[Lab] Help? I can't wrap my head around transistors / mosfets.

Justin Slootsky justin at slootsky.org
Mon Nov 25 16:37:19 EST 2013

Hey everyone, I'm having trouble understanding transistors / mosfets, and what I need.

I'm working with Chris on a heating project, and we're looking at using an Arduino to control heating pads in a mitten to keep his hand warm.

The heater will run on 7.2V, which will generate enough heat to keep warm but not enough to burn.

What we would like to do is to regulate the power going to the heating pad based on the value returned from a temperature sensor.

I forsee us turning the heater on and off based on threshold temperatures inside the mitten.  In the future, it might be advantageous for us to be able to turn the power half on if it is near the desired temperature but for now a binary on/off based on an output from the Arduino will do.  (software will determine the on/off cycle based on the value returned from the temperature sensor).

My understanding is that we need a mosfet or a transistor or something for two reasons
1) The Arduino won't send 7.2V power. (even if we use one that has a direct battery line, it is too much power to send to the Arduino)
2) The power draw would be too high anyways.

Can anyone help me with what I need in order to connect this up?


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