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Description: Thermoelectric coolers (TEC or Peltier) create a temperature differential on each side. One side gets hot and the other side gets cool. Therefore, they can be used to either warm something up or cool something down, depending on which side you use. You can also take advantage of a temperature differential to generate electricity. The thermal tape listed below works very well to attach heat sinks to the hot side.

This Peltier works very well as long as you remove the heat from the hot side. After turning on the device, the hot side will heat quickly, the cold side will cool quickly. If you do not remove the heat from the hot side (with a heat sink or other device), the Peltier will quickly reach stasis and do nothing. We recommend using an old computer CPU heatsink or other block of metal to pull heat from the hot side. We were able to use a computer power supply and CPU heatsink to make the cold side so uncomfortable we could not hold our finger to it.

Features:

  • 40 x 40 x 3.6mm
  • lmax - 7A
  • Umax - 15.4V
  • Qcmax - 62.2W
  • Tmax - 69C
  • 1.7 Ohm resistance
  • 127 thermocouples
  • Max Operating Temp: 180°C
  • Min Operating Temp: -50°C

Documents:

Comments 63 comments

  • Aren’t these also supposed to provide power in the presence of a temperature differential?
    If so, I’m curious how much you could generate from, say, an armband of these while running on a cool day (trickle charger?). Maybe a cup of hot beverage (umm, useless “HOT” led indicator). This could get interesting.
    At the very least, cooling without mechanical action is intriguing.

    • I asked reukpower (author of
      http://www.instructables.com/id/How-to-build-a-thermoelectric-lamp/ ) about how much power he could generate using his project, his answer was that his candle powered peltier thermalgenerator was capable of 0.8W but you could get much more out of these if you could find better cooling…

    • I looked into this myself not too long ago, while possible to get current out, these are designed to pump heat. If you want to generate power, you’ll need one optimized for that purpose.
      I have a 100 watt peltier in my junk box, i hooked an LED to it and heated one side with a hot plate and iced the other, couldn’t get the LED to light for the life of me.

      • Did you try reversing the LED terminals?

      • I had a 35 watt module rescued from an old 6 pack soda / beer cooler, and used a candle to drive a 5 volt fan. If you heat sink / ice one side and heat the other, you can get enough power to do small jobs. If you did not get the LED to light, you may have had issues with how the led was connected or, the module was bad. I can definitely verify that you can do something with this. I used mine to have scented candles where the scent was pushed around by the fan, no batteries required.

    • This would be a useful companion part to the energy harvester breakout board. The chip’s spec sheet even shows a Seebeck-effect generator driving it, and that’s one of the things these TE coolers are!

    • Yes, the principle is also true in reverse. If you apply a temperature differential, you will get a voltage.

  • Expecting any more of these? They just seem really cool(pun intended).

  • In Germany they have used these on the cars exhaust to generate power to help supplement the alternators current.
    with the temp difference of the exhaust pipe and the ambient air gives a great temp difference to generate power.

    • I remember seeing a BMW demo where they recovered so many watts of thermal energy from the exhaust that the tailpipe was cool to the touch and the water vapor in the exhaust had almost fully condensed. We’ll definitely be seeing more thermal insulation and recovery optimizations on cars in the future because it’s ‘low-hanging fruit’ for the engineers.

  • Hi, How to put several of these in a series with arduino ?

  • I got one of these things down below -20 F by connecting the hot side to a water-cooled CPU heatsink: http://www.newegg.com/Product/Product.aspx?Item=N82E16835181015
    I accidentally “burnt” my finger on the cold side… it still sort of hurts, actually…
    This was with a +12V input from a computer power supply.
    By comparison, using the CPU fan recommended by Sparkfun, I could only get the cold side down to +38 F - that’s a 60 degree difference! Good cooling is essential.

    • Hmm… since one of these can freeze water solid, how about sticking one on the bottom of a mixing bowl and making ice cream?

  • Well they be in stock again??

  • Hello all,
    I’m just getting started with electronics, but this is on my list of things to try.
    I did find some good reading here: http://www.tellurex.com/technology/ (note the pdf versions on the right as well.)
    Highlights for me were:
    A heatsink is required on the hot side. And cold side should be connected to something.
    You can use PWM (>= 60hz) or voltage to regulate the temperature(s) of the device.
    The hot and cold side is arbitrary, if you reverse polarity it switches the hot and cold side. So it can both heat and cool which is good if your ambient fluctuates like the outside world does.
    Not sure if the Seebeck or Peltier effects confuse me more than Ohm’s law ;-)
    Time to setup my first Sparkfun order…
    Have fun,
    -c

  • Why doesn’t SparkFun sell a heat sink to go with this?

