Remote Aircraft Heater Controller

This is an IoT implementation of the remote control of an aircraft block heater. In my case, there is no WiFi, thus a cellular method is used. I previously developed this approach using an Adafruit FONA 800 Shield. With the progression of technology, this 2G cellular device is no longer supported by most cellular networks as of 2020. I looked a a number of approaches and found the product Boron an excellent replacement device. The SIM card is part of the device, but also lets you put in your own. It is easy to program and has great support for the maker community.


I started with the bones of my previous Remote Aircraft Heater Switch. I changed the design by removing the FONA800 and replacing it with the Boron. I also added a DHT-22 temperature/humidity sensor, hay, just because. I reused the AC plug/socket, box and relay. Note that the Boron is a 3V device and cannot be directly connected to other 5V devices without a voltage level shifter. I used this to connect to the relay and ensure enough current for the relay interface. I also added a monitor of the 5V USB voltage. A pair of 4.7k resistors divided the voltage in half to feed the 3V device.

You should use a miniswitch connected between the battery and Boron. Turn it off when you are not using it since it will drain the battery which isn't a good thing. I'm using a 1200 mAh LiIon battery. Be sure to check the polarity of the battery connector, mine needed to be reversed. The battery will carry the device through any brief power outages. My program records when it was plugged in and the time of any outages.

Here's a picture of it in use.

Boron Interfaces:

Parts List


Coding must be done with Microsoft Visual Studio Code (free). The Arduino IDE cannot be used. There is a Particle,io extension to Visual Studio Code that supports their devices. RemoteHeaterControl.ino is my current working version. The code is well documented. You will probably find the need to add/modify/remove some parts to fit your design.


Commands are sent either from your console or a smartphone app. The command functions are: