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DIY Solar Projects: How to Put the Sun to Work in Your Home Paperback – October 1, 2011


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Frequently Bought Together

DIY Solar Projects: How to Put the Sun to Work in Your Home + Solar Electricity Handbook - 2014 Edition: A Simple Practical Guide to Solar Energy - Designing and Installing Photovoltaic Solar Electric Systems + Build Your Own Solar Panel: Generate Electricity from the Sun.
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Product Details

  • Series: How-To
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Cool Springs Press (October 1, 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1589236033
  • ISBN-13: 978-1589236035
  • Product Dimensions: 10.8 x 8.3 x 0.4 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.5 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (37 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #47,451 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"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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Customer Reviews

Good Picture, Clear Information.
Yan Budiman
It is just aimed for a little bit more of a budget oriented builder.
Larry Davis
Would recommend this book to anyone with an interest in solar power.
Alan Longbon

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

33 of 35 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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20 of 22 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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16 of 20 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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26 of 35 people found the following review helpful By alice faye hill on December 27, 2011
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I really enjoyed reading this book, but I am enjoying the projects even more. Real do-able projects with understandable instructions!
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Dusty Mac on October 4, 2012
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If you like to tinker and want to make some cool gadgets to help save some energy, this is the book for you. The big color pictures are fantastic, along with the material lists and multiple examples of what to make. Ultimately I didn't make something from the book (yet) but used the info, along with ideas from builditsolar.com, to design and implement my own components. So far so good!

If I have one criticism it's the staging of the DIY pictures. The studio where the projects are built is very antiseptic, and the tools used are brand new. Most of my tools are at least 30 years old and my shop is pretty cluttered, so it was hard to relate.
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5 of 7 people found the following review helpful By San Diego Dad on January 23, 2014
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This book dwells on all the mechanical details of solar project. Those are important. But it does it to the complete exclusion of any technical analysis of the projects in question. Just for example, it has a standalone lighting project. The instructions make sense, but how many volts does it support? For how long? How about a table showing how it performs in different light levels and conditions? It recommends 40-80w panels. That is a huge range. How does your choice impact the project? The devil is in the details with electrical projects. The water heating projects have the same issues. What is the impact of the system in terms of energy? Pretty hard to evaluate projects without understanding the impact of the projects. Look, the book has some useful information, but I don't think you should undertake any of the projects in the book without significant additional information.
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