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Thread: New Sungrabber Solar Panels - Let the summer begin!

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    jimsky's Avatar
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    New Sungrabber Solar Panels - Let the summer begin!

    Yesterday was the first real full day running my pool with my new solar panels. My old ones got damaged in Hurricane Sandy along with my roof. State Farm paid for a new roof and panels. I did all the work myself as I installed the originals solar panels. The new strap tie down system is a great improvements over the older metal brackets.

    A separate 3/4 HP pump is controlled by a self designed solar controller. The whole solar system is independent of the filter system. If adequate sun hits the solar controller sensor the pump is turned on. If it gets very cloudy or if it's a rainy day the pump will not be turned on. A bypass switch allows me to shut off the pump if the pool gets too hot. Yesterday it ran for close to 6 hours the pool went from 72 to 78 degrees. Today is another sunny day...should push the pool into the 80's.

    Heat my pool and cool the house all by driving a meager 3/4 HP motor...priceless!
    Attached Images Attached Images
    19,200 Vinyl IG, Hayward 1HP Super Pump, Hayward DE-2400 Filter, Stenner 45MHP10 with 15 gallon tank, Dolphin Nautilus, Roof Mounted SunGrabber Solar Panels with separate 3/4HP pump and self-designed solar pump controller. Stand alone 4 person MasterSpa hot tub.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New Sungrabber Solar Panels - Let the summer begin!

    Did you use non pressure rated drain sweep pipe fittings? Not recommended although the pressure is pretty low up there.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
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    Re: New Sungrabber Solar Panels - Let the summer begin!

    Yeah, a friend pointed out to me I used some non-pressure fittings. I'm not concerned as all that PVC plumbing has been on the roof for over 10 years with no problems at all in use with my old panels.
    19,200 Vinyl IG, Hayward 1HP Super Pump, Hayward DE-2400 Filter, Stenner 45MHP10 with 15 gallon tank, Dolphin Nautilus, Roof Mounted SunGrabber Solar Panels with separate 3/4HP pump and self-designed solar pump controller. Stand alone 4 person MasterSpa hot tub.

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    Re: New Sungrabber Solar Panels - Let the summer begin!

    Wow! looks great. How about some details on your self designed solar controller. I'm looking for a simple system for my panels i'm putting in.

    skeeter

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    Re: New Sungrabber Solar Panels - Let the summer begin!

    The solar pump controller is very simple. A typical “photo sensor” that you can get at Home Depot is designed to turn power ON when it gets dark. In a solar panel application you want the opposite, when it’s dark = No Power, bright sunlight = Power. So the night time ON sensor would work, it’s just backwards to control a solar pump. So my whole solar controller fundamentally consists of a night time photo sensor and a good power relay rated to switch the HP pump I’m using.

    Basically the photo sensor drives the relay coil. When there is bright light out the photo sensor sees this and the relay is NOT powered. The relay has a set of normally open, normally closed and common set of contacts. I use the normally closed and the common to apply power to my solar pump. So when there is sunlight the pump runs.

    As the sunlight drops off the photo sensor sees that night time is coming. It applies power to the relay coil. The relay changes states and the normally closed set of contacts opens and the pump turns off. The pump stays off while it is dark. As sun light returns the next day, the photo sensor de-energizes the relay coil and the pump turns on again.

    I “calibrated” my photo sensor by covering a portion of the photo sensor. I got mine setup so if it’s cloudy the pump will turn off. The sensor has about 5 minutes of hysteresis by design…which is perfect so you are not banging the pump on and off. If it’s rainy with no bright sunlight, the pump doesn’t even turn on. On a real good sunny day (no clouds) the pump will turn on at 9:00am and shut off around 3:00pm.

    I used an outside electrical box I got at Home Depot. The photo sensor sticks out of the box and is designed to be in the elements. The relay and an outlet with a bypass switch is inside the box on one side covered by a code saver waterproof cover. A length of heavy line cord connects the box to a power source, the pump plugs into the box. Mount box in sunlight similar to what you solar panel sees and you are done. The same controller has been working for over 10 years for me.
    19,200 Vinyl IG, Hayward 1HP Super Pump, Hayward DE-2400 Filter, Stenner 45MHP10 with 15 gallon tank, Dolphin Nautilus, Roof Mounted SunGrabber Solar Panels with separate 3/4HP pump and self-designed solar pump controller. Stand alone 4 person MasterSpa hot tub.

