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I dont enjoy brushing the snow and scraping the ice off my car during the winter time. I also dont like getting into a car when the inside is very cold.

This would be a product that makes winter car use a breeze. It would consist of a heating source that warms the inside of the car and melts the ice/snow off the windshields at the same time. When you turn off your car in the wintertime, it continues to drop to lower and lower temperatures inside the car and the windshields commonly get covered with ice. But this product could work when the car isnt running.

The problem is is that I need to figure out the exact heat source to use for the product. Friction, fire, nuclear fission, etc? I want it to be small and inexpensive. Like a box, and inside the heat would is being generated and spread throughout the car.

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Friction wouldn't work since the car isn't moving.

Regarding the other two power sources - other than some *minor* issues regarding the practicality of having a nuclear reactor or fire pit in a car, if you did have an ongoing power source in the car, you might as well feed the car's battery and use the built-in heater.

Of course remote ignition is an option on many new cars and works just as well.

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  • 4 weeks later...
Parking the car in a garage would also accomplish all of the above - and I suspect a garage would be cheaper than the cost of a personal nuclear reactor.

no,no! not if you live in NYC. a nuclear reactor would be MUCH cheaper than a parking garage! :lol:

what I would like invented is OT, but something - some device- where I could put all my old tapes and CDs into a single large zip file, or iPod or something.

Edited by Marty McFly
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what I would like invented is OT, but something - some device- where I could put all my old tapes and CDs into a single large zip file, or iPod or something.

I'd like the same for my DVDs, I moved house not long ago and most of the boxes were full of old CDs and DVDs. I'm running out of space and I still have so many I want to buy!

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How about a thermal mass? Like a trombe wall for your car? (Think dashboards, etc ... maybe even some retractable stuff) You could even draw the radiator fluid out of the radiator with tubes through the thermal mass to create a radiant heating system and use a lead-acid battery and a small heater to reheat the fluid as necessary. Also, some dark colored insulating material could be placed behind the windows. Like the exact opposite of those reflective things people stick in their cars in hotter sunny climates. I imagine this wouldn't do much for your gas mileage though, lol.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trombe_wall

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Underfloor_heating

Edited by Nate
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Yes, why not use a garage, konerko14?

A lot of people dont have that option. I dont think the people parking on the streets or outside choose that spot over an available garage. People who live in apartments usually have to park in a parking lot or an outside driveway.

My product idea was ideally suppose to be a cheap, natural resource that could heat up a car without using any power or external source. ?Is there a natural resource that has heat coming off of it always- like a certain rock, or a chemical. The product would target people who dont own new cars that have fancy technology, and their car(like mine) would take a very long time to warm up.

This product would have come in handy to me especially today. I live in Great Falls, Montana and its -20 degrees(wind chill of -40) here right now. Going outside is torture. I wonder if the bums freeze to death in these situations, or maybe they just hang out in Walmart all day. They too could use my product- keep it under their shirt or something.

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If such a thing existed (cheap heat needing no external power, etc), then don't you think people would be using it to heat their homes ?!?

They obviously just havent found it yet. You better start looking before I find it, because its going to make someone a whole bunch of money. I think it would be smart to do some exploring in cold areas with snow and ice, and see if you can find a spot that seems to be melting this stuff and figure out why.

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My product idea was ideally suppose to be a cheap, natural resource that could heat up a car without using any power or external source. ?Is there a natural resource that has heat coming off of it always- like a certain rock, or a chemical. The product would target people who dont own new cars that have fancy technology, and their car(like mine) would take a very long time to warm up.
Actually, there are block heaters that replace one of your water jackets that have a very tiny heater built in. You just run an extension cord to it and it keeps your block not warm but not cold. So, less damage when you start and it heats up faster."

I wonder if the bums freeze to death in these situations, or maybe they just hang out in Walmart all day. They too could use my product- keep it under their shirt or something.

That in my experience is what libraries are used for.

