Tuesday, July 23, 2013

DIY Solar Air Heating Collectors: Pop Can vs Screen Absorbers

DIY solar air heating collectors are one of the better solar projects. They are easy to build, cheap to build, and offer a very quick payback on the cost of the materials to build them. They also offer a huge saving over equivalent commercially made collectors.

Two of the more popular designs are the pop can collector and screen absorber collector. 
The pop can and screen collectors being tested side by side
The pop can collector uses columns of black painted pop cans for the absorber with the air pumped through the columns.  The screen collector use 2 or 3 layers of ordinary black insect screening for the absorber.  The air flows through the layers of screen to pick up the solar heat.

In this test, a pop can collector and a screen absorber collector are run side by side with the temperature rise and airflow being noted for each.

There are also details on building each of the collectors and on the cost of materials.

Building the pop can collector.

In addition to measuring temperature rise and flow, thermal images were taken of the collector glazing and absorber.
Thermal image of glazing on the two collectors.


Gary

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