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N4KIT

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Posts: 45
Reply with quote  #1 
As promised, here is the first installment on my solar hot water project.  As I mentioned in my intro post, this is a part of a series of home improvement/energy efficiency projects we are undertaking.

First, here's a Sketchup of the storage tank and new plumbing that will be put in the Garage:

Garage Plumbing.PNG 
The two pipes going partially up the wall on the left will extend to the collectors on the roof above.

Step one of the program of projects was to have the 15 year old roof re-done, the logic being that though it may not need it right now, it would in 5 to 10 years and we wouldn't want to remove a bunch of solar to re-do the roof, so best to do it now.  As part of the re-roofing, I had the roofers assist me in installing Quick Mount PV mounting plates/studs and a coolie cap for the plumbing.

Here's a wide shot of the new roof where the 2 AET 4' x 10' collectors will mount (my wife wanted commercial collectors, so I had to make that non-DIY concession):

Solar collector mounts.jpg 

This one is a closeup of the "coolie cap" pipe penetration/flashing for the plumbing in the lower left of the above pic.  The small tube on the left is for the panel temperature sensor cable:

Coolie cap cu.jpg 

Overall I think the roofers - especially Rob - did a great job of hiding the flashings as much as possible, I'm really happy with the job they did and how the roof came out.

Step 2 of the "master plan" calls for me to complete the back patio build next, so there will not be any more work on this until about March or so when we move to the laundry room renovation, which includes incorporating the solar into the plumbing system.

As always, comments/suggestions welcome!
Thanks for looking -
C.


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Scott Davis

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Reply with quote  #2 
Thanks for sharing Chris!  Please keep us updated!
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N4KIT

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Posts: 45
Reply with quote  #3 
OK, so I said nothing more would happen for quite some time, but weather has put a hold on the other projects, so I decided to work on the heat exchanger in the nice warm shop.

Step one was to build a jig for making the "level" sub-assemblies of the HEX.  Needing a large surface to pin spacer blocks to, I decided to flip over the already-built base of the storage tank and use that.  Here is a picture of the first layer being laid out in the jig:

HEX1a.jpg 

After several hours and repeating the process 5 times, I then stacked the assemblies and connected them together:

HEX4.jpg 

I still need to add the input (lower right) and output (upper left) riser connections, add some bracing and pressure test it, but at least the HEX is 90% complete.  I figure I ended up with about 115' of pipe in the final version.  Some of you may note the Us are a little wider than the sketchup I posted.  I decided to spread it out a little bit on the notion that I would get better heat distribution in the tank water around the HEX.  Ultimately, this will sit in the upper 1/3 of the storage tank.

Best to everyone!
Chris


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It's really kind of cool to have solar panels on your roof.
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netttech

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Reply with quote  #4 
Wow looks good. [smile]

I thought 'I' do a lot of soldering. LOL I don't hold a candle to that! [smile]

Jeff
Central IL
N4KIT

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Posts: 45
Reply with quote  #5 
Update:

I've got more work done on the plumbing mods for the new laundry room/solar HW setup done, and I will post some photos of that later... but I received my MaxDTC8 controller yesterday and I thought you folks might like to see it.

Disclaimer:  I'm not associated with MyDTCStore.com and have no pecuniary interest...

This looks like a GREAT controller for solar and is powerful enough to handle controlling multiple systems at once.  It has 8 temperature inputs, 4 "custom" inputs which can be used for humidity, insolation, 0-30 vdc input, temp or opto-isolated inputs.  You can do up to 16 control rules, which can be assigned to 8 5A rated relays for controlling motors, pumps, fans etc.

Plus, it has data logging on both the inputs and outputs, so you can record up to over 4000 data points on-board, then dump the data via RS-232 interface.

Here's a shot of the controller, powered up and displaying the first 4 temp inputs.

MaxDTC8.jpg 
And here is a shot of the TeraTerm console, showing the system status screen:

MaxDTC Console.jpg 
Apologies for the poor quality, these where taken with my (crappy) cell phone camera.

Anyway, there you have it, more updates to follow.

Chris


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It's really kind of cool to have solar panels on your roof.
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N4KIT

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Reply with quote  #6 
Well, I got a chance to work on the storage tank this past weekend - the project is coming along slow but sure...

Here's the start - the tank is 55" x 42.5" outside dimension...

