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Poll Results
 Would you have any interest in ever meeting or working with other member living in your geographic area?
 Yes 7 77%
 No 2 22%
Total votes: 9   Please or sign up to vote.

  Author   Comment  

Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #1 
I've looked around a few times, may've overlooked it in the forums but is there anything already set up that enables one to can connect another member in their geographic area in the real world?

In addition to what this site/these forums already offer regarding information, sharing ideas, assisting members, etc. this would open additional possibilities of working on projects jointly, pooling resources, realizing savings due to quantity material purchases, etc.

This first occurred to me because (I'm still collecting cans and haven't yet actually begun building myself but) regardless of how much I read or watch videos about these projects, I would still really like to stop over to someone's houses where it's already up and running to personally see it in action first hand.

Specifically, I would love to have seen (better, felt!) one of these actually cranking out some heat last week when, for several days, our (Cleveland, Ohio) temperature were below zero!


Posts: 18
Reply with quote  #2 

I'm not sure how you would set up a 'meeting' thread given our disparate geographic locations... But maybe we could get our location (from our profile) added to the author column of our posts... 
Then if you see a location that you recognize as being local/semi local you could IM the individual.


Solar WanaB
Papillion NE, USA

Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #3 
The best possible method I can imagine would utilize the member Profile area.

Currently there is a "Location" field but it is..
.. a text area and
.. optional

It could be changed to a "drop down list" of states (and Countries if there are significant international members).
As it is, a blank text area where one can enter anything they wish ..or nothing at all is too vague.
One living, for example, in Oakwood, Ohio could enter "Oakwood", "Ohio", "OH", "Northeast Ohio", (the nearest large city), "Cleveland" , "Cleve", "Cuyahoga county", "The MidWest", or countless other possibilities. The members seeking others would have to try searches using all these various possibilities til they get lucky and stumble upon the perfect search term: not very efficient. On the other hand, the drop down list restricted to your state would allows a simple "Ohio" search that will yield results.

This would have to be made a "required" field but, for those NOT interested (in working with other members in the real world) a "Not interested" option  could be included.

I can imagine at least one other method; using the forum as it currently is but less elegant. It would also require a bit of time spent. Either way, it seems all a matter of whether there is sufficient member interest to justify the modifications.

Posts: 18
Reply with quote  #4 
I dont think you would want it a drop down of just states... two people on the opposite ends of Nebraska are not likely to meet up, but someone from Omaha NE and Council Bluffs Ia (opposite side of the river) are very close!   I think just leaving it a free form and optional text box is fine... 

But unless you are going to go read every ones profile(impractical), it is of little use.  If it can be displayed in the author column of the posts, then someone is likely to recognize a location name that is close to them, no matter how the user fills out his profile.   Again, optional, and free-form... the information just needs to be more generally available.

This might also be very beneficial when trying to answer questions for someone.  The answer for a solar related question might be totally different for someone from Newfoundland and someone from Florida! 

As a matter of choice, after you started this thread I went into my profile and added my location to my signature block... 


Solar WanaB
Papillion NE, USA

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Posts: 1,845
Reply with quote  #5 
One of my standard questions is "where are you located?"  It helps to know what conditions are like when you respond to a post.  It is easy enough to add you location by you name, while I do realize that some may want more privacy.

Dan from Duluth, MN

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Posts: 2,323
Reply with quote  #6 
It would be interesting to know how many members we have from each state, and of course other countries. I know we have several members here in Minnesota, but I don't recall any next door in Wisconsin. Maybe it has something to do with Wisconsinites wearing cheese on their head. [biggrin]
When we were still using Yahoo, I recall conversations from South America, Southeast Asia, South Africa, India, Europe, and many other places on our planet. I found the different approaches to solving solar problems quite interesting. I also had fun explaining "windchill" or temps below zero to a person with little or no concept of frigid temps. It's all relative though. What I might consider unbearable heat, could seem like a cool spring day to others.

