Dry Your Boots With The Internet Of Things

If you live somewhere cold, where the rain, snow and slush don’t abate for weeks at a time, you’ve probably dealt with wet boots. On top of the obvious discomfort, this can lead to problems with mold and cause blisters during extended wear. For this reason, boot dryers exist. [mark] had a MaxxDry model that had a timer, but it wasn’t quite working the way he desired. Naturally, it was begging to be hooked up to the Internet of Things.

The brains of the dryer is an ESP32, a solid choice for such a project. With WiFi on board, connecting the device to the internet is a snap. Relays are used to control the fan and heater inside the boot dryer, while MQTT helps make the device controllable remotely. It can be manually switched on and off, or controlled to always switch on at a certain time of the day.

It’s a simple project that shows how easily a device can be Internet controlled with modern hardware. For the price of a cheap devboard and a couple of relays, [mark] now has a more functional dryer, and toasty feet to boot.

We don’t see a lot of boot hacks here, but this magnet-equipped footwear is quite impressive.

16 thoughts on “Dry Your Boots With The Internet Of Things

  1. Really excited to see my project posted on here!

    “For the price of a cheap devboard and a couple of relays” isn’t super accurate though, I did get a custom designed PCB manufactured for this project, and ended up going through three revisions of it, so a bit more costly than just a devboard and relays haha

    But still, thanks for posting about my project!

  2. “If you live somewhere cold, where the rain, snow and slush don’t abate for weeks at a time, you’ve probably dealt with wet boots.”

    Whew! Thank goodness for global drying.

  3. What it was really begging for was a pair of sensors to determine if there actually is a pair of boots on the dryer, and a moisture sensor so it can keep running until they are dry, and then stop.

    The only remotely valid reason for IoT’ing I can think of is that you could tell it remotely to heat the (already dry) boots before you go out, which is really nice if you have to go out into the cold. When heating the boots, it you might run the fan at a lower speed because you’re trying to keep the heat in the boots, instead of driving the moisture out.

    For a next upgrade, you could consider adding an ionizer, to kill the germs that make the boots smell bad.

  4. I don’t see a benefit in IoT here. The purpose of the unit is to dry the boots. So it needs a start button (or proximity sensor) and a moisture sensor or at least a timer. No need for any remote control.
    Are there really no uses for IoT that make more sense?

    1. It was a fun project for me, and the biggest benefits were having a simple on/off timer function that I know is always timed perfectly with NTP and won’t lose/gain time and need resetting. Plus it was a really fun way to learn how IoT protocols work, for projects that might involve a more complex IoT design that makes sense to be IoT.

        1. The flip side of the coin, in my experience, is that once you have something like a WiFi-backed MQTT broker sitting around in your house, you find ways to use it.

          My coffee roaster. I have to physically scoop beans into it, and put the exhaust hose out the window. But it’s on the network. Why? Because I was spitting out debug info over the serial port anyway, and a serial-MQTT adapter cost $2 (wemos d2) and no real extra effort. So now I can log roasts and debug info “for free”, without wires all over the place.

          Once you have a minimal/flexible setup, nothing becomes too trivial to put on your home network.

    2. IoT, because, you know, it’s IoT!

      My boot dryer does not have a heating element, it just blows room air into the boots (or gloves).
      Its fan broke down a few years ago, so I replaced it with a muffin fan (with blue LEDs -WooHoo!) and had to change the DC connector to a one large enough to match the 12 volt wall wart needed to drive the new fan.
      But I do like the idea of incorporating a moisture sensor, it would probably need to be in the stream of the air exiting a boot (unless… I reverse the direction of the fan… No, that would cause the fan to pull the moist air into itself and shorten its life.)

      (aside #2)
      Has anyone built a boot dryer using a hair dryer (low/cool setting) and PVC tubing?

      1. Not necessarily, most DC fans are brushless, so it’s reasonably resistant to moisture. The internals of the fan will be warmer than the surroundings, so the water won’t condense inside.

        1. Thanks for responding, but I was thinking more about condensation on the ESP board running the moisture sensor. The ESP would most likely be in the same housing with the fan, I was musing where the sensor would be most effective.

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