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TEC Air conditioner: Suggestions please!

post #1 of 26
Thread Starter 
Hey guys, so I've given up cooling my computer by TEC, but recently I just found out that I will be working at my school this summer, living in an un-air conditioned dorm room so I am now wondering how feasible it would be to cool myself.


My basic goals are these:
1)Make a device (probably a wooden box since my craftsmanship skills are mediocre) that blows very cold air at me (or perhaps the intake to my computer--flexibility is nice) and has hoses running to a rad sandwiched in a window exhausting heat outside.
2)Keep budget to about $200 (though I am not sure how much a real TEC PSU costs)

My reasons are these:
1) Real air conditioners are not allowed in the dorm (due to electricity reasons) so I am going to make something that is not identifiable as an air conditioner to the casual observer, or something that I can pass off as being a necessary complement to my computer.
2)It's going to be bloody hot and I want something to make it less hot.

Equipment I have:
-180mm Rad and fans
-120mm Rad and fans
-Hoses
-A swiftech apogee drive pump II waterblock/pump though I kind of want to use something else as that may be broken
-Some 3/8" id 5/8" od comp fittings

I'm planning on buying mostly new stuff though


Basic design Idea:




Concerns:
-How much "cold" can a tower heatsink dissapate?
-(related to above) How big of a TEC would be necessary to get a decently cold breeze?
-What sort of mounting mechanism could you guys think of to sandwich a TEC between two copper plates, a heatsink and a waterblock?
-Will the liquid-filled heatpipes of a tower heatsink explode if subjected to subzero temperatures?
-Is there a single PSU that could run the necessary fans, pump AND the peltier itself? If so, what is it? If not, what do you suggest?

I really need to eat dinner now, so I'm gonna leave this here for now, but if anybody wants to help me think through this, I would love to hear your ideas.
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post #2 of 26
-How much "cold" can a tower heatsink dissapate?

Big top of the line air coolers usually sit in the 100-200W range depending a lot on the fans.

-(related to above) How big of a TEC would be necessary to get a decently cold breeze?

The bigger the better but honestly I'm doubtful that you will get much better room cooling then traditional air ventilation (open windows and a big table fan)

-What sort of mounting mechanism could you guys think of to sandwich a TEC between two copper plates, a heatsink and a waterblock?

Stick the TEC between them (with paste on both sides) and bolt the block and heat sink together. No special mount is needed as with sufficient pressure the TEC will stay inplace.

-Will the liquid-filled heatpipes of a tower heatsink explode if subjected to subzero temperatures?

Heatpipes are not fully filled with with liquid but rather have a small amount of substance that is always partially in gas from. Heatpipes have no issues working in sub ambient temps so no problems there.

-Is there a single PSU that could run the necessary fans, pump AND the peltier itself? If so, what is it? If not, what do you suggest?

Sure. The needed size will mostly depend on the TEC's wattage but if us use a moderete sized one say 100W then all you need is a is a supply with a bit more say 130W. Assuming a 20W water pump (leaving 10W for the fans). Think big laptop power brick.



The irony here is that a TEC based air cone would be much much less power efficient then a traditional compressor based unit so by building your own franken-con you are wasting more power for lees cooling rolleyes.gif
Edited by Bit_reaper - 5/22/13 at 12:37am
    
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post #3 of 26
Why not a volenti? superior in every way.
post #4 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bit_reaper View Post

-How much "cold" can a tower heatsink dissapate?

Big top of the line air coolers usually sit in the 100-200W range depending a lot on the fans.

-(related to above) How big of a TEC would be necessary to get a decently cold breeze?

The bigger the better but honestly I'm doubtful that you will get much better room cooling then traditional air ventilation (open windows and a big table fan)

-What sort of mounting mechanism could you guys think of to sandwich a TEC between two copper plates, a heatsink and a waterblock?

Stick the TEC between them (with paste on both sides) and bolt the block and heat sink together. No special mount is needed as with sufficient pressure the TEC will stay inplace.

-Will the liquid-filled heatpipes of a tower heatsink explode if subjected to subzero temperatures?

