Using cheap junkyard car parts to make a solar-powered attic ventilator

Video Using cheap junkyard car parts to make a solar-powered attic ventilator

There are some family upgrades you are able to do utilizing junkyard components that are not nice concepts— the waste-oil-burner-and-car-radiators house heating system involves thoughts— however I realized that it is potential to rig up a solar-powered high-airflow attic air flow system for about $150 in components, with a no-frills off-the-shelf photovoltiac panel and Hyundai Accent electrical radiator cooling fan as the primary parts. Some fabrication was required, however nothing past the power of the common do-it-yourselfer. Here is how I did it.

In Denver, the place I stay, the summer season solar is about as fierce because it will get in North America, exterior of edge-case locations just like the Mojave Desert— northeastern Colorado will get about the identical degree of kilowatt-hours-per-square-meter as locations like West Texas and northern Nevada. That signifies that photovoltaic energy works nice right here (and hardly anyone will get Seasonal Affective Dysfunction), however the draw back is that your attic areas get scorching, as in they get temperatures resembling a balmy day on Venus for a lot of the yr, which makes your home or storage that a lot tougher to chill. As soon as I began upgrading my indifferent storage to correct man-cave standing (due to framed patina pictures and equally inspirational artwork on the partitions to go together with the instruments and Hell Tasks), I got here to appreciate that 120°F indoor temperatures in July rendered the place uninhabitable.

Not eager to run 120VAC wiring as much as the storage’s gable space and having a want to make the most of all that free daylight, I sprung for a pair of U.S. Daylight photo voltaic ventilator fan kits. I discovered them for properly underneath half retail value, however the entire rig nonetheless set me again a number of hundred bucks and used low-power 10-watt photovoltaic panels. Nonetheless, this setup labored wonders, dropping daytime storage temperatures by a simple 40 levels F, and I made a decision I wished one thing comparable for my home. An ill-insulated brick Victorian with an enormous attic and big expanse of south-facing roof floor was going to wish much more air motion than the followers in my storage may present, and off-the-shelf options have been wanting ridiculously costly. Naturally, I began eager about the junkyard.

I did some analysis and located that I may get easy photovoltaic panels within the 60-to-80-watt vary for round 100 bucks on eBay. I ordered a 75-watt panel for $81.89 shipped from Missouri Wind and Photo voltaic, an eBay vendor with excellent buyer suggestions (as a typically prolific eBay vendor myself, I understand how troublesome it’s to please consumers). Whereas I used to be ready for the panel to point out up, I hit my native U-Pull-&-Pay to do some electrical radiator-fan buying. This yard expenses $16.99 for all single electrical cooling followers, no matter donor car, and I made a decision to get the type of spare-no-expense Bosch fan utilized by Mercedes-Benz on their Eighties flagship S-Class machine, the W126. These automobiles are quite common in wrecking yards, most of their parts have been made with last-for-centuries high quality overkill, and I’ve first-hand expertise with their glorious radiator followers.

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So, I discovered an appropriate W126 and set to work yanking its radiator fan. I hadn’t bothered to do any analysis on the present draw required by such a fan, assuming that the designers of even a monster statuswagen corresponding to a 560SEL would wish to hold electrical energy consumption right down to cheap ranges and would use a reasonably environment friendly fan (plus U-Pull-&-Pay provides a free no-questions-asked alternate guarantee on all components, which meant that I may hold exchanging for various followers till I discovered one which labored with my photo voltaic panel). When the 75-watt photovoltaic panel confirmed up, I positioned it in full howling daylight and hooked it as much as the W126 fan… and the fan creaked into movement and did about 10 rpm. OK, again to the junkyard for a much less demanding fan!

