A simple solar water heater controller works by comparing the temperature of the solar collector and the hot water cylinder.  If the collector is hotter than the water in the cylinder, then we need to transfer that heat to the water in the cylinder.

So, when that situation arises, the circulation pump is switched on and the fluid in the collector is pumped out to the heat exchanger coil in the cylinder, thus heating up the water.

The DS18B20 digital temperature chips are perfect for this job.  All they require is a power supply and a single connection for reading the temperature.  What’s more, each of the chips has a unique ID which means that more than one can be connected to the same digital input line, and each read separately.

The chips can be purchased for around £1 each, and they are even available with soldered on leads and a waterproof cover. [Read more…]

Some time ago, I wrote on here that I was planning to make my own solar water heater. Due to various other commitments, that didn’t happen, but now I’m back with a vengeance and I’ll be starting construction of it this spring/summer – hopefully with enough of the summer left to actually benefit from it.

Good News
From my point of view, there’s been a fair bit of good news since I first wrote about making the solar water heater. The first is with regard to my planned location for the heater. This was to be on the roof of the porch in front of my house. This used to be a flat roof, which would have required a framework to support it at the right angle. However, I have since replaced it with a pitched roof, and incorporated fixing brackets especially to take the solar collector.

Controller
The next piece of good news [Read more…]

I can’t believe that it’s about 18 months since I last posted on this blog. Since then, it’s been running on autopilot, bringing in articles on RSS feeds.

Since I last posted, I’ve changed my job and my routine has been totally disrupted and I got out of the habit of posting on my blogs. My DIY projects have all been put on hold, too, for various reasons.

Before I left my old job, one of the directors gave me some old secondary double-glazing panels. These are just perfect for glazing my proposed solar water heater. I was given 4 or 5 of these glass panels and they measure about 4 feet by 4 feet. I’m pretty sure that I’ll only need two of them, so I am considering double-glazing the solar collectors to retain more of the heat.

The best part is that the panels are about [Read more…]

In the UK, we’ve just had the wettest June on record, and July isn’t looking much better at the moment. Not only does it mean that we haven’t been able to enjoy our summer so far, many of us haven’t had much opportunity to look after our gardens.

Worst of all, with the rain come the slugs and snails, and in my garden, there seem to be simply thousands of them. Usually, I end up giving my garden a liberal sprinkling of those blue pellets. They seem to be effective, but with so much rain, their effectiveness has a very limited life – I have to reapply the pellets much more often to keep things under control.

This year, I’ve had my entire crop of lettuces and most of my peas and beans destroyed by these pests. I simply wasn’t able to keep on top of the problem [Read more…]

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