Hacked Gadgets Forum

September 18, 2008

Pop Can Solar Heater

at 5:51 am. Filed under DIY Hacks

 

If you are looking for a way to lower your heating bill this year you probably want to look into this Pop Can Solar Heater idea. It is quite simple and is nice since much of the contents of the system is recycled.

" The Cansolair Solar Max 240 consists of a four by seven solar collector (28 Square feet, or 2.6 square meters). Solar Max 240 has 15 vertical columns of cylindrical shape, making the actual surface exposed to the sun greater than 2.6 square meters.The same cylindrical shape allows the Solar Max to receive solar radiation for a longer period due to the angle of incidence of the sun hitting the solar panel. Peak BTU performance was observed during the noon hour period in October 2001 wherein the temp rise was 50 to 54F degrees resulting in a 9000 to 9720 Btu or 2636 to 2847 Watts. Peak BTU performance will actually increase in colder weather due to the rise in temperature between input and output temperature and a lower angle of incidence. The Solar Max 240 has a quick response rate of 8 minutes from the appearance of sun to “cut-in” based on 100 degree F output temperature. Solar Max 240 uses the most conductive black paint available for solar collectors. Solar Max uses a lexan outer cover which allows sunlight in and is resistant to the elements."

 

 

 


 

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44 Responses to “Pop Can Solar Heater”

  1. Ronald Lewis Says:

    Wow! Cool gadget!! Pop can, huh…

  2. Aman Says:

    well this article shows how technology is going to the next level. Kudos to the fastest techs

  3. Mark Regan Says:

    I like the idea, but do not need the heat in the daytime as much as I need it at night. What about heating oil (olive oil, perhaps?) with the sun, and then circulating the air over the olive oil. The olive oil will hold the heat from the sun longer than the air.

  4. Mr. Maigo Says:

    Really? 100 cubic feet per minute? My computer moves more than that.

    What a great idea… if you live someplace cold, but heating is easy, it’s cooling that’s hard

  5. Daniel Says:

    I’m surprised that this is the first time you guys have looked at this, he’s had this company going for at least 4 or 5 years now and even then it was relatively big news because the provincial governments were helping him. However, there is a couple flaws in the design, first and foremost being that lexan does yellow and therefore will lose the heating capacity of the unit, next is that he has nothing in there to keep the system from reversing at night. Also, how long would it take for you to put holes in approximately 400 cans and then tig weld them all together? Yes, novel idea, but…there has to be a more efficient way of doing it.

  6. Robt Smith Says:

    One issue to easily overcome is that most cans have a coating on the inside. I wonder how many of them have coatings containing Bisphenol A. Like estrogen, in very small quantities it causes massive changes in gene expression in the human body. When will the scumbag corporate controlled U.S. EPA ban it??!! I would search for cans without such interior coatings and let them burn off in hot sun for many days before I pipe them into your house.

    You could make just as effective a unit using aluminum foil kitchen/food wrap. Then you only have to heat the paint to stability in the hot sun. Again a week or so should be enough. In any case let the paint dry without the lens in place , for about a week or so. When paint dries it release harmful volatile organic compounds,, so let the stuff dry well, then let it cook for a week with lens in place before you pipe it into your house.

  7. bill Says:

    Daniel,lexan is uv stabilized,will not yellow for very long time.Also to keep from reversing at night it has double check valves http://cansolair.com/features.htm .Its 240 cans,holes are easy,cans are glued together w/caulk,not tig weld. just my 2-cents;

  8. wildman Says:

    i made one of these for my garage several years ago.. no tig welding required,, just stack the cans and stick them in place with liquid nails or whatever,, Wipe them with prep solvent and paint them black,,
    You can get this lexan cardboard like stuff that is lighter cheaper and insulating to use instead of solid plexi..

    My garage never freezes anymore, I leave paints, resins, e.t.c. out there all winter.. I live in buffalo ny. and when its a sunny day it gets real warm in there.

