I just dropped the price of
the permaculture playing cards
for a wee bit.

 

 

uses include:
- infecting brains with permaculture
- convincing folks that you are not crazy
- gift giving obligations
- stocking stuffer
- gambling distraction
- an hour or two of reading
- find the needle
- find the 26 hidden names

clickity-click-click

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SolSource mirror cooker review--pluses, minuses, interesting points  RSS feed

 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Posts: 579
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
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Hey team,
my housemates just got this $700 solar cooker. I have never seen the man make an impulse purchase before in my life, but he's got religion, I guess. Anyway, he wants it to be used and generously lets anyone of us use it, plus neighbors.

So, I think this is awesome. I also see that it's way over-priced for what it needs to be, and has some design flaws (for New England) and some manufacturing defects. And I'm not sure how long it will last in a place that has, say, wind.

But what I like:
--good educational thing, can show it to kids and neighbors and it heats up FAST (can burn a leaf in seconds)
--no fuel needed. Minimal embodied energy when compared with any other stove you would buy
--heats hot enough to pressure-cook some sweet potatoes, potatoes, and borsch all in one day in November in New England
--heat is focused in one area so you'd have to be exactly there to burn yourself--less likely to have an accident

don't like:
--not angeled for low sun (<22 degrees at the solstice in these parts)
--doesn't work when there's even a slight cloud (I know this is hard to wkr around, but a thermal battery or thermal mass would help
--pricey. Cf the $5 version in Uganda (youtube) out of a tyre, or, if you're short a tire, a pit in the ground, or, in my case, a flower pot. (tinfoil and crumpled paper and a window pane).
--has to be tended: not safe if random kids or people are walking by; also, could tip over, looks wobbly on its base; and you need to turn it to keep sun angled properly every 10" or so, 15" max I'd guess
--really needs the (dark-colored) pressure cooker to be useful

interesting points:
--can teach the concept, proof of concept, in seconds
--burning a leaf with it makes it more tangible and palpable--we tend to associate smoke with heat
--burning a dry leaf can leave a flaming leaf-chunk flying around, NOT safe in fall in New England and especially not perceived as safe. Better to use a wetter leaf, even if it doesn't burn as dramatically
--can reach 700 in ideal situation; I think it's getting to 500 here in winter
--shows people just how much energy there is per square meter
--focuses the heat not on thte whole pot bottom but at one spot


It was a weird feeling to see something sizzling the first time, with no fuel source! now we're cooking without gas!

Thoughts? anyone else tried one? I searched but search did not show me any solsource posts. PS this was designed for use in the Himalayas (Tibet) to save people from having to use firewood and spend money for fuel. I say it's good for cooking, not so much for baking/casseroles/slow cooking.
 
allen lumley
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Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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books fungi hugelkultur solar wofati woodworking
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Joshua Myrvaagnes : Interesting, yes I agree that this is educational1st and near practical 2nd ! As such It is a little too pricey, and as you reported a 3-seasonal device only !

I actually was hopping that the inflatable reviewed here a couple of months ago might get a chance to show its durability successfully ! ///// Link Below :

http://www.permies.com/t/49951/solar/Inflatable-Portable-Solar-Grill

The most practical use for these devices would be in conjunction with a 2 0r 3 place ''Hay Box Cooker'' One of the very best feats of Time management is produced million times

a day when the family (world-wide ) sets down to a 3 course feast at meal time. Treating Solar cooking as an adjunct to Hay box / Slo-cooking expands the skills of the

typical backyard BBQer Big AL
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Posts: 579
Location: Massachusetts, 6b, urban, nearish coast, 39'x60' minus the house, mostly shady north side, + lead.
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Yes true Big Al, and we also have used the two together. Our cooler plus towel setup is pretty good--we could probably enhance it with some crumpled paper. A way of repurposing junk mail, which we have in surplus, while saving hay (which costs a pretty penny in the city!) for the garden.

If you heat your pressure cooker to close to a boil I think it's enough to cook through; so it probably would be fine with less time and then put it into the thermal coooker/haybox. Anyone have any numbers on this?? it's hard to tell what's going on inside the pressure cooker without opening it, until the point when the thing pops up it is rather hard to know.
 
allen lumley
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Posts: 4154
Location: Northern New York Zone4-5 the OUTER 'RONDACs percip 36''
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- and heres a good link to haybox cookers ! ///// Link Below :

http://permies.com/forums/posts/list/40/8127

For the good of the craft ! Big AL
 
Even Larsen
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Hi all. I am the CMO of One Earth Designs, we who have developed SolSource Solar Stove. Great to read your comments and I can say that we are working on the issues that you are mention. The first time I cooked with the sun I also got amazed and I strongly believe that this is the future way to cook.
 
Rebecca Norman
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Location: Ladakh, Indian Himalayas at 10,500 feet, zone 5
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I've used those reflector concentrator cookers a lot over the years. We used to have small ones similar to the ones popular in Tibet, where you have too cook outdoors. Very effective but a little inconvenient. People were always singing their clothing because they'd hang them to dry on it

Now we have two scheffler cookers that have approx 9 foot dia, and reflect into a secondary reflector under the pot inside the kitch, much more convenient.

Yep, we love to hold a piece of newspaper in front of the focus for a few seconds for visitors. You can keep a bucket of water nearby if it's really a fire risk.

Yep, a brief cloudy spell turns your heat right off, so that's why solar reflector cookers are most convenient for things that need to sit hot or boiling for a long time. We find it great for dal (dried beans or peas) in a pressure cooker, because once it gets hot it doesn't matter it if turns "off" for a half an hour. We have used it a lot for other things like frying veg curries, but then sometimes you have to sling the pot over onto the gas cooker. Another local organisation here in Ladakh used to make their chapattis on it regularly (tortillas).

In Tibet I saw people making long-boiled tea infusions on them.
 
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