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Archive for December 5th, 2010

Peltier Cooler Test

This Peltier cooler just emerged from a pile o’ stuff on the Electronics Workbench, so I combined it with a scrap CPU heatsink (using plain old water as “thermal grease”) and fired it up to get some quick numbers for future reference.

Peltier cooler test lashup

Peltier cooler test lashup

It draws 3 A (the bench supply’s current limit) at 5 V. The cold side got down to 19 °F with the hot side at 75 °F: ΔT = 56 °F.

That’s with zero thermal load, other than whatever arrives from plain old air and those two plastic clamps. It looks like a nice one, so it’s maybe 10% efficient and could pump a watt, barely enough to cool a simple circuit.

Freezes a drop of water just fine, though.

The I-V curve is nearly bar-straight over the first five volts: call it 620 mΩ. The thing would draw 7.5 A at 12 V, call it 90 W, and could pump maybe a whopping 9 W from the cold side.

Actually getting good numbers would require some serious work that I’m not up for. In particular, everything has a serious temperature coefficient, so nothing would be the way it looks. I have doubts about the efficiency guesstimate; I’d like to actually measure that sometime.

But it confirms my opinion of Peltier coolers between hundred-watt CPUs and water-cooled heatsinks: pure delusion.

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