Heatpipes are not fully filled with with liquid but rather have a small amount of substance that is always partially in gas from. Heatpipes have no issues working in sub ambient temps so no problems there.

-Is there a single PSU that could run the necessary fans, pump AND the peltier itself? If so, what is it? If not, what do you suggest?

Sure. The needed size will mostly depend on the TEC's wattage but if us use a moderete sized one say 100W then all you need is a is a supply with a bit more say 130W. Assuming a 20W water pump (leaving 10W for the fans). Think big laptop power brick.



The irony here is that a TEC based air cone would be much much less power efficient then a traditional compressor based unit so by building your own franken-con you are wasting more power for lees cooling rolleyes.gif

Thanks for all the feedback. I more or less suspected all of that and yeah, I know the efficiency will be trash, but if I just buy an off-the-shelf unit I'll probably get kicked out of my housing. If I have some indistinguishable mess of wires and water tubing, I can probably pass it off as something totally different.

I guess it's a "for the kicks" project. Thanks again though thumb.gif

Quote:
Originally Posted by Noskcaj View Post

Why not a volenti? superior in every way.

Never heard of it. I'll have to look it up. Thanks for the pointer smile.gif
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post #5 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by alcal View Post

Hey guys, so I've given up cooling my computer by TEC, but recently I just found out that I will be working at my school this summer, living in an un-air conditioned dorm room so I am now wondering how feasible it would be to cool myself.


My basic goals are these:
1)Make a device (probably a wooden box since my craftsmanship skills are mediocre) that blows very cold air at me (or perhaps the intake to my computer--flexibility is nice) and has hoses running to a rad sandwiched in a window exhausting heat outside.
2)Keep budget to about $200 (though I am not sure how much a real TEC PSU costs)

My reasons are these:
1) Real air conditioners are not allowed in the dorm (due to electricity reasons) so I am going to make something that is not identifiable as an air conditioner to the casual observer, or something that I can pass off as being a necessary complement to my computer.
2)It's going to be bloody hot and I want something to make it less hot.

Equipment I have:
-180mm Rad and fans
-120mm Rad and fans
-Hoses
-A swiftech apogee drive pump II waterblock/pump though I kind of want to use something else as that may be broken
-Some 3/8" id 5/8" od comp fittings

I'm planning on buying mostly new stuff though


Basic design Idea:




Concerns:
-How much "cold" can a tower heatsink dissapate?
-(related to above) How big of a TEC would be necessary to get a decently cold breeze?
-What sort of mounting mechanism could you guys think of to sandwich a TEC between two copper plates, a heatsink and a waterblock?
-Will the liquid-filled heatpipes of a tower heatsink explode if subjected to subzero temperatures?
-Is there a single PSU that could run the necessary fans, pump AND the peltier itself? If so, what is it? If not, what do you suggest?

I really need to eat dinner now, so I'm gonna leave this here for now, but if anybody wants to help me think through this, I would love to hear your ideas.


It could work, but I wouldn't use a tower cooler. While the heatpipes may not explode like Bit_reaper said, heat pipes simply stop working once the fluid in them can no longer turn from liquid to gas.

I would use something like this http://www.frozencpu.com/products/19444/cpu-aka-19/Akasa_1U_Server_Passive_Intel_Copper_CPU_Cooler_AK-CC7111_Sockets_775_1155_1156.html

I would use a dual pass method, and have air flow through one of the passive heatsinks, then into another chamber, where it passes through the other heatsink, then use one 400watt TEC at 12volts, then use another 48watt dual stage TEC which has a dTmax of 90 degrees. The 400 watt TEC should pull any "heat" out of the air, and the dual stage TEC should bring the air to a decently low temp.

Why use such powerful TECs? Simple, air is very poor as a medium for heat transfer.

You COULD also use a fluid that can remain liquid at subzero temps, and use THAT on the cold side, then use radiators to cool the air. Cold liquid will cool the radiator, and the air flowing through it will be cooled. I would personally go that route, if it were my choice. I could imagine that would work much better.

