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Thread: Poor Man's Cleardeck -- Diameter of solar cover when reeled?

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    Poor Man's Cleardeck -- Diameter of solar cover when reeled?

    New IG 18x36 breaking ground in a month....

    I love the ClearDeck. Hate the price. So I came up with an alternative. If I have my PB put a concrete trough along the deep end, between the wall and the diving board, about 16" wide and deep, I'll have an area where a low profile reel could fit. (I might have to build it myself). With a small ledge built into the top of the trough, I could lay some deck panels..maybe four of them 5' wide, that could cover the trough whenever the cover was reeled in. Presto -- poor man's cleardeck. A slight improvement even..I'd leave the bottom concrete free, and lay in 4" of gravel for drainage of any runoff that accompanies the cover on it's way in. I'd need either a right angle mechanism, like the cleardeck, or even a small motor could help me reel the thing up.

    A couple of crude renderings:

    [attachment=1:1fuprnm5]Pool Reel Idea 2.png[/attachment:1fuprnm5]
    [attachment=0:1fuprnm5]Pool Reel Idea.png[/attachment:1fuprnm5]

    So, TFP readers, two questions:

    1) Why won't this work?
    2) I am guessing that I can reel a 36' long cover in 16" square because cleardeck is 15" in diameter -- but I'd like independent confirmation. Anyone with a cover that long or longer that can tell me the diameter of the cover when it's reeled up? Please include the diameter of your reel axle if possible. Any engineer types like me with a micrometer or calipers..can you tell me how thick your cover is (not the sheet thickness, the overall thickness including the 'bubbles' -- I'm guessing around .250" or so?)

    Thanks

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Poor Man's Cleardeck -- Diameter of solar cover when ree

    Looks intriguing. Not really sure how you will be able to "turn the crank" of a reel down in the trough.

    Can't help with any of your questions, but approve of your ambition.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
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    Re: Poor Man's Cleardeck -- Diameter of solar cover when ree

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle
    Looks intriguing. Not really sure how you will be able to "turn the crank" of a reel down in the trough.
    If you look at the way cleardeck actuates, they insert a crank rod at a right angle to the reel, which probably has a bevel gear system to get the reel moving. I could rig something like that up, or I could hook up a small motor.

    [attachment=0:29npidae]cleardeck actuation.png[/attachment:29npidae]

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: Poor Man's Cleardeck -- Diameter of solar cover when ree

    I was going to suggest a gearing system to do just that as I was not familiar with the cleardeck system.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
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    Re: Poor Man's Cleardeck -- Diameter of solar cover when ree

    If you have the cover in your possession, try rolling it up in some 4" pvc to get a feel of what your up against. Obviously you are not going to use PVC for your reel, it will have to be aluminum or steel tubing so I would think that (just guessing here) that you may want to increase your size to 18".

    If you make your ditch a bit longer on one side you should have room to add a handle to manually crank it in or DIY your bevel/gear system to work.

    If nothing else, get enough cover material to make 36' length (maybe foot wide) and see how big around that puppy gets.

    Bob E.

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    Mod Squad JohnT's Avatar
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    Re: Poor Man's Cleardeck -- Diameter of solar cover when ree

    I have a 20X36. My cover is about a foot in diameter on the reel, but you'll need to allow for some sag in the reel in the middle for a commercial cover reel. 3 or 4 inches is probably what mine sags. You'll need a very smooth edge for the cover to ride on. It takes a lot of force to pull the cover off of the reel, and when you take a couple of turns off you'll be fighting friction.

    Unless the Cleardeck approaches what an auto cover sells for, I'd be surprised if you save any trying to do it yourself.
    TFP Moderator
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    Re: Poor Man's Cleardeck -- Diameter of solar cover when ree

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnT
    3 or 4 inches is probably what mine sags.
    For a 70lb cover, distributed over 20' in length, on a 4" OD / 3.75" ID aluminum tube, I calculate 0.3" of deflection at the middle. Is the sag from the ends splaying inward? Or? From what I read on line 70lbs is a conservative estimate but please correct me if I'm wrong.

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnT
    You'll need a very smooth edge for the cover to ride on. It takes a lot of force to pull the cover off of the reel, and when you take a couple of turns off you'll be fighting friction.
    I agree with the smooth edge part.I have an idea about rounding over the concrete, or even building a roller into the trough. But I wonder if the force you experience is related to the sag you cite, above?

    Quote Originally Posted by JohnT
    Unless the Cleardeck approaches what an auto cover sells for, I'd be surprised if you save any trying to do it yourself.
    It's just short of $3K. I think it would take about 0.4 yards of concrete ($100 tops?) beyond what I'd need if I had no trough. I think fabricating my own reel can be done for under $500, motorized, and the deck to cover it -- maybe $250 if I do it in something fancy like ipe. So I think this is a sub $1,000 project -- not discounting for the fact that I'd have to buy a reel anyway for $300-$500.

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