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Passive solar heating panel plans

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Posted by Morris Dovey on February 8, 2011, 3:16 pm
As most of the regulars in both newsgroups know, I developed passive
solar heating panels


and sold them on-line until October 2010 to fund R&D of solar engines


Now that I've become physically unable to produce the panels myself, I'm
considering making a How-To available for others to build them.


Just putting together a good set of plans for someone else to work from
will take a fair amount of time and attention away from other efforts,
so I'd like to invite anyone who has a serious interest to let me know
using the "Feedback" button on the bottom of that page. If there isn't
enough interest I won't waste my time.

Warning: The project isn't as easy as it might seem at first glance -
and all dimensions are critical.

Morris Dovey

Posted by Jim Wilkins on February 8, 2011, 4:24 pm

My interest waned when the local plastic panel supplier quoted about
$ per square foot. I have some of the much cheaper HD/Lowe's panels
outside on roofs for long-term durability testing. So far the clear
PVC panels failed, Suntuf polycarbonate has held up pretty well to
heavy snow and falling branches but hazed over somewhat.

Instead of the galvanized panel screws that rust I used stainless with
washers punched from old inner tubes.


Posted by Morris Dovey on February 8, 2011, 4:58 pm
 On 2/8/2011 10:24 AM, Jim Wilkins wrote:

I used Polygal(tm) 6mm twinwall polycarbonate (sold as a roofing
product) and have had excellent results. I have a 30 year old scrap from
my first Minnesota project of similar 1/4" GE material that still looks
brand new. I think you'd have to look pretty hard to improve much on
that $/ft^2.

I used stainless steel wherever I could (except on the trim, where I
used 1/8" aluminum). Even the pop rivets used to secure my absorber were
stainless. By the end of production I was even using stainless steel
"paint" to protect from UV, moisture, and cellulose-eaters. :)

I've heard too many stories of panels being junked after only five or
ten years of service. We all like to keep costs down, but sometimes it
really does make sense to 'spend what it takes' to do a quality job.

Morris Dovey

Posted by Jim Rojas on February 8, 2011, 4:39 pm
 Morris Dovey wrote:

I have seen a similar design that uses aluminum cans to create the air
flow. It is an interesting design.

Jim Rojas

Posted by Morris Dovey on February 8, 2011, 5:27 pm
 On 2/8/2011 10:39 AM, Jim Rojas wrote:

<grin> If you have, the similarity ended with the box. The bad news is
that an aluminum can collector _can't_ be efficient for space heating.

Morris Dovey

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