SMART CUPS ~ Controlling The Temperature Of Your Drinks On The Go, Or At Your Desk….
© 2019 BOB SKIDMORE ALL RIGHTS RESERVED
Ever wish you could keep hot liquids hot, and cold liquids cold in your car, or in your office? Well, Paltier, a division of Xiamen Paltier Electronic Technology Co., LTD., markets two such devices known as Smart Cups that do just that. They employ what’s known as the Thermoelectric Cooling Technology using the Peltier effect.
The PT-301 is a 12-volt electric Cup Holder that plugs into your cigarette lighter and keeps drinks warm or cool while traveling. It takes about thirty-minutes to reach its full potential. Pressing the “snow” key button on the top activates the cooling cycle. The cooling mode is indicated by illuminating this button and casts a blue ring around the top of the holder. Pressing the “wavy” patterned key activates the warming cycle, which is indicated by the red illumination of this button and casts a red ring around the top of the holder. Pressing the key that is active shuts off the cup holder. The PT-301 is primarily designed to work with 12oz metal soda type containers, tetra packs, glass bottles and numerous containers that easily transfer heat or coldness. These liquids would already be cool or warm prior to placing in the Smart Cup Holder. While it is possible to start with a liquid that is at room temperature, the time required to bring the liquid to a desired drinking temperature in the container could be somewhat lengthy. In other words the PT-301 works best in maintaining the already intended temperature. The unit fits common 76mm cup holders. The inner cup size diameter is approximately 2.8 inches with a depth of 2.5 inches. Once placed in your car’s cup holder, you’ll note an exposed one-inch vent. This air vent should never be blocked as it expels air.
110/220VAC to 12VDC Power Supply
The PT-301 can also be used as a desktop device by adding an external power supply of at least 3 amps, such as the Tcisa model 121000. (Available under various brand names with same model number) This model offers a 10 amp, 12volt output and comes with a cigarette lighter socket and could be useful for powering other DC devices you may have.
(TIP: If you wish to drink a warm drink from a cup, such as coffee, hot chocolate or tea, be sure to check that the diameter of the cup so it will fit into the Smart Cup Holder. Cups that will easily transfer cold, or heat and are made of an insulated material are preferred, and are much more efficient.)
(TIP: Carbonated drinks such as sodas, beer, as well as liquids in sealed containers may never be heated, as they would present a danger and by exploding.)
The PT-501 is the desktop version of the Smart Cup line-up. It differs in several key aspects. First, it’s powered by an included 100/240volt to 12volt DC 3A power supply. It’s intended to be used on a desk, or tabletop as opposed to in a car. Its flatbed design allows the included insulated cup to be placed on a specially formed plate that emits either heat or coolness as transferred by the Thermoelectric Cooling Technology using the Peltier effect. This plate not only accommodates the special cup, but also is specially molded to hold 12oz soda or beer cans with their unique base design. The supplied cup is specifically designed to efficiently disperse the heat, or coolness and then maintain its temperature much like an insulated cup would. If you desire a cold drink simply press the power button once and it will turn blue verifying that you are in the cooling mode. At a 77°F ambient room temperature the metal plate on the PT-501 base will achieve a 46 degree temperature in just 10 minutes. A liquid in the supplied Smart Cup, or in a 12oz aluminum soda or beer can, will cool the liquid to 46 – 53°F in only thirty-minutes and retain that temperature *automatically until the liquid is fully consumed, or power to the Desktop Smart Cup is turned off. Conversely, if you desire the warming of a liquid, depressing the power button twice causes the button to glow red indicating the heating cycle will commence. At a 77°F ambient room temperature the metal plate on the PT-501 base will achieve 149°F in just three-minutes. The liquid in the Smart Cup will reach a 122 – 131°F temperature in approximately thirty-minutes and will retain that warmth *automatically until the liquid is removed, or the power is turned off. Depressing the button a third time shuts the unit off. *The smart technology of the PT-501 automatically senses when to turn on and off the metal plate so it will maintain the warmth, or coolness of the liquid without an unnecessary power drain.
(TIP: The right side of the flatbed design consists of a vent and is not intended for any user function. Spills need to be carefully avoided to prevent leakage into the vent and negative affects to the cooling/heating plate. Care should also be taken not to make body or object contact with the plate during operation, as it could be quite hot or cold to the touch. Ouch! )
In general, both devices work exceptionally well for the use they are intended to fill. They work best at maintaining liquids at an already established temperature in the container. Carefully following the instructions and using the proper containers will enhance the end result. Both models will function world-wide with the PT-501 requiring a common plug adapter for the country where being used. When purchasing, be sure that you look for the specific Paltier brand, as there are many spin-offs in the marketplace that were not subject to this column’s evaluation. Presently, the Paltier models are available at The Sharper Image and at select Amazon vendors with more to come.
MSRP: PT-301 $25.99 ~ PT-501 $49.99 ~
Tcisa optional power supply for the PT-301 $27.98 (Amazon)
(Note: Available under different brand names/same model No.)
GADGETEER’s RATING: ★★★★★
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Graphic credits: Google Images & Manufacturer
Bob Skidmore is a freelance writer, who may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org, or followed at twitter.com/bskidmore for the latest gadget industry news. He does not represent, or endorse any of the products he reviews and his opinions are solely his points of view and not those of the manufacturer, or any legal resource. The manufacturer generally supplies products and press releases at no cost for the articles and no other compensation is received. THE GADGETEER is highly selective as to products he feels worthy of review so as not to waste the reader’s time, thus the reason for many superior ratings.
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