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O.T. heater for a gun safe

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  • O.T. heater for a gun safe

    I've heard of such a thing as a "hot rod", but a quick search didn't find anything suitable. Some safes use a florescent light fixture, left 'on' all the time, which keeps the contents warm and dry plus gives you some light.

    Suggestions?

  • #2
    GoldenRod gun safe dehumidifier, a company called Lockdown
    https://www.amazon.com/dp/B00CYBDFWI...g=roucb_a_3-20
    SE MI, USA

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    • #3
      I have the 12" version of the Golden Rod. Never bothered by rust. One thing to note: don't get one too large. Dry heat is not always favorable over a very long period of time to wooden stocks, grips and paperwork. I keep a small hygrometer on the shelf, and do not feel any heat when I open the safe.

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      • #4
        I thought about this a while ago. If you warm up an enclosed area don’t you just get warm moist air in your safe? Warm air holds more moisture than cool air but is less dense. Warm means an increased reactivity in the chemical realm. I could never get past the physics of this and use dessicant cans. At least I know the moisture level is low. Periodic drying of the cans in a stove is a must. Placing them near the top of the safe is also a +, as moisture is lighter than air.

        another thing you can do is sit the safe on 2” thick rigid foam pad to eliminate the temp differential to a basement floor. This slows the internal air circulation. Same for the back if it is against an exterior wall.

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        • #5
          I built robotic equipment for the greenhouse industry where humidity is always high. As long as the electrical enclosures stay a few degrees above ambient everything was completely corrosion free. A 'sealed' keyboard box corroded like hell inside. Submerged under water for two weeks, not a drop got in. We finally figured out that day to night it breathed moist air in through the spaces between the conductors and through the strands of the wires! At night it condensed and we would find a teaspoon or more of water in the box after a month.

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          • #6
            Originally posted by rickyb View Post
            I thought about this a while ago. If you warm up an enclosed area don’t you just get warm moist air in your safe? Warm air holds more moisture than cool air but is less dense. Warm means an increased reactivity in the chemical realm. I could never get past the physics of this and use dessicant cans. At least I know the moisture level is low. Periodic drying of the cans in a stove is a must. Placing them near the top of the safe is also a +, as moisture is lighter than air.

            another thing you can do is sit the safe on 2” thick rigid foam pad to eliminate the temp differential to a basement floor. This slows the internal air circulation. Same for the back if it is against an exterior wall.
            This what I've done for decades. Temps and humidity levels are always constant inside the safe so it does not need much help. It may be a different matter if it was open all night and then introduced to warm moist air and closed. My safe is sealed fairly well so the only air exchange is when it's open and that is usually a brief period.
            The desiccant I use turns green from orange when it's time to re-dry it in the oven. I don't need to do it very often and it does not take long to do so, so it's not an inconvenience at all. Nothing to plug in and I don't have to worry about over drying the wood on some nicely figured walnut stocks.
            I have yet to see a speck of rust on any of my firearms that have been in there.
            Home, down in the valley behind the Red Angus
            Bad Decisions Make Good Stories​

            Location: British Columbia

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            • #7
              Not sure about the ideal moisture level for gun storage, but I have used low Wattage, incandescent bulbs for heaters. A single bulb will burn out in fast order if used this way. But you can wire two bulbs in series so that each one only sees 1/2 the line Voltage (about 55 Volts). Wired in this manner, they will only light dimly, but their lifetime will be extended by a factor of ten or more. And since a gun safe will be a closed cabinet, ALL the electrical energy they use will become HEAT.

              On another line of thought, all items sold as "resistors" in the electronics field are devices that convert electric energy to heat. And, in general, they do this conversion with 100% efficiency. In short, they are all HEATERS. One form factor for higher power electronic resistors is a rectangular ceramic package with the leads coming out the two ends. I have uses a pair of those ceramic resistors to repair a coffee maker where the heating coil under the cup burned out. They worked even better than the OEM heating coil. And were probably cheaper. Two equations would help you here:

              Ohm's Law I = V / R or R = V / I

              and the power formula

              P = IV or P = V^2 / R or P = I^2 R

              First determine the power needed. Then use the power formula to find the needed resistance value with the Voltage you are using. Be sure that your resistors not only have the proper resistance ratings, but also the needed power ratings. One rule of thumb in electronic design is to use a power rating of two times the expected amount of power that will be generated.

              Of course, if you build anything that uses line Voltage, be sure to use proper construction techniques and proper insulation to prevent any chance of electric shocks. Not just now, but 20 or 30 years later.
              Paul A.
              SE Texas

              And if you look REAL close at an analog signal,
              You will find that it has discrete steps.

