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Posts: 2
Reply with quote  #1 
I live in the So Cal. mountains and we can get up to 3 or 4 feet of snow and lose power for days in my remote location. I have been thinking of building a simple solar air heater and piping the air to the underside of my mobile home to a.) warm the floors in the winter and b.) add some insurance to keep the pipes from freezing if I lose power for an extended duration.
What I've mapped out so far is something on these lines:
Simple solar air heater with black drain pipe and air circulation provided by simple 12vdv computer fan powered by a small solar panel. I've seen some youtube videos along similar lines but the issues I need to resolve are:
1. I suspect the fan will get power in the mornings before the air collector is actually heated up and don't want to pump cold air.
Q. Would this be a good solution to prevent that? RioRand 12V DC Digital Cooling/Heating Thermostat Temp Control -50-110 °c Temperature Controller 10A Relay With Waterproof Sensor Probe
2. Will this solar panel power this fan?
Q.  Solar Panel: ECO-WORTHY 10W Solar Panel 10 Watt 12 Volt Pv Solar Module,Solar Cell Panel
Fan: MASSCOOL 120mm Cooling Fan FD12025B1L3/4
3. My other thought/conundrum is without a battery source the fan may slow down or quit while there is still available heat to pump. I had thought about adding these two items to resolve that:
Charge Controller: GHB 20A 12V 24V Solar Charge Controller Auto Switch LCD Intelligent Panel Battery Regulator Charge Controller Overload Protection Temperature Compensation
Battery: ExpertPower 12V 7 Amp EXP1270 Rechargeable Lead Acid Battery
 realize this is probably overkill but my basic question is: Does this make sense and is it feasible? I'm also thinking now that with the sensor probe switch the controller and battery are unnecessary.  Thanks for this site and any responses.

Rick H Parker

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Posts: 571
Reply with quote  #2 
1.) Floor of mobile home is very cold in the winter, and 2.) Worried about pipes freezing during power outage.

Conservation of energy should be your first step. Conservation of energy always has a better return on investment then the Tim Taylor approach ... more power, more power.

Insulated skirting built like the walls of a house. This would trap heat rising from the ground, keep crawl space above freezing and the bottom of the floors warm. Same principal as an above ground root cellar. Don't think it would work ... ask yourself, why are houses on stilts when building above permafrost.

Rick H Parker
Kansas, USA
Electronics Engineering Technologist

Posts: 75
Reply with quote  #3 

I agree with Rick on the conservation first issue.

In my solar air heater I opted for a simple snap disk switch, that turns the fan on at 85f and off at 80f. But my heater feeds directly into the living room, You may want to opt for a differential controller. that will read the crawl space temp and the heater temp at the same time and turn the fan on when the heater is 10 or 15f higher than the crawl space.

My flea market fans (50 cents each) are 24 volt at 0.1 amp (2.4 watt's each), and wired in parallel. I power them with two 7 watt solar panels wired in series for 7 watts at 24 volt. The fans do slow down and speed up as clouds pass over. I have no battery as a low mass solar collector does not hold enough heat / BTU's to justify the extra cost involved in a battery system. As mentioned I have 2 fans, 1 pushing cool air into the heater the other pulling the hot air out of it.

That fan you linked to does not show the amps it uses. But several 12 volt fans I have show 0.20 amp (2.4 watt's at 12 volt's) and 0.49 amp (5.88 watt's at 12 volt's). So the 10 watt panel you linked to should work, and it won't hurt to have it a little bigger than the fan is rated for.

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