ART TEC - Guy Marsden
Product Design My Artwork Living Sustainably
Art Engineering Levitation Kit Solar Power Chevy Volt
About Me Blog Solar Heating Thermal Windows
Contact Twitter Solar Hot Water Solar Mower

home > solar DHW
Installing My Solar 
Domestic Hot Water Heating System

Click below to jump to specific pages              Bookmark and Share
HOME Receiving

Day 2 - design tweaks and mods

Jul 15-17, 2006. Time Invested today:
1:00 Painting, and modifying parts/
0:45 Hardware store run for stainless screws.
3:00 Studying manual, and assembling overflow to collector.
Day 2
Looking at all the exposed sheet metal screws, I recalled how the mounting screws I used on my other solar collectors (at left) have rusted, so I decided to replace them with stainless steel.  A box of 100 screws was only about $6.00 - there are over 50 screws involved in the collector mounts and brackets and it only took a few minutes to replace them all.


I also decided that since the collector frames come in a nice brown color that I would paint all the other exposed shiny metal parts.  This includes the mounting rails and PV frame.  I used Krylon brown primer which matches exactly.


Day 3
I had considered making the PV panel mounts from wood, but decided against it as it would make installation difficult.  So I made up some aluminum angle brackets  that will support the panel at an angle.  All the bolts and screws are stainless.  I masked off the PV sprayed the whole frame with brown primer to visually integrate it.

Day 4
After measuring the distance between the window frames on the house, I realized that I needed to cut down the mounting rail by 1.5".  I hadn't noticed this issue until my neighbor John Rogers came by to assess the installation strategy.  I'm grateful for his considerable experience as a home builder.  It was at this point that he suggested that we install his staging rather than try and use 2 ladders - see next page.

That evening I pre-assembled the top right panel to it's mounting rails in my workshop, and installed the overflow tank and plumbing along the top.  This is a very impressive part of the system design which allows the water in the panels to boil over into the expansion tank in the same way that an automobile radiator does.  In fact there is a standard radiator cap used for this purpose!  This crucial piece of the design is what makes it maintenance free and very unlikely to fail due to excess temperature or pressure.  I have come to really appreciate all the considerable thought that has gone into this design.

I decided to run the wire that goes to the PV panel through the mounting rails to keep it out of sight and reduce the weather exposure.  This 50 foot wire will follow the plumbing umbilical run all the way to the solar powered pump above the water heater.  There is also a small sensor mounted to the end of the expansion tank that responds to a float in the tank.  If the tank level falls too low, this sensor lights a small red light in the home.  I ran this wire through holes in the rails too.

I spent over an hour looking at the manual to get it clear in my head how the Solar Wand plumbing will assemble together after it is installed on the hot water tank.  It is like a puzzle with a number of options for connecting the parts.  Again I am impressed by the considerable attention to detail and the unique and unorthodox plumbing design.  This system has the "fingerprints" of an inventor who thinks outside the box and reminds me of my own design methodology!

back        next