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Any new solar projects lately? Answered

Is anybody planning any cool solar experiments/projects around the house this year? I want to make a solar water heater; picked up two nice large double-paned sliding glass doors at spring clean-up this year. That's all I have for now; I still need pipes, valves, and extras. I'm definately taking pictures for an Instructable.

Tags:solar

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gaiatechnician (author)2008-06-16

I think i can make a heliostat. i finally got the idea last night on the bus how to do it. It will not be computer controlled. Have any of you done this before? I will try just aiming into a dark window first and then if it works ok a concentrating one might be next. And then the rooftop mini solar power towers can happen! Brian.

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Just a note that an initial test model of the heliostat performed well in practice and an incomplete instructable is now available.

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That would be fun! I can just see it, residential solar towers with supplemental wind generators on top.

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morepowerr (author)2008-06-17

I have a few things I have been thinking about trying. #1 is a cheap solar dish. Needed: 1. Good size poster board or any good size flexible cardboard. 2. Some spray adhesive. 3. An Emergency Blanket (reflective type). 4. Wire clothes hanger. 5. Solar cell ( like from garden light ). 6. Tape. Long story short make a reflective cardboard dish to focus light on the solar cell. 2. Was to make a 5-6 LED house lamp that runs on rechargeable AA battery and a solar cell you can suction cup to a window. But i have hard time getting any ware to get the needed part to test these things. Maybe someone can try them and post.

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robbtoberfest (author)morepowerr2008-06-17

Can you focus the light without cooking the plastic solar cell housing?

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morepowerr (author)robbtoberfest2008-06-18

That is one thing I have been trying to work on. Need to test it at different lathes. To much focus on one spot will burn. To little will not increase the cell output. But then these solar cell output may be capped in some way. If that is true it will not matter how much sun you give it.

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guyfrom7up (author)2008-04-23

my school is having a solar hybrid car challenge where you build little cars (about the size of a shoebox) that run both off of 9volt batteries and solar panels.

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guyfrom7up (author)guyfrom7up2008-06-17

oh, btw out car won 1st place in engineering and design 2nd place in hill climb and another award i forget overall we had the 2nd best car there

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robbtoberfest (author)guyfrom7up2008-04-24

That sounds fun! Are you going to take pics and make an Instructables slide show?

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Kiteman (author)robbtoberfest2008-04-24

Never mind a slide-show, he can do a full 'ible.

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gaiatechnician (author)2008-05-19

I have the 2 bucket dripper tracker, the clock based tracker, the tracking solar accumulating barbecue project, the mechanical mathematician. It should be easy and worthwhile to make an instructable on any of them. Especially the trackers! A clock based tracker can improve the output from a 100 dollar solar panel by 20%. Thats a lot! It could also be used to keep a box or funnel solar cooker positioned facing the sun all day. Very useful because you can have boiling water in the cooker for when you want to make tea or soup from early in the morning. Brian

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It looks like it can be built without the clock; just pulleys and a calibrated drip.

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I have done the calibrated drip without the clock. The clock lends itself to automation, the dripper less so. In theory, the clock or stepper motor based one should be much more repeatable, the clock based one also just needs the string to be looped around the clock gear twice to be reset for the next morning. That is very simple to do. The calibrated drip needs to be repointed at the sun every day. Sometimes the sun is hidden by clouds when i get up in the morning. so allround, the clock should be better (as long as it is sturdy enough). I dropped the first one numerous times and I cracked the housing and probably a little cog. It doesnt work anymore. I bought another clock and have tried a slightly different procedure. This one is made in a different place but the cogs seem almost identical

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I'd like to see the clock based tracker.

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I have a little video (poor quality) on utube
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vL14kpcR8yw
The clock lowers a pipe that decides tghe turn rate for an equatorial mount. Clock turns at 30 degrees per hour, Mount turns at 15 degrees so all you need is a wheel on the clock that is half the diameter of the wheel on the equatorial mount.
I guess this is an indirect drive. the 2 floats are a great wind buffer.
I hope to make an instructable too.
Brian

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Patrik (author)gaiatechnician2008-05-19

Sounds great - go for it! :-)

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Goodhart (author)2008-04-24

The only "solar" project I have been involved with recently revolves around my getting "just the right amount of sun" and not too much (I have found out I am prone to skin cancers *sigh*). I can't just sun block heavily, I depend on the Vit. D. But I can't go completely unprotected either, not even for a minute or two. The balance is hard to work out...

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killerjackalope (author)Goodhart2008-05-14

haha, swarthy wins again, though I don't have to worry as much about protection I have to get checks on moles and freckles, all of them are heriditary but some suspicious, it's wierd, I'm an exact map of my fathers freckles, apart from the odd one missing from scars...

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Point was there I know the whole worry thing, got to go to le doctor about a few and to check before summer hits properly... on the downside, you can sunburn, I can burn myself, in Italy I fell asleep in the sun with my arms up and woke, put on on my stomach and burnt the more sensitive underside of my arm... How that works i'll never know...

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Goodhart (author)killerjackalope2008-05-14

I know I have no longer the 15-20 minutes in the sun unprotected before I start to burn....sunny or cloudy....anyways, I have gone to the derm doc every 4-6 months to have more carcinomas burned, frozen, or in the one case "surgically removed". That scar, which is on my back, still bothers me a year later.

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killerjackalope (author)Goodhart2008-05-14

I have a suspect, what was a mole on my head, just in behind the hairline, meaning shaving if it's a bad egg...

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Gjdj3 (author)2008-05-14

I'm finishing up my Solar Powered Fan for the Green contest. I'm excited! It's almost done!

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