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Home Brew Forums > Home Brewing Beer > DIY Projects > Fermenters > DIY Thermoelectric Temperature Control
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Old 04-16-2007, 05:12 AM   #1
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Default DIY Thermoelectric Temperature Control

Dude and I have been talking about this for a while. I finally got around to giving it a try. Part of this was sparked by some of Dude's suggestions, and part of it was from a brainstorm I had when I caught a glance inside one of those travel coolers that runs on car cigarette lighter power. It turns out that they're nothing more than Peltier coolers, and they contain many of the parts required to adapt the same principle to a fermenter. Here are some pictures and further explanation:

Here you can see some of the inner workings. I sandwiched a second 40mm/113W Peltier device (eBay) between a 1/2" aluminum plate and the guts of the travel cooler. The devices work as heat pumps if you stack them on top of each other (with sufficient power and heat sink capability). The threaded aluminum bar is intended to extend inside the keg (like an aquarium cooler) and seals with an o-ring.


Here's another view with the threaded piece attached. You can see how one of the Peltier devices is sandwiched between the aluminum pieces. The other one is insulated with a foam square from the travel cooler.


Here's what it looks like inside the keg:


Here's a picture of my first test run. It's plugged into a 12VDC/6A power supply. The keg is a 7 gallon corny I welded up today. I'm monitoring the temperature with the digital thermometer on top. It'll probably be a few hours before I notice any temperature changes.

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Old 04-16-2007, 06:01 AM   #2
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Sweet!!!!!!!

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Old 04-16-2007, 05:54 PM   #4
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Yuri looks great, do you have any pictures of the components?

Also do you have any results yet?

I think I remember that if you reverse the current these will heat right? so can this be setup to heat and cool?

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Old 04-16-2007, 06:13 PM   #5
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I'll take some more pictures the next time I dismantle the system.

Results so far are rather inconclusive. I think I need to insulate the keg - it only maintains a degree or two below room temperature. I'll get it sorted out and post more when I have the info.

You're correct, Todd - if you reverse the polarity, the unit will begin heating. My wiring is very simple so far, but I could include a polarity switching circuit if that becomes desirable.

I should take a picture of the power supply also - it's DIY as well (and somewhat laughable the way it looks at the moment). Just a 120V/12V@6A transformer, a big bridge rectifier, and a smoothing capacitor.

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Old 04-16-2007, 07:29 PM   #6
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OK, so I googled "Peltier Device" and found this gem:

http://raremonoshop.com/catalog/prod...id=34&osCsid=6

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Old 04-16-2007, 07:29 PM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Yuri_Rage
I'll take some more pictures the next time I dismantle the system.

Results so far are rather inconclusive. I think I need to insulate the keg - it only maintains a degree or two below room temperature. I'll get it sorted out and post more when I have the info.

You're correct, Todd - if you reverse the polarity, the unit will begin heating. My wiring is very simple so far, but I could include a polarity switching circuit if that becomes desirable.

I should take a picture of the power supply also - it's DIY as well (and somewhat laughable the way it looks at the moment). Just a 120V/12V@6A transformer, a big bridge rectifier, and a smoothing capacitor.

I'd like more details as you go. I've looked at this some but not sure I really follow it that well.
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Old 04-18-2007, 10:38 PM   #8
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Man... I can see some killer applications here. If insulated I wonder what the temperature change range would be. In a 100 degree garage could it keep a well insulated keg, or conical fermenter, at 65 degrees? or the flipside... reverse the polarity and keep it at 65 degrees when it's 35 degrees in the garage? If insulated properly you wouldn't have to rip apart a clunky BIG chest freezer to lager. You could do it on a shelf in the garage!!! Maybe use 2 of these units at the same time? Man, my beer closet only holds 4 carboys empty and 2 carboys now with 6 cases of beer... If I could ferment in the garage I could use that closet for a storage closet instead of an everything closet. It would DOUBLE my beer bottle/keg conditioning room!!!

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Old 04-19-2007, 12:48 AM   #9
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So far the results are less than optimal - I don't think my heat sink is big enough to handle the power from the beefed up Peltier device(s). I've got a few BIG heat sinks in the mail that I think will make all the difference. More to come as I tweak this project.

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Old 04-19-2007, 01:08 AM   #10
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I used to use Pelts to cool my CPU chips when I was way into computer tweaking. You need a very large heat sink, and a big fan in order to disipate the heat effectively. Using a copper heat sink and water cooling I was able to keep my CPU around freezing by using one, and a CPU puts out a tremendous amount of heat. Should not be all that hard when your only dealing with room temps, and cooling.

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