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Using peltier to cool a terrarium

 Post subject: Using peltier to cool a terrarium
PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2016 6:20 am 
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Hello, I am not sure if this is an appropriate thing to post in a section meant for computers only so if you guys have any issue with this you can remove this I understand completely.I wanted to give this a shot because it really looks like you guys know your stuff when it comes to pletier cooling. I am very new to peltiers so I may sound stupid :lol: .Ok so I want to cool a 18 x 18 x 18(inches) terrarium, This. The problem is that I don't know what strength, size or ammount of peltier(s) I should get, my ambient room temp is around the high 70s to low 80s (fahrenheit) and can jump into the higher 80s when my computer goes full blast (if a pelter cannot handle this ill just move the cage into a different room but I would rather not). my target would be somewhere in 72f-78f in the day and 62f-70f at night. To achieve this I will be using a thermostat. Also I was planning to use compact florescent lighting for uv but the species i'm planning to put in there doesn't need light, really they can get what they would from the lights in different ways, I just wanted the light for live plants really ,but again - not needed. I am not sure if this is even remotely possible but I would appreciate any advice you guys have. Thank you for your time :D


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 Post subject: Re: Using peltier to cool a terrarium
PostPosted: Sun Aug 14, 2016 5:10 pm 
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Location: Sanford, FL.
Well, you can do this with a TEC. You'd need a heatsink and fan for each side of the TEC and a DC power supply to drive the TEC (and fans). You could switch the DC supply on and off with your thermostat.

You have to figure out how large a TEC you need though. That's a relatively small space but the lights will dump heat into it and heat in infiltrate via the glass.

You probably need something on the order of 40 - 80 watts of cooling power. Probably a 50mm size TEC. Perhaps a 60mm x 60mm heat sink on the cold size with a 60mm 12VDC fan on it. Then on the hot side, a 60mm x 120mm heatsink with another 60mm 12VDC fan (or two). Some 5mm or so of neoprene to elevate the hot side slightly over the plastic enclosure top and insulate the top from the heat.

The longer hot side heat sink simply prevents the whole thing from falling through the 60mm square hole you'll have to cut. The hot side also has to get rid of both the heat you draw from the inside and the power you send to the TEC to do that work. Though you could just cut a 52mm square hole if you can remove the lid for installation where just the TEC itself is in the hole.

If you ran a CustomThermoelectric part like 19911-5M31-12CW at 12VDC you could probably pull 40 watts from the inside with the cold side at 10 degrees Celcius and the hot side at 40 degrees Celcius. I'm just spit balling here.

Seems like an interesting project.


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 Post subject: Re: Using peltier to cool a terrarium
PostPosted: Tue Aug 16, 2016 9:40 am 
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bbragg wrote:
Well, you can do this with a TEC. You'd need a heatsink and fan for each side of the TEC and a DC power supply to drive the TEC (and fans). You could switch the DC supply on and off with your thermostat.

You have to figure out how large a TEC you need though. That's a relatively small space but the lights will dump heat into it and heat in infiltrate via the glass.

You probably need something on the order of 40 - 80 watts of cooling power. Probably a 50mm size TEC. Perhaps a 60mm x 60mm heat sink on the cold size with a 60mm 12VDC fan on it. Then on the hot side, a 60mm x 120mm heatsink with another 60mm 12VDC fan (or two). Some 5mm or so of neoprene to elevate the hot side slightly over the plastic enclosure top and insulate the top from the heat.

The longer hot side heat sink simply prevents the whole thing from falling through the 60mm square hole you'll have to cut. The hot side also has to get rid of both the heat you draw from the inside and the power you send to the TEC to do that work. Though you could just cut a 52mm square hole if you can remove the lid for installation where just the TEC itself is in the hole.

If you ran a CustomThermoelectric part like 19911-5M31-12CW at 12VDC you could probably pull 40 watts from the inside with the cold side at 10 degrees Celcius and the hot side at 40 degrees Celcius. I'm just spit balling here.

Seems like an interesting project.


Do you think if I surrounded 3/4 of the sides with say, 2 1/2 inches of polystyrene it would help insulate the area?Also do you think using an "all in one" Liquid cooler on the hot side would help?I think a 120 rad would be enough but maybe a 240..

EDIT: now that I think about it, I dont think I could get full contact with the peltier since I dont think there is any "all in one" coolers compatible with a 50mm :|


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 Post subject: Re: Using peltier to cool a terrarium
PostPosted: Sat Aug 20, 2016 1:58 pm 
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Location: Sanford, FL.
I don't know that you need an AIO. They are notoriously low flow poor performers. I was thinking you might get away with air cooling on the hot side but that would probably be larger than you'd want to see.

You could insulate the tank obviously, though 2-1/2 inches is a bit much. But then you're killing part of the view. I do see a water loop on the hot side as being the best way to keep the noise down and the ability to remotely locate the radiator would help to keep a clean look to the whole package.

A 120 of a decent thickness would probably suffice. Using water cooling for the hot side would probably allow you to use a smaller Peltier as well.

You only want about 10 degC or slightly more on the cold side. You could probably then plan on a Peltier differential of 25 - 35 degC.


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 Post subject: Re: Using peltier to cool a terrarium
PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2017 7:15 am 
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Im back! I have been really busy. I finally have time to continue this project. I have the terrarium now and the lighting, I even got the peltier , but some recent searches have confused me about the cooling I heard some people say cooling the hot side with liquid is better than air is this true? Also if i am to go the air cooling route do you have any heatsinks in mind? One last thing, how do i hold these together? should i just put it in vertically? Thank you for your time and sorry for being gone for so long!


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 Post subject: Re: Using peltier to cool a terrarium
PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2017 7:38 am 
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Ckrux wrote:
Im back! I have been really busy. I finally have time to continue this project. I have the terrarium now and the lighting, I even got the peltier , but some recent searches have confused me about the cooling I heard some people say cooling the hot side with liquid is better than air is this true? Also if i am to go the air cooling route do you have any heatsinks in mind? One last thing, how do i hold these together? should i just put it in vertically? Thank you for your time and sorry for being gone for so long!



yes water cooling is far better but i doubt you'll need it in your case cos you're not shooting for a huge delta or massive amounts of heat load

You'll need to apply pressure to the the TEC so you'll need to bolt the hot and cold side heat sinks together

Have you seen my TEC Youtube channel ?
https://www.youtube.com/user/Ultrasonictwo


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 Post subject: Re: Using peltier to cool a terrarium
PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2017 7:58 am 
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Cool channel, subed :D. I just watched a few vids from this guy called ldsreliance and he did a vid where he used air cooling and one where he used AIOs and the AIOs performed alot better so i dont see why i they wouldnt be the better choice for my situation, sure they arent as good as a custom watercooling setup but it looks like they perform better than the air cooling I had in mind (ARCTIC Alpine 11 Plus)


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 Post subject: Re: Using peltier to cool a terrarium
PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:21 am 
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you'll have to excuse my ignorance but what is AIO?


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 Post subject: Re: Using peltier to cool a terrarium
PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:33 am 
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Ultrasonic2 wrote:
you'll have to excuse my ignorance but what is AIO?


AIO, or all in one liquid coolers are liquid coolers that come pre filled already attached to a water block.
I just think it would perform better than the average air cooler. Found it is also really easy to clamp 2 together with the peltier in the middle because you can just screw the mounting brackets together.


Last edited by Ckrux on Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:53 am, edited 2 times in total.

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 Post subject: Re: Using peltier to cool a terrarium
PostPosted: Thu Feb 02, 2017 8:49 am 
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yip


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