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Block Heaters by Telephone

Old 12-15-2003, 03:27 PM
  #1  
jlr
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Default Block Heaters by Telephone

Here a question for you electronic gurus out there. I've got a pair of diesel engines that prefer to be started after being on a block heater for a few hours. However, my boat is not too close by so it would be very convenient if I could activate the block heaters from a remote location so that they are all warmed up by the time I get to the boat.Does anyone have a good suggestion for a regular 110V outlet that accepts a telphone line in one side and can be activated from a remote phone. Alternatively, a regular outlet that can be activated by the sound of the ringing of a telephone. I suspect the draw on the outlet will be about 20 amps so it has got to be a pretty heavy duty one. Any help or better ideas would be greatly appreciated.
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Old 12-15-2003, 03:55 PM
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Default Block Heaters by Telephone

JLR- I know in Finland you can start your car via a remote starter using your cell phone. SO the technology is there- you just need to find it.

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Old 12-15-2003, 03:56 PM
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Default Block Heaters by Telephone

set up a small alarm system but instead of powering a siren power the heaters. Have the alarm go off when there is a light lit. Enclose the hole thing in a black box. Hook the ringer up to one of those light thingies. Secondly put it on a timer so if there is a wrong number you are not heating for days onend.

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Old 12-15-2003, 04:12 PM
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Default Block Heaters by Telephone

"REMOTE REBOOT SWITCH" used by MIS managers to remotely reboot servers and the like. You hook them up to a modem, dial the number, answers on 3- 4 rings, enter up to a 10 digit PIN and VOILA! AC is turned on.

HOWEVER... I have yet to see one rated for more than 10 amps. But with a little plotting and scheming, you should be able to use it to drive a relay that can handle the amps/wattage of those block heaters!

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Old 12-15-2003, 04:24 PM
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Default Block Heaters by Telephone

Ahhh.... my specialty!! Beleive it or not, yes you can, fairly easily, and fairly cheaply.

First get one of these and attach to your phone line at the home/dock where the boat is:
http://www.smarthome.com/5000.html

Second, get one of these, and plug the block heaters into it:
http://www.smarthome.com/2002S.html


As a back ground, your creating what's called a small X10 home control system. X10 is a system that allows you to control anything electric (lights, computer, TV, stereo, fans, video camera's...) by utilizing the existing power lines in your house. In other words, it's a systme that makes a network kinda out of your power lines. So, any X10 compatible device plugged into your hosue power, can send and recieve these "X10 network" signals which are generally simple instructions for devices (ex: Turn light on, turn light off, dim light...). Each device gets a unique code, and that's how you tell it to turn a particular device on, you say, code 5 on. So the device which has been set to code 5, turns itself on.

With that in mind, there are LOTS of X10 compatible devices, some are wall switches for your lights, some are just wall outlets, so whatever you plug into them get controlled via x10 signals, and more importantly, ther are some cool add ons like, A remote Phone turn on device like the one I linked above. That device lets you call into your phone from a remote location, and turn any or all of your X10 devices on by slecting the code and then sending a signal (on, off, dim...whatever you wish).

So in summary, in your case, connect your block heaters to an X10 wall module (the second item I linked above). Set the X10 code to lets say 5. Then connect the remote phone controller into the phone line (and the power line, it includes a connector), and call it up and turn on your block heater.

Whallah!! Have a blast. And after ya get that working, don't forget to buy all the other cool X10 stuff and load up your house with all kinds of freind amazing Wiz-bang x10 gadgets!!


EDIT: PS- Here's a link with a good explanation of what X10 is.
http://www.smarthome.com/about_x10.html

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Old 12-15-2003, 04:29 PM
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Default Block Heaters by Telephone

Ok, BIRDMAN has the answer on this one again.

But at least I spelled "VOILA" right!

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Old 12-15-2003, 07:45 PM
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[B]I'm impressed Birdman



. . . just thinking out loud . . . yes, I'm "Miss-Be-Haven"

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Old 12-16-2003, 06:47 AM
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Default Block Heaters by Telephone

Birdman,

I don't know the system but it certainly looks like a winner. Would he be wanting to use the big water heater relay as well? Here it is:
http://www.smarthome.com/1289.html

Looks like just the thing to power a block heater to me but you de man ....

