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Thread: My DIY solar collector

  1. Back To Top    #1

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Johannesburg, South Africa
    Posts
    2

    My DIY solar collector

    My first post!

    I thought I would introduce myself by showing some pics of my home made solar collector.
    Due to the prohibitive cost of a collector here in South Africa, about $300, I decided to make my own using UV resistant irrigation pipes. The system is manual for now until I can find a controller that I can import from the states.

    The small piping is 4mm spaced 4cm apart. the main black pipe is 40mm. You can see the vacuum breaker in this photo



    Here is a close up of the header pipe showing the barbed fittings in the header pipe with the smaller irrigation pipes pushed over it.



    A collector is 1.3x3m and contains 32 tubes. I have 8 of these collectors joined together. You will notice that the collectors are not screwed down as we do not have any wind issues here in Johannesburg.



    Here are the feed and return pipes running up to the roof. I've only attached a manual control valve and a pressure gauge to see how much pressure I'm putting into the collectors. On this photo you can see the top of the non return valve just below the pressure gauge. Originally I had it in the wrong place further up the pipe, you can see the small piece of PVC pipe where I took it out.



    I've only started using the collectors on Sunday afternoon and I've managed to increase my pool temp from 21.5c to 27.9c in only 2 days! I must say I'm very chuffed with the performance. According to the temp sensor I've installed at the return pipe near the pool, the max water temp on the return was 41.8c! Hopefully by the weekend the pool will be 30c, seeing as we are expecting a heatwave before then. There are no leaks where the barbed fittings go into the header pipe. The only leak I could see was the vacuum breaker but I suppose that's because it is lying on it's side, and it only drips a little bit when the breaker opens.

    So, if you are reading this and want to build your own, don't be discouraged, you can definitely build your own and while it may not be as effective as the commercial versions, it certainly does work.

    Now, can anybody recommend an automated system with a motorized valve that will be able to control my pump as well, I would really appreciate it!

    Thanks for reading!

  2. Back To Top    #2
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    May 2007
    Location
    Silver Spring, MD
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    37,879

    Re: My DIY solar collector

    The GoldLine GL-235-LV-HV is an excellent basic solar controller with a high voltage relay to control the pump. There are also many fancier systems that include additional features, but that is the best of the basic systems.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  3. Back To Top    #3

    Join Date
    Nov 2011
    Location
    Johannesburg, South Africa
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    2

    Re: My DIY solar collector

    Thanks Jason. I will have a look. Are you referring to this?

    http://shop.solardirect.com/product_inf ... cts_id=216

  4. Back To Top    #4
    JasonLion's Avatar
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    May 2007
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    Silver Spring, MD
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    37,879

    Re: My DIY solar collector

    Yes, that looks right.

    Most people sell it without the high voltage relay (GL-235-LV), so it is a little tricky to shop for, but you should be able to find it for a bit less than that if you look for a while.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

  5. Back To Top    #5

    Join Date
    Feb 2011
    Location
    Mesa, AZ
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    30

    Re: My DIY solar collector

    I can't see the pictures. IS there a link?
    30K gal, stained plaster, 1 HP Hayward pump, Hayward Pro Series sand filter, Protein/carbon fiber actuated digit with calcium fortified support substructure cleaning system.

  6. Back To Top    #6
    JasonLion's Avatar
    Join Date
    May 2007
    Location
    Silver Spring, MD
    Posts
    37,879

    Re: My DIY solar collector

    They this link.
    19K gal, vinyl, 1/2 HP WhisperFlo pump, 200 sqft cartridge filter, AutoPilot Digital SWG, Dolphin Dynamic cleaning robot
    Creator of PoolMath and Pool Calculator. Other handy links: Support this site, TF Test Kits, Pool School

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