What is it? How does it
WHAT IS THERMOELECTRIC REFRIGERATION?
Refrigeration is the process of pumping heat
energy out of an insulated chamber in order to reduce the temperature
of the chamber below that of the surrounding air. Thermoelectric
refrigeration uses a principle called the "PELTIER" effect to pump
heat electronically. The Peltier effect is named after a French
scientist who discovered it in 1834..
HOW DOES IT WORK?
In 1834 Jean Peltier
noted that when an electrical current is applied across the junction
of two dissimilar metals, heat is removed from one of the metals
and transferred to the other. This is the basis of thermoelectric
refrigeration. Thermoelectric modules are constructed from a series
of tiny metal cubes of dissimilar exotic metals which are physically
bonded together and connected electrically. When electrical current
passes through the cube junctions, heat is transferred from one
metal to the other. Solid-state thermoelectric modules are capable
of transferring large quantities of heat when connected to a heat
absorbing device on one side and a heat dissipating device on the
other. The Koolatron's internal aluminium cold plate fins absorb
heat from the contents, (food and beverages), and the thermoelectric
modules transfer it to heat dissipating fins under the control panel.
Here, a small fan helps to disperse the heat into the air. The system
is totally environmentally friendly and contains no hazardous gases,
nor pipes nor coils and no compressor. The only moving part is the
small 12-volt fan. Thermoelectric modules are too expensive for
normal domestic and commercial applications which run only on regular
household current. They are ideally suited to recreational applications
because they are lightweight, compact, insensitive to motion or
tilting, have no moving parts, and can operate directly from 12-volt
WHY IS IT BETTER THAN AN ICE CHEST?
Food and beverages are kept cold and dry.
No space is wasted for ice (unless of course you want ice, in which
case we can help to preserve it 3 or 4 times longer than a plain
ADVANTAGES OF THERMOELECTRIC
: Very little space is
required by the cooling system. The thermoelectric module is the size
of a matchbook.
A 36 qt. capacity unit weighs only 17 lbs.
PORTABLE: Carries with one hand and is unaffected by motion or tilting.
: 20% to 40% less expensive than compressor or absorption units.
LOW BATTERY:Averages approximately 4.5 amps
- less than your cars headlights.
BATTERY PROTECTION: Used
in combination with the Koolatron "Battery Saver" you can always
be assured of having starting power.
PERFORMANCE: Koolatron coolers maintain
"cool" temperatures in ambients up to 90 degrees F.
HEATING OPTION: Koolatrons can be operated in the heating
mode for short periods of time. Specialty Heater ONLY versions
of our insulated boxes are used by Meals on Wheels, other senior
hot meal programs, school hot meal programs and by caterers all
across the country. SAFETY: No open flames, propane, or
toxic refrigerants used.
RELIABILITY: Thermoelectrics have a 40 year proven track
record in military, aerospace, laboratory, and now consumer applications.
EASY SERVICE: Most parts are easily replaced by the end-user
with a screw driver.
LOW The only maintenance required with any Koolatron unit
MAINTENANCE: "dusting" and Vacuuming to ensure good heat
COMPARISON OF THERMOELECTRIC
REFRIGERATION and OTHER METHODS OF REFRIGERATION
Cooling is achieved electronically using the "Peltier" effect
- heat is pumped with electrical energy.
COMPRESSOR : Cooling is achieved by vaporising a refrigerant
(such as freon) inside the refrigerator - heat is absorbed by the
refrigerant through the principle of the "latent heat of vaporisation"
and released outside the refrigerator where the vapour is condensed
and compressed into a liquid again. Uses mechanical energy.
ABSORPTION: Cooling is achieved by vaporising a refrigerant
(ammonia gas) inside the refrigerator by "boiling" it out of a water
ammonia solution with a heat source (electric or propane). Uses
the principle of "latent heat of vaporisation". The vapour is condensed
and re-absorbed by the ammonia solution outside the refrigerator.
Uses heat energy. s.
COMPARISON OF THE FEATURES OF ALL THREE SYSTEMS:
COMPACTNESS: Koolatron thermoelectrics
are the most compact because of the small size of the cooling components
- cooling module / heat sink / cold sink.
WEIGHT: Koolatron units weigh 1/3 to 1/2 as much as the
other units because of the lightweight cooling system - no heavy
PORTABILITY: Koolatrons are the most portable because they
are light enough to carry with one hand and are not affected by
motion or tilting. Compressor models are quite heavy and the absorption
models must be kept level within 2 - 3 degrees.
PRICE: Koolatron coolers cost 20%
- 40% less than the equivalent sized compressor or absorption units
available for recreational use.
BATTERY DRAIN: Koolatron
coolers have a maximum current drain on 12 volts of 4.5 amps. Compressor
portables draw slightly more current when running but may average
slightly less depending on thermostatic control settings. Absorption
portables draw 6.5 to 7.5 amps when running and may average about
5 amps draw.
BATTERY PROTECTION: Consider the "Battery Saver" option as
discussed in the previous section.
COOLING PERFORMANCE: Compressor systems
are potentially the most efficient in hot weather. Some models will
perform as a portable freezer and will refrigerate in ambient temperatures
of up to 110 degrees F. Koolatron units will refrigerate in sustained
ambient temperatures of up to 95 degrees F. If they are kept full,
they will refrigerate satisfactorily even if peak daytime temperatures
reach 110 degrees F because the contents temperature will lag behind
the ambient. The food will be just starting to warm up when the
air cools off in the evening which will bring the food temperature
back down to normal. Absorption type refrigerators provide almost
the same cooling performance as Koolatron portables but are less
efficient at high ambients.
FREEZING ICE CUBES: Compressor systems
will usually make a quantity of small ice cubes except in very hot
weather. Gas absorption systems can do the same except in hot weather.
Koolatron thermoelectric units do not make ice cubes but can preserve
them in a plastic container for 2 - 3 days which is often adequate
for most applications.
SAFETY: Koolatron systems are completely
safe because they use no gases or open flames and run on just 12
volts. Compressor systems can leak freon which can be extremely
dangerous especially if heated. Absorption systems may use propane
which can be extremely dangerous in the event of a leak.
RELIABILITY: Koolatrons thermoelectric
modules do not wear out or deteriorate with use. They have been
used for military and aerospace applications for years because of
their reliability and other unique features. Compressors and their
motors are both subject to wear and freon-filled coils are subject
to leakage and costly repairs. Absorption units are somewhat temperamental
and may require expert servicing from time to time, especially if
jarred when travelling.
EASE OF SERVICING AND MAINTENANCE: Koolatron
units have only one moving part, a small fan (and 12 volt motor)
which can easily be replaced with only a screw driver. Most parts
are easily replaced by the end-user. Compressor and absorption units
both require trained (expensive) mechanics and special service equipment
to service them. BACK