  9. bill Says:

    Wildman,you are right on.check this one out i built http://www.youtube.com/user/my2cents0 It works great!I am working on my next one right now.just my2cents;

  10. Rick Says:

    I live in Colorado and the trick is definitely heat storage at night. Days are warm (enough) and house is not occupied as much. I’m hoping to build one of these and pipe the air through cinder block and 4″ drain pipe filled with water in my crawl space. If I heat the blocks and water during the day it will keep the house from over-heating in the day and slowly release the heat at night. A 10′ 4″ pipe holds about 23 gallons of water, is durable, easily sealed and ten of them will provide a pretty solid heat mass. I’ll duct the hot air through the cinder blocks and lay the pipe on top and between heated blocks. The “heat mass pad” should be about 11′ by 13′ and will fit nicely under bedrooms. Inexpenise and effecitve (?). I just need to quit my day job…

  11. ROBIN Says:

    I have three solar heaters on my house and this one is good but I would modify it some by aslo including a liquid heater as well. Placing thin pipe between the lines of cans the heat will move liquid through the heater and with storage can generate heat for the night as air is deverted from passing through the heater to the storage unit every year I add to the units to try to improve them.

  12. bobo Says:

    Me thinks beer cans would work better. Would be amore enjoyable experiance empting the cans anyway. Me thinks to start empting cans now.

  13. Alan Parekh Says:

    Hey Bobo,

    Let me know when you are building yours and I will come by to help you empty the cans. :)

  14. HTM Says:

    HI… I was looking for a Solar Heating, what about these ?? http://www.aqua-calentadores.com

  15. bubba Says:

    you glue the cans with silicone caulk(silicone is eat resistant) not welded..his is nice but way too expensive

  16. twofeetdown Says:

    I’m in the process of building one of these and alas, I found that beer cans were more trouble than they were worth (sorry bobo:). I got my cans at a local store (bought them for 5 cents each since they are redeemable in Iowa) and got quite a mixture of cans. Virtually all the pop cans cleaned up easily whereas lots of the beer cans had mold in them that was difficult to remove.
    Has anyone who has actually built one of these had any trouble with the fact that aluminum expands when it is heated? I’m concerned regarding fastening the tubes to the manifolds – do the tubes break loose after a while?

  17. rwestw Says:

    High temp caulk used for metal roofs works well (I used a GE product in a green tube for a standard caulk gun). I am concerned about expansion, but so far no issues. I did not fix the can stacks to a solid manifold, but rather put thick foam (used to fill in space around window AC units) on a 1×2 and laid that across top and bottom of the can stacks to keep them in place and seal off the colleciton/distribution areas. I then caulked the open space between the cans and the foam. It’s not a perfect seal, but since the air above the cans should also get hot, it doesn’t need to be.

  18. Justin Says:

    Hi i built a 1000 can heater and it works great. i use it for my shop and in the winter time it never gets cold at all. But their is a down side and that is that it cant run at night but i am trying many wasy to store heat and i have found one way but im still in the process of building it. and all you have to do is caulk the cans together it works just the same ans way cheaper. Email me your Pictures of your can heaters and stuff.

  19. Z Says:

    Ill gie you idea how to store heat and usse over night time.But you need redesign your heater and add some money.I would use firebricks.They absorb heat and they cool down slow.Maybe this will help.I m going this days to make one heater try to find smaller size of bricks and if possible with holes.
    hope you ll have luck

    Zdenko

  20. Solar Heater! Says:

    [...] a ton of soda cans? Try the famous pop can solar heater Pop Can Solar Heater – Hacked Gadgets – DIY Tech Blog __________________ Trying to go green in your household? Considering cork flooring as a [...]

  21. Hospes Says:

    To store heat you could fill a barrel (or build something more attractive like a bench/ottoman) with pebbles or broken glass and divert the air through it, and use the thermal mass to release the heat through the night.

