For many of us, especially those in the Northern Hemisphere, winter is in full swing. This means shorter days, wintry weather, and unfortunately for those without a bed warmer, long, freezing nights. However, even those with such a gadget can still find their slumbers to be interrupted by frigid temps. That’s why, a Maker by the name of “LC” has developed an electronically-controlled and automated enhancement for his bed warmer.
While the original device uses a mechanical potentiometer to set the heat level, LC was able to override the controller’s temperature using a digital potentiometer. So, whenever the Maker was too cold at night, he could simply switch over to full automation using a real-time clock for remote scheduling. Not only would this enable him to take command of the bed warmer, but preserves the original functionality of the controller as well.
“I’m a big fan of not disturbing the functionality implemented in the OEM design, and thereby retaining all of the existing capabilities of devices I am modding. I do this so that I can always turn my enhancements off and continue using the product’s stock functionality. It makes no sense (to me) if the original device breaks or ceases to operate and provide the original functionality if my ‘upgrades’ fail to function. In that case our upgrade could be said to now be working against us instead of for us (1 step forward, two steps back),” the Maker writes.
An Arduino Micro (ATmega32U4) serves as the master control of the project and is responsible for handling the override from mechanical to digital potentiometer when a connected capacitive touch wheel is triggered. This means that when someone attempts to take manual control of the device, the ATmega32U4 based ‘duino can switch the override circuit off.
“Future versions may eliminate the mechanical controller altogether (and the corresponding mechanical pot on the PCB) with a master (interactive) control interface using an LCD with capacitive touch sensing and a custom user interface,” LC adds.
Not only is this an innovative way to find some warmth in your nightly slumber, but can also be quite cost-effective: less heating the room, more the individual. Makers combatting the wintry months up north can learn all about LC’s project here.