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              • #8
                My gunsafe came with one of those 12" stick/dehumidifiers on a 120V cord. I was like Rickyb and Willy in that it would only create warm humidity. I wanted to remove the humidity. So I bought a couple of the desicators that plug into 120 V receptacles to dry out. About once every month or so, I take one of them out and plug it into a receptacle overnite to dry out. The indicator turns very blue after about 10 hours or so. then I do the other one. I keep a couple of humidity meters in the safe. It stays about 45 to 50 percent. I never did try out the heat stick. One of my dryers is a Stack-on and the other is a Eva-dry. Both work well, can't tell much difference.
                Sarge41
                Last edited by sarge41; 02-25-2021, 09:39 PM.

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                • #9
                  A florescent light fixture might work. I've seen many shops where the welding rod is stored in an old refrigerator with a regular tungsten filament bulb mounted at the bottom, running continuously. Keeps the electrodes nice and dry. I think the tungsten lamp gives off more heat than a florescent.

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                  • #10
                    Originally posted by rickyb View Post
                    I thought about this a while ago. If you warm up an enclosed area don’t you just get warm moist air in your safe? Warm air holds more moisture than cool air but is less dense. Warm means an increased reactivity in the chemical realm. I could never get past the physics of this and use dessicant cans. At least I know the moisture level is low. Periodic drying of the cans in a stove is a must. Placing them near the top of the safe is also a +, as moisture is lighter than air.

                    another thing you can do is sit the safe on 2” thick rigid foam pad to eliminate the temp differential to a basement floor. This slows the internal air circulation. Same for the back if it is against an exterior wall.
                    It doesn't work that way. The air only has a fixed amount of moisture in it and in the safe or cabinet. When we warm it up the relative humidity percentage drops and now the air is more dry in a relative way. Technically the war air would hold more water but since there is no source of water in the safe the RH value stays low. And low RH air has less risk of condensing. Plus the metal and wood are warmer from being in the warmed up cabinet so there is a further step against condensation.

                    I've had Golden Rods in my safes for a good 7 or 8 years now and it's worked like a charm.

                    The other biggie is to ensure that if on a concrete floor or against an outside wall which will be cooler than the inner part of the room is use a good layer of insulation.
                    Chilliwack BC, Canada

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                    • #11
                      Use a digital temp controller (google stc-1000) to control an incandescent bulb. Cheap, easy and efficient.
                      Last edited by Chipps; 02-26-2021, 11:15 AM.

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                      • #12
                        I've had good luck with dessicant. I just use oil dri in paper bags and locate them in the safe with the bags open on the top. I also have a couple of those small dessicant packs that indicate pink when they're saturated.
                        At that time I'll pour the oil dri on cookie sheets and bake it out in the oven at ~400 degrees. Every 15-30 minutes I open the oven door to get rid of moisture. In a few hours the little packs will indicate blue and the whole lot goes back into the safe. In my basement this routine seems good for around 6-8 months.

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                        • #13
                          If you have ever seen a florescent ballast go up in smoke/fire or incandescent bulb start a fire when something falls on it no thanks. My guns are worth more than that makeshift method to save a couple bucks on the Golden Rod, https://www.amazon.com/LOCKDOWN-Gold...g=mh0b-20&th=1
                          Retired - Journeyman Refrigeration Pipefitter - Master Electrician

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                          • #14
                            And even without worrying about the risk of a light being broken there's the very real fact that they just quietly burn out. Meanwhile my Golden Rods have been working flawlessly for around 8 years now.

                            The other thing is that for a heater style corrosion control to work well it needs to be low in the cabinet or safe to set up a natural convection current of the air in the cabinet. And a light bulb of any sort mounted that low is at risk. Or if protected with a cage is a lot bulkier than the Golden Rod.

                            Plus in the end the GR is low enough in cost that it simply isn't worth the other issues of doing it with another heater format method.
                            Chilliwack BC, Canada

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                            • #15
                              Originally posted by I make chips View Post
                              I've had good luck with dessicant. I just use oil dri in paper bags and locate them in the safe with the bags open on the top. I also have a couple of those small dessicant packs that indicate pink when they're saturated.
                              At that time I'll pour the oil dri on cookie sheets and bake it out in the oven at ~400 degrees. Every 15-30 minutes I open the oven door to get rid of moisture. In a few hours the little packs will indicate blue and the whole lot goes back into the safe. In my basement this routine seems good for around 6-8 months.

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                              oil-dri seems to be an oil absorbent. is that what you use? cat-litter?

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