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Thread: Wine Chiller Terrariums - Talk me out of it!

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    Wine Chiller Terrariums - Talk me out of it!

    I've seen this idea batted around a few times but I've never been able to find one someone actually built. There are a few fridge terrariums out there but I can not seem to find a wine chiller one. While I was at Lowes today I noticed they had an off brand small chiller with there Black Friday stuff for $49. So this got me back to thinking about these.

    The main reason I've always thought this was a bad idea was the lighting since it would need to be outside due to the heat generated. Has this changed with the advent of LEDs? Running them at lower power and mounting them inside the chiller would go a long ways to removing this problem. I've been very impressed with the results I'm getting from this test run http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...th-a-few-Cephs.

    Back to reading for me, anyone else put any thought into this?

    I've wanted to grow a lot of the cooler orchids and Utrics for a long time and this might be the ticket, plus it would give my Helis a better home.

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    Is it a Peltier cooler? I tried a Peltier wine cooler as a grow tank for highland Utricularia and found that as soon as I added any load inside it then it was incapable of maintaining the temperature, with the fans running at full power all the time and still not keeping up. I had an 18W PL-L fluorescent tube inside it, with an external electronic ballast, so heat generation was kept to a minimum. I don't know how it would have faired with LED lights - I suspect similarly, as there was a more worrying issue...

    I found that it killed the humidity and the condensed water would overflow out of the bottom, with much of the humidity condensing on the cooling block at the rear of the inner chamber, behind the fan, and run down the outside of the inner chamber - next to the electronics!

    If I were to do this again then I would use a conventional compressor refrigerator, rather than Peltier. The Peltier is now re-instated as a wine cooler, for which is performs admirably

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    Yes it is a thermo-electric cooler. What power rating was the one you tried?

    I think I could design a work around for the condensation issue with some sort of plastic/glass barrier/baffle. Of course this would vary depending on the model.

    From my experiences with compact FL an 18W bulb would generate a lot more heat than the LEDs I'm playing around with now provided you kept the power level below 50%. I would have to use more LEDs at a lower power level to keep the heat down. I need to dream up a way to measure the heat generated by the moonlight kits...

    More to think about, thanks for the info.

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    After a lot of reading I believe people are using cheap thermo-electric coolers (Peltier coolers) to grow cool growing orchids and I've found a few people using them to grow UHL Neps. Now these are not Wine chillers but component they put together themselves.

    I have not found one example of a wine cooler terrarium.

    Having said that I'm still not ready to throw in the towel, I've been successful with many things I've never seen anyone else do.

    I went and looked at the unit tonight and I think the condensation is a non issue with this design, then entire inside is molded plastic with drip plates and drip lines. So it actually looks like they designed it with water run off in mind. The main electronics are up near the top and should be well outside of any condensation buildup.

    It is only .88 cuft so there would be very little area to cool.

    If I drilled holes in the top for the LEDs and had the heatsinks + drivers on the outside do you think that would make a difference?

    I'm really on the fence with this.

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    Mine is not a 'cheap thermo-electric cooler', it is actually quite good quality with digital thermostat control. Indeed, it does an excellent job of cooling wine.

    I posted some details previously on the forum: http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...ooling-system/

    Quote Originally Posted by mobile View Post
    RE: Peltier coolers.

    I have a 65W peltier wine cooler, converted into a terrarium. Inside is an 18W PL-L flourescent lamp, with no other heat sources. The lamps ballast is external. The cooler is set to 13C (55.4F). When the lamp is on, over the length of the day, which is 13 hours, the temperature in the cooler rises to ~22-25C (71.6-77F). The peltier and fans run constantly the whole day whilst trying to achieve the set temperature and only go off at night after the lamp is off and the temperature set point is reached. Basically, the 65W peltier cannot fully dissipate the 18W load of the lamp. This is not to say that the peltier wine cooler is of poor quality, as it can easily reach the set temperature without any additional internal load, thus it makes an excellent wine cooler, but it demonstrates the efficiency of peliter coolers. For my next terrarium setup I will be looking into using a traditional compressor refrigerator.
    If you proceed then I will be very interested in your progress.

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    Thank's for the links there was some useful info in there. And for those lazy lurkers that don't want to read through pages of cooler talk...http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...hlight=peltier I'm no where near ready for anything that scale.

    Everytime I start reading some good points that this will not work I run across some testing that supports that it will...Very annoying.

    Looks like drilling small holes with 40 degree lenses for the LEDs and mounting the heatsinks outside the cooler should work since most of the heat from the LEDs would be transferred out. I would still need an enclosure to keep the humidity in the cooler and reduce the condensation issues. I'll have to dig through my glass box collection once the family gets up.

    The unit I'm looking at is a proper 60W wine cooler just a brand name I've never heard of.

    Mid week I will have a 6" X 10" heatsink + 4 LED moonlight kit to assemble that would easily fit inside this thing for testing.

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    If you can keep all the heat load outside the chamber and somehow maintain humidity while not having condensation issues then yes, it should work. I still think that a compressor refrigerator would be a better option, but ones with glass doors are not very common. There are conventional compressor beer bottle refrigerators with glass doors available.

    Tobias Kulig has done this with a compressor refrigerator: http://www.cpukforum.com/forum/index...8&#entry228454

    Aymeric made one using a peltier cooler: http://www.cpukforum.com/forum/index...9&#entry290453

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    I briefly looked into compressor fridges and while they would work better they are also much larger and 4X the cost of this thing. If I had the plants to justify the cost then it might make sense but right now everything is growing ok, I'm just wanting to give a few of them a bit more of a temp drop. Whatever decision I make I'm sure it will be the wrong one!

    Guess the next smart thing to do is go out and find some mini fridges that I can get my hands on and look at.

    There are some nice glass door ones around the $200 mark over here.

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