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post #21 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Master Chicken View Post

I am working on what I would call a TEC Driver. I've included an image of the power board below. Along the lower edge you can see the header to connect the regulator board. To the lower left, you can see the PWM fan header input and some test points which would allow a third board to be snapped in place for USB connectivity and monitoring.

The board is designed to take in up to 3 PCIe 8-pin connectors for a total input of 864 watts (3 x 3 x 8 x 12). The output is limited to 36 volts max, 60 amps max, or 850 watts. The inductor is the primary limiting factor.

The control input is a PWM fan header. The board pretends to be a PWM fan basically. The Speed output pin on the fan header gives the output current being supplied. For example, if your monitor says the fan is spinning at 3275 rpm you are driving 32.75 amps on the output. You set your Umax on the regulator board and you control where you are on Umax with the PWM percentage. For example, if your Umax is 24v and you send a 50% PWM signal, the board outputs 12v and reports back what amperage is flowing at that voltage. So the board is designed to deliver a DC output ... not a switched DC like you have on these motor controllers. At full load, it will probably have about 35mV of ripple.

So basically, your control loop has to live elsewhere ... motherboard BIOS, Aquaero, or other custom controller. I may put a PID loop in the USB interface board at some point, but that's not in my initial goals.

The point of this driver is that it's designed to take power from your existing supply and transform it into what you need to drive your TEC without having to add another supply or take up too much space. The power board is 4.5" x 3.0" inches currently and includes a 70mm 12VDC fan for forced air cooling. The board may have to grow if I can't dissipate the heat in this size.

I'm still laying out the Regulator board but the schematic is done. I'm probably 80% complete on the layout. The Power board is ready to be cut. I still need to find someone to laser cut or waterjet the heavy bus connections (in aqua on the image).


The tiny controller Liam found seems like an awesome piece for the price, but your driver is super appealing to me. I have converted server PSUs into dedicated 900+w 75A 12v PSUs and you can get them for very cheap, $25-$30, and they supply clean power rated for 24/7 use. They run a bit loud due to the temp controlled blower, but just by placing an 80mm fan at one end it eliminates most of that noise.

I think one of those along with your driver and a controller that supports temp and humidity sensors the would be damn near the holy grail of TEC setups. I do not think an Aquaero can support humidity though, so maybe an Arduino setup with a small bay cover display?

Ideally I would love a setup where I can control my TECs Voltage from lets say 8-24v, direct duty cycle from 1-100%, set a PWM controlled Temperature target using a set voltage, and a dynamic humidity sensing system that will adjust target temp to 1c over current dew pt in real time. As of now my lightly modded Arqtik controller can do humidity monitoring and temp target, but no direct DC control and I can't set under a 0c target. I have ran it at 14v though, but no higher then that since it is made for 12v.

**edit** reading how your driver works, unless I am mistaken it seems you don't really need both the direct PWM duty cycle control AND voltage control separately since your proposed design adjusts voltage on the fly up to a user specified vMax?
Edited by Puck - 6/23/16 at 2:23pm
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post #22 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by toolmaker03 View Post

well for the hot side water loop I am using Prestone antifreeze the green stuff.

but for the cold side I am using Prestone Dex cool antifreeze, I did some testing of three different types of antifreeze to fine one that did not thicken up as it gets colder and the Dex cool has a anticongelante in it that prevents it from gelling as it gets to below freezing temperatures




I would love to see the information from those tests you did plotted out in a nice graph smile.gif

We get those coolant questions ALL THE TIME and it would be awesome to see an actual collection of tested data that shows different concentrates of coolant mixes and their observed consistency at various temps instead of just guessing what ratio to mix like I did on my chiller setup.
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post #23 of 46
master chicken what program are you using to develop these boards in?
the only program I have any experience in is lab view, it is a electronics development program, but it's base is all wiring on breadboards. so, not really as advanced as this, but makes it easy for me to make electronics with these types of substrates.
https://www.amazon.com/uxcell%C2%AE-25Pcs-Double-Protoboard-Prototyping/dp/B00NQ37V0K/ref=pd_sim_147_76?ie=UTF8&dpID=51e%2BqBvrrNL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR160%2C160_&refRID=CDK15WBV8YJ25X2VR9M1
these probably are not strong enough for the driver that you have created.
so, with that stated, what kind of board are you going to use for this driver?
Edited by toolmaker03 - 6/23/16 at 2:32pm
post #24 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Puck View Post

I would love to see the information from those tests you did plotted out in a nice graph smile.gif

We get those coolant questions ALL THE TIME and it would be awesome to see an actual collection of tested data that shows different concentrates of coolant mixes and their observed consistency at various temps instead of just guessing what ratio to mix like I did on my chiller setup.

