Introduction: My Diy Peltier Cooler! - DECOMMISSIONED

I always wanted a means to keep groceries cool enough in my car without having to rush home to my refrigerator. I decided to use an old Peltier heat exchanger I made a few years ago.

I sandwiched the Peltier between two aluminum heat sinks. The bigger one being the hot side. I used plain off the shelf steel epoxy to stick the heatsinks onto the Peltier and it has held firm for a few years plus the heat transfer capability is great!

Step 1: Modding a Cooler.

Using a cheap 24 quart cooler, I went about modifying it to fit the heatsinks.

Step 2: Making an Opening.

I used the cold heatsink to mark the lid of the cooler. Next I cut a rectangular opening to be able to slot the heatsink in.

Step 3: Securing the Peltier Assembly Onto the Lid.

I used a long bolt and nuts to clamp the cold heatsink and thereby hold the entire assembly onto the lid.

Step 4: Installing a Recirculation Fan.

Using a spare blower fan, I secured it to the underside of the cold heatsink fins. This will keep the cold air in circulation over the groceries.

Step 5: Temperature Measurement.

I had a spare digital thermometer that I siliconed onto the lid. Its sensor I stuck on the underside of the lid. Now I can easily tell the inner and outer temperatures to gauge the performance of my chiller.

Step 6: Getting Power to the Chiller.

For 12 volt power I used the standard car socket plug to give me the 5 Amps my setup requires. The power chord to the chiller I secured to the lid.

The power chord is split into 2 parts so I can power it from a wall adapter or the car 12 volt supply.

I actually used a 5 volt adapter to keep cold food chilled if I'm powering it from household voltage. At 8 watts I can safely keep cold foods cold! Once already cold food is in the cooler, that 5 volt adapter will be sufficient to maintain the coolness. Peltier devices are actually more efficient when powered from low voltages but they won't move as much heat.

Step 7: Testing and Completion!

My low cost diy Peltier chiller cooler works as per my expectations. I'm happy with the 2 hours involved in Making this neat little chiller.

I will keep it in my car so anytime I get groceries or medication, I don't have to worry about it getting warm!

I hope this instructable has been interesting to you folks.

Update: 4 hours later.
The steel epoxy gave out after 3 years of holding the setup together.

Step 8: RECOMMISSIONED!

After the failure of the expoxy with the first Peltier, I used another one I had in storage. I secured it with cable ties to the lid and it works well enough but not as good as the original heat exchanger. The plus side is it uses half the power as the original.

Step 9: Revamp!

I have since upgraded the cooler with this updated instructable:

https://www.instructables.com/id/Making-a-Beefy-Peltier-Cooler/

Check it out!

Comments

author
zakariaa21 (author)2016-09-19

yes nice idea

author
franks188 (author)zakariaa212017-01-23

it´s very nice

author
rockhammer53 (author)2016-03-12

These peltier devices have been around since the 80's, Igloo and others have been producing commercial units for over a decade. The downside..these are CURRENT HOGS. We abandoned these in the medical electronics field years age for that fact, regular refrigeration systems are more economical. and efficient....they are fun to play with however. OLD technology BTW.

author

I totally agree!

author
sea.king.1069 (author)2016-03-12

you've overthunk yourself. buy a couple of blue freezer packs, freeze them hard and pop them in the cooler on your way to the store. your food will stay nice and chilled with no issues and no PIA McGivering things about.

author
ByronM (author)2016-03-06

Air to goodies heat transfer is usually very bad. If water is the heat transfer mechanism it works much better. Have tried to cool cans from ambient temperature and it's almost impossible. Some water can help for sure .

author
david.roseman (author)ByronM2016-03-07

So then how do refrigerators work? They don't use water to move the cooling medium around, they use air and fans.

author

correct but compressor type refrigeration systems have a far higher EER than bogus peltiers.

author
Mjtrinihobby (author)ByronM2016-03-06

I fully agree, I did a water diy chiller with Peltier that worked fairly well.

author
nealalan (author)2016-03-07

Any experimentation with using this with a solar panel? Any thoughts from EE's out there, how this would do at the beach on a 90F day, in the shade with a solar panel in the sun?

author
Mjtrinihobby (author)nealalan2016-03-07

A 100W panel would be the minimum rating needed and to me that size is just too large to walk around with. Nevertheless it would work but to me it is not practical. If one of those true compressor type 12V portable freezers were used then that would be an extremely good solar cooling combination. Problem is those types are damn expensive (at least 350USD)..so expensive it may get stolen if left unattended on the beach.

author
andrewty (author)2016-03-07

Farnell sell a 30W Peltier for £21.50 plus V.A.T.

