Alternative for heater


I have my concerns regarding the 200W heater that is in the BOM. Not just because this model is only available for 120V and I live in a 240V area, but also the fact that these are not intended to be used inside a contained box.
I live in a very old house, acutally a designated monument with lots of wood inside, and I don’t want the risk of fire. And having a non-professional device (specifically not intended for agricultural use according to the manual) makes me feel uncomfortable using this. The ceramic plates inside these devices can become very hot… 300-500°C. If the fan would malfunction fire is just a matter of minutes.
I have looked al alternatives and there seems to be something that is called ‘heat foil’. It is actually a thin sheet of foil that is used underneath carpets or wooden floors. I would need to cover the inside of the cover to get to 200 Watts of energy. This would be infra-red heat. Is there a reason NOT to use this type of heating ?
Did someone come up with an another alternative for the heater ?


Hmmm… What about one of those mats that are made for germination?
Hydrofarm MT10006 Seeding heat mat
Is this what you had in mind?


I am not sure into what extend these 200 Watts are actually required. If so, you would need more M2 than will fit in your foodcomputer :slight_smile:
What do you think of these ??
(i guess you’ll need to have it translated by Google translate)
they even come with a dimmer, so you can fine-tune the power …
Any thoughts on this ?


Also if the form factor of the heater is flat mat then where to put it? on the surface of the grow bed?
If it is under the reservoir it will take time to react as the mass of the nutrition solution is between.
I do expect that the 200W is overestimated and is the smallest heater available. We are talking about keeping the grow space air heated up to perfect temps for the plants. Whats that around 25-30C?


What about attaching these heat pads to the innder side walls of the cover (and use a connector to plug them in when you put the cover back on) ?


That could work. Maybe additional fan to get the warm arround…

Definitely worth trying


I designed my own heater system using this., a fan, and a “box”.


@Rckco Thats a great tip :slight_smile: Wonder if we could collect best tips on each part of the Food Computer?


@Rckco Did you connect that one to the 12V power supply ??


Im creating a different foodcomputer based upon what MIT did, so I have slightly different hardware. My goal was to have everything run off of low voltage (12v) and DC, so it is ‘possible’ to run the system off of a solar panel (probably a large one).

So, you could create/purchase a box, add a fan and this heater and connect the heater & fan to 12V (disconnect it from AC!!!).


Before I leave for my holdays I send you some images of the heater that I bought at Alibaba ( It’s just below 10 USD and they shipped it (for free !) within 2 weeks !
It’s a 50 Watt device which my guess, is more than enough to produce the warmth that you need. It is very small as well so much easier to build in than the orginal one from the BOM (even it was available in Europe).
Looking forward to start growing when I return…


Nice. Would you have a link to it?

(not sure why the link deleted the ‘l’ from html… it should be there though, else you get an empty page…)


As an alternative - consider an old style filament light bulb as a heat source? Cheap and easy, with variable wattage (swapping bulbs). The drawback could be the radiant form of the heat.


@worstludditeever: I did that (see my build diary) but a 40 Watt gave me just a delta of 3° C. Also the light coming from the bulb is annoying if you have your PFC in your study (like me…) Therefor I ‘upgraded’ to the mini heater…
Also: old style light bulbs are not allowed anymore in Europe. Anything that is still available in stores is ‘old stock’, so it is not a future proof solution…