Simple Solar Projects

dlpz Posted By dlpz, Jul 31, 2008 at 3:48 AM

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  1. dlpz

    dlpz
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    Sep 14, 2006
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    I'm not in the position to turn over my hot water to solar or get off the grid, but am looking for some simple solar projects to learn more and how it all works. For example was watching a show about a guy who had a trolling motor hooked to a canoe and used a solar panel to charge the battery, that's more my speed. I thought maybe a panel to charge a battery to run a blower on a wood stove would be handy.

    Any ideas on links to projects or learning material?
     
  2. DaveM195352

    DaveM195352
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    Jul 12, 2008
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    Try this website.... it's about the best I've found for DIY Solar projects.

    www.builditsolar.com

    lots and lots of projects there - from the most simple to the huge.

    have fun

    Dave from Maine
     
  3. Adios Pantalones

    Adios Pantalones
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    May 20, 2008
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    Dave- that's a pretty cool site! I like that they have "half" plans- trying to make it more accessible and manageable to get into.
     
  4. Catskill

    Catskill
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    Jul 23, 2008
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    At the moment I'm making my shed all solar (lights, air compressor, ventalation fan). It's a blast... I've become a real alternative energy junky.
     
  5. Telco

    Telco
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    Feb 14, 2008
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    Could go off the wall and make a solar heated tumble dryer, you'd need a means to heat water, then a means to circulate it within the airflow of a natural gas dryer (to use a 110 plug). Was thinking that a few automotive heater cores built in a box that would replace the air heater box that came on the dryer would do the trick. It would mean running the dryer outside if you wanted to avoid the plumbing.
     
  6. The Dali Lima

    The Dali Lima
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    Oct 22, 2007
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    Dave - cool site! Just checked it out... a lot of great idea.
     
  7. DaveM195352

    DaveM195352
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    Jul 12, 2008
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    glad you guys are finding the Builditsolar.com site a good one. Like I suggested above, it by far has the widest range of projects I have found. Something for everyones budget and abilities.

    I started off planning to build a batch Solar hot water pre-heater for my DHW. But have now switched to cobbling together a better system. Lucked out and found some used panels and the big thing, was finding an indirect storage tank with a built in heat exchanger - found that a few weeks ago, so now I'm committed to working on the project. Currently spending about 200 gallons a year on hot water, and I hope to at least half that with my solar system. We'll see.

    feel free to keep this thread going with solar questions and suggestions.

    Dave from Maine
     
  8. dbjc364

    dbjc364
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    Nov 22, 2008
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    This morning, we finally get to start building our first "Solar Air Heat Collector". the first of 4 to be built. Build it solar".com is a great site- and pretty good instructions. We have no doubts, this will greatly reduce our heating $$'s.
     
  9. DaveM195352

    DaveM195352
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    Jul 12, 2008
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    hey, dbjc364 - I see your in central Maine....
    I'm in Belgrade, ME.
    keep us informed how your doing... would love to share ideas.

    dave
     
  10. BucksCoBernie

    BucksCoBernie
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    Oct 8, 2008
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    I have to go back to the drawing board for mine...max heat output is only 80F degrees...not the 110+F ive been seeing on youtube. Mine's just a frame w cardboard painted black w a poly window insulation kit. I keep mine on the window sill inside the house instead of putting it outside and piping the air inside.

    keep us posted how yours turns out.
     
  11. dbjc364

    dbjc364
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    Nov 22, 2008
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    Hey- thats not that bad for an inside one! With the bad weather- we got delayed-having to go outside and pick up the last of the stray stuff and get it under cover. The good news is Jim found a temperature register blower thing for the air vent-that will also look nice in the living room.He says he thinks he can order that today-so long as I forego the lobster for December..no problem. Making sure the budget can handle it-$60.Just for ***** & giggles last winter as an experiment-I put plastic on a plate glass window and cut a top hole and bottom-so it was like a box. I had very warm air coming out,and thats all I did to it.I definitely think it would have been much better if I had done the real thing- but didnt want to lose my nice view for the winter-but with scraps I can think about a temporary inside one for next winter.We have begun testing with the Kill-A-Watt machine-trying to get a grip on this light bill-as heating & lights are the biggest money suckers for us. The materials are sitting there off to the side,whenever he is ready to start it this week.We're right next door to you-Skowhegan,and Jim travels thru Belgrade almost daily for work in Augusta. A real nice area.
     
  12. DaveM195352

    DaveM195352
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    Jul 12, 2008
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    Hi... you'll be amazed what the Kill-A-Watt will show you. I bought one in August and have been trying around many places in the house. I originally throught my refridg was getting old and bad, but after a week, the KillAWatt only showed a monthly cost of $3.50. So, it saved me the cost of a new refridge. One of the big things they talk about, it putting all your computer gear, printer and etc on a electrical strip and turning off EVERYTHING when not in use. On my laptop system and etc - KillA Watt was showing an annual average of over $5.50 a month. Now I'm turning off and it's down to under $1.00.

    Anyway, on the solar front, you'll have fun with the heating panels. I have yet to try those. My experiments and plan is to first work on solar Domestic Hot water. I found two great panels on craigslist last summer, and just got a storage tank awhile back. so, now I need to work on the controls. I'll keep you informed

    Happy Thanksgiving to all.

    dave
     
  13. InTheRockies

    InTheRockies
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    Aug 15, 2008
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    It's a shame that solar panel technology, which experienced it's first heyday during the steep inflationary cycle produced by the oil embargo of the 1970s, hasn't become more affordable or efficient. In addition, battery technology remains an Achilles heel. I installed a solar system on an RV that I had owned--being so far north, the efficiency of the panels themselves wasn't as great. I also found deep cycle batteries a nuisance--they're more expensive and somewhat fragile (don't let them discharge too deeply or you'll reduce their lifespan). A lot more would have to be done to improve the technology of the panels and batteries before I'd invest in a solar system again. It seems you get a much better ROI with simpler technology like passive solar water heating, passive solar collection when designing a home or an addition (south-facing windows with solar collecting construction material like cement floors, etc.), good insulation and weather-proofing (caulk is our best friend), and frugal practices, like turning off lights, using power bars to eliminate phantom loads of "newer" electrical gadgets, heating with wood, etc.
     
  14. dbjc364

    dbjc364
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    Nov 22, 2008
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    Well-it seems my laptop is doing pretty good -coming in at $3.05 per month- but I'll retrain myself to shutting it off in between now. The new fridge is costing $4.55 a month- so I expect the new freezer to be about the same. We're pretty sure we've found the culprit-Hot Water Tank-a new one too- read the yellow tag- costing $64.00 a month to run -I quess that baby is going back on a timer soon as we get to a store-this weekend I hope.,as the old one died. Today-after he replaces an old electric line & outlet-and fixes a computor problem, we're about to start building the solar air collector. :) oh- sunny days...
     
  15. awoodman

    awoodman
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    Dec 4, 2008
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    Loc:
    K.C. Missouri
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