A very ugly Chip Quik cooler

My wife is kicking all non-food items out of the Frig… time to find a new place for the Chip Quik!

Chip Quik is a brand of solder paste used often in hobbyist reflow; this is the product I used to solder SMD parts to printed circuit boards. The product can work six months (or longer in reality) if you keep it cooled.

What to do? Well I started by looking into small frigs.. too much power and they cost too much. Next was the obvious choice: A peltier cooling device and a box. It took me a while to find *anything* that was small and seemed like it would work on my bench as well as be able to be insulated. I went to Lowes and picked up a roll of foil bubble-wrap looking insulation, a trip to a hobby store scored me this wooden box. A little hot glue and a start with two surplus heat sinks (seen rejected and removed to the right in the photo)

A simple chip quick cooler and his failed cousin.
A simple chip quick cooler and his failed cousin.

 

The inner heat sink had a fan, exterior heat sink didn’t but didn’t get uncomfortably warm. It didn’t work as I had hoped though; I couldn’t pull off more than about 10 deg F delta T from the ambient temp in the room…. not going to be good enough. My workshop hovers around 78-85 deg F due to heat load of the items… Chip Quik isn’t going to last more than the six months rating in those temps.

The search for a solution continued, I picked up a little peltier kit off eBay to see if I could do better; easy enough I guess. Put it all together and now I’m getting about 25-30 deg F delta T from ambient. My little box settles out fairly quickly at about 58 deg F (15 deg C) which is good enough. Next I’ll do some clean up and power this with a PC power supply. I’ll use a spare PC power supply because I don’t want to use up a bench supply and like it or not these devices to draw some current. It’ll take about 25%-50% of the power of the smallest frig I could find to keep this thing cooling .. though the frig would be great for some beer pop, unfortunately I don’t have the room.

Alternative ideas to this problem are welcome.

I have a ton of projects right now and zero parts… wait wait wait.. I hate waiting for parts :) … come on slow boat from China! I also have a board in OSHPARK I’m super excited about, but no sneak peaks…. it’ll be here soon enough. Wait wait wait wait…

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