?'s for anyone doing solar cooking

Discussion in 'Homesteading Questions' started by Homesteader, Dec 10, 2003.

  1. Homesteader

    Homesteader Well-Known Member

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    I have decided to begin solar cooking and have chosen the car windshield shade one to start with so I can start right away, then, will ask DH to build me the automatic tracking one: http://solarcooking.org/plans.htm

    The question is have you figured out a way to keep these things from blowing over or away during wind?

    Thanks!
     
  2. earthship

    earthship Well-Known Member

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    We have a 'store bought' SolarOven. When it is windy out (and it doesn't take much to be a problem), we anchor it down with stones to keep it from blowing over. There are probably more clever ways - but it does work and the oven will get to 300 degrees when it is 30 out ;-)
     

  3. Thumper/inOkla.

    Thumper/inOkla. Well-Known Member

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    I had one built from a cardboard box, styrofoam, and sheetrock, it worked just fine until it was left out in the rain and the chickens tried to eat all the styrofoam out of it. I had string tied to the corners of the reflector and down to bricks.
     
  4. MOgal

    MOgal Well-Known Member Supporter

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    We have a SunOven unit and I experimented until I found several spots in the yard where buildings or shrubbery protect it from the wind. It takes a little while since the wind isn't constant from hour to hour, forget day to day. Normally I set ours on an old roll about TV table to make the working height more comfortable but when it's really windy, I set it on the ground in those protected spots.
     
  5. snoozy

    snoozy Well-Known Member Supporter

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    While getting all the stuff together for my dead fridge greenhouse, I had these dead fridges lying on their backs (no doors) in the sun. They got VERY warm inside, all that white reflecting the solar rays. You could set your solar oven inside one of those, and wind would not be a problem and the heat collected would be in an insulated box.
     
  6. Runners

    Runners A real Quack!

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    My wife and kids made the box cookers, from the same link shown - they work... slowly. We want to build a BIG one, always how, always tracking the sun, ready to go, built into the side of the house.

    Wish I could remember where I saw a pic of one, but it was bascially a big reflector outside the house, directing sunlight up into the bottom of an oven built into the side of the house. So long as the relfector wasn't covered, the oven was hot, and ready to go - no preheating, 350-450 an hour after the sun hits it.

    Unfortunately, they ONLY had like 2 or 3 pics, one of the outside, and a couple inside - looked like a built in brick wall oven. There was nothing said on how they regulate temperature, how long it stayed hot after the sun went down or how well it worked. It did look well used, we think... or like someone stuck an old oven door on a brick fireplace.

    I'd love to hear from ANYONE that knows anything about them - espically plans, schematics, how well they work, or DO they work.

    Bill
     
  7. Ozarkquilter46

    Ozarkquilter46 Well-Known Member

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  8. Runners

    Runners A real Quack!

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    That looks alot like the one I saw (pics), but the relflector was below the oven, shooting light up, into the bottom. I liked the idea of no eye burn from the light. This thing had a real thick metal plate, or cast iron that light heated up - which heated up the whole oven space (separate from the outside). Wish I could find that picture...
    Bill
     
  9. j.r. guerra in s. tx.

    j.r. guerra in s. tx. Well-Known Member

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  10. Here is a great list for this question.
    solarcooking-l@igc.topica.com

    The sunshade oven, (which by the way I thought of while gathering materials for my 4-H solar cooking class, though I never posted a web page about it.) Is a great oven, but very wind tempermental. I have experimented with a few other designs which I will share, and list the pluses and minuses of each.

    Fish tank oven- This is super easy and pretty weather proof. Invert a 10-20 gallon fish tank on a layer or double layer of reflective car shade material. (This gives a pretty air tight seal.) For a reflector I have used a discarded piece of flashing wedged behind the tank or a full car shade bungied around three sides. Orient towards the sun. I kept mine on a picnic table. A wind strong enough to overturn the table is your only fear. (or a goat, oops)

    5-day cooler oven- This summer I bought one of those 5 day coolers and quickly saw the solar cooking possibilities. Line the interior with foil or reflexis. Have a piece of glass cut at hardware store to exactly fit interior. For this you must buy the cooler with enough of a lip all the way around. Line the lid with foil, I taped mine. This cooker worked well. It was a bit skinny using reflexics to line the interior. I elevated the food using a metal rack so the food was not shadowed by the high front side. A plus for this cooker is it works well as a cooler when traveling. The lid will still shut even with the glass in place which makes it so easy to take to the beach or store. I chose some dishes just to fit this cooker and keep them stored inside.

    Old freezer cooker- I haven't made this, but it looks so cool to me that I might try it someday. http://www.stevenharris.net/solarcooking/Web/albumindex1.html
    I don't know why he stripped of the exterior insulation, i would have left it as it will give a much hotter oven.

    Currently our old freezer is what we keep the animal feed in to keep rodents out.
    Empress (who has trouble logging in)
     
  11. Homesteader

    Homesteader Well-Known Member

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    Great answers everyone - thanks. Empress, what is a 5-day cooler?
     
  12. The top link didn't seem to work, but the one with Steve did - GREAT idea!

    "Old freezer cooker- I haven't made this, but it looks so cool to me that I might try it someday. http://www.stevenharris.net/solarco...lbumindex1.html
    I don't know why he stripped of the exterior insulation, i would have left it as it will give a much hotter oven."

    My guess is the original insulation was FOAM instead of fiberglass. Looks like it was an upright freezer compartment. 1 1/2 hrs to cook is pretty good for solar anything, bread usually takes 25-35min at 350+

    I can only imagine how nice it would be to knock out my 12 loaves of bread each week in one shot... even throw some cinamon rolls in there too! Neat Idea!
     
  13. Sorry the top link is a mail list not a website. It is run by and peopled by folks from the solarcooking.org site, including Barbara Kerr, the lady called the "grandmother" of solar cooking.

    A five day cooler is a new line of coolers by Coleman. It says it keeps food cold for five days, it has at least twice as much insulation as a regular cooler. The size that worked for me is the 36qt. They are avialable is assorted colors even camo currently. There is a question of if it is OK to heat the interior of a cooler hot enough to cook in, will it offgas, etc. I don't know, I tried it and it worked, it cooked the food I put inside. I didn't notice any chemically smell. (My tiny crock pot has a plastic lid, so I know some plastic can take the heat.) I also used Reflexix (refective bubblewrap) on the walls which would protect the sides somewhat from the heat. with that instead of foil, my 8x8 pans wouldn't fit so I use loaf pans.

    I forgot to mention. For the fishtank cooker, I use a round black (teflon) cake pan as the base to put the cooking pan. I leave it in all the time so it is there to absorb the heat and preheat it if I want to use it. Another round teflon pan with a round glass lid , borrowed from another pan is frequently the cooking pan. Cast iron works, but it takes longer to heat all the cast iron before it starts heating the food, though it will hold heat better if the sun goes away. Any two black pans botton to bottom will work, but I find it hard to find a glass lid for a square or rectangular pan. The green house within a green house makes it hotter, though for cookies etc, I don't use a lid inside
     
  14. Homesteader

    Homesteader Well-Known Member

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  15. Homesteader

    Homesteader Well-Known Member

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    The link above isn't working right now - but was yesterday. Keep trying!