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Solar Energy Projects for the Evil Genius 1st Edition

3.0 out of 5 stars 33 customer reviews
ISBN-13: 978-0071477727
ISBN-10: 0071477721
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Editorial Reviews

About the Author

Gavin D. J. Harper is the author of 50 Awesome Auto Projects for the Evil Genius, Build Your Own Car PC, and Solar Energy Projects for the Evil Genius (all from McGraw-Hill), and has had work mentioned in the journal Science. Harper holds a BSc. (Hons) Technology from the Open University, has completed an MSc. Architecture: Advanced Environmental & Energy Studies, and is currently undertaking further Postgraduate study with the Centre for Renewable Energy Systems Technology, Loughborough University.
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Product Details

  • Series: Evil Genius
  • Paperback: 196 pages
  • Publisher: McGraw-Hill Education TAB; 1 edition (July 13, 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0071477721
  • ISBN-13: 978-0071477727
  • Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 0.4 x 10.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (33 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #194,421 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

By calvinnme HALL OF FAMEVINE VOICE on July 22, 2007
Format: Paperback
This book provides the fundamentals of working with solar energy to the extent that you can build the projects included in the book. The projects range from simple science fair type projects to converting a home to run on solar electricity. This book follows the pattern of the other books in the series. There is a short section describing the theory of operation of each project followed by schematics, parts lists, and detailed instructions. All of the projects are the size of table-tops, but they can be enlarged to scale if needed.

The book begins by discussing the reasons to develop devices powered by solar energy. Economics and efficiency comparisons are made to standard energy sources. Among the projects discussed are two model solar water heating systems, a solar oven for cooking food, a basic solar water distiller, and a simple solar furnace. The solar furnace generates temperatures high enough that paper products can be ignited and low temperature metals can be liquified. Information is included on commercial solar furnaces. Next readers are shown how to build a simple thermoelectric generator that transforms heat into electricity. You are shown how to power the generator using the solar furnace from a previous chapter. Next readers are shown how to build a homemade photovoltaic cell using a copper sheet. Photovoltaic cells generate electricity directly from sunlight. This is followed by an advanced photovotaic cell construction project. Here you make a solar cell that uses photochemistry to mimic photosynthesis using photosensitive dyes that promise cheap solar electric power. The reader is taught how to build a solar engine, which is useful for tasks such as pumping water for storage and irrigation.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have been a solar electric and solar hot water installer for 3 years. I can design and install a system with ease and confidence, but the projects in this book increased my understanding to a whole new level. It was like learning about solar from the inside out. I always enjoy it when I can learn about something I know well from a different angle. Some of my friends bought the book for themselves after thumbing through my copy. I recommend this book for anyone who likes to have a hands on approach to solar in many different areas.
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Format: Paperback
The author of this book was 19 years old when he published it. What an amazing 19 year old! He truly is a genius! My 15 year old daughter and I really enjoyed this book. One amazing project after another. Easy to understand instructions, easy to obtain materials--the author tells you how to order what you don't have--, and projects are easy to do. I especially liked the solar ice maker! I strongly recommend this book.
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If this book included instructions on how to actually build the projects it discusses, it would be worth buying. As it is, there are only some vague guidelines and not-very-useful sketches. If you want to build any of these projects, you would in almost every case, be much better off using a search engine to find a page online that actually tells you how; It's free, and you're more likely to get detailed information.

The only reason I give this book more than 1 star is that there are at least a couple of projects that I haven't encountered online--so it seems to be at least somewhat original.
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Format: Paperback
Though I must commend the author, who at 19 published this book, for his forward thinking and embrace of diy projects I found this book lacking.
As others have mentioned the projects are missing key details and can hardly be called projects. Most projects consist of one page or less detailing how the item is supposed to work and construction techniques.

Technical drawings consist of basic outlines and the photos printed in the book are of terrible resolution (remember the days of 1 megapixel cameras and vga dispaly? think that kind of quality)

The book seems meant to give a very cursory knowledge of solar energy and its uses; if you already have a basic idea of how solar panels work and what they can be used for I suggest you flip through this book at the library or bookstore before purchasing it. Many of the projects in the book are simply taken from other sources, most of them available free online, and though credit is given where it's due it can hardly be considered an original text.

100% a great book to check out of the library and return in 3 days once you have seen what it offers.
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Format: Paperback
This book was a tremendous disappointment. The instructions are at best vague and are too general to be of much use to anybody. In many cases key information is simply missing. Much better sources are available for free on the web (and are also better written). There may indeed be 50 projects described in the book (if you count a "hot dog cooker", "a marshmallow melter","building a solar cooker" and "building a solar camping stove" a 4 separate projects) but really I think that is stretching things.

The only spark of "genius" shown here is that Mr. Gavin D.J. Harper was able to convince a publisher to actually print this manuscript. It throws into question McGraw Hill's reputation.

No more Gavin D.J. Harper for me.

[Note: the illustration of the title page shows "30 projects" while the cover of the book sent to me indicates "50 projects"]

Solar Energy Projects for the Evil Genius
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