About: Happily married, self employed, full wood shop, some metal work as well as electronics, antique collector.

Introducing the Chillanator, it uses a Peltier chip I purchased from deal extreme.
If you have ever set watching TV or reading and looked over to see your drink is all "warm'" well no more with Chillanator.
The total cost of this project was about 10.00 dollars US.

The Peltier chip was 7.00
The fan was one dollar and the LEDs just a few

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Step 1: Order the Stuff

Unless you want to pay out the nose I suggest you shop around, I have seen people say they have spent as much as 30.00 bucks for one.

I chose to make my own heat sink from scrap copper and brass.

If you are astute you may have noticed the Peltier mounted to 1/2 inch copper, this is not required or important, a friend offered a chunk and go thought I'd give it a try.

I plan to make a new instructable using two chips and will discuss heat removal then.
The fan was from electronic gold mine it's a 12 v squirrel cage design, I think this is far more efficient than a muffin fan because it blows air at a higher rate of flow

Step 2: Build a Box

I chose some left over Ash plywood, it seemed the easiest to lay out the base plate first, 1/2 inch birch ply was my choice, I suggest what you have in the scrap bin is probably the best choice.
To make the leg cut outs I screwed the two sides to a scrap of ply wood and drilled a hole using the center seam as a guide

Step 3: Some Time Savers

When I was building the box I set some spare prices of wood under the floor plate this helped me determine the correct vent height as well as the best place to locate the switch, and on light.
Since I discovered an old switch that required more than a round hole I hung the box over a clamped piece of ply wood this prevents tearout and allows you to put pressure on the bit with out breaking the box.
I recommend building your box a little larger than you think is required because stuff almost never fit to perfection

Step 4: Make a Logo

I just bought an engraver so I thought a cool logo would be nice, I got the idea from Edge lit acrylic sign from this site.
Sorry I can't post a link I'm working on an I Pad.
Just do a search here and the process is explained quite well, to cut costs I ripped a salvaged overhead fan blade made of clear plastic, if you decide to have a trophy shop cut your design don't polish the edges until it's been lettered, smooth edges slip out of the engraver.

Step 5: The Power Supply

Peltier chips are power hogs, I am using a 12 volt 8 amp video monitor transformer and it's warm after an hour, not hot but warm, I was going to list the power requirements but when I went to measure the current through the Peltier chip it pegged my swing meter.
Judging by the temperature of the transformer it's safe to assume it's pulling near capacity of it.

Step 6: Final Thoughts

This is a fun project, when you first connect voltage to a Peltier it seem like the potential is great, but getting the heat away and figuring out how to use it effectively is more of a challenge than you would think.
I strongly suggest buying several chips at one time, this reduces the fear of "breaking" your only one, plus after you experiment with your first one you'll want to use your new found knowledge to make a better project.
I used JB Weld to secure the chip to the heat sinks, some brass powder was mixed in to help conductivity.

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    32 Discussions


    2 years ago

    Hey I tried to set this up, but I can't get the cooler to effectively transfer the cold from the pelteir element to the drink. Any advice?

    2 replies

    Reply 2 years ago

    try using heat transfer compound the type used on microprocessors.

    A second option is to use JB weld pressed between the chip and your base with very firm clamping pressure until it sets.

    Also make sure your voltage and current are sufficient Peltier chips are real power pigs and will draw down a small power supply.


    Reply 2 years ago

    The element gets cool and stays cold. I have a heat sink and fan in the hit side and around 6 amps of power flowing into it. I just can't get the drink to cool down! the element even gets condensation on it! Any advice?


    5 years ago

    Can you post specific size for the box layout


    5 years ago on Step 6

    you can even stack Peltier coolers for a slight coldness improvement, (assuming you have the ability to deal with the increased hotside waste heat!)

