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HauteGaronne

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Posts: 17
Reply with quote  #1 

I started reading this site about 2 years ago and bought most material then to build a collector. However I am renovating the house where the panel should be placed so haven't had any time to spend on this project. Also, the stone walls of the house are very thick so I was struggling to find a way to feed the input and output pipes.
Eventually I stopped making excuses and just built an empty black box collector and temporarily fed it through a window opening after someone on the forum had written that the worst-performing collector is the one which hasn't been built :-)

The house is only a weekender/holiday house so the main idea with a panel is to give some base heat to hopefully avoid the walls cooling down too much between our stays. We'll see how that works out.

The collector is 1x4 meters (3.2x13 feet according to Google) and placed vertically with input and output in each end.

It will be taken down and stored away in the summer as it is an eyesore.

I have just fired it up and am happy with the performance considering it is just a black box. When I find some time I will add the zero pass internals which should make it perform even better.

 

I just wanted to thank everyone who has contributed to this forum

 

  3rotated.jpg  2rotated.jpg  1rotated.jpg   

 


tacman7

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Posts: 47
Reply with quote  #2 
Are you using an inline fan to push air?

I'm not that up on collectors. Thanks
HauteGaronne

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Posts: 17
Reply with quote  #3 

Yes one of these

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Blauberg-UK-TURBO-125-Turbo-Extractor/dp/B01M10DGCU

gbwillson

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Reply with quote  #4 
Very nice looking build!

You are correct about the performance of an empty black box heater. Adding screens for example, can improve performance by almost double if done right. Keep an eye on the output temps. If they start to approach 120˚F(49˚C). High output temps not only waste heat, but can damage the collector if the temps get too high. 

Also, it looks like you have plenty of weight holding down the base. But depending on the direction of the winter winds, and your collector being so tall, it might need some additional bracing. Speaking from experience, a vertical collector makes a poor kite!

Is the glazing a single sheet, or one long piece? I only ask because it looks very nice, with only a narrow brace halfway up. If two pieces, does the glazing bulge when the fan is on?

Greg in MN
HauteGaronne

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Posts: 17
Reply with quote  #5 
Thanks Greg. 
The highest I have got is 42 degrees Celcius. I am running my fan on the low speed to keep the noise down. With a screen in place, I would probably have to crank it up.
We had a 140km/h storm 2 days after I put the collector up. That was a good test but I could hardly sleep all night worrying about the collector.
The glazing is 2 sheets. I haven't noticed any bulging as there is one brace behind the glazing which the top brace is screwed into. All sealed with weatherstrip.
stmbtwle

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Reply with quote  #6 
Somewhere there is a thread on how to use snap switches to automatically switch the fan to high if the temperature goes too high.

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Solar is like the wind. It may be free, but putting it to work isn't!
Willie, Tampa Bay
HauteGaronne

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Posts: 17
Reply with quote  #7 
Thanks, I haven't been able to find snap switches here in Europe so I am using a cheap electronic temperature controller. It is a good idea to get a second one of those to kick in when needed, thanks!
Speaking of which, which is the best location for the temp sensor for a ZP collector?
gbwillson

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Reply with quote  #8 
HG-

I'm glad your collector weathered the storm. Nothing would be worse laying in bed and hearing a crash outside.

With your current output temps, what is the airflow CFM? 42C is maybe a little bit high, but without knowing the actual airflow... Have you figured out how you are going configure the screens inside?

I have my temperature sensor(not my output thermometer) in the exhaust manifold about 2" from the top about 6" from the end of the collector. I mistakenly placed it in the upper corner, but late in the day the side of the house and the collector starts to cast shadows over the probe so it shuts down a bit sooner than I like.

Greg in MN
HauteGaronne

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Posts: 17
Reply with quote  #9 
Hi, I haven't measured the CFM. Will wait until I have built the screens.
I will move my sensor to the exhaust manifold too as mine is too far down on the collector now and shuts off too early.
For the screens, I plan to make 4 wooden rectangular frames which will meet up in the middle of the collector. I will seal the join with silicone so no air escapes that way.
The two frames resting on the insulation will have 2 layers of screen while the two at the top will only have one layer.
The input and exhaust manifolds will be as small as possible while just fitting the input and output ducts.
What is the consensus currently for the most effective gap between the screens?
Thanks


gbwillson

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Reply with quote  #10 

HG-

 

Below is a link where I experimented with optimal screen gap size along with my neighbor Kraut. While we used 16' for our testing length, it should give some guidance as to the best screen size screen gap, regardless of the size and shape of a ZP configuration. In our testing, at a given output airflow of 400CFM, the optimal screen gap was a surprising 1 3/8"! I would have thought the optimal gap to be much smaller. 

 

Greg in MN

http://simplysolar.supporttopics.com/post/zeropass-screen-gap-testing-8443382?highlight=screen+gap&trail=10

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