  • This is a neat device, but I have to ask, what is the reason for the $15 price? I purchased one here and then, while looking for heatsinks for it on Amazon, I found it priced for only $5.00! That is a huge difference!

  • Any one know how this would hold up in a very moist environment. say for example the inside of a pot lid?

  • could these be placed along the insides of a 5 gallon beverage cooler? How many would I need to chill the water 10 degrees?

  • How long does this last. I talked to spark fun and they don’t have any info on it. Does anybody know how long this can run before falling with the proper heat sinkage.

  • Datasheet please?

  • Is there anyone here that has experience using this device for both heating and cooling to maintain a steady temperature. My son and I are attempting to design an incubator/cooler to make a specific type of Swedish cultured milk. The bacteria needs to be at a steady 24˚C (+- 1˚C). We live in San Diego, where air conditioning is rare, and the ambient household temperatures often surpass 24˚C – hence the cooling. We are working on using a Beagle Board Black as the controller. Any pointers and/or suggestions.

  • Is it at all possible to regulate/control the temperature of the heat side on this thing?

    • Yes, by regulating the power going into the device, by either changing the voltage, or turning it on and off (PWM).

      • That’ll do. Weird follow-up question: can I break the ceramic plates so as to make it have this shape ^ without turning it into junk?

        • From what I know about the construction of these (it’s a sandwich of numerous semiconductor junctions between conductors on the top and bottom, but note that I’m not an expert), you may be able to cut these and still have them function, but it wouldn’t be at all easy or guaranteed. You might want to look at multiple smaller TECs instead of trying to cut a larger one down to size.

  • Ok, so I bought one of these and it got really hot and I was just using a fan to cool it down. It probably wasn’t enough. What side gets hot and which side gets cold?

  • wow the benefits of thermal recovery from tech like this could make many hot systems with ready cooling also produce suplimental electricity for them self.

  • HOW DO WE GET THAT MOSFET POWER TO BE HIGHER FROM THE EXAMPLE CODE GIVEN ABOVE?? PLEASE HELP

    • you are not allowed to write in ALL_CAPS unless you are in serious danger. are you alright?

  • Hey Does anybody know the exact data sheet for this thermal generator?

  • You can power one of these with an old ATX PSU’s 5 volt rail. Just use the metal case of the PSU for the heat sink. I’m in the process of making a video that demonstrates this, though my TEC came from a minifridge.

  • I think you can make a simpler TEC generator with wires of dissimilar metals - nichrome & copper for instance. Twist segments together at both ends and wire in series. One half of each pair is exposed to heat, the other to cool air. I haven’t done this, but practical generators for small heat generators like candles and oil lamps have been used to power small appliances. In the old Soviet days, I saw photos of folks (in Siberia, where the cold half was easy to find) gathered around oil/kerosene lamps that powered radios. Also, the Plutonium-powered electric sources in the Curiosity Mars lander run off the heat generated by simple radioactive decay.

  • Im working on a SNES portable and I want to use this keep the heatsink cold enough to touch but, I’m confused about which side should touch the heatsink and if I should put a fan on the side that is pushing out heat or will this be enough on it’s own?

  • I am confused by the Tmax. What does it mean exactly? Maximum temperature difference that we can achieve using this TEC? Maximum safe temperature difference it can be exposed to, either powered or unpowered?

  • Instead of having a huge array of thermocouples, couldn’t there just be one fractal thermocouple? Like fractal antennas in cell phones?

  • Connected a heatsink and 12V PC Power supply(20A), It only consumes 3 Amp. that’s only 38 watt. Any idea how to get it use more, like 7 amp or 60 watts ?

  • I’m guessing these are only uni-directional, right? You can’t reverse the voltage and get the heat to flow in the other direction, can you?

    • Quote from the research links: “Dubbed the “peltier effect”, it was later clarified by Emil Lenz who observed that by passing a current through a bismuth-antimony junction, water could be frozen and that ice could be melted if the current were to be reversed."
      To answer your question, yes, the peltier plate will heat side A and cool side B and when you reverse the voltage will cool side A and heat side B. Note: To get ice, you need a heatsink on the hot side.

