It seems like so long ago when the promise of Peltech’s stacked peltiers would bring high capacity thermoelectric chilling to the aquarium world. Some serious technical problems with Peltech’s thermoelectric chillers gave the brand a really bad reputation in the US and we hadn’t seen a nice large thermoelectric aquarium chiller until a couple weeks ago at Aquarama. Taiwanese manufacturer Johnlen showed off three models of their thermoelectric chillers in Singapore which have an attractive combination of capacity, price and performance.
The three sizes of Johnlen’s thermoelectric chillers come in a relatively attractive blue and white enclosure and since they have no compressor they are incredibly quiet as compared to standard issue chillers. Johnlen chillers are rated for a temperature pulldown of ~5-6C or about 10 degrees Fahrenheit in ten gallons of water for the CS049, 30 gallons for the CS051 and 70 gallons for the CS056. If you only need to chill water by 5F then you can double the volume of the tank to be chilled. The real-world chilling capacity of thermoelectric chillers ultimately depends on the ambient air temperature where the chiller is placed so if you have a cool room temperature where the chiller is placed then you can also expect greater chilling performance.
The main issue with the Peltech chillers was not their capacity to chill water, but the digital temperature controllers which turned out to be too sophisticated for their own good. That’s why it’s nice to see a simple analog controller on the Johnlen thermoelectric chiller; it may be digital under the hood but as long as the thermostat can maintain a narrow range of temperature the Johnlen chiller might be a really sturdy cooling unit. The really rough shakedown of pricing for the small, medium and large Johnlen chillers is expected to be around $400, $550 and $700 at the retail level in the US market and we expect several US distributors to start looking into importing them, right, about, NOW.