I would like to do that, as I did wright it all down, but I really don't understand how to convert that information into a understandable chart. to be honest, I don't even know where to start on how to make a chart for this information, I am great a figuring out different types of testing methods, but I am not so great with the logistics, or the paper work after words.
post #25 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by toolmaker03 View Post

master chicken what program are you using to develop these boards in?
the only program I have any experience in is lab view, it is a electronics development program, but it's base is all wiring on breadboards. so, not really as advanced as this, but makes it easy for me to make electronics with these types of substrates.
https://www.amazon.com/uxcell%C2%AE-25Pcs-Double-Protoboard-Prototyping/dp/B00NQ37V0K/ref=pd_sim_147_76?ie=UTF8&dpID=51e%2BqBvrrNL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR160%2C160_&refRID=CDK15WBV8YJ25X2VR9M1
these probably are not strong enough for the driver that you have created.
so, with that stated, what kind of board are you going to use for this driver?

Not sure what he is using, but I took some classes maybe 5-6 years ago that used MultiSim for virtual prototyping and it was fairly robust (if not quirky) piece of software.
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RAMHard DriveCoolingCooling
2X4GB Patriot Viper Extreme 1TB Velociraptor 10k RPM w/ 64MB Cache Two Arqtik TEC Chillers in Series Archimedes TEC block w/TN660 TEC 
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Behemoth
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RAMHard DriveCoolingCooling
2X4GB Patriot Viper Extreme 1TB Velociraptor 10k RPM w/ 64MB Cache Two Arqtik TEC Chillers in Series Archimedes TEC block w/TN660 TEC 
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post #26 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Puck View Post

Not sure what he is using, but I took some classes maybe 5-6 years ago that used MultiSim for virtual prototyping and it was fairly robust (if not quirky) piece of software.

I have used MultiSim as well, but I am not as well versed in that program as I am with lab view, but both of these programs are very similar.
post #27 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by toolmaker03 View Post

master chicken what program are you using to develop these boards in?
the only program I have any experience in is lab view, it is a electronics development program, but it's base is all wiring on breadboards. so, not really as advanced as this, but makes it easy for me to make electronics with these types of substrates.
https://www.amazon.com/uxcell%C2%AE-25Pcs-Double-Protoboard-Prototyping/dp/B00NQ37V0K/ref=pd_sim_147_76?ie=UTF8&dpID=51e%2BqBvrrNL&dpSrc=sims&preST=_AC_UL160_SR160%2C160_&refRID=CDK15WBV8YJ25X2VR9M1
these probably are not strong enough for the driver that you have created.
so, with that stated, what kind of board are you going to use for this driver?

I do the schematics in the free ExpressPCB tool but do the layout in Copper Connection. I used to use PADSpcb but the annual maintenance got to be too much for just doing occasional boards. I should probably bite the bullet and move to Eagle CAD but it's hard at first if you have a bunch of custom footprints and schematic symbols in other tools. I SO hate doing footprints.

I will spit out the Gerber files in Copper Connection and send them off to be built by a board house in 5oz, double sided, 62mil, FR-4 material ... probably TG180 due to the heat generated.
post #28 of 46
Quote:
Originally Posted by Puck View Post

I think one of those along with your driver and a controller that supports temp and humidity sensors the would be damn near the holy grail of TEC setups. I do not think an Aquaero can support humidity though, so maybe an Arduino setup with a small bay cover display?

Ideally I would love a setup where I can control my TECs Voltage from lets say 8-24v, direct duty cycle from 1-100%, set a PWM controlled Temperature target using a set voltage, and a dynamic humidity sensing system that will adjust target temp to 1c over current dew pt in real time. As of now my lightly modded Arqtik controller can do humidity monitoring and temp target, but no direct DC control and I can't set under a 0c target. I have ran it at 14v though, but no higher then that since it is made for 12v.

