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Thread: Fafco Sunsaver Solar Panels - Same Side Feed and Return?

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    Fafco Sunsaver Solar Panels - Same Side Feed and Return?

    I picked up 5 - 4' x 12' & 2 - 4' x 8' Fafco Sunsaver Solar Panels with 2" Headers from Craigslist that I will be self installing. I'm doing research online and read typically you do opposite end feed and returns. I have read that a benefit of the Sunsaver with 2" headers are same side feed and return up to a certain amount panels.

    Is this true? Should I install with same side feed and return? That would be much easier and less pipe to mount to the roof.

    Thanks!
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    banditig's Avatar
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    Re: Fafco Sunsaver Solar Panels - Same Side Feed and Return?

    I never could figure out what the difference was. I only had 2 4x20 and worked good. Too much wind here in Ohio ripped lag bolts right out.
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    Re: Fafco Sunsaver Solar Panels - Same Side Feed and Return?

    The goal is to have the water entering at the footer, being pushed up and exiting the header. From opposite side you get greater resistance and the water is forced up every tiny tube in each panel, connected in line. Then warm water exits opposite end.

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Fafco Sunsaver Solar Panels - Same Side Feed and Return?

    All of the solar panel diagrams I have seen recommend water entering at the bottom and exiting at the top on the opposite side to make sure the panels are completely filled and eliminate the water taking the path of least resistance. Pics of my solar install are in my build thread, link in sig.
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    Re: Fafco Sunsaver Solar Panels - Same Side Feed and Return?

    These panels have block off plates in the headers that force the water from one end to the other, if installing multiple panels you should try to remove all but one of these block offs if you are doing same end return to maximize parallel water flow, or remove all of them if doing corner to corner flow.
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    Re: Fafco Sunsaver Solar Panels - Same Side Feed and Return?

    The header is the tube with 2 ports correct? And the other end has a port on bottom? I tried reversing the flow and it didn't seem like it had any different temperature. But after reading some threads here I think my pump was maybe pushing too much flow. I cut up the first panel that tore and put it under the one that remained intact. I had that one last longer.
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    Re: Fafco Sunsaver Solar Panels - Same Side Feed and Return?

    It is hard to have too much flow through solar panels unless it is so much that you are building back pressure and possibly damaging them, ideally you want to heat a lot of water just a little bit vs heating a little water a lot, more often the problem is too little flow through the panels. As a rule of thumb you don't want the output water to be more than a couple of degrees higher than the input water for most economical heating. I know this goes against so called common sense.
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    Re: Fafco Sunsaver Solar Panels - Same Side Feed and Return?

    Quote Originally Posted by Isaac-1 View Post
    These panels have block off plates in the headers that force the water from one end to the other, if installing multiple panels you should try to remove all but one of these block offs if you are doing same end return to maximize parallel water flow, or remove all of them if doing corner to corner flow.
    Is there a top and bottom with these panels? If so how do I know which way is up?

    The block off plates are they only in the top header or the bottom as well? Will I see it when I look through the header? These are used panels so I don't know if they are there or missing.
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    banditig's Avatar
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    Re: Fafco Sunsaver Solar Panels - Same Side Feed and Return?

    I didnt know they had block off plates. Mine had a white drain plug on the opposite end, that goes on the bottom.
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    Re: Fafco Sunsaver Solar Panels - Same Side Feed and Return?

    I believe the Falcons solar bear has the diverted valve. Pretty simple if these do as well. Run them in line, open the valves so the water flows along the whole footer. Entering on one end, then exiting on the opposite end of the header.

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    Fafco Sunsaver Solar Panels - Same Side Feed and Return?

    ImageUploadedByTapatalk1449714614.931433.jpg

    Would this schematic be ok? I was planning on making the 3-way valve leaky by drilling a small hole when it is closed to the solar for draining.

    I do have a variable speed pump. Where would be the best place be for the vacuum release?

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    Mod Squad pooldv's Avatar
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    Re: Fafco Sunsaver Solar Panels - Same Side Feed and Return?

    Yes, that diagram is great. There are pics of my solar install in my build thread, link in sig. It is installed just like that diagram. Vacuum release valve should be installed at the opposite end of the bottom header from the water inlet. Mine is on the upper header opposite of the water outlet, but I have since learned it is better to have it lower. Just haven't moved it yet.
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    Re: Fafco Sunsaver Solar Panels - Same Side Feed and Return?

    The way fafco plumbs their panels with the feed and return on the same side creates cavitation on the opposite side of the system resulting in the far panels going bad (usually, in my experience) how they should be plumbed for example: feed on bottom of one side, return on top of opposite side, vacuum relief goes on top opposite of return. If you're getting bubbles with the system on that means there's not enough flow and the vacuum relief is not closing properly and drawing air into the system, so ramp up your flow. A solar touch auto control in conjuction with a communication cable for your variable speed is optimum. Meaning you can run it at low speed when the solar is not on and when the solar kicks on it will ramp your pump speed to whatever your needs are under external control program 2

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    Re: Fafco Sunsaver Solar Panels - Same Side Feed and Return?

    Did you ever figure out if you headers had "block off plates" in them? Looking to buy some used panels myself and confused if they will swap in with my current ones. I posted some photos here: Help With These Fafco Solar Panels
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