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Many people use thermoelectric modules, commonly called Peltier modules, to make small things colder.

(Compressor-based air conditioners and refrigerators and freezers are often more practical for cooling larger things).

Both radio and optical astronomy seems to work better when the receiver is cold.

  • "Open Source Thermal Cycler" Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR) uses the Peltier for both heating *and* cooling.[1][2]

[3] [4] [5]

[10] [11]

  • Another Peltier fridge project: "How to build your own dirt cheap fridge" ("My most important consideration is that it can be service-able by me") [12]

When a Peltier element is attached to a voltage source, it pumps heat energy from one side to the other, making one side colder and one side hotter. In principle you could use a Peltier element just for heating ( see [13] )

Typically Peltier projects use a 1-wire digital thermometer or a thermistor to measure the temperature at the important parts, and

FIXME: maybe say a few more words about heatsinks, such as the (open-source?) PowerPeg Thermal Management System ?