Connect Your Electric Heater To The Internet (Easily and Cheaply)!

Winter has arrived, and by now most households should have moved on from incandescent bulbs, so we can’t heat ourselves that way. Avoiding the chill led [edent] to invest in an electric blanket. This isn’t any ordinary electric blanket — no, this is one connected to the Internet, powered by Alexa.

This is a project for [edent] and his wife, which complicates matters slightly due to the need for dual heating zones. Yes, dual-zone electric heating blankets exist (as do two electric blankets and sewing machines), but the real problem was finding a blanket that turned on when it was plugged in. Who would have thought a simple resistive heating element could be so complicated?

For the Internet-facing side of this project, [edent] is using a Meross smart plug and a Sonoff S20 smart plug. These are set up through to work with Alexa and configured as an ‘electric blanket’ group. Simply saying, “Alexa, switch on the electric blanket” turns on the bed.

There are a few problems in need of future improvement. Alexa doesn’t recognize voices, so saying ‘Turn on my side of the bed’ doesn’t work. The blanket also shuts off after an hour, but the plug sockets stay live. There’s also the possibility that hackers could break into this Alexa and burn down the house, but this is a device on the Internet; that sort of stuff virtually never happens.

You can check out the demo of the electric bed below.

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Electric poncho keeps you warm on the go

electric-poncho

With the mild winter and spring we have had, it might seem strange to think about ways to keep yourself warm, but there’s no better time than the present to prepare for chilly weather down the line.

In his blog [Berto] was thinking about how to keep warm when things cool off again, and decided that a heated poncho would be great to have on hand. He found a dead simple way to craft his heated poncho, requiring little more than a bit of wiring, some thread and cloth, as well as a pair of scissors.

[Berto] picked up a 12V-powered electric blanked, then proceeded to cut a head-sized slit in the middle of it, avoiding the heating coils. He sewed a bit of cloth around the hole to ensure it didn’t end up ripping over time, then he wired the blanket up to a 12V battery he tucked away in his backpack.

The result is a variable-temp poncho that you can use to keep warm in a variety of situations. [Alan Parekh] from Hacked Gadgets says that he thinks the poncho would be awesome on a full-day snowmobiling trip, and we think he’s right!

Continue reading to see a short video where [Berto] explains how to put one of these heated ponchos together.

Continue reading “Electric poncho keeps you warm on the go”