Each RTG had a total weight of 37.7 kg including about 4.5 kg of Pu-238. It uses 24 pressed plutonium-238 oxide spheres and provides enough heat to generate approximately 157 watts of electrical power initially - halving every 87.7 years.
Each RTG generated about 2400 Watts of thermal power. Conversion of the decay heat of the plutonium to electrical power used 312 silicon-germanium (SiGe) thermoelectric couples. The initial thermoelectric couple hot junction temperature was 1273 K (1832 °F) with a cold junction temperature of 573 K (572 °F).
Each Voyager spacecraft has 3 RTGs. Collectively, the RTGs supplied each Voyager spacecraft with 470 watts at launch.
RTG heat source unit
RTG diagram 1
Subsequent US spacecraft used the GPHS-RTG which used similar SiGe thermoelectic devices but a different packaging of the fuel.
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- "Space Nuclear Power" G.L.Bennett 2006
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- "VOYAGER 2:Host Information". NASA. 1989. Retrieved January 2, 2011.
- "Voyager 2 Craft Details". NASA-NSSDC-Spacecraft-Details. NASA. Retrieved March 9, 2011.