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Old 12-07-2010, 04:03 PM   #1
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Need help/advice - USB heater


Hello all! I'm new to this forum!

I need help concerning alteration of an USB gadget.
I have a small (2.5dl or 8.5 fl oz) USB aquarium that I intend to use to raise sea monkies (artemia).
The gadget was advertised to heat water up to 30C (86F) which it doesn't.
The best it does is to keep a 4C difference from room temperature. As the room temperature goes down, so does the water temperature. Needles to say, the water temperature is too low and too unstable to grow sea monkeys.
I would like to replace the inadequate heater with a stronger one keeping in mind the usb voltage and all that. The heater looks like a block of white foam covered by a thin aluminum foil.
Could you please suggest me an electronic element (resistor, what not) that I can replace the heater with and get better results?
I included pictures of the gadget and the heater.

Thank you so very much!
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Old 12-08-2010, 12:41 PM   #2
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Whatever it is, it will have to be below 100ma draw unless that device has circuitry to negotiate higher from the host. Maximum draw on USB 2.0 is 500ma, although 3.0 may support 900ma (intended for charging batteries). I see some logic there, but it could be simply to drive LEDs. If it shows up as a device when you plug it in, then it could possibly negotiate the draw. In Windows, you can see how much it's using by viewing the properties of the USB bus it's connected to via Device Manager.
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Old 12-08-2010, 12:51 PM   #3
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Is there any reason you cannot use a fish tank heater?

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Old 12-08-2010, 01:06 PM   #4
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First of all, thank you for your advices. I'll check the draw in the control panel. The tank can also run on an adapter independent on the computer. It uses iPod style socket-to-usb adapter.

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Is there any reason you cannot use a fish tank heater?

DM
Yes, the tank is the size of a glass of water. I can't think of any tank heaters that would fit in (and leave room).

I checked, it says 100mA, I read around a bit, and it seems 500mA cannot be easily achieved on a single usb port.

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Old 12-08-2010, 01:14 PM   #5
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How about a tin coffee can with a light bulb inside?... set glass sized 'tank' on top.
Adjust heat by varying wattages of bulbs.

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Old 12-08-2010, 01:43 PM   #6
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That might work, I may go with that regardless of the plastic housing of the tank.
However, would it be possible to add an alternative power supply to the existing heater? Could that be somehow done?
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Old 12-08-2010, 01:52 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by skocko76 View Post
However, would it be possible to add an alternative power supply to the existing heater? Could that be somehow done?
I don't see why not....

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Old 12-08-2010, 02:03 PM   #8
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Grab yourself one of these.... multi-volt AC2DC wall-wart.

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Old 12-08-2010, 04:31 PM   #9
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Unless you are wed to using that tank, why not get a regular fish tank and heater and do it that way?
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