12 volt car heater/defroster that works?

HI, I thought I would ask the knowing if there is a decent 12 volt heater/defroster that I can get for my Escort. The heater core went
and they did the bypass thing as I couldn't afford the heater core replacement, whew, like $700. So, I have been checking into this alternative but most reviewers say they are a hunk of junk. Finally, if there is a cheaper alternative please redirect me. Thanks for listening and assisting, psongman
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It depends on your needs, which mostly depends on where you live.
Depending on the cars electrical system I'd say you can't reliably pull more than 200 watts for any length of time, and that is while cruising.
200 watts isn't going to produce a lot of heat.
A hair dryer is around 1000 watts or so, which is five times as much, and that too may be low depending on climate.
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On Tue, 19 Jun 2007, psongman wrote:

Well, the current is the problem. The ones I've seen are around 300 watts, which at 12v is 25 amps. You can't really draw much more than that without a wire direct to the battery, but then you have another problem. I don't know how big your alternator is, but 60 amps would be a good wild guess, and it has to run everything else too. So if you try to draw 50 amps for a couple of those little heaters, you're going to have a problem. (I don't know where you live, but you'd need more than two of them around here.)

You could fix it yourself. Heater cores are cheap. It's expensive to pay someone to do it because in some cars it's a real pain and takes a long time. Buy a Haynes or Chilton's manual first.
Or, if the leak is small, you could try some radiator stop leak. I've found Alumaseal and Bars Leaks to work best.
-Dan
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I don't know about car electric heaters from experience, but the current draw and energy expenditure for one to actually be effective would be very high. It would likely need a transformer and hard wiring.
I really responded to ask what year Escort. If this is an old Escort up to about 1990, the heater core is very easy to replace. You would be wise to do it yourself. Even if it took a weekend, the time would be well spent. The core is available at chain stores for about $40. If you have a newer Ford/Mazda Escort, then I think that the evaporator has to be moved and the A/C system discharged to get to the heater core. This would be beyond a DIYer's ability, mainly due to opening the A/C system.
I have done the older style and it is a piece of cake.
Toyota MDT in MO
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Transforming DC? Nice trick.
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On Jun 19, 8:24 pm, snipped-for-privacy@weersy.com wrote:

DC to DC, y'know, with a rectifier. Would a transformer *not* be used?
I thought so.
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AC to dc uses a transformer/rectifier, at least in the old days. :) Now it seems they can dispense with the transformer, judging from how lite battery chargers are these days--solid-state magic? DC to AC uses a solid state inverter. In the old days, a mechanical inverter. DC to dc proly uses some combination. Wasn't even possible, practically speaking, until relatively recently.
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On Jun 20, 7:50 am, "Proctologically Violated"

Yeah, I felt a response coming when I typed transformer instead of inverter, but it seemed adequate at the time given the OP doesn't know *why* a 12V heater won't work well. Anyway, the commercially available ones I am aware of that would pass high amperage at 120 volts AC are still big and heavy. They appear to be conventional DC to DC converters with a transformer. Many smaller ones have appeared, but with very low wattage limitations from what I've seen.
Toyota MDT in MO
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Also, of course, the problem is getting power out of the battery. Cranking the voltage up with an inverter doesn't help you do that. If you want 1200 watts, you either need to get 100 amps at 12V, or 10 amps at 120V... and if you use an inverter to get those 10 amps at 120V it will require at least 100 amps at 12V into it.
There is no free lunch. You do not get power for free, and sadly it takes a whole lot of power to make heat. This makes you really appreciate just how good the power density of gasoline really is. You get a whole lot of heat out of a little gasoline. --scott
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"C'est un Nagra. C'est suisse, et tres, tres precis."

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On Jun 20, 9:25 am, snipped-for-privacy@panix.com (Scott Dorsey) wrote:

Certainly more if you factor inefficiency losses in the process.

Not to mention *free* heat, as the various powerplants in use today don't use their generated heat very effectively. Shed heat might as well go to some *good* use like cabin heating, besides just soaking into the condenser and atmosphere.
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Yes, but the GOOD news is that all the losses come out as heat, which is what you want in the end anyway.

Precisely! If only VW could have figured out how to deliver it properly.... --scott
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In NYC, Con Ed generation plants sell their waste steam, which is still perty high pressure for waste steam, to various building for heat. They charge a fortune for it, as well.
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They still do.

What they do is rectify the AC, then use a solid-state inverter running at a very high frequency. The high frequency means the transformer is very tiny and very inexpensive.

Yes.
Back in the old days, you'd either do it with motor-generator sets or with a mechanical inverter driving a transformer driving a rectifier stack (as seen in most old car radios to get the high voltage for the tube plates.)
The economics are totally different than they were when I was a kid. Used to be transformers were cheap and switching electronics were expensive. Now switching electronics are cheap and transformers are expensive. --scott
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On Wed, 20 Jun 2007 05:19:53 -0700, Comboverfish

Think not. A DC to Dc converter electronically creates an alternating current that then can be converted to a higher voltage through a transformer. Then it can be rectified back into a higher voltage DC.
Why would anyone want to do this? The process is inefficient.
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On Jun 21, 3:36 am, snipped-for-privacy@mucks.net wrote:

It IS inefficient for a motor + resistance load esp. in a 12v system... but I don't understand your other point. You agree that a DC to DC inverter uses a transformer, then disagree that a DC to DC inverter uses a transformer. Let's rephrase the statement for those who didn't read/get the whole gist of the post back when it meant something: "Many DC to DC converters use a transformer, among other devices, to achieve their goal." To this I again say "I think so". I went off tangent a few posts back and wrote 'dc to dc' which in of itself would not make sense for a high voltage heater/fan. The original intent was to show the silly and bulky nature of what would be required to create heat electrically vs just replacing the heater core. Again, I should have typed 'inverter'. Next we can go over the alternate methods to step up DC voltage to either AC or DC without the use of a transformer. That'll serve the OP well, I'm sure.
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Yes a DC to DC converter does use a transformer and rectifier, but it would be incorrect to say that DC to DC conversion involves rectifying and transforming without mentioning the most important and relevant part of the process. That part is to first make an AC signal.
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snipped-for-privacy@mucks.net wrote:

Actually, its not all that inefficient. But it depends on what the final goal is- if you are trying to operate devices that by design require higher than 12 volts (24 or 48 volt radio amplifiers, etc) then it makes sense. But just to run current through a resistor to make heat? No need in that case.
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No. Think about it. If you have a 20 amp circuit at 12V, you can draw 240 watts. That's not very much heat. Compare with a couple kilowatts from a conventional heater.

Replacing the heater core on an Escort isn't actually very bad if you don't care what the dashboard looks like afterward. You can cut into it with a saw and get to the core without too much fuss. Most of that $700 is involved in taking the thing apart and putting it together so it doesn't look like shit. But if you don't mind it looking like shit, you should be able to do it for a lot less. --scott
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psongman wrote:

The old Escorts are pretty easy to fix. You should be able to get a new copper core for less than $50. If this is just a work car I would be tempted to stick a core on the air vent, either inside the car or on the air intake. Or just lay it on the floor with a little 12v fan blowing on it.
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My thought, as well.
Also could wire in a second battery, just for 12 V heater(s). When it's low, flip a switch to let the alternator charge it, or have a sep. charger at home. They also make 12 V electric blankets, which can help quite a bit. Esp. if the Wife puts you out. :)
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