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    Re: New Sungrabber Solar Panels - Let the summer begin!

    Quote Originally Posted by jimsky View Post
    The solar pump controller is very simple. A typical “photo sensor” that you can get at Home Depot is designed to turn power ON when it gets dark. In a solar panel application you want the opposite, when it’s dark = No Power, bright sunlight = Power. So the night time ON sensor would work, it’s just backwards to control a solar pump. So my whole solar controller fundamentally consists of a night time photo sensor and a good power relay rated to switch the HP pump I’m using.

    Basically the photo sensor drives the relay coil. When there is bright light out the photo sensor sees this and the relay is NOT powered. The relay has a set of normally open, normally closed and common set of contacts. I use the normally closed and the common to apply power to my solar pump. So when there is sunlight the pump runs.

    As the sunlight drops off the photo sensor sees that night time is coming. It applies power to the relay coil. The relay changes states and the normally closed set of contacts opens and the pump turns off. The pump stays off while it is dark. As sun light returns the next day, the photo sensor de-energizes the relay coil and the pump turns on again.

    I “calibrated” my photo sensor by covering a portion of the photo sensor. I got mine setup so if it’s cloudy the pump will turn off. The sensor has about 5 minutes of hysteresis by design…which is perfect so you are not banging the pump on and off. If it’s rainy with no bright sunlight, the pump doesn’t even turn on. On a real good sunny day (no clouds) the pump will turn on at 9:00am and shut off around 3:00pm.

    I used an outside electrical box I got at Home Depot. The photo sensor sticks out of the box and is designed to be in the elements. The relay and an outlet with a bypass switch is inside the box on one side covered by a code saver waterproof cover. A length of heavy line cord connects the box to a power source, the pump plugs into the box. Mount box in sunlight similar to what you solar panel sees and you are done. The same controller has been working for over 10 years for me.
    Looks like a nice system.. Now you have me thinking of doing a similar system. May I ask you how many square feet of collectors you have.. and what the approx cost of the system is less the pump and photo sensor?
    15k gal inground Viking fiberglass pool; Hayward Variable 1.5hp pump (Maxflo VS); Hayward swimclear 325 sg ft cartridge filter; Raypak 206A 199k btu nat gas heater; Aquabot Bravo robotic pool cleaner

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    Re: New Sungrabber Solar Panels - Let the summer begin!

    Each one of those panels is 2 foot wide by 20 foot long. I have 6 on the east side of the roof and 6 on the west side of the roof for a total of 12 panels. That comes up to 480 square feet, if I do something I tend to over do it. Only a couple of times with my old system did I have to shut off the heater...because the pool got to 92 degrees, just 10 degrees shy of my hot tub!

    I bought the panels on eBay they come two 2 foot wide panels to a box. A box costs about $200. I bought 6 boxes (12 panels) with shipping was around $1300. I bought real 3/4" heavy duty hold down straps...add $50. I bought industrial grade rubber hosing and cut it to length as the red panel joiners you see. Hose and about 60 good grade screw clamps...add $150. PVC plumbing...various Lowes/Home Depot.

    For less than the cost of gas heater I have a solar system that heats the pool and water cools the roof...all for a small 3/4 HP pump and I don't have to feed the heater gas...can't beat it!
    19,200 Vinyl IG, Hayward 1HP Super Pump, Hayward DE-2400 Filter, Stenner 45MHP10 with 15 gallon tank, Dolphin Nautilus, Roof Mounted SunGrabber Solar Panels with separate 3/4HP pump and self-designed solar pump controller. Stand alone 4 person MasterSpa hot tub.

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    Re: New Sungrabber Solar Panels - Let the summer begin!

    Quote Originally Posted by jimsky View Post
    Each one of those panels is 2 foot wide by 20 foot long. I have 6 on the east side of the roof and 6 on the west side of the roof for a total of 12 panels. That comes up to 480 square feet, if I do something I tend to over do it. Only a couple of times with my old system did I have to shut off the heater...because the pool got to 92 degrees, just 10 degrees shy of my hot tub!

