Friday, February 21, 2014

Solar dehydrator

It seems like all I have done for the past 10 years is work on house projects.  As I am two thirds of the way though my third house remodel I can say that I am sick of home repair.

That is a big reason why there have been no updates for so long.

Oh look, another tile job.

Wheee, more dry wall...

Lately I have started to take some time to work on garden projects again.  Last year I made raised beds and planted fruit trees.  Also made a solar dehydrator last August.  After reading about all sorts of dehydrators I went with a basic design.  The down draft variety looked interesting but I just won't have that much to dehydrate.

The collector is about 2' x 4'

It runs off of an old 5 watt panel that I had laying around.  About as simple as can be.  When the sun shines the fan spins.

Coffee can painted black.  After being in the sun for a couple of hours the shady side of the can was over 130 F.

The solar panel connects to the fan through a couple of bolts in the wall.  This make disconnecting the panel super easy.

A 120mm computer fan that I bought used.  They move over 120 CFM at full speed.  If I had known how good these fans were I would have bought all they had.  After a couple of hours in the sun with the fan going close to full speed the inside ranged from 120 F to 140 F.  Colorado is so dry that the heat is dehydrating as much as the air moving over the food.

5 screens that are about 2' x 3'.  There is room for 3 more if I ever need them.

This was one of those special projects that I did not have to buy a thing for.  Finally it payed off to have a garage full of junk.  The panels were left over house siding.  The fan and solar panel were from old projects.  The screen has been floating around my garage since the 90s.  The paint and hardware weren't as old but still had been moved at least twice.

So far I haven't dried much more than strawberries.  They turned out great but were eaten before a picture could be taken.  The plan is to dry the apple surplus to feed to chickens in the winter.

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