High temperatures shorten the life of electronic components. That’s why cooling is essential. And, as designers continue to increase the power density of modern systems, the problem is getting worse. So, to avoid premature failure when electronics are mounted in a transit case, proper cooling is paramount.
It’s not enough to provide vents for convection cooling, even if fans are used. First, this approach can’t lower the temperature inside the case below ambient, which could be as much as 40oC in a desert environment. And second, it’s likely to draw in dust and dirt, creating more problems than solutions.
Compressor-based air conditioning can lower case temperatures below ambient. But, a refrigerant gas, two heat exchangers, a compressor, valves and pipes are complex systems. They need maintenance. They also tend to be noisy and need to be kept in the correct orientation to ensure the compressor remains lubricated. All this makes them less than ideal for cooling transit cases in harsh or hostile environments.
The alternative is thermoelectric cooling. A thermoelectric cooler is a solid-state electrical device. It uses the Peltier effect to move heat away from the interior to the outside. In a typical arrangement, fans inside the case pull air over a conducting surface. Current flowing through this surface transfers the heat to the outside. There, a second set of fans moves it away.
This rugged, reliable technology works regardless of orientation. And, it works with minimal noise – acoustic or electrical. That’s important when dealing with sensitive electronics. No air is exchanged from outside to in. And, with no moving parts – apart from the fans – reliability is high.
Thermoelectric cooling can be incorporated into most transit cases, even those for 19” rack mount cases. And, it is a simple, reliable and robust way to keep interior temperatures within safe limits. Modern electronic systems demand effective cooling for sustained operation. The best way to provide it is thermoelectric.
To learn more, be sure to read Part 2: The Science Behind Thermoelectric Cooling