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Discussion Starter #1
What is the cheapest and easiest way to get a thermostat to control a 20-30 amp load (electric heating).

I've noticed most of the baseboard thermostat are either 20 amp max or are low voltage switches. What do they switch, something built into the baseboard?

I believe high voltage relays are called "contactors" right? Where can I find one cheap or free?

I was thinking an old oven but realized not one single dial or switch controls the whole electric load...

I am going to build my own cheap electric heating system or unit, or rig up some baseboard heaters depending which I find first thats the cheapest... found some dryer heating elements for $10 on ebay...
 

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they switch a relay in the base board heater. i have used a 12 volt relay to switch on a 120v circuit... any relay will do. Just get a cheapo thermo and relay.
 

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Home made electric heating is a Fire waiting to happen. Honestly spend money on something designed to act as a heater. Also baseboard heaters are a big no for garage applications. You want to keep your Electricity at least 12" above the floor to prevent possible explosive situations from vapor buildup.

Also I remember from previous posts you have a max of 30 amps going to your garage. You wont come close to providing heat, lights, and run any tools if you are planning on electric heat.

Honestly its better to freeze in the garage than try building your own electric heater. Get a cheap propane heater till you can afford a nice radiant tube heater.

As for you question most Line Voltage thermostats are rated for no more than 20 amps and if you are going to go relays and contactors for a 220volt system, well thats an easy $100.
 

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Discussion Starter #4 (Edited)
You could say "homemade [anything] is a bad idea", but I appreciate your concern and I will spend time analyzing the safety and risks of both fire and electrical danger. Safety is one reason I want to go electric and ditch my 155Kbtu "jet engine" portable propane heater. Talk about accident waiting to happen....

My garage is hack, and this is a temporary space, I just want to build a setup this winter to hold at a steady 45F (maybe 50), nothing more.

I will ditch the baseboard & relay idea and probably build a small portable unit with fan, element, and line voltage thermostat in a small steel box. 4500 Watts, and only run it when I am not using welder, plasma, or combustibles.
 

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Google found me a 4000 watt garage heater with t-stat for 139$, I think by the time you build something you will have nearly that into it.

Brewchief:D
 

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How about pick up 2 of these......

http://www.heatershop.com/model_205_electric_space_heater.html

Not saying they are what I would use but for $80 you could have 2 heaters that were purpose built. Hell take one and put a box fan behind it and it would probably do the trick for a 10'x20' space properly sealed and insulated.

4500 watts is way to much for what you are trying to do and would blow your breakers the first time. A 96" baseboard heater is around the 2000watt range.

I am still advising you to stay away from the home built electric heater. I have seen numerous house fires caused by properly manufactured electric heaters to scare me away from even thinking of building one myself. The above heater I posted pulls 11 amps for 1 so if you put 2 of those on the same 20amp circuit you could have big problems in older wiring.

Edit: Yeah just googled and found these....

http://store.h-mac.com/didggawoelun.html

More than enough for a small shop. And looks like they are located in Boston.
 
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