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Old 03-10-21, 05:57 PM   #2
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Join Date: Jan 2010
Location: elizabethtown, ky, USA
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Looking for a suitable design, I found one on builditsolar. They call it the MTD collector, short for modified trickle down.

There seem to have been two guys (Richard and John) collaborating on a few different versions of the basic design. John has some YouTube videos up describing a few of them. I like this idea because it uses a variety of materials for the actual absorber, that all seemed to work good enough to heat water up above the 150 degF range. It uses polyiso "Rmax" boards for rear insulation and mylar sheet for a waterproof membrane. Pretty much "zero pressure" drain back operation.

John built his panels out of light gauge galvanized steel "stud wrap" channel, that's dirt cheap. My local Menard's has them in multiple sizes for between 3 and 6 dollars each per 10 foot stick. So between the stud track and insulation, I can probably build a 10 foot long (probably a little shorter, due to the Rmax being only 8 ft long) enclosure for under 50 bucks.
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