TECs can be found here http://www.customthermoelectric.com/multistage.html
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post #6 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZytheEKS View Post

It could work, but I wouldn't use a tower cooler. While the heatpipes may not explode like Bit_reaper said, heat pipes simply stop working once the fluid in them can no longer turn from liquid to gas.

I would use something like this http://www.frozencpu.com/products/19444/cpu-aka-19/Akasa_1U_Server_Passive_Intel_Copper_CPU_Cooler_AK-CC7111_Sockets_775_1155_1156.html

I would use a dual pass method, and have air flow through one of the passive heatsinks, then into another chamber, where it passes through the other heatsink, then use one 400watt TEC at 12volts, then use another 48watt dual stage TEC which has a dTmax of 90 degrees. The 400 watt TEC should pull any "heat" out of the air, and the dual stage TEC should bring the air to a decently low temp.

Why use such powerful TECs? Simple, air is very poor as a medium for heat transfer.

You COULD also use a fluid that can remain liquid at subzero temps, and use THAT on the cold side, then use radiators to cool the air. Cold liquid will cool the radiator, and the air flowing through it will be cooled. I would personally go that route, if it were my choice. I could imagine that would work much better.

TECs can be found here http://www.customthermoelectric.com/multistage.html

Both of those ideas crossed my mind. I am trying to keep the project in the ballpark of $200 though so I am using 4x60w ish Qmax TEC's in series, cooled by heatsinks very similar to those.
I'm also going for more/weaker TEC's so that I can hook them all up to a single ATX PSU on individual molex lines and have them stay within amperage limits. This way I won't need to shell out for several MeanWell PSU's.

If anybody knows of a nice cheap 360mm aluminum radiator, that would be sweet though. I'm using some cheapo aluminum waterblocks off ebay and don't want to ruin a good copper 360rad. I'm contemplating that Antec 200mm aluminum rad but I'm not sure it can dissipate the 400w of heat it needs to handle.
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post #7 of 26
Quote:
Originally Posted by alcal View Post

Both of those ideas crossed my mind. I am trying to keep the project in the ballpark of $200 though so I am using 4x60w ish Qmax TEC's in series, cooled by heatsinks very similar to those.
I'm also going for more/weaker TEC's so that I can hook them all up to a single ATX PSU on individual molex lines and have them stay within amperage limits. This way I won't need to shell out for several MeanWell PSU's.

If anybody knows of a nice cheap 360mm aluminum radiator, that would be sweet though. I'm using some cheapo aluminum waterblocks off ebay and don't want to ruin a good copper 360rad. I'm contemplating that Antec 200mm aluminum rad but I'm not sure it can dissipate the 400w of heat it needs to handle.


Even a really cheap computer PSU, lets say a 500watt one, should be able to easily deliver the necessary power to your TECs. At 12volts all 4 of the TECs you said you plan to use combined have a total wattage draw of about 250watts.

Sources: Ultrasonic 2's TEC Calculator

I would really consider going with a dual loop, and use rads to pass the cold into the air. Then use a really slow flowrate in the "cold" loop, which will allow optimal heat transfer from the rads to the air.
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post #8 of 26
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by ZytheEKS View Post

Even a really cheap computer PSU, lets say a 500watt one, should be able to easily deliver the necessary power to your TECs. At 12volts all 4 of the TECs you said you plan to use combined have a total wattage draw of about 250watts.

Sources: Ultrasonic 2's TEC Calculator

I would really consider going with a dual loop, and use rads to pass the cold into the air. Then use a really slow flowrate in the "cold" loop, which will allow optimal heat transfer from the rads to the air.

I am using cheap aquarium pumps anyways so it might be possible. I guess I don't know what kind of fluid to use that conducts heat well and doesn't freeze though.
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post #9 of 26
Thread Starter 
OK, so if I were to go for 3 tecs that would be waterblocked on both sides and powered by an ATX psu, how would you suggest connecting them? I heard you can do it through molex but that limits you to 8A at 12v so that is a maximum power consumption of 96w per tec per molex. Is there some other relatively simple configuration you would recommend?
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post #10 of 26
Are you in a low humidity area? A small evaporative cooler might be something you could pull off. Way less juice.
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