Peltier effect climiate control? (Sharper Image warm&cool system)

Before I put out $50.00 for this gadget, I thought I’d get the dopers’ opinions about this Sharper Image claims for their product: “Personal Warm & Cool System Wearable Peltier Effect Climate Control.”

I’m moving to Florida in September, and my main concern about the move is the heat. Yes, it can get hot in the D. C. area (we just had a heat wave), but that comes and goes. I’m not tolerant of the heat and I keep my apartment really cool (under 70 degrees). S. o. and I just bought a house in St. Augustine, which is on the east coast and gets ocean breezes, but still…when I saw the Sharper Image ad on t.v. for this product, I thoght “that’s what I need!”

Since the following is on the Sharper Image web site, I don’t think I’m guilty of copyright infringement. So does this claim make sense to you and should I pay $50.00 for this? I don’t think the graphics will come through – this thing is worn around the neck. Here’s the link to their site:

Personal Warm+Cool System Wearable Peltier Effect Climate Control


Wear your own climate-control system and be cool in summer, warm in winter.

Our Personal Warm+Cool System™ fits comfortably around your neck and delivers hours of comfort. This electronic device is ultra-lightweight — a mere 8 oz. Turn the dial to “warm” and within seconds your entire body feels warmer. Or turn the dial to “cool” and enjoy your own “personal air conditioner”. How does it work? The dial changes the direction of an electric current causing the hot and cold sides of the aluminum neck plate to switch — instantly! Our wearable invention houses a miniature heat pump based on the Peltier Effect — a thermo-electric principle whereby one direction of an electric current allows heat to be absorbed on one side of a metal device (making it cold) as heat is rejected on the opposite side (making it warm). Change the direction of the electron flow and the Peltier Effect means the hot and cold sides will switch. Hence, you Personal Warm+Cool System can be used throughout the entire year because its aluminum neck plate can also keep you cool during summer months.

Runs on 3 C batteries (SM660, order separately) in a portable 3 x 4-inch battery pack with belt clip. Also plugs into outlet with included AC adapter. Now includes a DC adapter for plugging into the power socket of a car, boat or RV. One-year warranty. Created by Sharper Image Design®.

I don’t know how effective this particular device is, but Peltier modules themselves are very much tried and tested; they are a solid-state electronic component that, when a current is applied, get hot on one side and cold on the other - they are typically able to effect a temperature drop of 15 degrees below ambient, but that’s quite enough to feel cold.

The words veritable, crock and (another one) spring to mind

Peltier coolers can effect a much bigger difference than 15 degrees. Some models are already available as CPU coolers. The problem is that the cold side can get so cold that condensation begins to form on it, while the hot side can get hot enough to burn you if you touch it.

I don’t see why this wouldn’t work, I’m just not sure it’s worth fifty bucks.

Hrmm… sounds like a crock to me. Where does it vent the heat out to on the hot side? To get 15W of cooling with a peltier, you typically need something like 60W of heat which if not carefully isolated from the cold side, just ends up heating you up more. Given that this is a device worn on the neck, I don’t see any practical way of venting heat. Additionally, peltiers suck up a LOT of juice and I don’t see how you could power it effectively from C cells. Finally, I dont see how cooling just your neck will make your entire body seem cooler. You would need a system to transport the cold air to the rest of your body.

I’m not saying it won’t work, I’m just saying it probably won’t work very well.

Even if it works 100 percent as advertised, who want to walk around with a freaking collar? Why don’t you just put a leash on it and have Pfc Lyndie take you for a walk.

Sharper Image, and Seen on TV products are for the most part gimickery, made to sell to the unsuspecting and unsophisticated.

In general they don’t/can’t live up to the claims made for them and they are over priced.

Oft times better performing items can be bought at a lower price at local department stores or under other brand names.

Cooling your neck actually works pretty well for making your entire body feel cooler. A rag soaked in cold water then placed around your neck in pretty much the same place as this cooling device does wonders if you are outside painting or doing yard work.

I’m not so sure a peltier is going to do the same thing though. The trick about a peltier is that it’s just a heat pump. The hot side gets hot and the cold side gets cold, but overall the temperate of the thing goes up because it’s not 100 percent efficient. You have to have some method of removing the heat form the hot side or else the whole thing is just going to get hotter and hotter. The sharper image device looks like it has a fan. The battery power required to both operate the fan and the peltier is going to be significant. Either it doesn’t cool all that much, or else the batteries won’t last very long.

An ice pack in the same general shape would do much better, I would think.