    The reversing of the system could be advantageous in summer time.

    I’m in the process of building my first one, my house is built of old stone so the walls should store heat from the day.
    My next project will be a solar water heater to help the heat in the night.

  22. Jim Says:

    Hi Hospes. Our house is built largely of concrete which is insulated on the OUTSIDE. I figure we have about 600,000 pounds of concrete that are intimate with the living space. We have lived here 30 years. The temperature of the house is nearly constant due to the thermal flywheel effect of all that concrete.
    If you can insulate the outside of your stone you should have the same situation.
    I am just finishing a 900 can solar pop-can collector. I’m hoping that by heating some of our rooms that do not see sunlight (our house is also underground) we can cut the energy we use during the night.

  23. Alan Parekh Says:

    Hi Jim,

    Make sure you send in some details and pictures when that is done! Our readers would love to see that.

  24. solar thermal Says:

    That’s cool
    The solar collectors produced by Zytech Rayvin, are distinguished from other brands because of their at least 50% higher efficiency, easy installation, the high aesthetic value and very good price – quality ratio.

  25. nate Says:

    you need to show a couple pictures of yuor expierement so that if we make a mistake we might be able to see what we did wrong from the look of yours and the look of mine.

  26. Lee Says:

    I have just started looking at this technology and its very interesting. I want to build one myself. Just a question, Has anyone tried to build one that is thinner at the top than the bottom? I think this would be similar to how a chimney creates ‘draw’ caused by the hot air rising. It might reduce the size of the fan needed? Any thoughts?
    Lee

  27. Justinski Says:

    http://www.ehow.com/how_6165064_make-solar-heater.html

  28. Jim Says:

    I have a problem with some of the joints between the cans coming apart. I believe I wiped too much silicone caulk from them when I assembled the tubes. Should have left plenty on the joints, I guess. I was concerned about the expansion/contraction of the tubes but apparently did not come up with a workable solution. I have seen no one else mentioning this problem so I’m guessing that a sufficient amount of caulk must do the trick.
    Interested in building a solar collector from pop cans? This website (which you must translate from Swedish :) http://www.brunzell.com/projekt/solfangare/index.htm has lots of pictures and instructions, and the translations are fun to try to figure out. It is very similar to the one I built.

  29. Jamie L Roode Says:

    you said that it got over 200 degrees after an hour, is that with air flowing threw the heater or NO air movement??

  30. Jim Says:

    Well, I’m STILL working on my 900 can collector (I must be the world’s slowest builder).
    Here are a few photos of the project. We have it running but still have some work to do with the ducting and the fan.
    http://picasaweb.google.com/jim.womeldorf/SolarCollector#

  31. Gordon Mc Says:

    I just started with my collector but I am using a different method of putting holes in the cans. See my youtube videos at:
    http://www.youtube.com/user/gordon723654?feature=mhsn

    Much safer to do it this way.

  32. Scot Says:

    I currently have one I built running into one of the rooms of my house that in initial tests got as high as 219 degrees in the box (No fan blowing) in actual use I turn on the fan at 11AM and off after the sun leaves the area of the panel (3:30 now.) this last week it has been below freezing but sunny most of the time and the heater has put out between 80 to 95 degrees with the continuous fan. I used a simple PC Fan (4 inch) on the Exhaust side. I built this unit differently than all the ones I saw on youtube in that my Air Intake and Exhaust are both on th top (Just piped into the window above the unit)On the Intake side I built a ‘duct’ of Rmax insulation to take the Air to the bottom.. The advantage I find us that at night no air comes back in so no need for a damper (the cold air settles to the bottom I guess) I also have been using panels of Glass rather than Plexiglass since they were available to me already. Am designing one right now that will have an Aluminum Tube up the middle of the Can column and am thinking of putting Sand in the cans for thermal mass to see if it may retain a little heat for a period after th sun leaves its optimum zone so I can run the fan a little longer. We’ll see if that works or turns out to be a waste of time ;)

  33. Greg Says:

    Scot-I thought about adding something to hold the heat too. I have some scraps of cast iron I might play with. I was using a cast iron top table saw outside on a sunny day and even without the top being painted black, the top was still warm a couple of hours after dark.

