Then you should not do the project.
10W is a starting point.
Here's the kind of heater you want for gloves: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/11288
what do you mean?
meaning a 10W heating element is ideally what you should be using.a 50W - and five of them at that seems to be (to the experts) waay overkill.i'm a newbie as well, so would also be thinking along your thoughts of "why can't it be used at all" - but i guess there are all sorts of considerations of "under-powering" an element meant to be used for higher outputs.especially with transistors, where (from what i understand) they are best used in full-on (saturated) or off conditions - the in-between is where a lot of energy is wasted (as heat).
...I realized that in order to operate it I needed a transistor to provide a sufficiently high current.
i think what all the seniors are saying is that the act of "under-powering" itself is the no-no.(due to inefficient heat dissipation running the device at half-speed)you don't "need" the transistor to provide a sufficiently high current - you need it because the Arduino cannot handle it directly.you should really look up how transistors work - i'm not quite sure if this applies to MOSFETs but to those "power transistors" (like the TIP120) - they can handle a *range* of current, as you are thinking - BUT the trade-off is that the power that does NOT get utilised, is *wasted* through heat - and if you are running the device at, say, even 20% (of it's maximum rating) - that means - you are dissipating 80% as ... ironically - heat !!-cmiiw-
OK I got it. Sorry for the ignorance. This is the first time I've been dealing with electronics and with Arduino, so I'm trying to understand.
If so, if I find the same heating element but with a 10W power supply and use a transistor, should this solve my problem?
when one is learning, you shouldn't have to apologize for ignorance - the whole point about learning something is because we are ignorant to the facts surrounding the topic !the folks here are very understanding and patient enough if you can respond to whatever further clarifications they request.that's probably the other way around - you (ideally) want the 10W heating element. just to clarify from your earlier post;this --> https://www.sparkfun.com/products/10213does not "provide" the current - it *controls* it - the current comes from the power supply unit. (battery, wall-wart, etc.)
250W is crazily high and will burn you.1W will do nothing.So 10W is about right as a starting point for designing a warmer like this. Perhaps it should be 20W,perhaps not, you need to experiment. Remember a lot of soldering irons use 40W or less...