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I wonder if the bums freeze to death in these situations, or maybe they just hang out in Walmart all day. They too could use my product- keep it under their shirt or something.
There is a mountain-state in India where people wear a traditional shawl/poncho type of woolen garment where the arms are completely covered. In winter, some of then carry a little wrapped, earthenware bowl that contains hot coals... keeps them warm. And, when the truckers stop for more than a few minutes on the highway, they keep a small coal-stove near their engine (yes, near all that fuel!). [i have read articles linking this type of "personal heater" to cancer; but, everything seems to be linked to cancer by someone or the other, so that link is probably apochryphal.]
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A lot of people dont have that option.

Frankly, they do, but they choose not to utilize it. Many people just don't think about what a garage could do for them, so don't seek out a place that has one. Or they have crappy cars and don't care.

People who live in apartments usually have to park in a parking lot or an outside driveway.

To be blunt, if people don't want to deal with the hassles of parking outside, they shouldn't choose to live in those garageless apartments and then apartment builders would get wise and start building 'em with garages.

But yeah, anyway, I don't think there is an energy source cheap enough to do what you're looking for. Perhaps if the environuts let off of the energy industry, we could all have heated parking spaces driveways or even streets, but alas that isn't in the cards at the moment.

Imagine not having to clear the snow off your driveway because an embedded grid heats it enough that snow doesn't accumulate. Now, remember that it is because of the environmentalists that you can't have it.

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Actually, there are block heaters that replace one of your water jackets that have a very tiny heater built in. You just run an extension cord to it and it keeps your block not warm but not cold. So, less damage when you start and it heats up faster."

?You want an irony moment. After reading your comment on this thing, I had never heard of it. But I just walked outside to drop my mail off and I saw that my next door neighbor had a power cord hooked up through the grill of her car, probably to the engine for the purpose you mentioned.

That in my experience is what libraries are used for.

I said Walmart because its open 24 hours, plus the bums will have a place to put their shopping cart.

Edited by konerko14
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Frankly, they do, but they choose not to utilize it. Many people just don't think about what a garage could do for them, so don't seek out a place that has one. Or they have crappy cars and don't care.

?What would you say the percentage of apartment complexes that include free garage parking. I would say like 10%, and those places usually cost a little more too. Its unlike my product(when it hits the market), because this self-generating natural resource heater will cost only three easy payments of $19.92.

To be blunt, if people don't want to deal with the hassles of parking outside, they shouldn't choose to live in those garageless apartments and then apartment builders would get wise and start building 'em with garages.

It still gets pretty cold in a garage. Not as cold, but I dont think it would make that big of a difference where the person wouldnt still want my product.

Imagine not having to clear the snow off your driveway because an embedded grid heats it enough that snow doesn't accumulate. Now, remember that it is because of the environmentalists that you can't have it.

That would cost a fortune anyways. And since all we have is public streets, I would have to take up a second job to pay for the increase in taxes. Not literally, but you know what I mean.

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Imagine not having to clear the snow off your driveway because an embedded grid heats it enough that snow doesn't accumulate.

The church my grandparents go to has a system of pipes under the sidewalk areas that are full of steam in the winter so the old people don't slip on snow and ice. It's hooked in to the interior heating system of the church so it's pretty efficient.

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?What would you say the percentage of apartment complexes that include free garage parking. I would say like 10%, and those places usually cost a little more too. Its unlike my product(when it hits the market), because this self-generating natural resource heater will cost only three easy payments of $19.92.

Since you've taken off so obviously into flights of fancy, I will leave you to your fun. [Edit: clarification: that isn't meant in a mean-spirited way]

Edited by Inspector
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I have a different idea, its for a similar purpose though. Solar powered car windows. The sun will give power to the windows which will always stay heated. This will cause snow and ice to melt or never stick to the windows.

This would be convenient not just for people who have no garages at home, but also for times when its snowing and freezing and you go out somewhere and you have to park outside for awhile. Say youre at work for 8 hours and its been snowing all day, but you have no choice except to park outside. Solar powered car windows would mean that person wouldnt have to stand out in the freezing cold brushing snow and scraping ice off their vehicle.