That's 86p/W

author
Mjtrinihobby (author)andrewty2016-03-07

that is way too expensive. I pay 2.35USD for 60Watt modules.

author
Quester-59 (author)2016-03-06

Great Idea, Too bad Igloo beat you to the Patton Office.

However, A Better Idea or improvement could net you millions.

author
Mjtrinihobby (author)Quester-592016-03-07

I got some other projects I wanna patent. Lol.

author
Quester-59 (author)2016-03-06

By the way, Adding Silicon For your gaskets & Spacers will help prevent any plastic from melting.

author
Mjtrinihobby (author)Quester-592016-03-07

So true.

author
onesimpleidea (author)2016-03-06

@Mjtrinihobby Nice project. When you got to the testing phase, I was hoping to see some information about your results, photos of comparative temperature readings, etc. Didn't see any of that. Can you add some in comments?

author

I got 10 Celsius below ambient with the original Peltier but the replacement is not as good. I want to remake it with heatpipe heatsink to be a little more efficient.

author
mchazlitt (author)2016-03-06

Maybe another small fan inside for circulation, since you have reduced the power consumption.

author
Mjtrinihobby (author)mchazlitt2016-03-06

Good idea.

author
BurgersBytes (author)2016-03-06

Since both heat sinks are larger than the Peltier, why not just bolt them together?

Also use heat sink compound on both sides to transfer the heat better!

author
joelparks (author)BurgersBytes2016-03-06

one side is hot and the other side is cold. So you wouldn't want to use anything that conducts heat. Sure, there are plastic bolts out there, some folks may even have some left over from a replacement toilet seat. But it's still a thermal path that would reduce efficiency somewhat

author
Mjtrinihobby (author)joelparks2016-03-06

Correct!

author
AviationMetalSmith (author)2016-03-06

You should try doing this with a hot-melt glue gun, instead of silicone caulk, or screws, or whatever...

author

Hot glue won't Hold.

author
hippiechk (author)2016-03-06

What are you getting for chilling power? As in, how many degrees below ambient? Can this hold the 4°C internal temp safe for dairy storage for a few hours? Nice idea!!

author
Mjtrinihobby (author)hippiechk2016-03-06

Thank but this definitely cannot be used for diary. Far too inefficient.

author
RobTurrentine (author)2016-03-06

My only problem is that I have a Subaru Outback and the power is off when the car isn't running. Otherwise, cool (HAHA) idea.

author

Same with my car.

author
DonG36 (author)RobTurrentine2016-03-06

Guess the easiest thing would be to buy a different car hehehehe.

author
billbillt (author)RobTurrentine2016-03-06

This would be an easy fix... Run two wires from the battery to a lighter socket plug...

author
boostme (author)2016-03-06

Where, how did you obtain the Peltier?

author
TimothyJ999 (author)boostme2016-03-06

Really? Sigh--ok.

Ebay has 12V, 60 watt Peltier coolers for about $2. Amazon has them too. So does Banggood. So do Tetech, Sparkfun, Adafruit, Marlow, and Z-max.

author
ACM2 (author)TimothyJ9992016-03-06

The Ultimate question, what is Peltier???

author
pnosko (author)ACM22016-03-06

A prerequisite question would be "what is Google." ;)

author
Sam Grove (author)ACM22016-03-06

A Peltier (pel-tee-ay) device, when a current is passed through it, will transfer thermal energy from one side to the other. It is used in solid state cooling devices.

author
Mjtrinihobby (author)TimothyJ9992016-03-06

Great reply!

author
bobstuart (author)2016-03-06

I've got two peltier junctions. They are still neatly installed in the 12v cooler/heater units they were sold in, and then re-sold to me for $5 & $10 at garage sales.

author
ironsmiter (author)2016-02-15

NM, My guess WAS between 12.6 and 13.2.

Then I went back and looked at your last picture.

Might want to get your alternator checked!

But of course, it is NOW running at zero volts, since it has been decomissioned.

author
Mjtrinihobby (author)ironsmiter2016-02-15

All the pics were taken when the cooler was powered from my bench power supply. It failed in the car. What a heart breaker.

author
ThomasK19 (author)Mjtrinihobby2016-02-16

Why did it fail? Your car battery should provide enough wattage at 12.8V. And this does not look like it's very sensitive to voltage variations.

author
Mjtrinihobby (author)ThomasK192016-02-16

It was mechanical failure...the steel epoxy just came apart! Arghhh! I have a spare Peltier heat exchanger that I used to restore usage this morning. I will update this instructable and of course delete these comments about this annoying failure.

author
JesusG33k (author)2016-02-14

The peltier is running at 12V right?

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Bio: As of April 2017 I have decided to no longer post on instructables. The fact that several of my published works have been removed without ... More »
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