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Peltier Chiller

This is a discussion on Peltier Chiller within the Axolotl tank set-ups, filters, substrate forums, part of the Axolotls (Ambystoma mexicanum) category; I have put together a small chiller out of a peltier unit and some old computer heatsinks so far is ...

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Old 27th May 2013   #1 (permalink)
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Default Peltier Chiller

I have put together a small chiller out of a peltier unit and some old computer heatsinks

Click the image to open in full size.

so far is has dropped the temp in the tank from 73F to 70F
I have added cardboard as insulation and thermal compound to both sides now and will give it some more time to see how far it will drop with better thermal transfer and better insulation between the two heatsinks.

its a 12706 peltier from ebay
around 60W at 12 volts
Im using a PC power supply to run it and the fan

the tank is a 20 Gallon long

all I did was place it in the outlet of my aquaclear filter, set it so the water flows along the length of the fins

The front of the filter:
Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.

The side:
Click the image to open in full size.

Will post temps again later tonight
If I dont get below 70 degrees im going to get a larger peltier, looking at one that will be around 120W next




Click the image to open in full size.



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Old 27th May 2013   #2 (permalink)
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Default Re: Peltier Chiller

awesome!
The tank is now at 68 Degrees F :)



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Old 28th May 2013   #3 (permalink)
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Default Re: Peltier Chiller

12 hours later and I am now under 68 degrees F!
I am hoping now that it hits 66F in the next few hours :)

The parts were pretty cheap
Got the peltier on ebay for $7.00 US
the heatsinks were free, pulled from different PCs over the years, sames goes for the power supply



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Old 28th May 2013   #4 (permalink)
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Looks like its working great! I have been looking for an alternative to an expensive chiller and this just might be my ticket and hey, I love to build stuff too! Anyway, the only question I have is if the metal parts of the heat sink come into contact with water will they not start to oxidize and cause bad problems for the tank? Just wondering here so I can get an idea if this is what I want to do for my tank.



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Old 28th May 2013   #5 (permalink)
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Default Re: Peltier Chiller

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gangsterluff View Post
Looks like its working great! I have been looking for an alternative to an expensive chiller and this just might be my ticket and hey, I love to build stuff too! Anyway, the only question I have is if the metal parts of the heat sink come into contact with water will they not start to oxidize and cause bad problems for the tank? Just wondering here so I can get an idea if this is what I want to do for my tank.
I honestly have no idea, its an aluminum heatsink and there is no electricity going through it so I dont see why it would oxidize, so im unsure if that will happen...



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Old 28th May 2013   #6 (permalink)
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I really didn't know either, I was just kind of wondering. I guess it should be fine. Keep an eye on it though and keep us updated. I'd love to be able to do this if it works out for you!



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Old 30th May 2013   #7 (permalink)
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Default Re: Peltier Chiller

Just a quick update
its still up and running great and the tank is down below 67F now
not quite 66 but its close :)
I may try and find myself a 14 or 15 volt power supply
the peltier is 15 volts, its only running on 12 so im not getting max power at the moment



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Old 8th June 2013   #8 (permalink)
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Default Re: Peltier Chiller

so after running for the past week i have found my water flow slowly getting lower and lower
it seems that the heatsink fins are getting a bit gummed up and my temps have risen maybe half a degree F
to combat this I have ordered a smaller heatsink, one that should fit better into the water outlet and one that has more space between the fins so they dont get all gunked up
It has less surface area in total but with it being shorter more of the heatsink should fit into the water so more surface area will be contacting the water
the cold from the peltier should also be less spread out and I should be losing less into the air as the heatsink will be almost full submerged this time around

here is the heatsink, it is a small heatsink for a solid state relay:
Click the image to open in full size.

I will be posting a step by step for anyone looking to duplicate this once I have received the new heatsink



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Old 8th June 2013   #9 (permalink)
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I like it! I have been searching around for materials to make this chiller ever since I've seen yours and I think I decided to get anodized aluminum for the cold side heat sink. It's not much more expensive than regular aluminum, it's supposed to be better at passive cooling, and it not supposed to gum up or corrode. Maybe look into it. If you can get the same heat sink you want with anodized aluminum, I'd go for it! Keep us posted please!



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Old 15th July 2013   #10 (permalink)
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Default Re: Peltier Chiller

my heatsink never arrived
will be ordering another from a US seller and post once i have rebuilt it
it is still running strong in its current version and i have not had any further issues with it gumming up and not flowing properly



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Old 16th July 2013   #11 (permalink)
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Default Re: Peltier Chiller

Hi, wow wish I had your smarts, I to have been looking for a way to cool my tanks, without spending $300-$500.00 for a chiller that I don't have, maybe you can figure out a way to make these and sale them at a price that us po folks can afford. I am using a hot water bottle with ice cold water in it to keep my water temp down to just 70 I know that's not good I am trying the best I can.
Good luck to you and remember me when you stat making big bucks on these, I will be your 1st buyer



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Old 17th July 2013   #12 (permalink)
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Default Re: Peltier Chiller

I wouldnt mind figuring out a way to permanently make this part of a hang on back filter or canister filter
or even just have it built into a hang on back filter with little or no media in it...
Im gonna buy a cheap filter this weekend and see what I can do, hehe



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Old 19th July 2013   #13 (permalink)
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Default Re: Peltier Chiller

Could you maybe post a tutorial? This sounds genius! I have some of these parts lying around already and would love to get my DIY on like you have!

Maybe then I could cut down on my air conditioning costs.



