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Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Getting hot water from solar cells that make electric is really a task because it takes so much electric and not all
but most of us are on somewhat of a solar budget. I need to stay under $2000 and do as much as I can.
I was looking at this on youtube and got thinking why not bypass the the solar cells and use the straight power of the sun to heat water? Moving it around with a 12 volt pump does not take much electric from the solar batteries.
It's the heating of the water that's the trick. Rather than one big magnifying glass what if there were 4 or 5 smaller ones pointed at a low profile drum? Even in the winter when it's cold you could have 15 - 20 gallons boiling water in 10 minutes ,,,, Take a look at this and toss out some ideas. I have a and projects I'm working on and this could make the list. I see a lot of raw power and potential here. Done right this idea could make a hands off trouble free hot water heater. So toss out your ideas,,Even if you only have a part of the plan or one part that might help build
it,,,,lets hear it. Just keep it simple. Just think hot water when you need it without building a fire or anything
and have it setup so it's ready to go at all times
 

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Nice science fair project. You will find most solar hot water devices are more trouble than they are worth. The work best when you least need hot water.
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
I don't know about that,, When I was a kid I melted a lot of plastic soldiers with a magnifying glass in the dead of winter
lots of cool stuff we have now once were just science fair stuff. I could see this working at below 0
 

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You didn't state a budget but here are some ideas


This next video is for a solar air heater, but at about 7 minutes in he shows a prototype that incorporates copper tubes to heat water.

 

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Rather than use a "water lens" you can buy plastic freshnell lenses at the local office supply store. They are "page magnifiers" and are lenses stamped into a sheet of plastic. I have used these lenses to heat iron red hot for forging and you could make some solar heating panels using them. At least that way you could track the sun and not have to move your heat tube as the sun moved across the sky. The other way to do it is to use strips of mirrors reflecting concentrated heat at a tube to heat water.

Not to discourage you but you are not going to get "gallons of water in minutes from a solar heater - not even a commercial unit.
 

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I saw some linear fresnel lenses on eBay awhile back and was gonna buy some, but there are a lot of technical considerations to that sort of solar collection. The main problem would be keeping the lenses 90 degrees to the sun, and if they aren't at 90 degrees, they don't focus the light where you want it. You would have to track the sun from morning to night, and also adjust for seasonal differences in sun angle. It can be done, but it turned out to be more trouble than it's worth to me.

Flat plate collectors are relatively easy to build, however, and worth a closer look. There are many kinds of flat plate collectors, but they mainly fall into 2 categories: drainback systems that use water to collect the heat directly, and systems that use liquids with a lower freezing point. These then use a liquid to liquid heat exchanger. Both types prevent the liquid from freezing in the winter, which could trash the whole system.

If you are planning on running some sort of wood burner to heat your house, consider making it a "*******" system. Just add copper coils to the back of the fireplace or on the backs or sides of your stove or around your chimney pipe and collect the excess heat that way. I saw a YouTube of a guy who was doing this, and his system didn't even need a pump, relying instead on convection to move the hot water. He used an old water heater for storage, so the hot water heater had the pressure relief valves you need to be safe.

Please post pics and details of whatever system you decide to use. I'll be looking for a solution too in a few months. :)
 
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