During the last Black Friday madness I was able to pick up one of the smaller chillers for under $50. I did a ton of research before pulling the trigger on this as I was not able to find a single example of one that worked. After much reading and talking to a few people I believe this may work for what I'm trying to do with it.
A few disclaimers.....This is VERY untested and the lack of information about practical usage of thermoelectric cooling is amazing. Almost all the information I was able to find about them said this would not work, it took a lot of digging to find the positive examples. I have no intention of growing anything large, my main goal is Dendrobium cuthbertsonii. Anything else is just gravy.
I would not recommend anyone try this unless they enjoy using items in ways they are not intended and would have a use for the wine chiller if things go horribly wrong. Make sure you read up on thermoelectric cooling a bit also, knowing why it works will help you make it work properly.
With that out of the way. I picked up a Candor CW-25FDI .88cuft 60W chiller (outer dimensions 10 1/4" W X 19 7/8" H X 18 1/2" D, from package I did not measure)(inner dimensions approx. 7" W X 13" H X 12" D)
For lighting I will be using a single http://www.rapidled.com/4-led-solderless-moonlight-kit/ with 2 cool white and 2 warm white LEDs. Some short term testing of this kit is here http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...th-a-few-Cephs The heatsink is a scratch and dent version of http://www.rapidled.com/6-x-10-black...num-heat-sink/ so it was $10.
If anyone is wondering about how to wire these things up check out http://www.terraforums.com/forums/sh...uld-love-input! starting on page 3. Same concept but without the dimmer and much easier. After I got everything all wired up with 40 degree lenses I placed the heatsink inside and turned everything on. The starting temperatures were 74 inside the chiller and 72 outside at 6:45pm. Right around 1 hour later the chiller temp gauge read 55 degrees but the external/internal one was reading 58 inside and 72 outside. So the chiller was able to cool the LEDs 16 degrees in about an hour with the LEDs running. Now keep in mind these moonlight kits are no where near full power LEDs and they don't generate that much heat.
DSC_0847 by randallsimpson, on Flickr
If the temps hold and everything looks like it should work out I will be getting some really thin glass and building a custom terrarium to slide inside the chiller to maintain the humidity while keeping the chiller fan and electronics in "normal" humidity levels. Add a fan and that's it!
Any suggestions are very welcome.