A design method for the thermoelectric cooling system is improved in this work based on a graphical approach. It is used to select an appropriate thermoelectric cooler (TEC) and determine the value of optimum input current. Theoretical analysis has been conducted to investigate the cooling performance of the system using the design method. Numerical simulation and experimental tests for the entire cooling system validate the calculation result, which indicates the high reliability of the theoretical design method. The temperature dependence of the heat sink resistance and the contact resistance are the major reasons for the small discrepancy. Research is then conducted based on the design method to investigate how a thermoelectric cooling system under natural convection performs, where the optimization of heat sinks at hot side of TEC is done by using the generalized correlations in the previous studies. Comparison is made between the thermoelectric cooling system and the bare-heat-sink system under natural convection. Results show that the thermal resistance of the heat sink attached to TEC is critical to the cooling performance of the whole system. Besides, TEC under natural convection can perform better than the passive cooling if the heat load is not very high (qc20,000W/m2). The design process and results can provide a useful guidance for other thermal engineers.

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