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Need advice on how to go about getting custom controls made

I have an idea I am wanting to pull the trigger on. I'm building a space heater. 600/ 900/1500 watts. The idea of the way the unit heats is unique and have searched for days and I have not found a thing similar in anyway. I built a makeshift unit and it blows the 5 top of the line space heater units I purchased and dissected away. Other units held the temp today around 68 degrees in my living room. Right now its 28 degrees outside here in new York and my living room is 83 degrees. None of the units store purchased 1000 sq ft 1500 watt $200 to $50 units could accomplish this tempeture, as a matter of fact none made youfeel toasty as my mmakeshift unit does. The question I have is this. I want to take my idea and system,unit to the next level. I purchased a 1500 watt duraflame quarts heater and like the design of it. It has a digital thermostat control panel on the front with remote. The control panel is linked to a board with 2 relays and a small transformer and diodes etc. From the board 115 lines are ran and to the 6 quarts heating elements. All contained in a sheet metal box then installed in a wood cabinet. Looks nice. Now I'm wanting to take my idea to the next level and build my unit the right way. I want to know where to go to get a custom control panel, custom board,remote etc, for my unit so I can make a presentable safe unit. I then want to make 10 of these and get the unit UL approved, then mass produce these for market. I want to keep my heater here in the USA and build and make it here in the USA if possible. I am a laymen so please go easy. Thanks in advance for any help.


  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 6,994

    I hate to curb your enthusiasm ...

    Space heaters are already made in all shapes and sizes. Most of the larger ones are sold as shop or construction heaters.

    Larger space heaters are not sold for  residential use because of electrical requirements and fire safety issues.

    A UL rating is not a simple application. Years of design and testing is required. I would budget $100k + for the label.


    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • Sureshot
    Sureshot Member Posts: 6

    Thanks Carl. My entire life i found that unfortunately more people have told me with different ideas and other ventures that certain things cannot be done. That's what fueled my fire and pushed me further to succeed. You have positive people and negative people and a will and a drive. Some people in this world have brilliant ideas and never actually go any further then that. Just a thought. Then there are people like me, who do research and try there best to accomplish there goals and ideas. With that said, money is not a issue because I have access to my own money as well as wealthy investors. Now I have done some research and got quotes from China to build and design my unit without the heating element because I do not want it copied or duplicated until I am ready to release it to the public. I do understand that there are other heaters out there for commercial use and home use with a wide variety ofapplications ranging from ttriple AAA battery hand warmers to 220v space heaters. There I'd nothing wrong with inavation and making something better and more efficient then what we already have. My original question and why iI posted up on here is because other then over seas I a! Unable to find a USA company that builds boards and controls needed for my unit. In China 39 bucks gets me a prototype. But I am wanting to keep everything made in the USA. If someone can direct me to a company other then Jhonson controls that build custom control component s, that be great. Thanks again.
  • JeffM
    JeffM Member Posts: 174
    circuit boards

    There are places on the internet that will do small runs of printed circuit boards, and some of them have design services as well which it sounds like you need. Check out, or google "prototype circuit boards" and things like that. What Zman said is fairly accurate, so plan on your prototypes being affordable but a UL listing being really expensive. You might do well to look at the UL labels on some of the similar products you have bought to see what standards or listings they are being tested to, and then buy copies of those tests to read up on and see what you would need to do to pass them.
  • Sureshot
    Sureshot Member Posts: 6

    Very good advice. Appreciated. Thank you
  • Tim McElwain
    Tim McElwain Member Posts: 4,481
    You wil;l also need to get a

    good patent lawyer, expect to take a bout 10 to 15 years to get you product produced. That is unless you already have someone ready to do all that for you. One of my students invented a device based on my idea. He tried for 15 years to get it produced and finally TACO latched on to it and the rest is history. It often takes time and some luck.
  • Sureshot
    Sureshot Member Posts: 6
    patend pending

    When you have a patent pending you are able to sell under patent pending number. If someone challenges your idea during this time and can prove that it is in fact there idea then you can have a major issue on your hands. But the fact is if you change a simple design that varies from another that patent is no longer valid. China can copy anything and change a very small factor of a product and there you go. That's why what I am doing is after final design, I will put in for a patent and it will be patent pending , then get it UL listed, No matter how much time or money that will take. But after speaking with PCB builders today, They promised me that after there prototype board and controls are completed it will exceed UL compliance. So I am sure that will not be an issue. I did more research and have found several U.S PCB custom board builders that can assist me in building a board and digital display etc and cheaper then one might think. After speaking to several PCB builders the price range for a prototype is $39 dollars to $200 dollars then after testing and if one wants to mass produce it they said the price will be pennies. I found that satisfying.
  • Sureshot
    Sureshot Member Posts: 6
    thermal limit switch

    Im looking for a normally closed 10 amp 120 volt limit switch that is normally closed and will open at 330 F and then auto reset when temp drop belows 260 degrees. Where can i go to get a custom thermal limit switch made? Any advice will be appreciated.
  • Zman
    Zman Member Posts: 6,994
    A Watt is a Watt...

    I am curious how you are able to achieve such high performance?

    Electric heaters are all about 99% efficient.

    The max draw you can put on typical household circuit is about 12 amp or approx 1,500 watts. All 1500 watt heaters will produce 5,122 BTU/Hrs.

    Are you broadcasting the heat in a different way?

    For you prototype, why can't you just use the controls from one of the heaters you own?

    It seems you are inventing some new type of wheel.

    I am not trying to be critical. Just making sure you understand heat and I am genuinely curious.

    "If you can't explain it simply, you don't understand it well enough"
    Albert Einstein
  • Sureshot
    Sureshot Member Posts: 6
    A watt is a watt

    Understood! The concept of how the heat is exchanged and stored and transferred as well as the amount of electricity used to heat, Not your tipical space heater is all I am going to say. It uses 1500 watts for a short period of time, about 20 min out of every hour until desred temp is reached. Saving home owners MONEY... Would love to go further into detail, But I just can not at this time until our eggs are all in one baskets and our boxes are checked
  • Jamie Hall
    Jamie Hall Member Posts: 17,121
    Got to admit

    I'm curious, too.  As Zman says, a watt is a watt and a BTU a BTU.  Thermodynamics is a very unforgiving game, and has tripped many a well meaning person before now...  so far as I know, if you have a given space with given thermal loss properties, a certain BTU input will raise the temperature of the space a certain amount -- and it doesn't matter how the BTUs are put in.
    Br. Jamie, osb
    Building superintendent/caretaker, 7200 sq. ft. historic house museum with dependencies in New England
  • rusty pipes_2
    rusty pipes_2 Member Posts: 9
    new ideas

    Sureshot ...

    Go for it.   New ideas in this industry are needed!  I can easily see some warmer basements and small apartments from an idea like yours.  There are plenty of unbalanced heating systems, and homeowners are always frustrated at me that the system I put in is leaving their back bedroom cold, or that their sunny side family room is too hot. This could be a great thing...

     Everyone thinks that technology today is all there is, and I think that is just not true.   Keep thinking .... this country needs more like you.
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