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I have a different idea, its for a similar purpose though. Solar powered car windows. The sun will give power to the windows which will always stay heated. This will cause snow and ice to melt or never stick to the windows.

Which is good, because the sun is always shining when the precipitation is falling, and the windows are never blocked from the sun after the precipitation stops and the sun comes out. You still have the energy storage problem I think. :rolleyes:

It's great that you are thinking of some ideas, but you may be going about it the wrong way. Ideas should always be compared to their next best alternatives when evaluating them. Many "great" alternatives that solve problems actually have little added value because they only solve the problem a little better than something that is already out there.

1. A 5$ show brush, and a willingness to spend 5 minutes takes care of most of my issues.

2. For those who simply won't do this, then seems as though auto-start devices get most of what you want. $150 Internal combustion engines generate a lot of waste heat, and there's already a pretty efficient mechanism to get this heat into your car quickly.

So, stop telling us why your idea is great and start telling us why it's better that these substitutes.

[FYI, I market aircraft deicing fluids for a living, so I've actually given this idea some professional though...]

http://www.dow.com/aircraft/

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Maybe someone could tell me this:

Why are there no solar-powered auto air conditioners? I know you can buy a window vent, but I think it should be (a) built in and (b.) actually cool the air, rather than circulate it.

Edited by GreedyCapitalist
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Which is good, because the sun is always shining when the precipitation is falling, and the windows are never blocked from the sun after the precipitation stops and the sun comes out. You still have the energy storage problem I think. :rolleyes:

It wouldnt need the sun to be out all the time. It would be like a watch, put it in the sun for a couple hours and the battery is charged for a long period of time. Besides, people have already designed solar powered cars, so they are practically there already.

It's great that you are thinking of some ideas, but you may be going about it the wrong way. Ideas should always be compared to their next best alternatives when evaluating them. Many "great" alternatives that solve problems actually have little added value because they only solve the problem a little better than something that is already out there.

?You dont think solar powered window heaters is a good idea. It would nearly eliminate the snow brush industry. As long as it can be reasonably priced, every new car would have them and every owner of an older car would want one.

1. A 5$ show brush, and a willingness to spend 5 minutes takes care of most of my issues.
My product would allow you to spend 0 minutes on this task. I dont think its a big hassle either to brush and scrape my car, but I would prefer if I didnt have to do it.

2. For those who simply won't do this, then seems as though auto-start devices get most of what you want. $150 Internal combustion engines generate a lot of waste heat, and there's already a pretty efficient mechanism to get this heat into your car quickly.

That wouldnt clear the windows as well as my product.

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Maybe someone could tell me this:

Why are there no solar-powered auto air conditioners? I know you can buy a window vent, but I think it should be (a) built in and (b.) actually cool the air, rather than circulate it.

I am certainly no expert but I believe the main reason is that photovoltaic cells are currently not efficient enough. Consider this quote from Wired Magazine: "a run-of-the-mill 1,000-megawatt photovoltaic plant will require about 60 square miles of panes alone. In other words, the largest industrial structure ever built." Clearly, this is with reference to an entire power plant and not just enough energy to power a car, but the point is still illustrated.

Would it not be more productive to think of ways to prevent the car from heating in the first place? Tinted windows were a great innovation. I know with buildings, architects are switching to either putting reflective material on the roofs or plants as opposed to blacktop which absorbs heat and then leads to exorbitant air conditioning costs. Perhaps one can use a similar approach to keeping cars cool.

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It wouldnt need the sun to be out all the time. It would be like a watch, put it in the sun for a couple hours and the battery is charged for a long period of time. Besides, people have already designed solar powered cars, so they are practically there already.

It's not that I'm not supporting you, its that you have barely just begun to think through the issues, much less your business model. Consider me your venture capitalist ;) (and trust me. I've met some of these guys, and if you bring them an idea you haven't thought through, you'll be lucky if you can even get in to see them).

