Saturday, July 2, 2011

Airconditioning for the cheap

It's a hot summer and it's not getting colder running my pc all day long.
So i decided to do something about the heat inside my room:

Read more after the break!
At first I have to explain what a peltier-element does:
If you hook it up to a battery, one side will cool and the other site will get hot.

I placed the element in between two passive coolers one knows from your pc:




Its important not to use any metal pieces to hold the coolers together due to metal's heat conducting ability.
The following animation shows the construction of the whole system:



Now there's a schematic for you:


This is what it looks like when its closed:


I added an internal power supply and some tubes conducting away the cold and warm air.


 Its pretty power consuming, but see for yourself (operating voltage 18V):

Its totally worth it! Cold air into my room and hot air going outside! Due to pc fans not very noisy - summer heat defeated!




104 comments:

  1. I need to build me one of those, seriously. Hats off to you, my good sir.

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  2. thats a good effort, i should try to do it..

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  3. Poor mans air con :D Going to give it a try if I got some spare parts :]

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  4. That's awesome man :D now i can save some money off my $50 a month electric bill :P

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  5. haha i can't believe no ones thought of this. Nice!

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  6. What delta temp could you achieve with this?

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  7. This is absolutely amazing and so interesting

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  8. how much has this lowered your temperature

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  9. How much power exactly does it consume? 4kW?

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  10. Omg.. not 4kw... its 4.16A and 18V = 74 WATT.
    The Peltier elements are too ineffective.

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  11. lol the real conditioners consumes 2-4kW so I guess it's effective comparing to them

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  12. Lol, but the real conditioners coldup the entire room, i think this cant :)

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  13. how long can you leave that running. Looks like it would over heat pretty bad.

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  14. great idea, no doubt. i just wonder how well it works.

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  15. hi frnd.. good work..
    i hav made a dehumidifier myself using the peltier jn.
    i doubt how much efficient it would be..
    no other details about the condensate water, working hour cooling of the hot-side heat sink..??!!

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  16. Great post now that summers rolling around!

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  17. wow...i like that DIY cooling !

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  18. Oh my gosh, that is awesome!! You're really crafty! I'll definitely need to build this for my bedroom, it gets so freaking hot.

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  19. Have I ever told you I love your work? :D
    I really want to do this now... you should make your own little shop on eBay, I'd buy that :)

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  20. Wow that's cool! Does it work well? alphabetalife.blogspot.com

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  21. Great tutorial, you are very crafty, unlike myself ;_;

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  22. Brilliant blog! followed and +1

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  23. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  24. This is great i must try it at home.

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  25. This is freaking awesome.

    I might just build something like this for my pc :D

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  26. wow, awesome work, and i think i have everything i need arround the house!

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  27. Wow, creative and useful. Nice

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  28. I would rather do this than spend $300 on a real conditioner. haha

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  29. LOL this is pretty creative. I'll tro to make one when I have the time

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  30. Hehe, I'd be surprised if it wasn't power consuming. Thought i was in a german blog at first, then saw your schematic at the bottom.

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  31. omg that so smart, i love your skills!

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  32. With few adjustments this one might be very useful for cooling a small 3x4m room. Awesome idea man! Where can I find peltier plate like the one you showed us?

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  33. Anonymous you could get one from a newer used PC I made the whole thing and realised that my old PC did not have a peltier element xD

    new are quite expensive so make sure you got it before you start

    Also your power supply will produce a lot of heat so make sure it's not in the same room or hang it out the window like a badass

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  34. Ive made the same thing when I was 14 lol!

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  35. Awesome!! Great tutorial, mate.

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  36. Excellent little gadget great work with it :)

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  37. 2 extra fan doesnt mean less noise, just helps cooling.

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  40. But is it safe to use? It could cause a great danger if it fails and cause a fire.

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  41. Love the post, you make it sound so simple that I may dare to gather courage and do it. Thanks for putting this together and sharing it! AC Repair Boca Raton

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  42. I've seen some larger, rectangular Peltier elements. One thing you need to do with these is insulate around the edges of the Peltier. Water condensing on the cold side heat sink has to be kept out of the Peltier.

    A better arrangement would be a solid partition in the box with a hole the size of the Peltier. Make gaskets for both sides from closed cell foam sheet like craft foam. Put one heat sink on either side of the partition, with the Peltier clamped between. White heat sink grease or Arctic Silver will improve the performance a lot.

    For the hot side airflow, build a duct to direct airflow across the heat sink and use an exhaust fan to pull air through and blow it out the window. You want the exhaust no smaller than the inlet, preferably larger than the inlet because air expands as it's warmed. More airflow on the hot side improves the efficiency.

    For the cold side the inlet and outlet can be the same size or just have the fan blowing on it - as long as you have it mounted so all the air from the fan blows across the heat sink.

    I've "hotted up" several Peltier mini fridges. They're usually pretty poorly made with the heat sinks having poor contact with the Peltier. A common type has an aluminum tub as the cold sink. That's so thin the four screws holding the cooling parts together warps the tub. I use a dolly (a smooth chunk of steel used in auto body repair) and body hammer to carefully flatten that area.

    Next step is to make a reinforcement plate of thicker aluminum to go on the inside of the tub so it'll be held flat against the Peltier. I use a glass bead blaster on that plate to increase its surface area then it gets heat sink grease between it and the tub.

    The surface of the hot side sink against the Peltier is often very rough. I either file it or smooth it with my milling machine, depending on how bad it is. The rest of it gets bead blasted.

    I haven't done tests to see how much effect the bead blasting does, but more surface area on a heat sink or radiator generally equals better performance. I bead blast computer CPU heat sinks too. A shiny surface is terrible for heat radiation but ideal for conduction against the Peltier with *just enough* heat sink compound to fill in the tiny gaps. Too much of the goo will drastically cut heat conduction.

    I don't sand blast them because that makes the surface too rough to where dust and fuzz would stick better. Glass bead blasting gives a "smoothly roughened" surface that dust will move across easier.

    Re-assembly is done with heat sink grease on both sides of the Peltier. I'll also usually replace the crappy, noisy radial fan and brushed motor with a brushless fan from a dead ATX power supply.

    The typical result is going from a mini fridge that'll barely keep a 6-pack cool to one that'll keep a box of ice cream cold enough to keep it from melting during a 75 mile drive. Now *that* is cool-n-quiet!

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  43. Great post and pics. As I'm getting older I'm really starting to appreciate air conditioning a lot more than I used to. As solar panel prices are going down it's feasible that you could actually have a off grid AC unit, cool stuff. I live in the Bucktown - Wicker Park area in Chicago where it get's extremely hot in June and July and the past few years we've been getting more and more power outages. This would be an excellent product for when there are power outages like that.
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  44. I am cranking up my tools now. Love DIY cooling.

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  49. I am working on facebook apps with supper computer ... please make one for me to lower its temprature...

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  50. No wonder why people don't really care about the temperature anymore. All the new devices have become heat proof now.

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  52. nice gadget i'll try to build one too.

    how effizient does it work and how cool is the leafing air.
    Could you tell wich kind of peltier you used (size, voltage ...)

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