Weather Control

It’s beginning to get cold up here in Maine. Batteries don’t like the cold.

When I first began commuting to work the car was running beautifully. Had plenty of power while driving and plenty of power left over by the time I got to work. When I first started driving it everyday, the temperature at night was about 40 degrees at night and in the high 50’s during the day.

About a week later it got down to 20-30 at night and was only up in the 40’s during the day. Now my commute was a bit more of an adventure. It would be very sluggish for all but the first couple of miles of the trip, and by the time I got to work the car was crawling – doing about 15mph by the time I got to the driveway of work.

This week has been much more like the first, 40 degrees or so at night and in the 60’s during the day. The car is back to it’s old self again – responsive and full of life. I knew the cold was going to play a factor but didn’t think it would be quite so drastic.

Because of this I’ve purchased 4 battery blankets. They’re miniature electric wraps that go around your battery to keep the core temperature up when it get’s cold. Generally used to make sure your gas car will start on cold winter days. They are regular 110v 60w wraps. I haven’t wired them in yet, that’s a project for this weekend. The literature says it should raise the core temp of the batter by about 30-40 degrees. Since I’ll be wrapping 4 batteries with 2 blankets (instead of 1:1) I hope to get half that. Even so, if it’s 20 degrees outside and I can keep the batteries up to 40 degrees that will make a huge difference.

I’ll be sure to get some pictures this weekend. I haven’t found a very technical way to record the results as I really don’t know how to accurately measure the temperature of a battery. I think it’ll end up being a perception measurement. If anyone has a good idea of how I can get some actual data with this little project please let me know – Thanks