By the thermo-circuits team.
A digitally controlled water heater
Our idea for the Senior Project consists of modifying a water heater by adding a microprocessor to control the gas flow and ignition. A user interface will be provided by a liquid crystal display (LCD).
Current water heater control designs need to be updated in order to take advantage of the current trend to incorporate microprocessors into household appliances. Several issues involving the safety and ease of use of water heaters can be more readily addressed with the use of digital controls. Replacing the outdated mechanical controls with a microprocessor-based system will increase savings, improve safety, and provide ease of use for consumers. The problems associated with the existing mechanical system will be a thing of the past. On top of being inconvenient, having an open-flame pilot is a waste of energy, and a potential safety hazard. Our design does away with the pilot altogether and places a smart microcontroller-based design at the heart of the system.