Vehicle: Car: Windshield: Weather
Timed windshield defroster   (+12)  [vote for, against]
Save time in the morning

Since winter appears to have arrived in Scotland, it would save lots of time in the morning if cars could automatically start a front windshield defroster. It would be on a timer that is linked to the internal clock, function much as an alarm does, and it would start up, say, 20 minutes before the planned departure time.

Drivers and passengers won't have to spend 5-10 minutes in the cold with a scraper.
-- jetgrrl, Oct 06 2008

US Patent 5787228 - Portable vehicle articulated windshield defroster with heated air-flow and timer http://www.patentst...28/description.html
[Jinbish, Oct 07 2008]

Lasko Ceramic Heater http://www.laskopro...ers/model_5564.html
Compact and sort of pillar shaped [Noexit, Oct 07 2008]

Espar heater
Diesel-fuelled, minimal consumption of electricity. They even make a timer for it. [afinehowdoyoudo, Oct 12 2008]

EU1000 http://www.hondapow...I&modelid=EU1000IAN
[afinehowdoyoudo, Oct 12 2008]

Volvo standheizung http://www.elchwiki...ng_der_Standheizung
[loonquawl, May 28 2009]

Good idea, (+) but problematic since most cars defrost with engine heat. You can go electric, but that might put undue strain on your battery before a start on a cold morning.
-- MisterQED, Oct 06 2008

Tautology. It's ALWAYS winter in Scotland.
-- 8th of 7, Oct 06 2008

then what is it here ? Ice Age ?... anyways [jet], further to [QED] you need something to plug into the house that blasts warm air onto your car-windows for awhile to unstick the ice, before you get going... the "light weather" version of a block-heater, perhaps.
-- FlyingToaster, Oct 06 2008

My original idea was a small solar panel that charged an additional battery, but the husband said that was dumb. Is it dumb?
-- jetgrrl, Oct 07 2008

// small solar panel that charged an additional battery, but the husband said that was dumb. Is it dumb?//
If you're in Scotland, obviously yes.
-- coprocephalous, Oct 07 2008

// It's ALWAYS winter in Scotland.//

That's just not true. We had Summer a couple of months back over a weekend.

Nice wee idea, btw.
-- Jinbish, Oct 07 2008

We do get enough sun in Scotland, it's just very cold! [Jinbish], did you get the mini-heatwave a couple of weeks ago?

My other follow-on idea was to wire the timer into the in-vehicle clock, so you set it up like an alarm clock. Instead of beeping when the time is set and the 'alarm' swtiched on, it starts the defrosting process.
-- jetgrrl, Oct 07 2008

Usually the front is defrosted with air and the rear electrically. You'd need a different windshield. But I like it (+)
-- normzone, Oct 07 2008

// small solar panel that charged an additional battery, but the husband said that was dumb. Is it dumb?//

Your husband doesn't work at Mercedes R&D then. Most definitely the Maybach, and some other high end models, SL and CLK, have solar panels that power not only regulation of the internal cabin temp and pre-heat seats but also chill the bubbly. Defrosting windscreens, rear and front, was not added, as it is presumed the chauffeur, or valet, had found suitable protection from the elements.
-- 4whom, Oct 07 2008

But does the Maybach have huge fans to blow away the Celtic clouds, and let the sunshine hit the solar panels?
-- coprocephalous, Oct 07 2008

[normzone] There are cars with an electrically-heated front windshield, aren't there? I vaguely remember a Ford advertisement here. But it wasn't on a timer, so one would still have to wait.

[4whom] I think he just isn't a fan of solar panels! Very inefficient, I hear.
-- jetgrrl, Oct 07 2008

Electrically-heated front windows are available on the Ford Focus - they use a mesh of fine wires.
This makes for
a) expensive replacement
b) distracting distrotion of point light sources at night
-- coprocephalous, Oct 07 2008

I would like to have this, and immediately if possible.

Couldn't something along the lines of a ceramic space heater work? Build it into the pillars of the windshield and use a fan to blow the air around. Should be totally do-able.

See link for an example of the space heater.
-- Noexit, Oct 07 2008

Can someone commercialise this idea, preferably using a solar cell battery, so I can show it to the husband and say nyah nyah nyah?!
-- jetgrrl, Oct 07 2008

In the Nordic countries, cars are designed to be "plugged in" at night. A timer inside the residnece turns on the power at a predetermined time. This drives a sump heater, a coolant circualtor/heater, and sometimes a de-icing heater in the passenger compartment. So that part of the technology in Baked.