Greg in MN[wave]

Posts: 720
Reply with quote  #7 

I know there are Solar Days tours (in my state). You may be able to google it to find something close to you. I think they are held in the early fall (Oct??).

I've traveled to one Solar PV location near me a few years ago. The locations are listed on a website, what type of solar (PV, DMHW, thermal), date/time, & if the owners will allow in-house tours of the setup. The location I visited, didn't want people to go on the property, so it was basically a drive-by visit.

I've never submitted my stuff to be on the tour...but have considered it.

When I post a reply or topic I include my general location in case some close is interested in checking what I have. They could email me & arrange something. I attended a solar class at the local Community College 2 years ago. The instructor was very active in AE & provided some onsite demo's, etc. for the attendees. Check out a local Community College, see if they have similar program.

IN all seriousness....don't take this next statement wrong. [smile]

Take  ACTION & take your collected cans to a local recycler, use the money from the cans to buy a roll of screen for your panel. [smile] Screen panels are easy to build, inexpensive, & perform nearly as well as anything else. [smile]

Central IL

Posts: 3
Reply with quote  #8 
I'm aware my suggestion wasn't Thee perfect solution; only a method that would, with a minimal amount of modification, yield usable results enabling one to locate members in one's geographic area. It might be better considered more a "starting point" as it requires a certain amount of "manual" work by the searcher.

I neglected to mention that, yes, another field for more specific location information (city, region, county) would still be required in addition to a "drop down" list of states. So, using the previous example, the procedure would be:
* Search for Ohio members
  (resulting in list f a dozen or two?)
* View Profiles of members in the results to narrow down to those near you

If one's city, town, county or whatever is "on the opposite end of your state", chances are, you will either recognize it as such or, if you don't recognize it, it's probably not near you so you can move along.

I don't claim this is ideal but at least it would be possible.  Obviously, more efficient methods are possible, as it is handled, for example, on Ebay but I don't expect there's sufficient reason, interest, staffing, resources, etc. to justify the time, effort, expense of incorporating that sort of functionality.

Your suggestion (of a member's geographic location "displayed in the author column of the posts") could certainly be useful for the reasons you described (and more) and can be very easily accomplished.

However, as far as I can see, it in no way addresses the original issue. You object to having to "read every ones profile" on (what I imagine) will, in most cases, be a relatively short list of results but suggest as an alternative that one attempts to obtain this information by reading every post in every forum hoping, at some point, they stumble upon a location name they recognize? This is far more "impractical".

NetTech Jeff,
That does bring up an interesting question (for discussion elsewhere) though the "Aluminum can solar air heater vs. Aluminum Window Screen Solar Collector" issue seems pretty much resolved here ..and according to this, you are correct.

..but to bring it back on topic, this is another example of how this could be useful: what if I decided to forgo the aluminum can heater design opting instead to build the screen collector leaving me several hundred neatly packed up, uncrushed, aluminum cans I might be willing to offer another like minded individual nearby?

Though the poll results, thus far, show a 100% interest, of all those that read it (172, when last checked) 96.5% weren't even interested enough to tick a box so, ultimately this may all be moot.

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Posts: 1,845
Reply with quote  #9 
  Sorry read the post, never saw the poll.  Maybe others did the same.

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Posts: 2,240
Reply with quote  #10 
what if I decided to forgo the aluminum can heater design opting instead to build the screen collector leaving me several hundred neatly packed up, uncrushed, aluminum cans I might be willing to offer another like minded individual nearby?

Well, if I wanted to do that, I would most probably use a dedicated swap site
Idem if I were looking to get hold of certain stuff...

At the moment I have a lawn mower..., 4-stroke petrol engine (Briggs & Stratton)
Decent condition, user-friendly; requires one weld (perhaps)
Weight 50 kgs

I would let this go against 16m2 of 100-mm styrofoam... or six boxes of PU gloop foam (8 USD a can over here...)

location: northern france


(1)  "Heat goes from hot to cold, there is no directional bias"
(2) It's wrote, "voilĂ " unless talking musical instruments...
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