    I bought the panels on eBay they come two 2 foot wide panels to a box. A box costs about $200. I bought 6 boxes (12 panels) with shipping was around $1300. I bought real 3/4" heavy duty hold down straps...add $50. I bought industrial grade rubber hosing and cut it to length as the red panel joiners you see. Hose and about 60 good grade screw clamps...add $150. PVC plumbing...various Lowes/Home Depot.

    For less than the cost of gas heater I have a solar system that heats the pool and water cools the roof...all for a small 3/4 HP pump and I don't have to feed the heater gas...can't beat it!
    Thanks for the info.. Do you think if I were to a 400 sq ft system I could get away with 1/2 hp pump? btw are you using something like an old 3/4 hp pool pump or other type of pump?
    15k gal inground Viking fiberglass pool; Hayward Variable 1.5hp pump (Maxflo VS); Hayward swimclear 325 sg ft cartridge filter; Raypak 206A 199k btu nat gas heater; Aquabot Bravo robotic pool cleaner

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    Re: New Sungrabber Solar Panels - Let the summer begin!

    I'm using a 3/4 HP Hayward pump that's intended for an above ground pool. Not sure about the 1/2 HP pump...how high will you be pumping up to the panels?
    19,200 Vinyl IG, Hayward 1HP Super Pump, Hayward DE-2400 Filter, Stenner 45MHP10 with 15 gallon tank, Dolphin Nautilus, Roof Mounted SunGrabber Solar Panels with separate 3/4HP pump and self-designed solar pump controller. Stand alone 4 person MasterSpa hot tub.

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    Re: New Sungrabber Solar Panels - Let the summer begin!

    Would love to see some pics of your pump setup. I have a 2hp vs pump, you think I could just use that instead of an additional pump?

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    Re: New Sungrabber Solar Panels - Let the summer begin!

    +1^^^^^
    Sharkline Reprieve 15x52 (3/14). Still using Intex 2650 Sand Filter with Hayward Power-Flo Matrix 3/4 HP pump (6/15). Solar Cover cut into strips for easy removal, (2) 2*10 Space Saver solar panels. Swim Jet HD Robot (by Aquabot) (3/15). Chlorine Liquidator (4 gal). 4 person hot tub. Hard pipe is the way to go for improved flow! Retired Lil Shark (3/15). Starite Max E Therm 333k BTU Propane Heater w/ 24 gal tank (7/15).

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    Re: New Sungrabber Solar Panels - Let the summer begin!

    3/4 horsepower Hayward, for above ground pools. I just use rubber hose and clamps as I put it away each season. The outlet side that is pushing up to the roof I used a combination hose/metal sleeve, it's been working for years.
    Attached Images Attached Images
    19,200 Vinyl IG, Hayward 1HP Super Pump, Hayward DE-2400 Filter, Stenner 45MHP10 with 15 gallon tank, Dolphin Nautilus, Roof Mounted SunGrabber Solar Panels with separate 3/4HP pump and self-designed solar pump controller. Stand alone 4 person MasterSpa hot tub.

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    Re: New Sungrabber Solar Panels - Let the summer begin!

    Quote Originally Posted by jimsky View Post
    I'm using a 3/4 HP Hayward pump that's intended for an above ground pool. Not sure about the 1/2 HP pump...how high will you be pumping up to the panels?
    from the ground to the highest point is 17 ft. Without going onto the roof, to do accurate measurement,s I estimated that I would like to build a collector about 15X 30 ft (facing south in full sun) If I go larger I would have to dodge skylights. Anyone sell poly collectors that come on a roll and you cut to desired length?
    15k gal inground Viking fiberglass pool; Hayward Variable 1.5hp pump (Maxflo VS); Hayward swimclear 325 sg ft cartridge filter; Raypak 206A 199k btu nat gas heater; Aquabot Bravo robotic pool cleaner

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    Re: New Sungrabber Solar Panels - Let the summer begin!

