SUPPLIED BY: Cool IT
PRODUCT: Cool IT Beverage Chiller
PROD LINK: Not Available
Price is at time of testing!
I checked the voltage coming from my USB port at the end of the cable and it’s +5.15V.
Putting the ammeter on the fan while the unit is running shows us that it’s drawing .19A (190mA.) At +5V, that’s almost 1W. We know that’s probably correct because the fan is labeled to operate at 1W.
I then measured the amperage of the TEC. The TEC draws only .91A (910mA.) That’s only 5W. I need to see if I can find something that can run cooler and that means it’s going to have to draw more than 5W.
I then remembered that my MACS Sorceress GPU cooler used +5V to power it’s TEC and I recall the cold plate on that thing getting much colder to the touch than this Beverage Cooler. Well, it just so happens that a friend of mine stuck his finger in my Sorceress Cooler while it was running and busted off a couple fan blades (Picture this: “So, does this cooler do a good job of keeping your video card cool? Bzzzzzz-CRACK! OUCH! Mother F…..”) so I now have something I can cannibalize some parts out of.
I took the Sorceress apart and retrieved the TEC. I applied it to the Beverage Cooler’s heatsink with some thermal compound. The TEC from the MAC’s cooler is much smaller than the TEC that came with the Beverage Chiller. Maybe I was wrong about the Sorceress’s cold plate feeling colder than the Beverage Chiller’s.
Wow! 2.25A being drawn off of the +5V! More than twice the other TEC. And I could see the cold plate of the Beverage Chiller immediately condensate. Just as I went to grab my Micro Temp, the numbers on the DMM went to zero. I looked at my USB Hub and the LED was out. I unplugged the power brick from the wall and low and behold, it’s rated for only 2A. I plugged it back in and the TEC frosted over once again. After only a few seconds, the USB Hub shut off. Looks like this isn’t going to work after all.
After some trial and error, I found that my new Beverage Chiller only worked on one PC in the house (out of four). So this upgrade may not be very practical for everyone.
I left the Beverage Cooler plugged in for a few minutes while I retrieved my Micro Temp and a couple more bottles of beer from the refrigerator. When I had come back, I had found that the cold plate was still cold to the touch, but not as cold as it was when I had first plugged it in. I fired the MicroTemp at the cold plate and could only read a temperature of 64.7°F. Not even 15 degrees cooler than my room temperature.
It seems that my new TEC required a little more cooling on the hot side than the Beverage Chiller’s heatsink and 30mm fan could handle, so it seems my little experiment is a bust…. at least with glass bottles that is.
It’s been pointed out to me that glass is a much better insulator than aluminum and that perhaps the folks that designed this thing meant for it to cool an aluminum can. Well I don’t drink canned beer darn it! That doesn’t mean I won’t revise this review using aluminum cans instead of glass bottles. I must say that the Cool IT USB Beverage Chiller is a neat idea, and certainly I had fun with it, but I can’t see this really being a practical product. Having such a product work properly for every one isn’t impossible though. You could even manage to make one where the cold plate freezes over with bigger TEC’s, but to do the job properly, better cooling needs to be implemented on the hot side of the TEC. Wine Chillers work properly because you have multiple TEC’s cooling an area that’s sealed up behind a glass door. Running something like the Beverage Chiller open air is sort of like running your refrigerator with the door open.
The Cool IT USB Beverage Chiller simply doesn’t work.