This project log is an overview of a TEC experiment I performed. My experiment was a quick test and not the most elegant way to run a TEC. I wanted to see if this plan was going to pan out without investing a huge amount of time. First, I made a copper coil with an aluminium plate solder/brazed to the copper coil. This did not go very well but I think I got it to work.
The point of this cooling coil was to attach the TEC to the bottom of the aluminium plate and that would make the copper cold which would make the water flowing through the coil cold. The next step was to insulate the copper coil. This was done by using expandable foam and an insulating foam pad wrapped around the outside.
Next I needed to mount the TEC's cold side to the aluminium plate and the TEC's hot side to a heatsink. I used thermal compound on both sides of the TEC and sandwiched the TEC as shown below.
Next I hooked the whole experiment up. I used an ATX power supply to power everything. I used a 100W power resistor to limit the current to the TEC. I used the 12V rail from the power supply to power the TEC with the power resistor in series. I think this worked okay for this experiment but not for a real application as I burned a lot of power in the resistor. I used a submersible 12V water pump to circulate the water into the cooling coil. Lastly I had a thermocouple at the water outlet to measure how much the water had been cooled.
The whole purpose of this experiment was to see how much cooling I could get from a single TEC unit. The results were as I thought they would be. This experiment turned out unsatisfactory results. I was putting about 72 watts of power into the TEC, which is 12V X 6Amps. This only gave about ten degrees below ambient. This shows that they are truly inefficient devices. I am no longer pursuing using TECs for this project.