It was no longer operational and started to deteriorate further: the solar collector made of beer bottles, garden hose, and PVC. During tours, it was quickly passed by, so we had to do something about it. Nothing was reusable from the old collector, so it was decided to use the renovation as an excuse to increase the capacity. Two glass plates of the same width (85 cm) were found in storage, which together had a length of 210 cm. So that had to be the new format. At the hardware store, it turned out that luck was with us because 210 cm turned out to be a standard length for planks.
The box was built from wooden plates, planks, and battens connected to angle brackets. A double bottom is made with insulation plates in between. The entire box is primed and finished with two layers of blackboard paint. The black, matte colour gives the best result for heat absorption.
The next obstacle was the storage system. We opted for a complete PVC system with as big and many pipes as possible, which were connected to standard couplings. The box turned out to be able to host 8 tubes of 80 mm using 40 mm connectors resulting in a total capacity of approximately 65 liters. This is almost twice the capacity of the old system!
In the meantime, the idea had arisen to completely close the box, with the option at the bottom to remove a plank and to slide out the entire storage system. As a result, the glass plates never need to be removed, which reduces the risk of breakage. Ironically, one of the glass plates was broken when cutting to size (a piece had broken off in the past and this had to be cut straight again). Attaching the 40 mm pipe to the shower’s 16 mm garden hose required a series of flared pipes to achieve the correct diameter. At the same time, this should not protrude too far, which would eliminate the possibility to slide the system out of the box. As a result, the hose could not be secured with a hose clamp due to lack of space. Cutting thread on a piece of PVC pipe seemed to be the solution, but the connection could not be made waterproof. In the end, a PP hose nozzle was used which is not really compatible with gluing to PVC.
All in all, the renewed solar shower was prepared just before the T-week, where it was frequently used by the enthusiastic participants and volunteers. It quickly became clear that the connection of the hose nozzle was leaking a little and when the water is warm, the garden hose softens a little bit and can come loose. So this is another point for improvement for the future.
During the T-week, a thermometer was installed in the tank, which indicated temperatures from 40 to 50 °C in the sunny weather we were in. Adding a little cold water is all it needs to have a comfortable shower!
Now that the solar collector has been replaced, the renovation of the corresponding cubicle is next on the agenda.