Solar installation question

kirbinster

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2007
293
NJ
I recently bought some Sungrabber panels on e-bay. They are 2' wide by 20' long. They claim that they should be installed in what I consider a very strange manner. At one end the right side of the header says inlet and the left side says outlet. While at the far end there are caps on both ends of the header. It says something about an integral disc being in the feed header such that water comes in from the right and flows down half the tubes and then returns up the other half the tubes. You then connect the outlet on the left of the top header to the inlet of the next pannel and the oulet goes to the pool. I did that and with about 6gpm of flow was getting a 4 degree temperature rise. But what I noticed was that standing at the header where water was going in and out the panel on the right (nearest feed) was very hot and the one on th left was cold. This seemed wrong.

So, I repiped it so water flows in the top of one panel and then out the other end. That end is then connected in series with the second pannel. Without adjusting valves my flow dropped to 4 gpm, but my temperature rise went from 4 up to 9 degrees. Thus, instead of getting 12,000 BTU/Hr I am now getting 18,000 BTU/Hr.

Does anyone know anything about these supposed integral discs? I assume I am better with this second setup, but let me know if you think otherwise.
 

NWMNMom

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 8, 2007
1,582
Waaay NW MN
panel piping

inside the header near the inlet is supposed to be a unit that blocks it from moving up the header (free flow) so that inlet should be on the bottom, outlet on the top all on one end. Is that your question or ????

I do not pipe mine in a series as it suggests - I had 4 of the 2x20s and pipe to all the inlets at the same time from a central pvc pipe and all the outlets go to one central pvc outlet. I replaced 2 of them with a 4x20 but use the same setup. All inlet simultaneously, one central outlet - is this better? Don't know.
 

medvampire

LifeTime Supporter
Apr 3, 2007
278
East Tennessee
I have the same panels and they do have a disk that effectively cuts the panel in half. The flow comes in one side through one side to the open bottom then back to the top. One thing to remember that yes you do have hotter water but you have reduced flow but these panels are designed to be more efficient at higher flow. It is cumulative effect. Last year I had mine piped in series and had good results with lowered flow but this year I plumed in parallel and have had better results. What I have done is put a T on the input line, then into the panels, through the panels, back to a T returning to the pool. I get slightly reduced flow and better heating.
Steve
 

NWMNMom

TFP Expert
LifeTime Supporter
Apr 8, 2007
1,582
Waaay NW MN
piping panels

OK, so you said it much better than I did, but you are piping the same as I am - and you believe its better? Good, I never measured to see if its better, I just remembered someone saying it may be a few years back so we had switched to that method last year. Glad I did!

BTW, the reason for IN at the bottom and OUT at the top is to purge air
 

kirbinster

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2007
293
NJ
medvampire said:
I have the same panels and they do have a disk that effectively cuts the panel in half. The flow comes in one side through one side to the open bottom then back to the top. One thing to remember that yes you do have hotter water but you have reduced flow but these panels are designed to be more efficient at higher flow. It is cumulative effect. Last year I had mine piped in series and had good results with lowered flow but this year I plumed in parallel and have had better results. What I have done is put a T on the input line, then into the panels, through the panels, back to a T returning to the pool. I get slightly reduced flow and better heating.
Steve
Can you give me a good description of what this disc looks like? I looked in the header and did not see anything. It looked to me like it was full diameter open from one side to the other across the full two feet. The header is labelled inlet on the right and outlet on the left, but I saw nothing to block the flow. I agree that parallel operation would be better than series, but I did not have a second coupler for the other end which I would need for parallel operation. I intend to get one and reconnect it. As far as top and bottom that is not an issue, as I have these flat on the ground.
 

kirbinster

Well-known member
Apr 30, 2007
293
NJ
Finally got the SunGrabber folks on the phone today. They told me I would know if the disc was there as it has a big red handle to control it and you cannot see through the header. They tell me I was shipped the inground units rather than the above ground units - which is fine by me since I have an inground pool, just did not want to pay more for what looked like the same panels.

I have the panels tied in parallel now and they are working great.
 

klondrie

LifeTime Supporter
May 21, 2007
9
Keokuk, Iowa
solar panels

medvampire said:
If I remember right is molded in to the top pipe of the panel so you would have to drill it out. I included a lay out of my set up if that will help.
Steve
Am very interested in seeing your layout as indicated above. Having problems with my solar panels not heating. thanks Keith