improvements would be great, even if you don't
    think it will work or think this is a bad idea.

    Thanks for any and all!
     
  2. John Fields

    John Fields Guest

     
  3. The heating element from an electric blanket would probably be about
    the right size.

    However, I suggest you first coat the gasket and stop surfaces with a
    little bit of silicone grease and see if that solves the problem.
     
  4. Rich Webb

    Rich Webb Guest

    Why not the heat tape designed to keep water pipes from freezing?
     
  5. phaeton

    phaeton Guest

    I dunno... will it run on 12V?
     
  6. JazzMan

    JazzMan Guest

    I would suggest smearing a liberal coat of silicone
    grease on all the contact points and where water is
    likely to bridge and freeze across a gap.

    JazzMan
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