Junkstrapped Solar Collector #1

Neologism of the day : Junkstrapping – which is like bootstrapping, but using junk rather than off-the-shelf components.

And here it is:


The design philosophy is something like:

– made out of bits you can find pretty much anywhere for free-ish.
– no permanent attachments – no glue, staples, nails etc so you can experiment/swap bits
– avoid big bits of stuff – because they can be hard to find.
– flexible design so it can be built round the hardest to find bit – the glass.

So there it is. It’s
– 3 layers of cardboard box cardboard,
– a couple of bits of polystyrene
– a window pane
– a load of beercans cut in half and crimped together
– a bit of copper tube at the top
– all connected together with bicycle inner tube.

All of which I scrounged from local businesses – the most beneficial aspect of which is that you get to talk to and befriend local business peeps… apart from the beer cans which I was forced to buy and drink myself. I also put tape around the edge of the glass because its sharp etc.

So there you go. I’m going to go through a bit of an experimental phase… I think double glazing it would be a good idea, and it will need to be water-proofed. I’d like to get away without using polystyrene if I can as well.

But there it is… a reasonably overcastish sort of day, but bright enough to cast a shadow…


… and the bit of pipe sticking out the side is too hot to touch.

I’ll make an instructable or something once I’ve gone through a few more iterations. I’ll need to get some more beer cans as well probably.

1 Comment » for Junkstrapped Solar Collector #1
  1. admin says:

    Well… that all seems to work etc.

    The highest temperature I’ve measured it at is 105 degrees C. Which is fairly hot.

    It’s rubbish on overcast days though – I think vacuum tubes are a bit of a requirement. The colder the weather, the greater the required efficiency. Most of the heat seems to escape out through the glass though – even though I’ve double-glazed it. It’s still really hot to touch (whereas the surrounding cardboard isn’t). I think I might try evacuating the space between the two sheets of glass.