Friday, June 25, 2010

NEW STUFF: Solar pump, Portable solar jar cooker, Mist cooler, Strawbale home site

New Taco Pump for Solar Hot Water Systems Integrates Controller
This new series of pumps from Taco combines one of their regular circulator pumps with an integrated differential controller.  This makes for a bit less wiring and a more compact system.  The pump is also variable speed, and the controller takes advantage of this to use lower flow rates at low sun levels -- this (presumably) saves some pump power and allows the collector to operate in lower sun levels where short cycling would result with non variable flow controllers.

I've also separated out tanks, pumps, and heat exchangers on their own page and expanded the number of items and explanations.
(thanks to Jan and Sean for pointing this item out)

Details on the new solar pump with integrated controller...

Compact, Simple Portable Solar Cooker
This is a neat little solar cooker sent in by Tony.  Just the thing for a hot beverage or a hot dog at the job site, camping, ...

Its made from cardboard with aluminum foil glued to it and a couple of jars that nest inside each other with the inner absorber jar painted black.

Details on the Solar Jar Cooker...

Mist Cooler Kit
This is an inexpensive mist cooling kit from

If you've not experienced outdoor mist coolers on a hot day, you might be surprised by how effective they are -- they cool well without feeling wet.

Each mister head uses about 0.75 gallons per hour, so there some water use.
The kit costs $25 and is said to cool 25 lineal feet of space.
I've ordered one to evaluate it.

Details on the Mist Cooler Kit...

Strawbale Home Site
This is a nice site for potential owner builders of strawbale homes.

Workshops, videos, articles, ...  looks like good stuff from people who really build strawbale homes.

Strawbale home site details...



  1. I was looking at the pump chart and it does not seem to reflect the different speeds. Am I missing something?

  2. Hi Knick,
    On this spec:
    I think that what they may be trying to say with the shaded area under each of the pump curves is that they can operate anywhere under the curve?

    I think that these pumps (with the controller) may be true variable speed pumps -- not just 3 fixed speeds like some of the Grundfos pumps.

    They do have a setting on the controller for drain back systems that (I think) operates the pump full speed for a few minutes to get the flow started, and then goes down in speed to match the collector heat available.

    I sent an email to Taco asking about how much power the variable speed feature saves (how much less power it uses when running at lower speeds), and how the estimated the 20% increase in efficiency number they claim. No answer yet.



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