Induction Seduction

A project log for RanDumb Hacks

Trying things some might consider "Dumb" for the fun of it.

DustinDustin 12/07/2021 at 04:280 Comments

I find my little test camper rather chilly when it hits 20F outside. I figured I could use my induction cooktop to warm things up a bit. It happens to be the most efficient appliance I own, which is perfect for the limited power budget of about 1,800 watts. I started by trying to heat canned food as lazily as possible. I opened the can, tore off the label(fire hazard), and set the unit to 180F. I figured that would be plenty hot for a meal. Turns out the bottom of the can got far hotter than that, let's the plastic lining inside the can, ruined my food, and stunk up the place quite nicely. Experiment successful, results disappointing. I at least know what happens now. 

Experiment the second has gone far better. I made tea using water heated in my stainless steel french press on the induction cook top. I once again find the setting for 180F quite alright. It added a bit of nice got steam to the camper, and made it feel a little more cozy in here. I set it to 260F and out my tower fan next to it, blowing into the sleeping loft. Turns out it warms the place up quite nicely until you trip the camper breaker. I have a trio of 400 watt electric heaters in here so I turned off an extra one, leaving a single heater and the boiling water to heat the camper. It actually seems to be working quite nicely. I suspect the reason this works is the same reason the desert gets so cold so quickly when the sun goes down: thermal mass in the atmosphere. Without the water providing thermal mass in the air, it can cool down very quickly in here, and out in the rest of the world. Adding a bunch of hot water to the air outs energy and thermal mass into the camper. Thermal mass is the key to a consistent temperature. I had planned to take a hot shower and steam the place up, but I'm lazy and this is easier. 

So there ya have it: cooking food in it's can on an induction cook top is dumb, steaming up your living space in the winter is not as dumb.