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A complete design of a compact precision and fast thermoelectric cooler (TEC) controller with a parallel port connection to a personal computer (PC), using a pulse width modulation technique by a dedicated smart driver, and digital control designed using very high-speed integrated circuit hardware description language is presented. The design allows replacement of the PC with an “on board” embedded microcontroller. This circuit is demonstrated as a TEC controller for a high-speed electro-optical modulator. © 2003 American Institute of Physics.