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Solar Ovens

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#1 Sun, Jul 24, 2011 - 12:39pm
Eternal Student
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Solar Ovens

I'm in a quandry here as to what to do about a solar oven, and was wondering if anyone would care to offer some experienced advice. I've looked that the commercial "Sun Oven", which seems to be the best ready-to-go product out there. Except for one critical thing. People keep complaining about a "Plasticy Taste" on food which isn't covered.

From looking at it, I'm guessing that Sun Oven powder coated their metal box. Ugh. Big mistake. The plastics in powder coating aren't rated for food safety. I suppose I could sand it off with a driemel, and use a non-toxic coating, but for a similar amount of work, I could save $300 and build one from scratch.

Anyone have any ideas and/or preferences here? Thanks in advance.

Edited by: Eternal Student on Nov 8, 2014 - 5:06am
Sun, Jul 24, 2011 - 11:57pm
bern
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I have a Sun Oven and have

I have a Sun Oven and have used it a few times to cook a "paella" and chili. My dishes were always covered and I never noticed any problem with "plasticky" taste. It works great. 

I also started to build one (a bit larger one) from scratch, but never finished the project. 

Mon, Jul 25, 2011 - 10:17am
Tim Carter
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Solar oven

  • Last year the kids and I built a solar oven out of scraps around the garage. I think I spent about $30 on hardware and a sheet of plywood. We love it. I can heat water to about 200 degrees and we typically use it for heating up items. We use a 5qt dutch oven with a glass lid and have never had a problem. Good luck. I hope this helps.
Mon, Jul 25, 2011 - 11:05am
bern
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VW - did you stick a

VW - did you stick a thermometer in it? What's the highest temp you have recorded with it? The Sun Oven that I purchased hits 350F easily in the sun.

Wed, Jul 27, 2011 - 9:46am (Reply to #4)
Eternal Student
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Thanks

Thanks for the replies, gents. I think I'm going to experiement with building my own.

Wed, Jul 27, 2011 - 4:25pm
Pyrat
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Building around the pot

Nice topic. Where I live at the moment there's plenty of sun to cook with most of the year. It would be nice to be able to do some cooking without having to find any fuel.

Those Sun Ovens seem overpriced. I think I could build my own for much less, the most difficult part being making good reflectors. I believe there are places out there which will sell you reflective mylar if you want to build the reflectors out of wood.

It seems to me that the design is sort of centered around the pot that holds the material to be cooked. What do you suggest? It seems most of the cooking pots should be black and have handles on both sides so the pot can hang from swivels inside the cooking box. I'm going to base my dimensions on what I think it is best to cook in.

Thu, Jul 28, 2011 - 1:35am
Eternal Student
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@Pyrat

@Pyrat: Thanks. Here's just a quick reply, because time is short for me right now, and I really should be doing something else.

The advantage of the Sun Oven is that it's an off-the-shelf solution which seems to work quite well, mostly. The reviews at amazon.com are similar to what Bern reported. As long as you keep the food covered, the plastic taste doesn't get in the food. Uncovered, people are reporting that it does.

That doesn't work for me, but I can very well understand how it does for others.

Regarding the design, it's all ruled by the basic physics involved. The reason why things are black is because light isn't reflected and tends to be absorbed. So the point behind a black box or pot is to absorb as much of the incoming light (and hence heat) as possible. It could be any color, but you won't have as efficient results.

What I'm ultimately hoping to build is an oven based upon the same design as Schmitt-Cassegrain telescopes. That is, instead of reflecting the light onto the box, the parabola reflects the light onto a small mirror near the center of focus, which then shoots the light through a hole in the reflector, and then down onto the pot (kept inside a thermally insulated box). But that will be after I get some experience with building these, which won't be for a while due to time constraints right now.

Beats the heck out of me if it will work. But I mention it in case it's useful for others.

Thu, Jul 28, 2011 - 10:22am
bern
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For those wanting to build

For those wanting to build one, I found a bunch of good info on designs and such (back when I started my project) here:

https://solarcooking.wikia.com/wiki/Solar_Cooking:Frequently-asked_questions

Thu, Jul 28, 2011 - 6:23pm
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Hiding in the lava tubes northwest of Flagstaff
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Umbrella solar oven - looks easy!

Umbrella solar oven - looks easy!

https://solarcooking.org/plans/paracuina.pdf

I've got another pdf file somewhere... with all sorts of plans for solar ovens... I'll look for it a bit more... 

(p.s. not really Doc J. - he was signed in on this computer though... Lainey)

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