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Just when I was ready...I read more, now confused about about glazing for solar dehydrator

 
Posts: 29
Location: Ohio Zone 6b
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I was ready to start on the Scanlin style solar dehydrator and the plans call for  fiberglass-reinforced polyester (FRP) known as Sun-Lite HP and was simply going to substitute some Plexiglas for the fiberglass-reinforced polyester (FRP) known as Sun-Lite HP.  Well as I read more about solar dehydrators I started to read about how the FRP filters out UV and all that and then to add to it some people are saying that this model will not work well in Ohio (zip code 43964) because of humidity.  Well here I am once again derailed by too much information and too many opinions.  Here are my 2 questions and I realize that your answers might be opinions, but how many times have you been overloaded with reading way too much stuff?

1.  Will this style of dehydrator work in my zone, 6a zip code 43964


2.  For the glazing can I use regular single pane glass?  Plexiglas? Clear corrugated panels you get at big box stores? Do I have to worry about filtering UV?




 
pollinator
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Location: South of Winona, Minnesota
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The solar dryer we designed in 1985 has been used in Wisconsin/Minnesota by us since then, as well as hundreds of other folks around the world. Much easier to construct, absolutely works even in the humid upper Midwest, and glazings can be a number of options (except acrylic which doesn't last under these conditions). Time to think outside the box. You can read about it on our website http://geopathfinder.com/Solar-Food-Drying.html
 
pollinator
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Larisa Walk wrote:The solar dryer we designed in 1985 has been used in Wisconsin/Minnesota by us since then, as well as hundreds of other folks around the world. Much easier to construct, absolutely works even in the humid upper Midwest, and glazings can be a number of options (except acrylic which doesn't last under these conditions). Time to think outside the box. You can read about it on our website http://geopathfinder.com/Solar-Food-Drying.html



Do you still do solar dryer building workshops?  I would be interested in attending one.
 
gardener
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I home built a backwoods version of the dryer Larisa is referring to.
It does the job!   Simple to build easy to use.
I have an old post about it. I'll locate it and attach a link. https://permies.com/t/25688
 
Larisa Walk
pollinator
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Trace Oswald wrote:

Larisa Walk wrote:The solar dryer we designed in 1985 has been used in Wisconsin/Minnesota by us since then, as well as hundreds of other folks around the world. Much easier to construct, absolutely works even in the humid upper Midwest, and glazings can be a number of options (except acrylic which doesn't last under these conditions). Time to think outside the box. You can read about it on our website http://geopathfinder.com/Solar-Food-Drying.html



Do you still do solar dryer building workshops?  I would be interested in attending one.



I was scheduled to present again at the Midwest Renewable Energy Fair in Custer, Wisconsin but they just announced that this event won't be happening this year. I don't have any other upcoming events. My workshop contents are covered by the materials in our website and book. We have never hosted a dryer building workshop on our own as we don't have the equipment or space, but have worked with others who have organized the group builds. Probably not going to be anything scheduled this year. We are always happy to answer questions to clarify details if needed.
 
Zeek McGalla
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Thank you thank you thank you!!  That looks so much better!
 
Zeek McGalla
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I do have a question....I am making one of these as Larisa has suggested and mine will be 8'x2' and have 4 2'x2' drying frames...that is easy.  The whole thing will sit on my south facing deck, I am at latitude 40, so should I angle the dryer a certain degrees?  Does it matter?
Thank you!!
 
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Can you make it 4' by 4'?  Getting more height helps the air get hotter and move better.  

The steeper you can get it (to match sun angle) the better, as long as your food doesn't slide down onto the ground.

Here's my build thread:   I built a Walk Radiant Solar Dehydrator and I like it
 
Larisa Walk
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Mike, We really like the adaptation to recycled materials that you used in your take on our design. And you are correct in maximizing heat in northern climates by having a 4' dimension in the north-south axis. I have run across a version of our design that is being built and distributed in Africa, Cheetah Food Dryer. I spoke with someone from the organization and found that the design is about 2'x8' with the long dimension north-south. You might think that this would overheat to the max but they designed it with air  flow under and over the food screens and with flaps on the ends to open or close this air flow, giving control. They are also using the dryer for very wet, heavy loads of tomatoes and sweet potatoes, etc., not leafy greens. We experimented with some of these ideas here and found that the 4' dimension worked best without needing tending, and the air flow below the screens only gave the most consistent results overall. I think in part it may be because it gets so cool and humid overnight and having less airflow in the morning helps the dryer get warmed up faster. We don't adjust the slope or track the sun during the day as we're busy with other things and want to park the food in the dryer and tend it as little as possible.  So after much experimentation we went back to the default, easy to build and use (for us) setup. I do like the Cheetah in that it has one big screen and you can shift food lower by sliding it downhill and put in wetter foods nearer the top. However, the loaded screen is not portable to bring inside and requires loading or cleaning in place. I liked that some of the units were made to be adjusted to a level "table" height for loading, and then angled down for drying (think teeter totter). I haven't seen anything being sold in the U.S. like their design, although the person that I spoke with said that they might do that in the future to help raise funds for their projects. Of course, if one isn't able to get a dryer built in time for their needs, or is cash strapped for any reason, the dryer on wheels that most Americans have is their car. If the car is parked so its biggest window faces south, roll down windows very slightly, and place trays of food inside, preferably in the sun, covered by black or dark colored cloth and you can dry most anything that you can do in the Walk dryer, although a bit inconveniently. We've known people who did this and even drove their car/dryer to work and parked it so as to harvest the sun's energy while they worked.
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