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Old 12-16-2003, 08:51 AM
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Default Block Heaters by Telephone

Thank you for all the helpful responses but I want to sharpen up the issue just a little more as it may change some of the suggestions. Right now, the block heaters are hard wired to on/off toggle switches in my pilothouse. I also want to be able to continue to use these toggles switches to turn the block heaters on and off in addition to using the remote access. With that in mind, I understand that there are devices that can be activated by a pre-set number of rings from a telephone (ie. by sound rather than another way). Since I have a permanent cell phone on the boat, perhaps there is a device that will work off of a ring pattern on the cell, so that the block heaters are never actually conneced to a hard wired phone line. I think the problem may be the ability to continue to use the toggle switches as a backup. Sorry for the long post but I hope this gets us to the next step.
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Old 12-16-2003, 10:43 AM
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Default Block Heaters by Telephone

Thom,
Yea, he's probably better off using a high amperage module as you suggested(the one I linked was 15 amp max). I just assume leave that selection to him since we don't know what the block heater uses...

Jlr,
Hmmmm..... Forget the toggle switches, they are not a problem at all. Your just going to leave them on for this solution, the "switching" will be done ahead of the toggle switches. In other words, whatever powers the switches, is what you want to switch remotely. Another option would be to change the toggle switches to a three postion switch (SPDT type switch: single pole Dual throw). The switch postions would be OFF, ON (normal), and ON by remote switch. Off would be that, always off. ON (normal) would just be a dirct connect on. The "on by remote" switch setting would just be connecting the circuit with the remote switch (whatever it ends up being) in line with the circuit. So if the remote switch is turned on remotely, the heaters are on, if the remote switch is off, so are the heaters.

But first, to decide on the type of remote switch (and there alot of options) I need some more info as things have changed from the inital post:

1. Where is the boat? Is it behind your house connected to shorepower (house power) or is it docked somewhere else remotely(town dock....)?

2. What powers the block heaters? 12v or 110? If 110, is it an extension cord from a dock outlet or is it from the boats shorepower AND, is the boat kept on shorepower (wether home or at a remote dock)?

3. Amperage of block heaters?
EDIT: Ooops. I didn't notice you already mentioned 20 amps in first post. Ok.


4. Is there a land line at boat or is cell phone only option?


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Old 12-16-2003, 10:56 AM
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Default Block Heaters by Telephone

Birdman - thanks for the help. Here are the answers. The boat is docked at a yacht club, is connected all the time via a 50 amp power cord to the dock, the power is always on, and I have both hard wired(land line) and cell phone phones on the boat. However, the hard wired phone is used primarily for me to remotely view the CCTV cameras I have on board so I prefer to stay awy from that setup--hence that's why I suggested the hard wired 3 watt cell phone. I think that answers the questions but if not, let me know and I'll get to the rest.
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Old 12-16-2003, 11:10 AM
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Default Block Heaters by Telephone

How does the CCTV / phone line system work? How is it connected? Do you dial up with a modem to view video...? By the way, X10 has devices that will connect your camera's to the internet for viewing remotely anywhere from an internet connection. That same device would let you turn on the block heaters via the internet OR dialup.

The reason I ask, the cell phone idea is not a good one for many reasons.


PS - 50 amp shorepower, land line, hardwired cell phone, multiple CCTV camera's onboard, block heaters.... Hmmmmm.... your starting to sound like someone who should be paying somebody to do this for ya!!

What kinda boat?
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Old 12-16-2003, 11:18 AM
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Default Block Heaters by Telephone

The CCTV phone system works as follows. I have a modem type device that is connected to a 110 power source on the boat. The video signals from the 4 CCTV cameras go to a video switcher and the output from the switcher goes to the modem on the boat which is obviously connected to the phone line. I dial into the boat from any phone (ie. in my office) and after two rings, the modem picks it up and sends the video signal to any monitor (like the one on my office pc) that I have the software loaded into. A great setup for checking on the boat when it was in Florida and I was in New York. Also, quite frankly, great for checking to see whether workers have completed jobs that were to be completed before I run down to the boat to check on work that may never have been done. Also, needless to say, great for security. A realy neat setup for very little money. It does not need, nor does it have, a pc connected to it on the boat.
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Old 12-17-2003, 06:09 AM
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Default Block Heaters by Telephone

Birdman - didn't see your last inquiry until this morning. It is a 56' Hatteras MY.
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Old 12-17-2003, 08:44 AM
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Gotcha....been busy...will get back to ya..

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Old 12-21-2003, 11:16 AM
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Default Block Heaters by Telephone

Birdman - are you still out there on this one?
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Old 12-21-2003, 01:58 PM
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Default Block Heaters by Telephone

Yep, sorry, been busy.. I'll find what ya need tomorrow and post it for ya....just checkin the "mail" quickly now...

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Old 12-30-2003, 05:11 AM
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Birdman - any time to look into this or should I let it go?
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Old 12-31-2003, 10:56 AM
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I'll get on it for ya... hang in there...

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Old 12-31-2003, 01:58 PM
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I may sound like an idiot, but why not leave them on all winter? Mine use about $20 a month in elect and by using them it keeps the engine room warm and the rust out.
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