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Inflatable Solar Collector
Most convenient new solar collector we've seen is the new Solar Pak II, manufactured by the Chicago Solar Corporation, Castle Rock, Minn. The Pak II is made entirely from plastic and folds down from its 8 by 12 ft. collecting size into a compact, 30-1b. bundle.
Lance Crombie, the well known alcohol-maker featured in FARM SHOW last fall when his solar still was confiscated by federal agents, is also inventor of this new solar collector.
"Most collectors use steel or glass collector plates. They can weigh thousands of pounds and cost thousands of dollars," says Crombie. "We have 4 layers of plastic rippled through our collector that do the collecting. It's an efficient, convenient and lightweight system."
The unit uses black polyethelene and insulating cushions of air to trap the sun's rays. It has the capacity to raise outside air temperature 50?, according to Crombie. For example, if the temperature is 30?, the Solar Pak will deliver the air inside at 80?.
"My main objective in inventing this was to find low cost heat for our house, which now costs us a fortune to heat," says Crombie. At about $350, he says his collector is one of the least expensive on the market.
In each panel, there are 6 layers'of 8 mil, plastic-first 2 clear layers to let the sun in, and then 4 black. Air is trapped between the two outer layers to act as insulation while air travels freely through the "absorber" layers inside. Air is channeled through the collector through ribs, formed by heat sealing joints within.
A window unit, containing a thermostat and blower and outfitted with expansion plates, fits into just about any window, according to Crombie.
Insulated ducts run from the window unit to the collector.
An 8 by 12 ft. collector will provide about 20,000 btu's, explains Crombie. He says that's enough to keep an uninsulated garage at 40 to 50? when the outside temperature is 0?. The Solar Pak II is also available in 24 and 36 ft. long, 8 ft. wide models. When the size is doubled, the number of btu's provided is also doubled.
When in use, the Pak II can be placed on the roof, on the walls, on the ground or wherever else is the best place to collect the sun's rays. When not in use, the collector folds into a 30-1b. bundle.
A Solar Pak II collector only, without the window unit and insulated duct work, sells for $195, while the total package is about $350.
For more information, contact the company's Chicago marketing office: FARM SHOW Followup, Chicago Solar Corp., 5151 N. Harlem Ave., Suite 207, Chicago, Ill. 60656 (ph 312 358-1918).

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1979 - Volume #3, Issue #1