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DIY Solar Projects Paperback – October 1, 2011

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Editorial Reviews


"In DIY Solar Projects, he demonstrates how solar cookers, hot−water heaters, hot−air collectors and more can be constructed and mounted using ordinary materials. You can start with a small system to power a cellphone, and work up to off−grid systems for small cabins. Clear, step−by−step instructions, a glossary and informative photographs are helpful. If you're curious about undertaking solar projects, this book is an excellent resource." -The Plain Dealer (Cleveland, OH)

About the Author

Eric Smith has worked for many years as a Home Improvement editor. He lives in St. Paul, Minnesota.

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Cool Springs Press (October 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1589236033
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589236035
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 0.5 x 10.9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (58 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #109,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

55 of 58 people found the following review helpful By Mortimer on August 8, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This has got to be one of the finest books I have encountered on making solar energy a real part of your daily life. I should explain that. The projects in this book are NOT just about using solar electric panels, though that is part of the book. No, half of the book describes "how-to" projects to built solar collectors to add heat to your house.

If you are looking for instructions on how to build a complete solar panel system for disconnecting from the grid, this ain't it. There is some practical knowledge of hooking up batteries, mounting panels, etc. But you need another book with more depth for that.

I'm not sure why the one reviewer felt that this book only provided pictures of completed solar projects. That isn't the case at all. There are, in fact, some very detailed instructions on cutting the wooden pieces for some of the projects, materials lists, etc. Pictures demonstrating how to mount the devices, etc. are also included. If you are not comfortable around a table saw, or have never built anything out of wood, then this is likely not for you.

These projects are important because these are not devices you can simply purchase on the internet: they are unique solar collection devices you must build yourself. But they are worth the trouble.
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful By dasiygmj on October 17, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I am impressed with this book. The photos work as visual instructions, material lists, projects and sraight DIY Solar Project book. I would highly recommend that you purchase "Solar Electricity Handbook 2012 Edition" by: Michael Boxwell to go along with this book. If you have these two books, you will be unstoppable in your Solar Power Projects and Knowledge. This book tells you specifically what you need for the projects included in it, but knowing the actual How does it do that is not to important for those specific projects, but if you need to make adjustments, what is safe, why you need to do it a certain way, how much solar power is needed and making changes to those projects will leave you scatching your head and with fear unless you have the other book. Safety is extremely important, producing enough energy for your project to work correctly and knowing why to much energy can damage your project will keep you from altering these projects unless you have the other book. These are both worthy of your money and both worth every dime.
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23 of 27 people found the following review helpful By G. Long on November 7, 2012
Format: Paperback
I am giving this book 2 stars because it doesn't address in sufficient detail how to actually choose components for a pv solar system. The book is more of a carpentry project book than pure solar.

I expected the book to contain more specifics about how to set up PV solar projects. There are a couple of projects in the book that involve PV but not nearly as many as a quick perusal would indicate. The book is filled with pictures of solar panels and the book does discuss the different types of panels. However, when you read about those projects there is no information on battery and charging capacity that might help you actually choose components for a system. Also, there are some basic mathematical relationships and conventions that would help one calculate the potential output and charging time of a system, once you have chosen components. Those are not included. To me, these are fatal flaws.

On the other hand, if you are interested in carpentry projects that use solar energy for heating and water applications then this book has good schematics and parts lists for how to execute such projects.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Larry Davis on April 2, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This book is well done, featuring quality images for do it yourself projects, as well as specific materials used, measurments, etc.

Most of this book is the basic projects you learn in a high school science class - however it gives it a fresh look and feel to coordinate with most home owners that are interested in saving money. I would like to point out that the author does a VERY good job of building these projects on a tight budget. Most of the things he builds are constructed from plywood, basic plexi glass, paints, caulking, etc. that you find at almost any home improvement warehouse. Personally, I would not spend the time, effort or money building these projects that will be going on my house (to hopefully remain there for the next twenty + years..) out of such cheap materials.

With that being said - any basic carpenter/welder with tools can convert these projects (built from plywood) into aluminum, steel or composite cabinets. A few more dollars invested in the begging is money well spent over the course of many years. Trust me, if you build a solar collector out of basic CDX plywood, paint it black and attach to your roof, you will be regretting it in 3-5 years when the wood is splitting, peeling and the unit doesn't even work anymore because it produces more cold air than warm. With any solar collector, warm air in a small enclosed cabinet on cold morning makes condensation. These cabinets are all made of wood.. you see where I am going with this.

Overall, this book is a great read, and fun to get a layout of projects in your mind. The author definitely knows what he is talking about. It is just aimed for a little bit more of a budget oriented builder.
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