Immolator: E-blanket

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Hive13 Project
Immolator: E-blanket


Status: Inactive
Start Date: 2014-09-01
End Date: ?

Project Owner: Ivan McCuistion

Contributors: Jon Neal, Jim Chen

Sponsor: PRJC: This project was based upon a promotional Teensy 3.0


What: A programable electric blanket: Teensy 3.0 from PJRC, Xbox 360 PSU, 12volt automotive blanket with original fuse, 3D printed housing with touchPin panel and LED display.

Why: Heat for warmth, heat for waking. It’s becoming increasingly common knowledge that localize, perusal heat can save a considerable amount of money and thus energy… While abroad Ivan had discovered sleeping on a heated bed and found it simply divine. Heating pads for beds are available on Amazon but they are costly and offer little control. Next Ivan wanted to implement alarm clock functionality, to increase the power-out put gently to wake up the user. He had previous experience waking up to a warming house and found it invigorating.

Safety Note: The project encountered obtuse vocalizations about safety, and this was mostly warranted. Also understand that electric, heated blankets were once a household item that were extremely dangerous. However in recent years they have been engineered, manufactured, and tested to a much higher degree of safety. Electrical blankets still fail, and they are still misused, but when they do fail it is often far less catastrophically. For example obnoxious Amazon reviews only complain of a little brown spot in the blanket and it no longer heats! Moral of the story: modifying the blanket or safety circuits is not recommended, your work will most certainly not be tested to the same duration or variation that any consumer product would be. In this case, the same fuse was used, and the blanket itself completely unmodified.

Design: A row of 6 touchPins and 7 3mm Green LEDs were to form the interface, mounted inside a small 3D printed shell. The Teensy would toggle the 12v control pin on the Xbox PSU to control power to the blanket. The Xbox PSU also provides continuous 5v up to an amp, utilizing this twin USB ports where added as charging a phone often occurs while sleeping.

Interface: The touchPins are simply partially exposed header pin that alternate between ground connection and touch sensing pins. The ground pins facilitate stable and responsive touchPin readings from PJRC’s fantastic Teensy 3.0. This chip is tiny, and has awesome integrated features like touchRead(pin), this command is all thats needed to read from the touchPins. Using these 6 touchPins and 7 LEDs an interface was planned, utilizing LEFT - CENTER - RIGHT touch zones to make a mode selection. The 6 touchPins were also to be used as a linear-slider for adjusting temperature or setting the alarm.

Development: The blanket is currently semi-functional. Unfortunately the the power output of the blanket is barely enough to get warm. The controller currently simply toggles the blankets power after touch input. Due to the low-output of the blanket, it is also not necessary to implement the alarm or temperature adjust setting. Since this is a DC blanket, it would be easy to increase the power of the blanket by increasing the supply voltage. However development has stopped due to safety concerns and diminishing returns on time/engineering. It seems the Teensy would need to sample an array of temperature sensors and carefully monitor the temperature and control power. The blanket as several bimetallic switches embedded, which when one is triggered the whole blanket shuts down, leaving hot and cold spots.

Observations: After the first night Ivan slept on the blanket he reported strong EMF, perceptible subtly as the blanket was first laid upon and flowed by dreams of paranoia and levitation. A large capacitor was added to the blanket circuit, to smooth the signal from the XBOX 360 PSU. This change resolved the issue, to at least below Ivan’s individual EMF sensitivity.

Future Plans: Currently major changes are planned, auto-off needs fixed. Currently the Teensy is locking up shortly after starting the auto-off timer, leaving the blanket on until the PSU is unplugged.