  • Oh, and if you put a multi-meter across the TEC the resistance is more of the order of 2.5ohm, which ties in with the stated values…ie: 15.4V/7A= 2.2ohm. So I’m not sure where the stated 1.7ohm comes from?? But it’s questionable…

  • Please, oh please try and find a data sheet for these TECs. It is very important to understand the drop off in efficiency at lower voltages, ie: 12V. The efficiency at the quoted max values is 59.6% of input power being ‘converted’ to cooling. If you repeat the calc with the same efficiency at 12V, it shows that you should get 25.8W of cooling. HOWEVER, this assumes the same maximum efficiency. In actual fact the efficiency could be much lower, giving more like 10-15W of cooling. You can see the large margin for error when trying to design a system using these TECs. They are very good units, but we really do need a data sheet. So puuhhhrettyy please, ask your suppliers, do some digging, and try and find us some efficiency curves, etc :-) Thanks.

  • So, I’m thinking of buying one of those for building a small beer fridge, that could keep 12 cans cold (~4C). I calculated it would take ~285kJ to be removed, and if this unit transfers heat at 62.2W, it would take ~1h16min. Accounting for the aluminium can’s mass, and not-perfect isolation, I can double this number, and call it 2.5h. Would this actually work, or am I missing something?
    Thanks,
    L.H.
    P.S. I assume beer is about as dense as water, and heat capacity is the same, and room temp is 20C.

  • Ben Heck from the Ben Heck Show did a cool project with two of these. An semi-instant can cooler. Check it out. http://www.element-14.com/community/community/experts/benheck

  • It isn’t quite true that nothing will happen without a heat sink. I’ve seen the leads melt off peltiers before. It was an accident…
    So yes, use a heat sink. I don’t know exactly where the semiconductor alloy melts- pure Bismuth Telluride melts at over 500 C, but this has some other stuff like antimony in it, and I don’t know how much. In any case, if you want to generate power from one, you probably need to know when the leads are going to melt off, and when the Bismuth Telluride melts. And you still need to dump the heat into a heatsink on the cold side. And these are potted with something, but if it is silicone, it will take some heat.

    • The junctions in TECs are of Fe strips soldered on the opposite ends of the semiconductor cubes and are held in place by the ceramic plates.

      The Thermal expansion becomes a major factor when you try to maintain large temperature differences. The Junctions of cold side shrink and the junctions of hot side expand. The unit will suffer a mechanical failure way before T(hot) reaches the melting point of the semiconductor.

      Since it’s a series of diodes by definition (mostly 127), a single failed junction renders the TEC unit useless.

  • I connected my TEC to a watercooling and got the temperature down to -36,9 *C (-34,42 fahrenheit), the element of the watercooling was about 19 Celsius.

  • I have a 140 Watt (at full load) CPU that I would like to cool with this. Since this device disipate about 100W, is it possible to stck 2 of the to get above the required 140 watts of dissipation? This would ofcourse be heat-sinked with a typical CPU sink and fan which would also have to be rated at around 200 watts of dissipation. My goal is to get a CPU running at below ambient temperature. (but not too much as I don’t want condensation forming.) Does this idea seem possible?

  • Can I really use it to chill something, like a cup of soda?
    Like this one http://www.thinkgeek.com/computing/accessories/96b3/ ?
    Thanks,

  • One of the cooler applications for using temperature delta to power something the Ecofan: http://www.caframo.com/hearth/hearth_products_woodstove_ecofanairplus802.php
    I’m tempted to make something like this over the winter but pipe to an external radiator.

  • I would have called it a Heat Pump as it isn’t just for cooling, can be used for heating (as you state in the description) :D

    • They are commonly referred to as TECs or peltiers. I’m just sticking with that convention.

  • Neat! If you use one of these, make sure you put a heat sink of some sort on the hot side… Peltier devices are pretty inefficient and most of the 60 watts this dissipates is waste heat. Water cooling or putting a fan on the heat sink is even better.
    The power generation aspect is also worth investigating. I believe that most if not all of the nuclear power sources used in satellites have (in simple terms) a hot isotope on one face and a heat sink facing deep space on the other.
    Since a particular face can be switched from heating to cooling by switching polarity you can connect one to an ‘H’ bridge and maintain a precise temperature on that face by toggling polarity to heat or cool as needed.

    • That’s interesting. I didn’t know satellites used nuclear power sources.

    • If I’m reading the specifications (and the linked guide) correctly, isn’t it dissipating more like 100W as heat, and also transferring about 60W worth of temperature from the “cold” side to the “hot” side?

      • This is what makes thermoelectric coolers so impractical for many cooling applications and why they’re typically coupled with a phase-change refrigeration system (which, despite its old-fashioned-ness is much more efficient) in high-performance CPU cooling.

      • The consumption is something around 107.8W. (15.4V x 7A) at peak of course…


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