Sunday, February 19, 2012

Thermoelectric Power: Testing the Generator

As John was wiring, I was researching commercial thermoelectric generators for wood stoves. Thermoelectric power generation is common in large businesses, but home applications are few and far between. Then I found a video on YouTube and contacted the vendor, TEG Power (unfortunately no longer in business).

Ron was in the initial stage of producing modules to work with wood stoves. Then he changed his design to a hybrid thermoelectric generator. I have not found anouther company that sells a complete system, but there are several that do sell individual components that you can use to build your own wood stove generator, if you have the skills. You might check out TEC from Ontario, Canada.

After John had the wiring in place, and our thermoelectric generator arrived, it was time to test our new system. It came with directions, but Wayne and I are new to electrical applications. We sure learned a lot along the way. We purchased three 25 watt strips for a total of 75 watts of output. In amps, that's a little more than 6 under optimal conditions (heat of fire vs. coldness of water).

In our tests, we got about one amp per power strip. To make the cold side of the system work, we have to use an electric pump that uses about one amp, so the total charging capability of our system was around 2 amps. But if you know batteries, small trickle charges over a long period of time are the best.

So whenever our wood stove surface is about 300 degrees C (we use an Imperial thermometer so we don't exceed the 325 degrees C threshold), we are generating power. Now that is a good thing, especially during the winter when our solar generation is limited. -- Margy


  1. Interesting (to a retired electrician) what you have to for power when you literally live "off the grid".

  2. This is so interesting to read and learn while following along in your blog. It would be an interesting venture to live off the grid. My cousin in Vermont has solar panels on his house and does quite well during the winter months. Saves a lot of money too.

  3. Paul - We could have used your help getting it up and running. It took quite a while to get the kinks out.

    Stephanie - Solar works well when there is sun. We just get so little in the winter this is a good option for us.

    Jeff - Thanks for the link, but it is pretty techie!


  4. i bought same unit and it did not work! it produced only 30 watts, it was supposed to be a 100 watt model
    i tried several scenarios but only 30 watts with a bucket of ICE water.
    then only 5 watts with normal water... junk imo

  5. Hey it is great stuff. The best thing is it can be used in every household works as an alternative to electricity.Thermoelectric is a great invention must say.