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From a thermodynamics perspective, I realize that a TEC-based fermentation chamber is not the most efficient type of cooler due to very inefficient heat transfer, but, alas, I want to build one as I have most of the parts lying around. I haven't done the all the math, but I believe that I can achieve acceptable cooling for lagering using a 48W TEC as long as I can efficiently dissipate the waste heat from the hot side of the TEC.

I have read many posts, articles, etc. over the years, but haven't kept the references to all of them and am now wanting to get started. My question is: What are some good sources for plans, including parts lists, dimensions of materials and anything else that might be useful for a DIY-builder?

Here's what I have on hand that appears to be the most common set of components for a TEC-based fermentation chamber from what I've read:

  • 12V, 10A power supply
  • Digital TEC thermostat
  • 12V, 4A (48W) Peltier with dual heatsinks and fans
  • Foam insulating board
  • Plywood for external surfaces
  • Plexiglass for TEC mounting

What I'm looking for are plans or projects that utilize those things or similar items that can be used in conjunction with them. I would be really interested in the use of pumps and or radiators for heat exchanger waste dissipation.

Probably as important would be feedback from anyone who has built one and some of their experiences related to things that worked and things that they might have done differently.

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1  
What does TEC stand for? –  baka Oct 30 '11 at 18:35
2  
Thermo-electric cooling. –  Hopwise Oct 30 '11 at 19:32
    
I'm upvoting this question because I'm hoping for some good answers. I looked into TEC for a while, but never could find any definitive details on using it in brewing. –  Hopwise Oct 30 '11 at 19:39
    
Yeah, sorry for the TLA (three-letter-acronym). A thermoelectric heater or cooler is commonly known as a Peltier device and, depending on how it's wired, can either be used as a heater or cooler. It's basically an array of thermocouples which use two different types of semiconductors. They can be used in many different ways. Take a look at the Wikipedia entry for a more detailed description of the theory behind thermoelectric effect. –  Bill Craun Oct 30 '11 at 21:02
    
Link to Wikipedia entry is en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thermoelectric_cooling. –  Bill Craun Oct 30 '11 at 21:09

2 Answers 2

up vote 1 down vote accepted

This may be helpful with respect to constructing a box from the foam: http://home.roadrunner.com/~brewbeer/chiller/chiller.PDF

I made one of these chillers (powered by frozen jugs of water) and it works quite well. The only advice I would give is to make absolutely certain that your cuts are square when you cut the foam. I would recommend a table saw or similar. If the cuts aren't square, your surfaces won't mate well, and you'll have a hard time gluing it together.

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Thanks. I've seen all of the xOFC variations. They don't involve the use of anything by frozen water bottles to provide the cooling. I'm specifically looking for those that employ TEC. –  Bill Craun Oct 30 '11 at 21:12
    
Sure. I offered this as one piece of the puzzle. You'll need an insulated box to mount your TEC in, right? –  Dustin Rasener Oct 31 '11 at 21:56
    
I see you're in Indy too. Whereabouts? –  Bill Craun Nov 2 '11 at 3:19
    
I'm in Broad Ripple. Check my profile for my email address if you'd like to chat more. –  Dustin Rasener Nov 2 '11 at 21:24
    
Your profile doesn't list your email address. :) –  Bill Craun Nov 3 '11 at 0:35

Here is a link to a peltier chip conical fermenter build

http://conical-fermenter.com/TemperatureControlledBuildSetup.pdf

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