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Old 19th July 2013   #14 (permalink)
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Default Re: Peltier Chiller

I will see what I can do :)



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Old 21st July 2013   #15 (permalink)
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Default Re: Peltier Chiller

Peltier Chiller Tutorial
Equipment and Parts Needed:
Peltier aka Thermoelectric Cooler
12V PC cooling fan or other cooling fan
Large heatsink for the hot side
Small heatsink or waterblock for the cold side
12V to 19V power supply
Some wire
Thermal paste
Insulating material (like thin pieces of foam or cardboard)

Setup:
The first thing you will need to do is decide how you are going to chill the water, for me I am using a simple method, I put the chiller together and just set the whole thing into the hang on back filter on the back of my tank
The cold heatsink will need to be placed in the water outlet on the filter housing
Try to keep the peltier out of the water, the part of the heatsink that touches the peltier will have thermal paste on it, this is non-toxic in most cases but its best not to take chances!
Below you will find a picture of the chiller in the filter, it might be hard to see whats going on and I will try and get better pictures soon

Click the image to open in full size.
Click the image to open in full size.

To assemble the chiller you will need to do the following:
1. Set the small heatsink on your work bench or table with the open part of the fins facing down, the bottom of the heatsink should be facing up. The bottom will be a solid surface and the top will have open fins
2. You will need to apply thermal paste to the cold side of the peltier as well as the hot, for now though just do the cold side
3. Once you have applied a thin layer of thermal paste to the peltier set it in the center of the heatsink. The thermal paste will help it stay in place
4. Now add thermal paste to the hot side and place the larger heatsink on to the newly applied paste
5. Don’t worry too much about how centered it is at first, you will be able to move the heatsinks and the peltier around a bit to get them lined up. They also don’t have to be perfectly centered
6. You will want to cut up the cardboard or foam into pieces that will fit into the air gaps between the two heatsinks, this will greatly improve the efficiency and make sure your chiller works as well as possible. I j ust used cardboard from a cardboard box, it fit perfectly
7. Once it is all assembled you can use many different ways to hold the heatsinks together, I just used plastic zip ties.
8. After the heatsinks are secured you will then want to mount your fan, again I just used zip ties
9. Once everything is secured and not falling apart you will want to wire up your peltier and your fan to your power supply. I just used a 12 volt power supply as it will work for both the peltier and the fan, the peltiers are normally able to use anything from around 9 volts up to 19 volts (check your specs before connecting the power supply, make sure you are not using more than its max voltage). Red wire goes to the positive terminal and black wire goes to the negative terminal
10. Once everything ie wired up just drop the bottom heatsink, the cold and smaller heatsink into the water outlet on your hang on back filter, be sure that the open length of the fins follow the water flow
And that it!
I haven’t set up a water block yet, all you do is place the water block on the cold side of the peltier, it mounts and works the same way as a heat sink would. The primary difference is that you will need tubing to connect from the outflow of your pump or canister filter to one side of the water block, and more tubing to run from the outlet on the water block back into the tank.
I have not used a water block yet so I do not know how effective or efficient it is, I would imagine it would work better than the heatsink method though as you will get more water flow and with the smaller amount of metal to chill the water block should get colder than the heatsink… I think, lol
I will investigate the water block option once I get a pump and some tubing and another peltier

For the hot side heatink I am using a Dell PC Heatsink model 05R180
Here is an ebay link

For the cold side I am also using a Dell PC Heatsink, I dont have the model number handy but any sluminum heatsink should do, the shorter the better
Here is one I would recommend:
Model 1U581
http://www.ebay.com/itm/Genuine-OEM-...item2a241f2bc4

Here is the peltier I am using, it is a TEC1-12706 60 watt peltier
http://www.ebay.com/itm/1PCS-NEW-TEC...item19d582d8f4




Last edited by mackinthebox; 21st July 2013 at 04:24.
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Old 21st July 2013   #16 (permalink)
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Default Re: Peltier Chiller

This is currently in my 20 gallon long tank, the temp is currently 68F/20C
I think if I had a smaller cold side heatsink I would get lower temps
Right now i feel its a bit large and with half of it being exposed to the air in the room it is probably leeching cold air into the atmosphere instead of the water
My apartment ambient air temps are around 74F to 78F but the tank stays stable at 68F



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Old 22nd November 2013   #17 (permalink)
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Default Re: Peltier Chiller

just a quick update
its still running steady at 66F :)



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Old 22nd January 2014   #18 (permalink)
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Default Re: Peltier Chiller

another update
The chiller was working great until I moved the tank
After a while it seems the zipties stretched out and this allowed the heatsink to shift when I pulled it from the filter
This ruined the thermal paste and put air gaps in it
I removed the hot side heatsink and cleaned up the paste, added new paste and zip tied it all back up
tank is back to running at 66F



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Old 22nd January 2014   #19 (permalink)
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Default Re: Peltier Chiller

What's an honest reading of the ambient temperature of the room at this time of year?



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Old 22nd January 2014   #20 (permalink)
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Default Re: Peltier Chiller

right now its anywhere from 74 to 78
depends on if my wife is awake or not as she likes to turn the thermostat up, she likes it a bit warmer
to answer what youre probably wondering, the peltier can bring down the water temp by about 8 to 10 degrees from ambient water temp. my tank usually stays around 76 without the chiller.
I will grab a thermometer and take some readings when i get home in a bit
Will post current ambient air temp and the current water temp

This is all in Fahrenheit.



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