David Butcher: Powering 12 Volt DC Electric Blanket
Convert Your Bicycle
Pedal Power Tools
Tell a Friend
Wow. Heating oil prices are unbelievable. The price of Natural Gas
is going up too. One way to save is to turn down your heat.
If you think like me, you turn your heat down at night. Maybe you
even turn it down early in the day. When it comes time to end the day,
that means getting into a cold bed. Brrr!
Well, I'm tired of getting into a cold bed, so I decided to do something about it. I found a local Auto Parts store that had a 12 Volt Electric Blanket on sale, and I bought one for my bed.
12 Volt DC Electric Blankets are awesome. They do not generate pulsating EMF (Electromagnetic Fields) because they do not use AC. In fact, if you pedal your blanket to warm your bed before you go to bed, the Pedal Powered Electric Blanket will be absolutely, totally safe because it will never be turned on while you are in bed!
A 12 Volt DC Electric Blanket is also very efficient because it uses the PPPM power directly - no batteries!
Here is a video of me pedal-powering the electric blanket, with a "scientific" measurement of the change in temperature under the covers. For this video, I generated 10 Watt-hours. That took about 10 minutes. Brush your teeth. Brush 100 strokes. Trim your nails. Catch the late news (also powered by the PPPM at the same time, of course).
Are you in good shape? You could easily pedal two of these blankets at the same time, heating two sleeping locations in a larger bed. Share the work and you will both be warmer when you are done.
The pedaling was moderate, and I think I warmed up more from pedaling than I will from the blanket! It does not matter to me, I'll be warm at bedtime from the combination of a warmer bed and a warmer me.
This is a specific example of an activity that works well without any kind of Voltage regulator. The Electric Blanket "turns on" at even very low Voltages, so all you have to do is pedal close to 12 Volts and not worry if you go a little too high or low. No worries about leaving the blanket on, either. When you stop pedaling, it stops heating. Very safe.
After a number of tests, I determined the best amount of power to generate is around 17-20 Watt-hours. That amount balances the temperature of the rider and the temperature of the bed nicely. After the ride, I hop into bed, and I can't help smiling, it's so cozy. :-)
And what about the PPPM becoming bedroom furniture? The "extension cord" I used in the movie was 25 feet long. That is plenty to have the PPPM in an "exercise room" next to the bedroom. Or - introduce the PPPM to the bedroom as you would any exercise equipment (elliptical, rower, stationary bike) and get used to it :-)
If you live off the grid and you are tired of crawling into a cold bed every night, this small-scale heat source is the answer.