Saturday, February 18, 2012

Thermoelectric Power: In Operation

Finally this winter, our thermoelectric wood stove generator is fully operational. Following our test runs, we placed the pump to recycle cold water down in the lake water under the cabin. In winter, it gets about 5 degrees C (41 F). That's plenty cold for a good differential between the 300 degrees C on the hot side.

Most system owners don't live in a float cabin four feet with a constant cold water source under the floor. The typical user has to use a recycled liquid (usually including a water/antifreeze mixture) that runs through a radiator for cooling.

In addition, a charge regulator/controller is used to protect the batteries and prevent overcharging. The model that came with our system has lights to let you know the status of the charging process.

Wayne likes to know more about the charge we are getting. He installed an ammeter and a volt meter. The switch in the middle controls the water pump down below the cabin. To maximize the charge to our cabin battery bank, we've installed a separate solar panel and two six volt batteries wired in a series to run the pump.

Living off the grid has its challenges, but having an alternative power sources has made our winters much brighter (pun intended). Do you generate power? What are some of the solutions that have worked for you? -- Margy

p.s. The thermoelectric generator is no longer operational. It lasted for three years, but after we renovated our cabin interior it would no longer work. It was a great concept though.


  1. A question to ask, is it dry heat you have or is it moist air? Does it ever feel damp in your floating home? By the way, some blogs I follow are trying to remove the robot codes thingy when we comment. I tried doing it on mine and am not sure it is still shows there. Sometimes it is not a problem using those code things.

  2. I envy your self-sufficiency! Hope you are doing well!

    P.S. I had a hard time commenting - the new word verification is blurry. I've removed it from my blogs.

  3. You guys sure stay busy. Stay warm and have a great week

  4. Wow never come across that before.
    Who makes it, where can I find out more ?

  5. Thanks for all the comments.

    Stephanie - The air where we live is more on the moist side, but not humid. In winter, we leave water on the wood stove to put moisture in the air. Sometimes when the temperature is really cold outside, condensation will form on the underside of the roof. We just have to be careful to moderate the wood stove temperature to keep the moisture inside to a minimum.

    Richard - Unfortunately this model is no longer being made, even though it is perfect for our needs. Ron at TEG Power does sell the components if you are handy with electrical projects. His new version using liquids vs. direct heat can be found on his website


  6. I was wandering, how much electricity do you produce with the wood stove thermoelectric generator?

  7. Matthew - It only gives us a trickle charge of about 2 amps at normal fire levels. That's about enough to keep our batteries healthy in low sun and wind conditions during the middle of winter. But we do have to use a gas generator once in a while to give them a better boost. But every bit adds up. - Margy


We welcome your comments and questions. - Wayne and Margy