How Does It Work? Why Should You Choose It?

3. Ambient Temperature Range

Along with understanding the environment, know what the ambient temperature range is expected to be. In an outdoor application this range might be much larger than anticipated. Planning for the worst case scenario is advisable.

4. The Importance of Fan Type

The IP (Ingress Protection) standard describes a uniform system for classifying the degrees of protection provided by the enclosures of electrical equipment. The first number refers to the level of protection against penetration of solid objects into the enclosure. The second number refers to the level of protection against penetration of liquids into the enclosure.

Traditional performance curve

Air conditioners should - and often do - have both internal and external IP ratings. The external rating is influenced most by the hot side (external to enclosure) fan selection. Shipboard or desert environments call for fans that can withstand corrosives such as salt spray or blowing sand. Rugged mobile applications require shock and vibration protection.

Therefore, it is quite important to check with the manufacturer about what type of fan is being used in an air conditioner and what other choices may be available. There are industrial fans, fans sealed from water, fans protected from water AND corrosives (such as salt, sand) and lastly, MIL-spec fans. Any of these will offer some protection, however the higher the IP rating of your enclosure, the more rugged a fan you will require in your air conditioner in order to maintain the integrity of your enclosure.

Thermoelectric air conditioners are meant to maintain the enclosure rating and operate in that environment. Check the product literature or discuss your environment with the air conditioner manufacturer to ensure the air conditioner you choose will be adequate.

5. Input Voltage

Most thermoelectric air conditioners are available in a multitude of input voltages. Systems with more cooling capacity are more likely to be 120 or 240 VAC although this is not always so. Larger systems running off of 24 VDC will naturally have a higher current draw as there are more thermoelectric modules used to obtain the cooling capacity. If using VDC input, any power supply added to the enclosure interior will add to the total heat load. This is an important consideration when determining the cooling requirement.

6. Mounting Style

A thermoelectric air conditioner will be designed by the manufacturer to be mounted part way through the enclosure (“through mount”), external to the enclosure (“flush mount”) or inside the enclosure (“internal” or “recessed” mount). Operation in any orientation is possible. Typically, through-mounted systems are the least expensive and offer greater cooling capacity, although the true driving factor when choosing ought to be the design of the enclosure and location of other equipment. The air conditioner will perform best where there is adequate air flow. Choose the mounting style which gives both the hot side and cold side of the air conditioner at least several inches of breathing.

What to Notice Regarding Air Conditioner Specs

Currently, more conventional performance curves referencing the DIN 3168 L35L35 and L35L50 ratings are shown on air conditioner specifications. Traditional curves referencing delta-T are still used. Be aware of what type of curve is being used and be sure you are comparing “apples to apples” when reviewing specs from different manufacturers. Ensure you are comparing air conditioners using the same rating method.


Thermoelectric cooling is best suited to applications where low maintenance is required or to harsh outdoor environments. Improvements to the technology and the designs provide more reasons to consider it. Utilize online information and work closely with a manufacturer of thermoelectric enclosure coolers to choose the best solution.

This article was written by Emily Hutensky, Sales & Marketing Coordinator TECA Corp. (Chicago, IL). For more information, visit http://info.hotims.com/61064-576.