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Thread: Ideas for cooling down terrarium with water chiller?

  1. #9
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    I've found that you can get substantial cooling even without a radiator - although I'm sure that would make the system much more effective. I've set up terraria with aquarium chillers using a makeshift radiator of coiled copper tubing or even plastic/rubber tubing (make sure to use opaque - preferably black) and they worked plenty well. Particularly if you use the potted-terrarium style and have a reservoir of water at the bottom.
    I never got a chance to verify that it worked better, but the last one we did had a reservoir made from a small ice chest in the cooling loop; the chiller pumped into the terrarium, and then the water exiting the terrarium went into the ice chest and from there drained back into the chiller, the idea being that it would store some of the coolness even when the compressor wasn't running and help curb rapid temperature changes. It was a very nice chiller - built-in thermostat, ~4000 gph cirile capacity - so there was little need for improvement, but the compressor did seem to kick on less often when we added the cooler.
    I want one bad. That monster could hold 100 gallons of water at 50 degrees in mid-summer... glad it wasn't my electric bill though. XD
    Welcome to the forums BTW! (If I haven't already said.)
    ~Joe

    PS - Re: controlling it, if your chiller saves it's set point when powered down, then the external thermostat could potentially help fine-tune the cooling process. Or you could use a closed loop on the chiller to cool the reservoir of a makeshift swamp cooler, for example, and then blow warm air from the lights into that to produce cool, humid air. You could also use the chiller loop to cool standing water in the bottom of the tank, and use something like an airstone or a small fountain pump to agitate and circulate the standing water, which would have a similar effect without requiring a wick and forced air. Being able to separately control the temperature of your cooling loop and the set point of the rest of your contraption should make it possible to reduce the strain on the chiller while giving you a say over how fast things cool down when it all comes on. By my understanding, the really nice thing about those ZooMed gadgets is that they allow you to have separate profiles for day and night temps/humidity (with day and night determined by a photosensor.) Swords recently set one up and wrote a nice thread on it - should be on the top page or two of the terrarium subforum.
    Last edited by seedjar; 06-08-2011 at 05:53 PM.
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

  2. #10
    Av8tor1's Avatar
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    Much more effective...

    http://www.trane.com/commercial/libr...x.asp#dynamics

    As the liquid travels through a tube you have regions of laminar and turbulent flow. The majority of heat transfer occurs at the narrow boundrary layer against the tube wall. This occurs both on the liquid side and the air side. (this is also evident when a cold glass of water causes condensation, start blowing air across the surface of the glass and the condensation decreases and the temp of the water warms up quicker)

    To increase the efficiency we can increase the level of turbulent flow and surface areas both air side and liquid side. (we want to shy away from increasing velocities.... slower velocities over a greater surface area is much more efficient)

    Typcial heat exchangers (aka radiators, heater cores etc) have cooling fins, flattened out liquid passages, turbulators, thin walls etc etc to accomplish this
    Last edited by Av8tor1; 06-08-2011 at 06:51 PM.

  3. #11
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    Oh I know about heat exchangers. Just when we were working on these designs before I had almost no budget and just my buddy's basement full of old reef tank gear. Thanks though, I'll take a look at that - is it in your list of academic bookmarks or do I need to set it aside for my own reference?
    ~Joe
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

  4. #12
    Av8tor1's Avatar
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    hehehe
    gotta pic on ya my friend...your hunger for knowledge is unreal

    wish i had a classroom full of ya, hmmm maybe LOL.... you would make it hard to stay ahead of ya


  5. #13
    Let's positive thinking! seedjar's Avatar
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    My teachers simultaneously love and hate me. My poor comp sci professor who puts up with all my illnesses and incompletes just glares at me and shouts, "What do you want? Haven't you graduated yet!?" whenever she sees me these days. And my sensei often just rolls her eyes when I start asking questions. XD
    ~Joe
    o//~ Livin' like a bug ain't easy / My old clothes don't seem to fit me /
    I got little tiny bug feet / I don't really know what bugs eat /
    Don't want no one steppin' on me / Now I'm sympathizin' with fleas /
    Livin' like a bug ain't easy / Livin' like a bug ain't easy... o//~

  6. #14
    Av8tor1's Avatar
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    This kind of applies to Ann's recent thread in a little more detail... mini fridges just dont have the heat exchanger capacity to effectively do what she wanted to do IMHO

  7. #15
    Hello, I must be going... Not a Number's Avatar
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    countercurrent exchange
    Grand Hotel... always the same. People come, people go. Nothing ever happens.

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