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PostPosted: Aug 16th, '08, 11:02 
Ok you may have seen a post in the "Toys" thread showing a Evacuated Tube Solar Array that I've been developing with the assistance of a local manufacturer....

So here's the low-down.... it will run to several pages... so please be patient, and refrain from posting questions and comments until I've posted it in it's entirety... then I'll happily throw it open to all and sundry....


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PostPosted: Aug 16th, '08, 11:19 
Some months ago I began discussions with a local manufacturer and supplier of evacuated tube solar systems...

The design brief was simple.... give me a solar array system that will raise an average tank of at least 1500ltr capacity to temperatures that enable Silver Perch and Barramundi to survive and if possible eat and thrive through the winter months....

The unit must be stainless steel and not contain the usual copper heat exchangers in the header tank, probes or any other components.

The unit must be capable of being a pumped system, rather than just a (stainless) header tank that works by thermo-siphoning.... preferably controlled by a "set and forget" "intelligent" controller

Must have the ability to program the controller and to operate manually...

Must be relatively low flow and energy efficient in operation...

Our first prototype was duly built... a 48 tube horizontal unit...
Attachment:
solar48-1 (Medium).jpg
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Attachment:
solar48-2 (Medium).jpg
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And mounted on the roof for trial ...
Attachment:
solar48-10 (Medium).JPG
solar48-10 (Medium).JPG [ 61.25 KiB | Viewed 12141 times ]


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PostPosted: Aug 16th, '08, 11:32 
The trial unit did not include the controller... but was effectively just a blind test...

Pump to array from a tank... heat by the evac tubes and drain to the 1000ltr tank... measure heat gain...

The results over a week of sunny days saw the tank temperature exceeding 35 degrees...

But the pump was running continuously throughout the day and was turned off overnight... and the tank was insulated...

We soon came to realise that used this way.. the power consumption would be excessive... especially with the head involved and the pump sized accordingly...

Several other smaller units were trialled concurrently... with the newly arrived controller incorporated...

A twenty tube array and a ten tube array...
Attachment:
solar-trial-units (Medium).JPG
solar-trial-units (Medium).JPG [ 51.69 KiB | Viewed 12131 times ]


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PostPosted: Aug 16th, '08, 11:42 
With somewhat mixed results... and some inclement weather... it was decided that I would utilise a 24 tube array (half the 48 tube system, with the opposing holes blanked off)... and continue the testing at home where I could simulate a more realistic scenario...

And monitor and chart results...

The 48 horizontal unit was discounted as being unviable due to size, weight and cost...

And the necessity to mount it on the roof... I really wanted a unit that was "standalone" and could be easily incorporated into most systems... and deactivated or disconnected and stored through summer...

The trial unit was duly delivered two days latter.. complete with a hastily constructed "stand" ...
Attachment:
107_0008 (Medium).JPG
107_0008 (Medium).JPG [ 98.91 KiB | Viewed 12129 times ]

24 evac 1.8mtr tubes ...
Attachment:
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And a stainless steel header..
Attachment:
107_0010 (Medium).JPG
107_0010 (Medium).JPG [ 35.52 KiB | Viewed 12098 times ]


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PostPosted: Aug 16th, '08, 11:54 
Pump, Controller, Gaskets, nuts & bolts...
Attachment:
107_0011 (Medium).JPG
107_0011 (Medium).JPG [ 69.8 KiB | Viewed 12101 times ]

Non-return valve, Relief valve and a ball valve... the latter to become a wise decision...
Attachment:
107_0012 (Medium).JPG
107_0012 (Medium).JPG [ 65.42 KiB | Viewed 12086 times ]


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PostPosted: Aug 16th, '08, 12:02 
a 1500ltr tank was setup in the middle of the lawn... deliberately, to simulate a worse case scenario...

Uncovered, uninsulated and unpumped... to determine the starting ambient water temperature... and I began to fill it...
Attachment:
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While it was filling the kit stand was laid out and sorted...
Attachment:
107_0020 (Medium).JPG
107_0020 (Medium).JPG [ 150.75 KiB | Viewed 12088 times ]

And assembly commenced...
Attachment:
107_0021 (Medium).JPG
107_0021 (Medium).JPG [ 164.63 KiB | Viewed 12075 times ]


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PostPosted: Aug 16th, '08, 12:09 
Tank was now full... and would be left that way overnight and another day/night to establish a base point...
Attachment:
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The kit goin together...
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The array base stand completed...
Attachment:
107_0027 (Medium).JPG
107_0027 (Medium).JPG [ 141.21 KiB | Viewed 12035 times ]


