Thermo gen final version for now .JPG
Project data
Authors Garrett McElroy
Made? Yes
Replicated? No
Cost USD $ 110.63
Export to Open Know How Manifest
Page data
Type Project
Keywords thermal energy, alternative phone charger
SDGs Sustainable Development Goals SDG04 Quality education
SDG09 Industry innovation and infrastructure
Published by Garrett McElroy
Augie Gonzalez
Kathy Nativi
Published 2013
License CC BY-SA 3.0
Affiliations Humboldt State University
Language English (en)
Page views 475
This is a Thermal Generator to charge a cell phone made for Engineering 371 at Humboldt State University

Parts[edit | edit source]

Thermal Electric Generator

• 4 in. X 12 in. piece of aluminum (1/4 in. thick)

• TEG module

• Step up voltage converter (MAX756EPA+(joule thief) – 5VDC from 0.7 volts in

• 12 V fan (too much, need a 5V)

• Parallel board

• Solder

• Sterno

• Thermal Paste

• Fan

• Heat sink

• Car exhaust gasket

• (2) springs (size 16)

How to Build[edit | edit source]

How to Build a Thermal Phone Charger:

Figure 1: Baseplate cleaned and Drilled (Photo by Garrett McElroy)

Gather your needed parts and supplies. Also you will need these tools. Tools Used: Socket set, Sawhorses, Hacksaw (or equivalent), Hammer, Adjustable wrenches, Hex key wrenches, Pliers, Clamps, Drill and bits, Grinder ( or equivalent), Wire stripper, soldering iron

Figure 2:Cut and drill exhaust gasket. (Photo by Garrett McElroy )
Cut and drill exhaust gasket
Figure 3: Fit TEG Module. (Photo by Garrett McElroy )
I measured, cut and drilled the holes for the mounting to base plate and made sure to have it fit the TEG module perfectly .
Figure 4: TEG Module. (Photo by Garrett McElroy )
Here is the TEG module with light shining through to show semiconductor it contains.
Figure 5: Holes and springs mounted to hold heatsink (Photo by Garrett McElroy )
Holes drilled and taped to hold heatsink to TEG Module.
Figure 6: Springs mounted. (Photo by Garrett McElroy )
Heatsink mounted using springs and thermal paste added on all surfaces between TEG module and Heatsink
Figure 7: Version 1 . (Photo by Garrett McElroy )
Version 1: Circuit board containing parallel board, 12v step-up, USB 5v charger
Figure 8: Version 2. (Photo by Garrett McElroy )
Version 2: We realized that more cooling was needed so we added another circuit to run some smaller 5v fans.

Costs[edit | edit source]

Material Cost ($) Quantity Total ($)
TEG Module 49.95 1 49.95
Aluminum Base Plate 6.00 1 6.00
Heat Sink and Fan 10.00 1 10.00


0.99 2 1.98
Exhaust Gasket 12.95 1 12.95
Screws 0.20 1 0.80
Sterno 7.00 1 7.00
Thermal Paste 5.00 1 5.00
DC/DC Converter 9.95 1 9.95
Step up voltage converter 7.00 1 7.00

Conclusions[edit | edit source]

We installed a circuit board with the positive and negative terminals from the TEG module powering the step up converter and the fan. We installed another terminal that went to the USB port for cell phone charging. This was too much for the systems power so the fan didn’t work while we were charging the phone. This is a problem since optimum performance is based on a hot and cold side. Our initial tests were however a success and we started charging a cell phone at 0.67V. We decided to hook up the 5V fan we appropriated from another device and it seems to work fine. With the 5V fan we were able to get over 1.3V of electricity using sterno instead of candles. This kept a cell phone charging for a few minutes after we removed the heat. With more testing and a better heat gauge we are hoping to increase this up to 5V and use a step up converter for 5V to 12V.

Contact details[edit | edit source]