Tank 2.jpg 

I'm adding R-13 fiberglass between the 3/4 plywood inner box and the outer cover - in the "stud bays":

Tank 3.jpg 

Here's the completed box, in place and ready for the insulation board.  Now I have to arrange a trip 130 miles north to get the RMax board - I live too far south for any of the local suppliers to carry 2" polyiso board in stock!  Final inside dimensions will be 42.5"L x 28"W x 46" D - water fill to 6" from top, final H2O volume 27.55 ft3, 206 gallons (780 liters).

Tank 9.jpg 

In this one, you can see all the new plumbing - incorporating the laundry room renovations - the controller and power supply are in place, and you can see the unions to connect the HEX:

The Board.jpg 

All this copper will get insulation, but per GaryBIS' suggestion in another thread, the sections where there are temp sensors mounted now are covered with Armaflex to try to improve the temp reading accuracy.  One thing I noticed in looking at the logged data so far is that you can see when the HWH comes on by a rise in the HWH input temperature caused by thermal expansion (the pressure tank is 50' upstream of where the CW supply comes into this board).

This final one shows the tank in it's actual final position in the corner...

Tank 5.jpg 


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It's really kind of cool to have solar panels on your roof.
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kristahiles111

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Reply with quote  #7 

Good Work! I loved the solar hot water project.
Solar Projects

N4KIT

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Posts: 45
Reply with quote  #8 
Making more (slow) progress.  Getting the EPDM liner installed.  Once I get this rascal in place, then I can begin the final plumbing, and then we'll be ready for the business end - the collectors!

TankwLiner.jpg 

Sorry for the bad quality - cell phone pic again...


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It's really kind of cool to have solar panels on your roof.
Bill Gates
N4KIT

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Posts: 45
Reply with quote  #9 
Got quite a bit done this weekend.  Completed installing the Trex tank rim.  Once that was in place, I installed the HEX into the tank.

Prepped and ready to go in:

Tank 10.jpg 

All in place:

Tank 19.JPG 

And then on to getting the supply U tube and return lines plumbed up, as well as testing the Grundfos Alpha pump.  I'm really impressed with the Grundfos, I think it is going to work very well.  Here's what it looks like now:

Tank 22.JPG 

Now we're ready for the 2 AE-40 collectors, sometime in the next few weeks - stay tuned!

Chris


__________________
It's really kind of cool to have solar panels on your roof.
Bill Gates
N4KIT

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Posts: 45
Reply with quote  #10 
Well folks, we are up and running!  I enlisted the aid of a couple of my ham radio friends to help me get the 2 AET AE-40 4' x 10' collectors mounted on the roof this weekend (I know, I know - commercial collectors are not really in the spirit of true DIY, but certain concessions had to be made for the sake of marital bliss!)

It rained most of Saturday, delaying our planned 0900 start.  By 5:00 the roof was dry enough and we elected to get started.  Here's the first unit going up:

100_5274.jpg 

And then slid over into position:
100_5282.jpg 

I devised what I thought was an ingenious way to move the panels to the roof (they weight 150 lbs each).  I had some old rollerblade wheels in the junk drawer and used the AE-SM surface mount brackets to make 4 "trucks" that would attach to the frame rails of the collectors.  Then we built the 2x4x16' "ramp" you see and rolled the collectors onto the roof with a minimum of fuss.  Of course as you can see, we had them roped off above to avoid a catastrophic roll-back.

100_5283.jpg 

That was it for Saturday evening - as you can imagine, the first one is the hardest - in order to work the Murphy factors out of the game plan.  Sunday morning brought nice weather and by 9:00, the copper fittings at the top of the first panel where quite warm!  The second collector went up much more smoothly.

100_5295.jpg 

Here's a shot of the (almost) finished tank and "control center".
100_5370.jpg 

And the MaxDTC controller.  This shot was taken about 4 pm, right after the controller had shut the pump down from a cycle.  At 9 am Sunday, the tank was at 60 degrees.  The system was put online about 2:30 PM on Sunday and we managed to gain 10 degrees on the 200 gallons by 5 pm.

100_5373.jpg 
T1= Collectors  T2= Tank bottom  T3= Tank top  T4= DHW HEX output

Here's a pic of the finished roof installation:

100_5375.jpg 

Yesterday was a nice sunny day and the first full day with the system online.  The chart below shows yesterdays performance numbers.  We gained 43 degrees in the tank (from 68 to 111 degrees) for a total collection of around 73,800 BTU.  The pump ran a total of 306 minutes and consumed 0.23 kWHr of electricity.  I expect that pump runtime will go down once the tank reaches it's 150 degree setpoint and the system moves into more of a "maintenance" mode.

2014-04-21 Graph.png 


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It's really kind of cool to have solar panels on your roof.
Bill Gates
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