Ah, so you were assuming the power storage problem already. Well the calcs are easy. What weight of snow would the windows hold in the worst case (say 5 inches? in Michigan it better be 10 inches), and what is the heat of fusion to melt it, accounting for warming of the windows themselves, the melting of the snow, and the convection losses both into the car interior, and to the external elements during the process. That is the minimum energy you'll need.

As for rates of melting, that will be a kinetic heat transfer calculation. You will probably have to heat the window glass up to a specfic temperature in order to transfer the heat fast enough into the snow. Snow is a notoriously good insulator, so you will waste heat just to speed things up. If heating the windows with some sort of resistance heating element that is electrically powered, that means you'll have to resolve the problem of the fact that you want to see through the mechanism that heats the glass. ALso, be careful to unevenly heat the glass from the inside or you'll crack it due to thermal expansion. Fast heating will require more than those thin electrical lines you get on your rear defrosters. hmmm transparent conductors. Of cource you can heat at absolutely the minimum rate to get the job done, but that assumes that it's not snowing out while you're doing it or it probably wont work. I now also have to remember to turn the thing on much earlier before I'm going to leave.

Then there is the problem of charging. If it's going to take as much energy as I think it will (to do in 5 minutes or so), then I think you'll be talking WAAAAY more energy than is in a typical long life laptop battery and that takes at least 30 minutes or 1 hr to charge on 110V power. These solar cells are where now? on the part of the car you didn't melt the snow for, or in the windows themselves (and hence transparent)? Quick calc. Just assuming you paste cells over the whole car (which will mean you'll have to come up with some esthetic marketing gimic to make people want to drive around in such a thing) how long would it take to generate a battery charge of the magnitude you calculated before. You'll be lucky if you hold 1 defrost in your battery. You could have more but that will be exceedingly expensive.

And then theres the problem of the liquid refreezing on your window if you are delayed in leaving after you start the unit. Once your batt is out you'll be waiting until it recharges again. Think through a typcial senario. Working man commutes to work on a snowy day. Morning defrost. Recharge in the a.m. Lunch drive defrost. Recharge in the pm. Defrost before the drive home.

Now any sort of electrical discharge at that rate with that much heat generation, you run the risk of a fire hazard, so you'll have to factor in the risk of liability law suits for the few defective units that torch someone's car. Oh, and you'll have to consider with all this wiring embedded in your windsheild that you'll need to work with the car mfg to allow him to get you to put it in, and everytime you get into an accident, you're windsheild will cost a lot more.

Now you have to have enough energy stored in the battery, and the ability to quickly discharge that battery. Also, you need a mechanism to turn it on automatically, and since it won't know when you want it on, you'll probably have to turn it on remotely to, which is already done with a remote start button.

You dont think solar powered window heaters is a good idea. It would nearly eliminate the snow brush industry. As long as it can be reasonably priced, every new car would have them and every owner of an older car would want one.

Why don't remote starts replace the snow brush?

Well, you're assuming the issue that you need to be proving. Demonstrate what people will pay for such a thing, and that it can be built at a reasonable cost.

By the way, I'm trying to figure out how to deice airplanes faster so don't think I haven't thought of exactly just these problems. There is a test system out there to do radiant deicing of planes with radiant infrared heaters. If you want to get a sense of how much energy you're talking about having to store, then check these out.

I'm not trying to burst your bubble. Putting your idea through the ringer is what you'd want someone to do, before you go spending a bunch of your own time to try to develop what might become a flop. Plus it would challeng you to get more ingenious about your product design. There might be some designs that might have value, but not what I've heard so far. Or you could find a market that would value such a thing.

My basic conclusion is that what you have will cost to much, and not work in enough "real-life" senarios to make your averag consumer think that the device wasn't a hassle...

Forgot the link to the IR deicers. HUGE energy hogs.

http://www.radiantenergycorp.com/downloads...TekBrochure.pdf

Edited by KendallJ
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