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PostPosted: Aug 16th, '08, 12:19 
Roughly positioned the base and array support... to check orientation and that everything would reach the tank...
Attachment:
107_0033 (Medium).JPG
107_0033 (Medium).JPG [ 101.49 KiB | Viewed 12029 times ]

Clipped the tube end retainers into the rail...
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107_0127 (Medium).JPG [ 138.91 KiB | Viewed 12023 times ]

Discovered the top rail was missing and had to dummy up something to attach the header tank to..
Attachment:
107_0133 (Medium).JPG
107_0133 (Medium).JPG [ 157.48 KiB | Viewed 12015 times ]


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PostPosted: Aug 16th, '08, 12:31 
Measured, aligned and mounted the header tank...
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Attachment:
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Attachment:
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107_0136 (Medium).JPG [ 128.39 KiB | Viewed 11976 times ]


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PostPosted: Aug 16th, '08, 12:38 
Dragged out boxes of tubes...
Attachment:
107_0140 (Medium).JPG
107_0140 (Medium).JPG [ 80.48 KiB | Viewed 11972 times ]

Gasket sealers and silcone grease...
Attachment:
107_0141 (Medium).JPG
107_0141 (Medium).JPG [ 153.85 KiB | Viewed 11968 times ]

Flipped open the tube retainers/tensioners...
Attachment:
107_0142 (Medium).JPG
107_0142 (Medium).JPG [ 87.68 KiB | Viewed 11968 times ]


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PostPosted: Aug 16th, '08, 12:46 
Ready to insert the tubes into the header...
Attachment:
107_0143 (Medium).JPG
107_0143 (Medium).JPG [ 137.97 KiB | Viewed 11949 times ]

Apply the gasket to ensure a good seal and the silicon to ease the tubes in without breaking them...
Attachment:
107_0144 (Medium).JPG
107_0144 (Medium).JPG [ 69.29 KiB | Viewed 11940 times ]

First couple of tubes in ...
Attachment:
107_0145 (Medium).JPG
107_0145 (Medium).JPG [ 138.44 KiB | Viewed 11930 times ]


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PostPosted: Aug 16th, '08, 12:56 
Half done...
Attachment:
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107_0146 (Medium).JPG [ 114.08 KiB | Viewed 11916 times ]

All done... clip the retainers down..
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107_0147 (Medium).JPG [ 138.42 KiB | Viewed 11913 times ]

Tension up the tubes...
Attachment:
107_0149 (Medium).JPG
107_0149 (Medium).JPG [ 151.11 KiB | Viewed 11914 times ]


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PostPosted: Aug 16th, '08, 13:05 
Add another support to replace the missing top rail... not part of the "kit" ... :D
Attachment:
107_0150 (Medium).JPG
107_0150 (Medium).JPG [ 114.4 KiB | Viewed 11911 times ]

Attach controller and patch panel...
Attachment:
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107_0151 (Medium).JPG [ 65.31 KiB | Viewed 11900 times ]

Quick water proof job... rain threatening...
Attachment:
107_0152 (Medium).JPG
107_0152 (Medium).JPG [ 97.31 KiB | Viewed 11903 times ]


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PostPosted: Aug 16th, '08, 13:12 
Relocated the postion of the array.....

Mounted the array on the stand.... don't be fooled... as tough and strong as i may be...

This is definitely not a single person job... don't even try it alone...called a mate around to help...
Attachment:
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107_0153 (Medium).JPG [ 110.26 KiB | Viewed 11909 times ]

Looking good..
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107_0154 (Medium).JPG [ 111.39 KiB | Viewed 11908 times ]

In position... ready to be plumbed...
Attachment:
107_0155 (Medium).JPG
107_0155 (Medium).JPG [ 105.14 KiB | Viewed 11900 times ]


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PostPosted: Aug 16th, '08, 13:23 
Plumbed up the feed line from the fish tank...ball valve below the non-return valve... to adjust flow rate...
Attachment:
107_0422 (Medium).JPG
107_0422 (Medium).JPG [ 94.69 KiB | Viewed 11881 times ]

Plumbed in the return feed line from the header tank...
Attachment:
107_0424 (Medium).JPG
107_0424 (Medium).JPG [ 103.89 KiB | Viewed 11885 times ]

Notice the pressure release valve... to vent hot water/steam if it all gets too hot...

Extremely unlikely to occur in this system... and the controller has a high temperature cut off that can be set as required anyway...

But a handy way to adjust the flow rate... if it bubbles out the top... turn the flow down...
Attachment:
107_0425 (Medium).JPG
107_0425 (Medium).JPG [ 58.72 KiB | Viewed 11879 times ]


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