    Well my highest point is 19 feet, my 3/4 HP pump does a fine job. All I could recommend is try it and see.

    I know of no "cut to length" solar panels. The horizontal matt/tubing section must be connected to the vertical header/manifold on each side of the panel at the factory. Each panel is water pressure tested to check for leaks to assure everything is good. If you "cut it to length" there would be no header/manifold on one side; you would have no way of making connection to the panel. I think you must stick to the pre-made lengths that are commercially available.
    19,200 Vinyl IG, Hayward 1HP Super Pump, Hayward DE-2400 Filter, Stenner 45MHP10 with 15 gallon tank, Dolphin Nautilus, Roof Mounted SunGrabber Solar Panels with separate 3/4HP pump and self-designed solar pump controller. Stand alone 4 person MasterSpa hot tub.

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    Mod Squad jblizzle's Avatar
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    Re: New Sungrabber Solar Panels - Let the summer begin!

    Some manufacturers will make them to length ... sure to be a premium price.
    Jason, TFP Moderator
    18k IG pebblesheen pool, Hayward ProLogic P4 w/ T-15 SWG, Pentair 1HP 2-speed Superflo, Hayward 6020 DE filter
    500 sqft Heliocol solar panels, ThePoolCleaner, TF-100 test kit w/ SpeedStir
    Pool School + Test Kit + PoolMath = A TROUBLE FREE POOL
    If you found TFP helpful and we saved you money ... Become a TFP Supporter!

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    Re: New Sungrabber Solar Panels - Let the summer begin!

    Quote Originally Posted by jblizzle View Post
    Some manufacturers will make them to length ... sure to be a premium price.
    True, I stand corrected:

    http://www.h2otsun.com/
    19,200 Vinyl IG, Hayward 1HP Super Pump, Hayward DE-2400 Filter, Stenner 45MHP10 with 15 gallon tank, Dolphin Nautilus, Roof Mounted SunGrabber Solar Panels with separate 3/4HP pump and self-designed solar pump controller. Stand alone 4 person MasterSpa hot tub.

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    Re: New Sungrabber Solar Panels - Let the summer begin!

    Thanks for the pic, but im curious as to how it is getting water from and to your filter?

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    Re: New Sungrabber Solar Panels - Let the summer begin!

    My solar system is TOTALLY independent of my filter. My filter pump is south of my pool, my house is north of the pool. Trying to use the filter pump would be a nightmare of long plumbing runs. Hence my solar panels have there own inlets, pump and outlet...has nothing to do with the main filter or pump.

    I take water from the deep end of the pool via two custom "Y" connected inlets with safety covers and it goes to the pump and up to the roof for heating. The hot water is put back into the pool via one of the jets on the steps. Being independent from the main filter I control the pump with my self made solar controller...works great.
    19,200 Vinyl IG, Hayward 1HP Super Pump, Hayward DE-2400 Filter, Stenner 45MHP10 with 15 gallon tank, Dolphin Nautilus, Roof Mounted SunGrabber Solar Panels with separate 3/4HP pump and self-designed solar pump controller. Stand alone 4 person MasterSpa hot tub.

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    Re: New Sungrabber Solar Panels - Let the summer begin!

    How well do they drain when it comes time to winterize? I've not seriously considered horizontal runs for that reason, but maybe I should.

    Nice setup btw.
    21k gal, IG vinyl, 3/4hp pump, Hayward S-200 sand filter, 25gpm; TF100 test kit

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    Re: New Sungrabber Solar Panels - Let the summer begin!

    Winterizing is doing many compressor dumps from both directions...pushing air up to the roof from the pump side and also from the pool side until no more water comes out. I've never had any problems in the past 10+ years with my older "pre-Sandy" panels. Maybe with these new panels I'll go up on the roof and open up the lower header to PVC junctions...just to get out any water that doesn't get blown out with the compressor.
    19,200 Vinyl IG, Hayward 1HP Super Pump, Hayward DE-2400 Filter, Stenner 45MHP10 with 15 gallon tank, Dolphin Nautilus, Roof Mounted SunGrabber Solar Panels with separate 3/4HP pump and self-designed solar pump controller. Stand alone 4 person MasterSpa hot tub.

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