Those inexpensive wine coolers just have a cheap
Peltier-effect plate. The same thing you can get in one of those plug-in 12V ice chests. They can cool (or heat) to maybe 40° below ambient. So if it's 100° in the cabin
, the cooler will, at best, get to maybe 60°. And spend a whole lot of energy doing it, and dumping the excess heat into your cabin
However, what if you coupled that with a heat exchanger
and a sea-water pump
from a nearby through-hull? Then the "ambient" starting point from which you are cooling
would be the water
temp, and the water would also take away the excess heat pumped from the cold box. I went down this rabbit hole a few weeks ago: Peltier plate, heat exchanger
, water pump
, arduino controller. Maybe a couple hundred bucks total? I would have jumped right into the project
, except I have already collected all the parts
for a conventional ice-box conversion.
My ballpark calculation suggests that the total energy budget
would not be much different from the conventional set-up, but it would be much cheaper, lighter, smaller, quieter, and require no volatile coolant
. Also, it's basically a heat pump
, so the same basic set-up could be used as a cabin heater
, if you have the watts.
A fun science project! But would it really work? Apparently there is one company in Italy
actually selling such a thing. Their website is old and primitive, and doesn't indicate how much they are charging
, or whether it's even still a viable product. Apparently, the "Sailing Uma
have got their hands on one, and promised a review in an upcoming video.