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hopefully this is an okay place to ask this question, but anyway, I'm working on a project to measure efficiency of a mono-crystalline solar cell based off temperature in the enclosure. The solar cell is 150x130mm and the enclosure will match that size and be a bit taller so I can introduce a light source. My first plan for increasing the temperature beyond ambient temperature was to use either a heat-gun or a hair-dryer. I have a thermal sensor to see the temperature inside as it increases, but I'm wondering what other options I have to more effectively control the temperature in this small enclosure. I would like to increase the temperature to at least ~50 degrees Celsius, and on the other end possibly 0 degrees celsius, which would likely require a different tool. I've also thought of using a small Thermoelectric Cooler in order to cool down the environment, as well as heat up, but that requires a bit of setup so I'm not sure what other options I have.

TL;DR: What can I use to heat (and / or) cool a small insulated box?

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    \$\begingroup\$ Dry ice and a fan are good for cooling. \$\endgroup\$ – stark Jul 14 '18 at 4:44
  • \$\begingroup\$ or even just regular ice (with some salt if you need to go below 0C) \$\endgroup\$ – Jasen Jul 14 '18 at 11:36
  • \$\begingroup\$ I have a heatgun with precision output temperature control. These are very useful. You can get to 50C pretty easily by just blowing the heatgun into the chamber through a tight fitting hole. There needs to be an escape vent somewhere also. If the back pressure is too high, the heatgun flow rate drops to near zero. \$\endgroup\$ – mkeith Jul 15 '18 at 2:37
  • \$\begingroup\$ So your question is: I have a plan to use a heat gun to heat up a box. What can I use to heat up a box? \$\endgroup\$ – user253751 Nov 16 '20 at 18:11
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A 100W~300W Halogen utility flood lamp is an effective heat source on a Triac dimmer to simulate Solar heat and a Muffin fan to speed up cooling response time and regulate temperature. Adjust distance to short path equal to floodlight width and reduce power before target temp as sensor may have slight delay.

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if the measurements can be made quickly you could just pre-cool it and plot temperature against efficiency as it warms up.

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to measure efficiency of a mono-crystalline solar cell based off temperature in the enclosure

So, presumably you will need a constant light source to illuminate it, and maybe a light sensor to measure the amount of light. If both of these are sensitive to temperature, then you're not gonna measure the efficiency of the solar cell, rather the drift versus temperature of the light source and light sensor.

So, I would simply take a standard kitchen oven with a glass window in the front. Put the solar cell in it, facing towards the window, and tape a temperature sensor to the back of the cell with some kapton tape. Preheat to 80°C.

Put the light source outside the oven so its temperature remains constant, illuminate the solar cell through the window. Turn off the heat and measure solar cell efficiency as temperature slowly drops. You don't want any heater to be on if it generates light, like an infrared heater or a halogen lamp.

If you want to go down to 0°C then you will need to care about condensation on your solar panel and window. In this case, instead of an oven, I'd use a DIY enclosure, basically an cube made out of PIR insulation panels from the home improvement store, with a window in the front to let the light in, and a round hole in the top side just large enough to stick a flat bottom kitchen pot in. Slap a large heat sink and a fan on the bottom of the kitchen pot, and fill it with salty ice water to cool the enclosure, or with boiling water to heat it. When cooling, condensation will occur on the heat sink, and that will take the water vapor out of the air, so there shouldn't be any condensation on the solar cell or the window.

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