Makeshift Thermal Chamber

For my senior design project, we’re building an Amateur Radio 15m/10m linear transponder for a CubeSat.  In order to test some of our circuits to see how the frequency drifts with temperature, I took a shot at building a cheap thermal chamber.

Mostly, I just cut a couple holes in the top of a normal cooler and sat a lizard lamp dome with 100W ceramic heater in it.  I did see that the cooler is made out of HDPE and make sure it wasn’t going to melt right off the bat.

After turning it on for the first time with nothing inside the cooler, the maximum temperature seemed to stabilize at around 83° C.  This should be a sufficient high end for the preliminary testing that we’re using it for.

We’ll need to figure out what how we want to do the data acquisition. I was thinking of putting in SMA passthrough and using one of the RTL-SDR devices hooked up to a SBC.  Also the best, cheap way to measure temperature.  I haven’t found any DAQs available that are terribly cheap. I might have to assemble my own.