Posted by: theurban6 | September 28, 2010

Mini fridge/ cooler

If you are a outdoors man, then you have probably seen a refridgerating type of cooler before. If you have ever used a regular cooler, that uses ice, you know that water has a way of getting into things that need to be cooled, like mayo or jelly Cooler

The model shown in the image retails for about $40. Unfortunately this model is rather small. I believe it holds one six pack of Soda.

ARB makes a model that I have dreamed of having. ARB cooler The price is pretty steep though, as the unit above retails for around $750. It not only cools, but can freeze whatever you put into it.

These two coolers, may sound like they do the same thing, but they do not. They also utilize two different types of technology. The first cooler listed uses what is called a Peltier unit. It is the worlds smallest type of heat pump. When connected to power one side heats, and the other side cools. The cooler turns into a warmer, if you switch the side that faces the inside of the cooler. Another way to warm what is in the cooler, is to use a second unit with the hot side facing in. The ARB on the other hand is a true refrigeration unit. It utilizes what they call a swing arm motor design. The whole compressor unit uses less power than a headlight. I myself would definitely recommend the ARB, but the price is too high for me. The peltier type unit is too small for me, but is cheap.

So here is the idea get an igloo, or coleman cooler from a yard sale or something (point here is to be cheap). Order a Peltier unit, you can find them for sell all over the internet. I recommend a 226 watt model from Crazy PC Note that the ARB uses only 2 amps intermittently, while this 226 watt peltier unit will draw almost 20 amps steadily. Also you will need two heat sinks that are available on Amazon.com for $8.95 each. Thermal tape is also available from amazon for $5.09, and is used to attach the heat sinks to the Peltier unit.

Start by selecting the area you want to mount the unit. Remember heat pump theory states that heat pumps remove heat from ambient air on one side, and removes cool air from ambient air on the otherside, and then it transfers them. So with that in mind we know that cool air is more dense than hot air, and therefore hot air rises while cool air sinks. Since the cooling side takes the heat out of the air in the cooler, you want to mount it as high as you can. Thats where the old style coolers with the thinner flat lid work the best. Then you will need to drill a whole in the center of the mounting area. This is just to get an idea of how thick the lid is. Then you can start assembling the unit. I start by extending the power wires on the unit by soldering on the 20′ cord with 12 volt plug. Then put a piece of the thermal tape on to the unit and attach a heat sink. The heat sinks amplify the peltier effect. Do the same to the other side. Then plug it in. You will feel very quickly which side is hot and which is cold. I then use a sharpy marker to make a “C” on the cold side and a “H” on the hot. After doing this you will use the marker to trace out the out line of the cold side on the unit. Using a razor knife or xacto knife you can cut out for the cooling unit. You will need to make a way to mount it, and I will skip this part as each cooler shape is different. I like to use thin flat metal bar, because it is stable. Make sure that when it is all together it is well sealed.

I then like to plug it in and put a thermometer in it, this gives me an idea how how long it takes to cool the unit, and what kind of temperature I can expect.

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