Nonetheless unwilling to do any scientific-type analysis about present draw figures for automotive electrical radiator followers, I went again to the junkyard to alternate the Benz fan for one thing which may thrive on my PV panel’s output. I figured {that a} gas-stingy econo-commuter from the twenty first century could be most certainly to have the appropriately environment friendly fan, provided that low alternator hundreds enhance a automotive’s gas economic system. I most well-liked a Japanese automotive, ideally a Toyota, Nissan, or Honda product, and I hoped to discover a “pusher” fan (mounts on the entrance of the radiator) for ease of mounting within the attic. This plan was too optimistic, as a result of Japanese automobiles constructed after about 1995 are fairly uncommon in self-service wrecking yards and about 80% of electrical radiator followers are of the “puller” kind (mounted on the rear of the radiator). After a lot trudging up and down the rows and staring disconsolately at picked-clean J30s and Camrys, I came across this much-stripped 2005 Hyundai Accent.

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Whereas Hyundai nonetheless suffers from some picture issues stemming from cultural reminiscences of the wretched Excel of the Eighties, the stuff they’ve made this century tends to be of very top quality and I knew the radiator fan could be pretty much as good as something I would discover in a Civic or Sentra. A earlier junkyard buyer had pulled the engine and had left the radiator fan sitting on the automotive. It appeared to be in fine condition, but it surely was a “puller” kind fan that might be a bit tougher to mount. Nonetheless, I made a decision it was value a strive. I took it house, linked it to the photovoltaic panel’s energy leads, and voila! Hurricane-force airflow from the fan, sufficient to make it wish to pull out of my fingers helicopter-style. As an added bonus, it was very quiet.

The photovoltaic panel I would bought had been so low-cost as a result of it had no mounting brackets and only a brief cable terminating in jumper-cable-style clamps. Initially supposed to be used by RV house owners, who would set it on the bottom subsequent to the Winnebago and use it to run roof ventilators and the like, it got here with no technique of attaching it to something. I did not want to supply any type of voltage regulation to be used with a easy DC motor, because the Hyundai fan would cope simply high quality with 8 volts or 17 volts if that is what the solar supplied, however I did not need the panel blowing off my roof in a windstorm or shorting out when the solar killed the insulation on the wires to the fan. I used some aluminum scrap I had mendacity across the storage to make some easy mounting brackets, bolting them to the PV panel, and I used beefy stainless-steel screws to connect the brackets to my roof.

To attach the ability supply to the Hyundai fan, I used 14-gauge cable supposed to be used with low-voltage out of doors lighting. A lot of the wire run was in shaded areas, however the solar would attain sufficient of it that I wished UV resistance. I put in an inline ATO automotive fuse mount with a 7.5-amp fuse, in case of an unlikely wire-melting brief circuit, and a family gentle change to show off the fan throughout winter. As an added security characteristic, I spent a couple of dollars on a thermal protector change, which I affixed to the motor housing on the Hyundai fan; within the occasion of the motor overheating, this little gadget would lower off energy to the fan when the temperature reached 167 levels F.

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Breaking out the carpentry instruments, I knocked collectively a easy 2×4 body, mounted the fan on a scrap of crappy wall-paneling bolted to the body, sealed all the massive gaps with copious quantities of painter’s caulk (puller-type radiator followers aren’t meant to be mounted backwards on a flat floor, so I needed to do some kludging to make it work), and ran the wiring by a gap drilled within the body. Ready for a cloudy day to work within the attic, I chopped an oblong opening within the gable, framed in my fan mount, added a number of extra cubic inches of caulk, and linked the wiring to the ability supply. Whoosh! Even on an overcast day, the fan spun properly sufficient to maneuver an considerable quantity of air.

I used an affordable 12″ x 18″ metal louvered gable vent to fill the opening into the attic, sealing the sides with silicone-based caulk (I will get round to portray the caulk to match the home, certainly one of as of late, but it surely’s two tales up and appears high quality from the bottom). How does this setup work in full Denver daylight? Higher than my most optimistic predictions! I have never taken before-and-after temperatures within the attic, however the quantity of scorching air blasting out of the vent appears like one thing out of a jet engine and the home is noticeably cooler on scorching days. My whole-house evaporative cooler (you of us in humid climates are simply going to should take my phrase for it that such gadgets exist) used to wrestle to get the temperature inside the home beneath 80 on three-digit-temp days, however the addition of the Hyundai attic fan has sliced 10 levels off that determine. I solely want I would considered the junkyard once I wished to vent my storage attic with photo voltaic power.

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