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Old 10-14-11, 10:43 AM   #11
Daox
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I don't think I'd try to unscrew it. If its not just screwed in you'll wreck something trying to get it out, especially with the tank being older you probably have some corrosion and/or build up over the years. I'd try to either thread the end or do you like you said and stretch a 1" copper pipe over the end and solder it on.

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Old 10-14-11, 11:16 AM   #12
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Mwaaa Ha Ha ha Ha aaa HHHaaa Ha ha!

The Gods of Plumbing smile upon me this day!

I started experimentally stabbing into the foam insulation. It really wasn't as far to go to hit the interior tank as I thought it would be.

The pipes are sort of off-center in the hole of the sheet metal cover. So, even though there was little room on one side of the pipe, it made more room on the other. I took advantage of that with a skinny chisel, and cut some foam out.

As Xringer said, sure enough, I could see some exterior threads on the other end. I also did NOT see any sign of solder/welder/weird gaskets/etc.

Time for the pipe wrench!

(Deep Breath!)

(And turn it....)

Yea! It unscrews!

On the port that the brass nipple went in to, it was just 3/4 female thread, then it shrank down to a smaller size (1/2"?) for what looks to be the actual heat exchanger tube.



On the second pipe, it was much tighter and more difficult to remove. Had I not already removed the first one, I wouldn't have tried any harder on the second one. I would have assumed I was screwing it up!

All I really needed was a longer handle for my pipe wrench!



Here's the two hunks of what I pulled out!



It all seems so simple now, but not knowing what was at the other end, realizing what the material was and NOT WANTING TO SCREW UP MY tank made this all very mysterious to start with.

I also noticed, after I polished up the cut pipe, that there were some indented lines running parallel to the length of the pipe.



I couldn't figure out what they were. Part of the manufacturing process?!?!? Oh well. After I used the pipe wrench to get the nipples OFF, I realized I just made MORE of the EXACT SAME MARKS! Those were marks from a pipe wrench when they put those nipples in!

Had I more experience with plumbing, I might have known that and realized right from the start that these were just threaded-in pipes!
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Old 10-14-11, 11:28 AM   #13
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Woo, I'm glad they just unscrewed! Glad to see you got it figured out.

Going to replace them with some pex adapter or what?
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Old 10-14-11, 11:52 AM   #14
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I think I will just replace those with new brass nipples.

That will get the pipe out to a working location, where I can then add whaterver else I need to.

I think I am going to start off by adding a boiler drain to the one right away. That will make it easier to connect a garden hose to flush out the system. At some point, I'll need a drain anyways, so I may as well get one right now.
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Old 10-14-11, 01:16 PM   #15
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Default Pipe wrench marks!

Nice! That shows the value of hi-res pictures. The first clue I saw in your first pics,
http://gallery.me.com/benhdvideoguy/...C_9865/web.jpg
was a tiny line on top of each pipe. But, it was hard to see if there was more.
I wasn't 100% sure, but the spec was another good clue.
That's why I asked you to dig in and look for the threads..

I've used a few 1/2" brass nipples and I always mark them up pretty badly..
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Old 10-14-11, 01:19 PM   #16
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Have you decided what plumbing you're going to use from the tank to the collector yet?
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Old 10-14-11, 01:59 PM   #17
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Well, PEX is cheap.

I've heard mixed horror stories though. Some people say how solar can get rediculously hot and melt through anything. Other people say that the hot water PEX works great, and why spend any more money on copper.

I need 25-30 feet each way between the collector and the solar tank, which will be in my utility room in the middle of the house. (No basement!)

1/2" soft copper is about $120. 3/4" is $180. I could buy a lot of connectors, valves, etc for that money.

I'm thinking of using PEX instead of copper if nobody has any objection.

Either way, I do want to use flexible material. It will make it a lot easier to work in my crawlspace that way. It's kinda hard to solder straight copper laying on my back in the dark!
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Old 10-14-11, 02:08 PM   #18
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Yeah, copper is really expensive unfortunately. I just looked it up, 100ft of 1/2" pex (I don't think you'd need 3/4" for your one fairly large panel) is a whopping ~$25. For that price I think its worth the risk of it bursting just to give it a shot.

What are you thinking about doing for insulating the lines?
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Old 10-14-11, 03:33 PM   #19
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I picked up some new brass at the home improvement store.

Two nipples and two boiler drains. I figured that I needed to use garden hose to flush and drain the tank, and the boiler drain has garden hose threads right on it.

Here's the new brass fitted to the tank.



I then connected up my garden hose (Actually, a fancy double-ended hose, as it's going from one spigot to another.) The other hose was draining out onto the lawn.

I did this for a few minutes just to flush everything out, and make sure there weren't any major leaks or screw-ups.



After that, I connected the hoses to a Harbor Freight stainless steel 12VDC water pump.


This is more or less what my final system will be. The sections of garden hose were even roughly the distance from where my panel to my tank will be.

I had two 5-gallon buckets. But checking to see how long it would take to fill one from the other, I could determine my flow rate.



It took 4 minutes to fill a 5-gallon bucket. That's a flow rate of 1.25 gallons per minute. I'm shooting for anywhere between 1 and 3 GPM. It's on the low end, but ok.

The "sucking" hose is squeezed down a bit from the pump pulling on it, so I think that's hurting the flow rate just a tad. Rigid pipe would fix that.
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Old 10-14-11, 03:56 PM   #20
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With a closed loop system I'd aim for the upper end of the spectrum if you can easily enough find a pump that gets you there. From reviews I've read, people have said you can't run that harbor freight pump continuously. You probably know that already though. What about the computer pump that Gary used on his domestic hot water loop? Its pretty inexpensive and has worked out well for him. Here they are: Swiftech - Pumps

Newegg.com has better prices on them.

I even have one hanging around if you'd like to try it out.

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