Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Budget Survival - Solar Oven

Solar Oven - Improved Model

The new model solar oven is simple to build, easy to move and captures a great deal of heat. An old coffee can and lid painted flat black was used as a pot. A variety of beans were prepared daily during my stay at Bear Ridge using this setup.

The solar oven I built back in December of last year was grossly over constructed and very heavy. That unit was a 2x2 foot box that tapers from 14” to 10” on the sides. It was lined with sheet metal painted black and there was a one inch gap between the metal and the wood. The front was covered with an old storm window. The temperature inside this unit was between 150 and 170 degrees.

The new solar oven was constructed using an old post office tote, a reflective emergency blanket, a piece of glass and a couple of bungee cords. Take your emergency blanket and place it over the tote. Secure the blanket around the top of the tote with the bungee cords, make sure the blanket is tight across the top of the tote.

Place you cooking can in the center of the emergency blanket and push it down until it rest on the bottom of the tote. The emergency blanket should now slope down from the totes lip to the cooking can. Cover with glass and allow the food to cook for several hours. The temperature hovered between 170 to 190 degrees. Beans were cooked through the day. It worked great...just like a crock pot.

This unit is very light weight and can be easily moved for maximum solar gain. We will need to see if this design works in the winter months. Although most winter cooking of this sort is done in a dutch over on top of the wood stove.

Total cost for this solar oven was roughly three dollars.


NoOneSpecial said...

I would suggest a better pot. Coffee cans tend to rush really fast and that's no good for anyone.

Anonymous said...

I meant rust not rush...

The Scavenger said...

Hey Big Bear, glad to hear all is will and things are progressing toward full time life at the cabin. Would love to see some pics of your solar oven and maybe even your cabin. Hang in there man sounds like your getting close to the BIG move.


BigBear said...


Forgot the camera, next trip I will take some pictures.

Take Care

Adventures in Blogging said...

Have been enjoying your blog--could you further describe the tote you used to construct your solar oven? My husband and I are really interested in learning how to harness this kind of energy, and while it is doubtful we could get a post office tote, we may be able to find something similar.
Thanks for the tips on food storage as well.

Erik said...

Try using a LARGE plastic fresnel lens to focus the Sun's energy to a cast iron pot. You can easily boil water and cook nearly anything this way, as tempuratures of focused light energy can reach several hundred degrees. I learned this from GreenPowerScience on YouTube. If you do a search for them, there's tons of great projects and free energy ideas, including a solar heated shower.