The system has never extended to the Caledonian environmetn because (a) the natives are still trying to master fire and the use of edged tools (other than on the English), (b) any electical cable stretched between a parked car and a building would be promptly removed and converted into naiive yet sophisticated and strangely attractive bodily adornments, and (c) said natives mentioned in (a) are still mostly hiding in bushes just North of Hadrian's Wall, chewing on raw sheep and boiled bagpipes and wondering if the funny men in shiny armour are going to be back any time soon .....
-- 8th of 7, Oct 07 2008

//But does the Maybach have huge fans to blow away the Celtic clouds, and let the sunshine hit the solar panels?// No, all the Scots (combined) could not afford a Maybach. No market, no product.

There is some really good work being done with composites that have, let's say, *ambiguous* thermal coefficients. In some instances they have really low thermal coeficients (take a while to heat up and cool down) and in other configurations they have high thermal coefficients. In theory, they could capture heat from your engine throughout the day, and store it overnight. A simple, efficient, change could release that energy in a faster heat transfer on your surface. Another advantage is that these materials *have* to be *quantumly* 2D. That makes them very thin and usually translucent. Perfect for seeing through.

Disadvantages are: they are currently too small in area to paper over your windscreen, they don't really like insect splatter (or local extremes), they are very (very) expensive, although energy efficient to operate, maintenance will be pricey. Oh, and they won't work in this field (too much energy knocks them out of kilter).

There is hope...although maybe not as luminescent. An engine block is hot, a front bumper (in Scotland) is cold. A heat pump, or maybe a stirling engine, might capture enough energy to mitigate your early morning, frosty, woes.

I actually agree with your husband. Solar is inefficient for the purpose of converting ice into liquid or vapour or gas. But if you agree that you do not have to melt *all* the frost, and rather just provide a *slippery surface* for a sheet to slide off, and provided you supply the extra energy for sheet removal, I think solar can be enough.
-- 4whom, Oct 07 2008

//hiding in bushes just North of Hadrian's Wall, chewing on raw sheep and boiled bagpipes and wondering if the funny men in shiny armour are going to be back any time soon .....//

I dunno, [8th]. Seemed quite the opposite in the documentary I saw on t.v. the other day.
-- MikeD, Oct 07 2008

Ach, that was just propaganda .....
-- 8th of 7, Oct 07 2008

Propoganda? Mel Gibson wouldn't lie!
-- MikeD, Oct 07 2008

He's an actor ... they'll do anything for money.

Anyone who will appear in a film like "Signs" has NO self-respect.
-- 8th of 7, Oct 07 2008

I still can't come to grips with the words "winter" and "Scotland" in close proximity... I imagine you mean frost on the windshield and not a half-inch layer of ice. Add glycol to your wiper-fluid and use your windshield wipers.
-- FlyingToaster, Oct 08 2008

<crouches behind wall, sharpening flint spear, patiently waiting for one of the collective to pass by>
-- Jinbish, Oct 08 2008

You've been lurking for 7 years!? Good stuff!
-- quantum_flux, Oct 09 2008

[quantum_flux], er yeah, I actually forgot about HB for a while and then saw a site that was fairly similar recently, and so decided to try logging in again and voila!

[FlyingToaster], our windshield wash would serve the purpose if the little spurty holes weren't frozen over...!
-- jetgrrl, Oct 12 2008

You could get one of the small Espar heaters (linky). They are made for just this sort of thing. Gobs & gobs of heat for not much much drain on your car battery. Another choice might be a small Honda generator like the EU1000, running an electric space heater and possibly transferring some of the waste heat from the generator into the car. This would be more 1/2-baked than the espar, involve more hacking-in, and does not have an automatic start.. but might have some advantages like using the same fuel as your car and being a source of electricity. Good luck & stay warm.
-- afinehowdoyoudo, Oct 12 2008

why not just go low tech? Just cover the windshield with a strong formica sheet to fit perfectly? It can have handles long enough to protrude out of the snow which in the morning, all you have to do is pull. Job of 5 minutes ? Now takes at max 30 seconds. too heavy snow ? use the engine to somehow help you pull the cover. Ok now it is 1 minute instead of 5 minutes.
-- kamathln, Oct 16 2008

Volvo offers their cars with a preheater that will heat up the car radio- (or nowadays cell-phone-) controlled [Link]. Quite old, a friend of mine had a radio-controlled one ~10years ago, and it was an old car at that point.
-- loonquawl, May 28 2009

random, halfbakery