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Author Topic: Thermoelectric Generators?  (Read 3406 times)


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Thermoelectric Generators?
« on: December 20, 2005, 08:53:17 AM »
They are also called Seebeck- effect devices, invented in 1821 and fairly recently improved by the development of solid-state heat pumps for cooling computer chips and so forth. The heat pumps are also called Peltier effect devices. Peltier effect devices can also be used as thermoelectric generators, not widely recommended because some are put together using soft solder. There are a number of companies that sell purpose- built thermoelectric generators. One of the more interesting companies is Hi-Z Technology at: If you go there, click on: PUSH FOR APPLICATIONS INFORMATION and check out the thermoelectric generator for diesel trucks, which can be used as an alternative to a mechanical generator or alternator to convert waste heat from exhaust pipes into DC current for a trucks electrical requirements. For smaller and presumably cheaper units, see Welcome to T.E.S. at:
 T.E.S.operates as a customer service center located in Bangkok, Thailand, from which it ships globally. It operates as a business service of Pacific Supercool Ltd., which is managed by Steve Sykes, American businessman based in Thailand. and has a discussion board at:
Power Chips at: appears to have come up with the best thermoelectric generator so far. I don’t think they are in production yet. If, and when they start making these things, it will probably take them quite a while to saturate more profitable markets, aircraft and military stuff before they get desperate enough to make power chips for small steam engines, especially those of the pop-pop kind. I'm attaching a jpg to show a pop-pop engine and kit boat available from Hobbies of Dereham and a sketch I cobbled up to show how a little thermoelectric generator might be located between a pop-pop boiler and a oil or alcohol burner.

Best wishes, Frank


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Post Script to "Thermoelectric Generators?
« Reply #1 on: December 30, 2005, 08:18:40 AM »
Several days ago, I received this reply to questions posed in an e-mail note to the Hi-Z Technology company, a manufacturer of Seebeck-effect thermoelectric generators.

"Mr. McNeill,
We have a HZ-2 module which has a matched load output of 2.5 watt at 3.3 volts, which would make a good power source for one of your pop-pop boats. The problem is that its single unit cost is $46.00, which may be a little high for hobbies.
I think you could run a small electric power boat with our HZ-2  connected to a small electric motor. The motor could turn a paddle wheel  or propeller. The heat source would be a candle.
What do you think?

John C. Bass
Vice President
Hi-Z Technology, Inc."

I made a noncommital reply, because I don't know enough about the minimum electrical requirements for standard two-channel radio control systems that might be installed in pop-pop boats.
Information about the hitech system indicates that it requires four standard 1.5 volt AA batteries but doesn't indicate whether they are used serially or in parallel. Information from members who know more about radio control equipment than I do— which probably means everybody, except me— would be welcomed.

Offline Eddy Matthews

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Thermoelectric Generators?
« Reply #2 on: December 30, 2005, 08:27:27 AM »
A receiver requires between 4.8v-6v Frank. Below 4.8v it won't work, and above 6v you'll probably blow it up!
~ Never, ever, argue with an idiot. They'll drag you down to their level and beat you with experience ~


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Thermoelectric Generators?
« Reply #3 on: December 31, 2005, 01:02:17 AM »
Thank you Eddy for your information about the electrical requirements for radio control systems. Hi-Z has bigger thermocouple piles, but the best bet might be a Power Chip: if I can find a pop-pop manufacturer who wants to become a licensee, or a partner to develop little steamboats with no mechanism for propulsion, power generation, or steering— which might be done by using electromagnets to shift the positions where flames impinge on coiled tubings, or diaphragms, that function as flash boilers for pop-pop steam engines. This might cause more water to be ejected from tubes on one side than from tubes on the other. Not the most efficient steering method perhaps, but it would generate more questions from spectators who examined small boats that could be steered by radio control, but were unable to determine how it was done.
For more about magnets and flames, go to: for a demonstration of something Michael Faraday studied more than a century and a half back!


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