The Car-Mechanic’s DIY Solar Heater

Saw this forum posting when looking for solar energy projects. Read the excerpt below:

“Solar can be very effective, particularly if you have Southern View access, as you have.
How about a passive solar panel with Thermo syphon feed ( no pumps.)
Build a box with foam insulation and plexiglass window. Better yet, find a picture window (double glazed) that is being tossed.
Make the box 6 inches deep and place some copper pipe in a serpentine
method, starting at the bottom and going up.
Lay the box at an angle against the wall facing South.
The hot pipe goes out the top and through the wall and then continues upward till it reaches a old car radiator mounted near the shop ceiling.
The hot pipe should dump into the TOP of the radiator. The bottom of the radiator should go downward /then outside and into the bottom of the box.
As your fluid heats up, and if the lines go vertical, the warm fluid will naturally travel to the radiator. Place a small fan behind the radiator and warm air will be blown around the shop. When the Sun no longer shines, the flow stops automatically, and no heat is lost from inside to outside.
The fan can be any simple fan. Use antifreeze for fluid. Be sure to extend the top of the radiator with a open top bucket so you have a expansion reservoir.
The pipe should be at least 1/2 in size, and the inside of the box painted black
You will get temps of up to 180 in the winter and 220 in the summer.
Cover it with a white tarp.

I did mine just below a window years ago, and made a baffle for the open window (cracked open 2 inches) and the pipes went through the window baffle, so I didn’t have to drill holes in the wall.
I bought the copper pipe/tube at the junk yard for scrap price.

I knew a guy who did the same thing almost, but instead he went with Air heat.
His box was nested beer cans with no lid and sprayed Black.
he blew air behind the cans and then into the garage. but he needed fan housings and temperature controls ,
Rich “

There are plenty of reasons to integrate solar power into your home. And this post shows there are also as many different ways to approach it! Read the complete forum thread here:HomeShopMachinist

As for my own panel, I finally did drag out the camera. Here are a few “before” pictures:

The Panel  Individual Panels and Connects Outs to the Back Box The Back Box Peel in Covering

As you can see, the parts that need soldering are small, and the rest of the panel is in pretty good shape, save a little storage dirt and the covering, which will have to go anyway to get to the panel connections. Next, heating up the soldering iron!

Do you have a solar project going right now? Care to share how you are proceeding, or if you have a success story from the past?

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