**edit** reading how your driver works, unless I am mistaken it seems you don't really need both the direct PWM duty cycle control AND voltage control separately since your proposed design adjusts voltage on the fly up to a user specified vMax?

If I did a small control add-on I would probably use the SiLabs USBee coupled with the TI HDC100 temp and humidity sensor.

I'm just very familiar with the SiLabs 8051 based stuff (originally Cygnal) and have a lot of existing code I could pull from.

Yes, you are correct. You set the Umax on the regulator and feed it a PWM signal on the fan header and it makes the voltage you're looking for by moving between Buck, Buck-Boost, and Boost DC-DC converter modes as the PWM percentage moves. It monitors input voltage, input current, output voltage (obviously) and output current and will fold back if any of these get out of line.

Of course, if you set a Umax to something like 6v, it never leaves the Buck mode.
Edited by Master Chicken - 6/23/16 at 3:18pm
post #29 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Master Chicken View Post

I am working on what I would call a TEC Driver. I've included an image of the power board below. Along the lower edge you can see the header to connect the regulator board. To the lower left, you can see the PWM fan header input and some test points which would allow a third board to be snapped in place for USB connectivity and monitoring.

The board is designed to take in up to 3 PCIe 8-pin connectors for a total input of 864 watts (3 x 3 x 8 x 12). The output is limited to 36 volts max, 60 amps max, or 850 watts. The inductor is the primary limiting factor.

The control input is a PWM fan header. The board pretends to be a PWM fan basically. The Speed output pin on the fan header gives the output current being supplied. For example, if your monitor says the fan is spinning at 3275 rpm you are driving 32.75 amps on the output. You set your Umax on the regulator board and you control where you are on Umax with the PWM percentage. For example, if your Umax is 24v and you send a 50% PWM signal, the board outputs 12v and reports back what amperage is flowing at that voltage. So the board is designed to deliver a DC output ... not a switched DC like you have on these motor controllers. At full load, it will probably have about 35mV of ripple.

So basically, your control loop has to live elsewhere ... motherboard BIOS, Aquaero, or other custom controller. I may put a PID loop in the USB interface board at some point, but that's not in my initial goals.

The point of this driver is that it's designed to take power from your existing supply and transform it into what you need to drive your TEC without having to add another supply or take up too much space. The power board is 4.5" x 3.0" inches currently and includes a 70mm 12VDC fan for forced air cooling. The board may have to grow if I can't dissipate the heat in this size.

I'm still laying out the Regulator board but the schematic is done. I'm probably 80% complete on the layout. The Power board is ready to be cut. I still need to find someone to laser cut or waterjet the heavy bus connections (in aqua on the image).




Ah... steady DC output, I suppose that explains the inductor, Its definately preferable for TEC's I've seen an application note that actually goes into the efficiency loss if you try and do pulsed DC on the TECs even for the same output. I've seen another thread where you go through the design. its nice. I'd be happy to buy a few if you ever do a batch. My current thinking is that If I can do everything with a few algorithms and the GPIO or serial usb on a rasbperry pi it will work pretty good. I'm a little biased in favor of the Pi because its basically a full blown computer and can support easier programming environments and has more overhead to manage process control of multiple things including datalogging/graphing and better error handling vs an arduino. Aquacomputer as has been mentioned has a very nice hub. but my heart of hearts thought it would be nice to try and do fancy calculations like estimated heat load and instantaneous COP and "HOLD" and dew point and others as other people have done and sought to do.... I've seen the arduino display but I like python programming environment and the power it brings to the table. limited C libraries make me just grind my teeth....but the arduino has more flexible sensor requirements. Add to that the higher voltage available on a pi..etc..

Quick question. what Is Umax? it is it the same as Vmax? That's certainly how you seem to be using it.
Edited by Alea iacta est - 6/23/16 at 3:38pm
post #30 of 46
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by toolmaker03 View Post

I would like to do that, as I did wright it all down, but I really don't understand how to convert that information into a understandable chart. to be honest, I don't even know where to start on how to make a chart for this information, I am great a figuring out different types of testing methods, but I am not so great with the logistics, or the paper work after words.


I mean...if you can list the Y column first and then the X column seperately for each batch..I could plug that into excel and get some simple graphs... you were graphing flow vs temp, yes?
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