Several Possibilities for the Remote Control of TEC Controllers
TEC controllers are used for thermoelectric cooling and heating in combination with Peltier elements or resistive heaters.
Peltier elements are heat pumps which transfer heat from one side to the other, depending on the direction of the electrical current. TEC controllers are used to drive the Peltier elements.
There are several different ways to communicate with TEC controllers, which we present here.
TEC controllers can operate autonomously without external control like a PC. The following examples show the possible modes of stand-alone operation:
- Temperature controller: hold an object at a given temperature
- Lookup table / scripting: generate a predefined temperature profile
- Power supply with constant current and voltage
TEC Remote Control Modes
TEC Controller Remote Control options
Serial communication is used to send data from a host to a TEC controller and receive data from the controller, respectively. The following physical interfaces are supported:
- RS232 (TTL)
Communication over Ethernet is possible by integrating up to four TEC controllers into a LTR-1200 19‑inch rack enclosure, which offers an Ethernet connector. This allows the integration into a standard 19‑inch rack or it can be used as table-top instrument.
The TEC Service Software is a user-friendly interface for the implementation, testing and maintenance of the TEC controllers. The service software can be connected via the above-mentioned interfaces.
MeCom Communication Protocol
MeCom is the open serial communication protocol for TEC controllers, upon which all communication is based. It is possible to fully control a TEC controller over the MeCom Communication Protocol. The TEC Service Software does not necessarily be running. More information in the download section.
- MeComAPI: TEC Controller Communication Protocol implementation for C and C++ applications
- MeComAPI for .NET: TEC Controller Communication Protocol implementation for C# applications. The precompiled DLLs can also be used for a Visual Basic project.
For LabVIEW users we provide an example VI that has the basic functionality of a control software for the TEC controllers. The following functions are implemented:
- Communication with TEC controller
- Monitoring of operation parameters
- Error handling
- Charting for the object temperature
The pyMeCom interface for the MeCom protocol allows the control of multiple TEC controllers or laser diode drivers, for example connected by USB to a Raspberry Pi. More information and download on GitHub.
Digital I/O (Platform Bus Connector) RES1 … RES8 Control Signals
Along with the data interface for RS485 and RS232 (TTL), the platform bus offers several other remote control functions on the hardware pins:
- Temperature control (increase / decrease, enable pre-defined target temperatures)
More information can be found in chapter 6.2 of the TEC Controllers User Manual.