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Peltier-Effect Tinnie Cooler

Its Based on a peltier-effect module fitted with a fan-cooled heatsink. You just install it in a 6-pack Esky to keep your tinnies cool

By Ross Tester.

Click for larger image
Every true-blue Aussie knows there is nothing worse than a warm beer (or soft drink, for that matter). But how do you get your drinks cold - and keep them cold? There's the old ice-in-the-Esky routine. But ice melts - especially if you keep putting warm cans in.

Wouldn't it be nice to have the cooler itself cool your cans? This one does! Just plug it into your car cigarette lighter (or any other 12V DC supply) and it will silently cool cans down to the "aaaaaaahhhhhh" level.

Like the cooler we presented back in September 1999 (see, it was last century!) this one is based on a Peltier Effect device. We explained this semiconductor device and its operation in some detail in that issue (and in the August 1999 issue) so we won't go into too much detail again.

Suffice to say that it consists of a number of P-N junctions sandwiched between two metal plates. Pass current through the junctions one way and they absorb heat - one of the plates gets very much colder than the other. Pass current through the other way and the reverse happens, the plate which was cold heats up.

If you thermally bond the Peltier (that's shorthand for Peltier Effect device!) to another object, that object will either cool down or heat up, depending on the polarity of supply to the Peltier. That's why a Peltier can be used for both cooling and heating.

If you'd like more info on the operation of Peltier Effect devices, we suggest you refer to the issues mentioned above.

Parts List-Tinnie Cooler
  • 1 Peltier Effect module (Oatley Electronics)
  • 1 6-pack plastic cooler
  • 1 3mm thick aluminium plate, size to suit cooler
  • Suitable fig-8 connecting cable with car cigar lighter plug
  • In-line fuseholder and 10A fuse (can be integrated with cigar lighter plug)
  • Heatsink compound
  • 1 DPDT switch, 5A DC contacts (optional, see text)

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