Check this one out. This thing is pretty cool and I like the fact that you can program it but I haven't seen one in use or heard of one in use yet. Have you guys seen this thing yet or heard about it? Maybe a simple timer is best. That's what I've used in the past.
Almost $200 for a block heater controller?! Of course living in Florida we don't even think about things like that. But my guess this is for fleets (as mentioned in the text) and they may be able to eventually pay for it with power savings.
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For S189.99 it is nothing more than a programable timer. While it does include a couple things that don't happen with a regular timer I don't think it is worth that much.
Heck, SaskPower was giving timers away.... I have been using them for many years and have a couple around. I do not need mine to come on up to 4 times a day but if wanted I can set it to do that and it does it 7 days a week. This fancy timer allows you to have different times whenever you want. I have a Ford van that since 93 when I bought it has started regardless of how cold or wether it was plugged in. It Sat in -30's for a couple weeks and cranks over maybe twice and it starts. One of my boys bought a Mitsubishi and it doesn't even come with a block heater, dealer says it's not needed. This is his first winter but so far no problems.
If and when I have a need to use a block heater then it comes on about 3 hrs before I need to go. Or if it is really cold I can go out and turn it on for an hour or so. I think my really good timer I bought probably 10 years ago and cost me around $30.00.
I think you guys a missing the point, this is a temperature/time driven unit. No it's not for the average Joe, it is more for commercial or fleet use. If you look at what they are supplying it is not out of line.
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For $200 and it is only rated at 15 amps? That seems like they went cheap with the relay contacts, and it will not be possible to hook up two block heaters to the saem controller.
Personally IF I lived in such a cold climate, I might want to have a time clock that will turn on my block heater receptical if the temperature is below 0F, yet leave it off above that outside air temperature. Also bring on a 1,000 watt heater inside the vehicle. This will warm it up a lot! And avoid wasting gas while the engine warms enough to have the defroster work properly.
I also would only turn on the heater about 1 hour before the planned time to leave. If it was bitter cold then perhaps it would be nice to turn it on 2 hours earlier, as I would need to leave 1/2 hour earlier due to heavy and slow moving traffic.
So when it is -20, the heater will come on 2 hours prior. If -40, then might as well leave the heater off, I don't need to be out driving in that temperature.