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Vincent Said:

What is the best way to make a home made solar oven?

We Answered:

Pardon the pun, but they all boil down to just a few parameters - size, method of focusing, and collection medium.
- Size - the bigger, the more energy / higher temperatures can be reached.
- Method of focusing - flat plate, parabolic (2D), and parabolic (3D). The flat plate is useful for low grade (<200 deg F typical) heat, suitable for heating hot water or space heating, while a 2D parabola swept down a line will focus the heat along a line at the focal point of the parabola, and is capable of attaining much higher temperatures. The highest temperatures can be reached if your reflector is a 3D parabola, which takes the sunlight from the area of the entire collector and focuses it on a single point.
- Collection medium - as the temperatures go up, the collection medium must be changed to accommodate them. Air, water, anti-freeze, liquid sodium, etc are all viable collection mediums.

In addition, the collection process can be made more efficient by using high tech absorption media (able to collect heat quickly while resisting heat loss to radiation), using effective insulation (or vacuum tubes), etc. You need to determine which is most effective and cost effective for your use (cooking hot dogs?), then design accordingly. Hope this helps.

Cynthia Said:

Who Makes the best home solar panels?

We Answered:

I can't say who's the best, but I'm very pleased with the Mitsubishi panels we got 3 years ago. No problems. I have heard no recent reports of bad panels from any of the crystalline silicon manufacturers, so I'd feel quite safe with Suntech, Sharp, Kyocera, Sanyo.

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