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I have recently stumbled across thermoelectric coolers, it is my understanding that when they are powered one side will get colder and the other side will get hotter. Also that the more power supplied will mean increased cooling on one side and increased heating on the other side of the device. However I was wondering how efficient the thermoelectric cooler would be at cooling something like a chip if a heat sink or fan was not used to cool the hot side. I am referring to thermoelectric coolers which are 40mm by 40mm in size.

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Aside from being a potential trip hazard, Peltier devices are very inefficient. They pump some heat from one side to the other, and introduce a relatively large heat source (from the inefficiency).

So if you don't have an effective (big, or forced convection from a fan, or liquid cooled) heat sink on the hotter side, you may end up making both sides hotter, just one a bit hotter than the other.

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  • \$\begingroup\$ Yup, a heat pump... but you gotta give the heat a place to go. \$\endgroup\$ – George Herold Jan 8 '15 at 17:21
  • \$\begingroup\$ So just adding something like a CPU cooler to the hot side should be enough to keep the cool side cool? \$\endgroup\$ – Darth Vader Jan 8 '15 at 17:23
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    \$\begingroup\$ @user3623295 Yes, but I'm not sure you'll see a net gain (lower temperature) compared to simply putting the CPU cooler directly on the CPU. The cooler now has to deal with all the heat generated by the Peltier plus all the heat from the CPU so it will run a lot hotter. If that difference exceeds the difference the Peltier can achieve you'll be worse off. \$\endgroup\$ – Spehro Pefhany Jan 8 '15 at 17:26
  • \$\begingroup\$ No I was not intending to cool a CPU with, but I get what you are saying \$\endgroup\$ – Darth Vader Jan 9 '15 at 8:25

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