Using Resistors as Heaters

Google Docs Spreadsheet for calculating excess heat generated by a resistor.

 

You can use the above spreadsheet to calculate the potential heating properties of a resistor. The inputs are “Supply Voltage” (typically 5V with the Arduino), “Resistance” (the Value that you will need to vary), and “Resistor Power Rating” (a value fixed by the manufacturing process). Three outputs are calculated: “Current through Resistor”, “Power Dissipated by Resistor”, and “Heating Power”. Small positive values of “Heating Power” will result in the resistor acting as a low-power heating element. High values of “Heating Power” will result in smoke. (NOTE: The Arduino can only supply 25mA (0.025A) of current. To supply larger currents, a transistor or IC must be used.)

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