[time-nuts] Wine cooler as temperature chamber

ed breya eb at telight.com
Mon Oct 13 19:17:30 EDT 2014

I have this nice little thermoelectric "12-bottle" wine cooler (about 
one cubic foot inside) that I've fixed twice already, and it just 
crapped out again. It's always the same thing - bad caps in the 
switching power supply - they're just too small to take the necessary 
ripple current. So, I could replace them again and be good for a 
couple of more years, cram bigger caps in there and maybe have a 
permanent fix, or decommission it from beverage service and convert 
it to a chiller cabinet for the lab.

I'm wondering if anyone has experimented with these things to see how 
low in temperature they can go. In normal service, the minimum 
setpoint is 50 deg F, so not all that cold, but I'm sure it can do 
better than that with a good supply and running full blast. There's 
about one inch of insulation on all sides, and the door is 
double-layered glass. There's a circulator fan on each side of the TEC.

I would put in a bigger supply and new control system, but it 
wouldn't be worth it if it can't chill much better than original. I 
don't know yet if the TEC is accessible for possibly upping the size 
and rating.

I have experimented with R-12 type mini-friges for this purpose - 
they can typically reach minus 40 deg running continuously, but will 
be oil-starved at the high vacuum, low flow conditions there, so may 
not last long compared to normal service. They're kind of awkward and 
ugly too - the best would be a nice small, glass-doored wine chiller, 
with a normal refrigeration system built in, but maybe a TEC type 
would be OK for some uses.


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