    3 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    I reckon you'd have to increase the number of coolers exponentially with each layer if you stack them. All that waste heat from the first cooler has to be "pumped" away, so it might take something like 8 coolers (in parallel) for the second stage to keep up with the first stage. (Unless I'm overlooking something or just deeply confused, again.) If so, efficiency is not only out the window, but halfway to Mars. However, doubling the temperature drop should help chill drinks faster, and keep them cooler when the ambient temperature is high.

    You hit the nail on the head. Peltier chips were used for a short time to cool over clocked micro processors, fell out of favor rather quickly
    One reason may have been that when they get to hot, ( as in a stacked configuration or over clocked MP.) they simply quit working, I have not read the technical data on them, but from casual observation they do seem to lock up when saturated with high temps.
    Consider the power consumption of 9 chips all at once, 8 cooling 1 at about 3.5 amps each 12vdc


    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Without the inherent space limitations in a professionally engineered device needing to be as tiny as possible, it is better to arrange peltiers in parallel (thermally regardless of how they are wired) across a hot plate rather than stacked in series.

    This reduces the maximum temperature they reach besides also doubling the thermal junction area to the heatsink which lowers temperature further.


    5 years ago

    Most of these issues were addressed in my steam punk version, you may be pleased to see the processor cooling fins from a commercial Dell computer.
    Between the two projects I ordered an infrared thermometer with that it was a no brainer to find the points of in efficiency,
    If they were not such power pigs is build a drink cooler with 4 of them, but I have no desire to burn the bearings out of my electric use meter when a few ice cubes would do it better at nearly no cost.


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Looks cool, though your heat sink suffers from a few significant limitations:
    -brass is a poor choice for thermal conductivity. Aluminum has twice the conductivity and copper is far better if soldering is required. Aluminum heatsinks are pretty easy to find as scrap from old PCs, etc.
    -the base with fins should be placed as close to the Peltier device as possible. It'll work much better if you flip that heatsink upside down.
    -steel is even poorer than brass for thermal conductivity. Consider replacing that 'tin' can with aluminum or copper treated to keep from oxidizing.
    -putting a layer of insulating material between the hot side and the cold side of the assembly will help prevent thermal leakage between the two sides through the air. A thin sheet of foam with a cutout for the Peltier device would be effective. You have to watch out for condensation collecting there, though - it could short out the device eventually.

    4 replies

    Reply 5 years ago on Introduction

    Back in 1975 I actually got an associates degree in commercial refrigeration, steel was the most common choice for high side condenser coils.
    Evaporators were almost always made of aluminum, I'm sure cost was a major factor in manufacturing choices.
    In my next project the steam punk chiller both of these problems are addressed.
    After doing 3 of these projects 2 here, I would offer to any trying to use a Peltier that insulation and cold side materials are the primary areas that need special care. As starphire has pointed out.
    My apologies for not being more diligent in my explanations it is a major failing of mine.

    It isn't as much of a problem in thin tubing because it doesn't have that far to travel. Most refrigerator condenser coils are still steel. In a heatsink, the heat has to travel lengthwise through the fins, so thermal conductivity becomes more of an issue. That big block of copper is doing most of the work. Copper is the best because it has high heat conductivity and specific heat.

    I have been thinking about the use of steel in condenser coils, (unrelated to this project) I think the reasoning is that the black painted steel gives up infrared energy quickly, this should not be confused with thermal conductivity although somewhat related.

    Without fins the copper block will get hot in about 5 minutes, the chip is really removing very little heat , and generating a great deal of waste heat.
    I think I said on th steampunk chiller that heat removal is the lesser concern and getting the cold area well insulated is a bigger problem.

    Yeah, the black body radiation and whatnot. Black objects absorb heat more readily, but theoretically they also give off heat more easily. Every calorimeter I've seen was painted black or black anodized aluminum.


    5 years ago on Step 4

    "Sorry I can't post a link I'm working on an I Pad."
    Which is way that particular device does not sit on my desk. xD


    5 years ago on Introduction

    Hi Longwinters

    I am deeply impressed!!!
    Great idea!!!

    greetings from Germany
    Yours Aeon Junophor