  34. Darren Says:

    think heat sink….computers/electronics heat sinks. Then there’s thermal compounds out there as well.

  35. Darren Says:

    black tile

  36. Dan Says:

    Brilliant! Genius actually!

  37. bob smith Says:

    why wouldn’t the baked on black lightweight stove pipe work, instead of painting cans? The bbq grill paint takes way too long to cure and stinks bad at the lower than cure temps the box can generate. The sections of pipe are available in flat sheets at the lumber store or hardware. Also, can lids are sealed with bisphenol A here in the U.S. and it is pretty bad for humans.

  38. Robbo Says:

    I have a board and banten shed 15×15 that needs to get warmer. I have decided to use 3″ aluminum range ducting. This is available at the local hardware store for $4 / 30″
    I am concerned about the lining material inside of cans as they heat up spreading harmful material into the ambient air.
    I have a question, that hopefully one of you genuises can help with…….the output fan is on constantly, or do you time the blower/fan to cycle. I am converned that the heat rise may not be quick enough for the CFM expelled from the hot box area. Any comments on this …?

  39. Darren Says:

    If you’re only heating a shed I wouldn’t worry about the temp raising before using the fan. You can always add a temp switch but then you get into the extra expense. If you simply run the fan off of a solar panel such as from a yard light then it will only run when the sun is shining. You can also opt for no fan at all and have the air move simply by convection (cold air in pushing the hot air out).

    What’s this about bad stuff inside pop cans? People drink out of them so I wouldn’t imagine blowing air through them would be a health risk certainly anymore than the actual soda you’re drinking out of them.

    I’d be interested in people’s ideas for the best material to use for these heaters. My thought is the thicker aluminum the better. From what I read the best are (in this order); corrugated aluminum siding, several layers of aluminum screen, aluminum gutter downspouts, and soda cans. Wonder if combining any of these materials such as soda cans inside gutter downspouts would enable more heat retention? Obviously only the outside material would recieve the direct heat but maybe with the second layer of aluminum it would help absorb more heat through convection and possibly hold more heat for longer or allow for a longer duration of a sustained lower heat output. Thinking outloud.

  40. Darren Says:

    My bad, I meant to say aluminum sofit the stuff with the slits in it (fully venelated) rather than corregated aluminum.

  41. Matthew Says:

    Im gettin ready to build one for my sunroom, it was an addition that was build before I baught the house, there are electric heaters in there but the kids use it as a playroom and I don’t like them playing around the heaters. So I think this would be a great help in this small room (12×12) I was wondering if I ran 1/2 inch copper pipes through the holes in the cans and filled then with oil if that would help with heat retention for early evening use and if the sun went begin the clouds in the day?? What do you think?

  42. Robbo Says:

    The copper tubes would be good to heat the oil. Perhaps run the oil thru the floor as a radiant source, rather than running the air flow over it. You can build a sub floor and nest the copper tubes within the base.
    There are some plans on the internet showing this floor heating.
    Good Luck !

  43. Bart Says:

    I’ve build one a couple of weeks ago. My design has 195 cans.
    See on youtube: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KemBfSHDTnI
    I’ve tested the airflow, and everyting seems to be ok.

  44. Carl Says:

    Hi,
    I’ve been checking out various designs and really like yours.
    A couple questions:
    1) Is there are reason not to ‘chain’ the cans together so they are all one long connected tube, with u type joints? Would over heating be a problem?
    2) I live in Canada so if I can store the heat for use after dark that would be ideal. So, have you thought or known anyone to try including a radiant system within the pop can heater?
    Thanks for your thoughts.

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