Testing Phase

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Project by Richard Williams posted 03-13-2008 03:32 AM 2334 views 3 times favorited 9 comments Add to Favorites Watch

Hi there. I’m in the testing phase of this Solar Heated Duplex Birdhouse now. I record the inside temperatures at 9am 12 noon and 3pm along with the outside temperatures. I also describe the kind of day we are having like cloudy and or windy. That has a very direct affect on the readings that I have been getting and all of this gets logged into an Excel Spreadsheet. Yes it is working and working too well. I have had to cover one of the windows because I did not want it to affect the temperatures that I want to record for the test. I have already reached temperatures of 112 degrees which is much too hot for any birds to use it but it does prove the principles I used to create it of thermo-siphoning. Simple no electric and no moving parts involved in this project. Turning it away from the direct sunlight would almost instantly start to cool it off. However for this test phase I want to see how hot I can get it on the inside using just the black heater section down below the nesting area. That black heater section is where the heated air is made. It must wind its way up and along that maze that empties out the top and into the bottom portion of the inside nesting area. Through a tricky design it heads up towards the attic and after cooling somewhat heads down the back wall channel and along the bottom towards the back of the heater section where it goes down that backside and down into the bottom front where it gets heated again. I did not want the window to help create any heat so that is why I made a tin foil window covering for the top window. Today was the best day of the year of almost 80 degrees outside here in las Vegas and I reached only 92 degrees inside after covering that window up and thusly taking it out of the equation. The first picture is the digital image from within the SolidWorks software application. This is where I conceived of the project during the conceptualization phase of drawing. Then I went into the actual drawing of the parts and fitting them together digitally. After designing all the parts I assembled or mated them together in a assembly drawing. Mating the parts together and finding out what was wrong or needed to be fixed. Believe it or not then you can test the assembly out using the built in FEA analysis application. I am testing the actual prototype of this Birdhouse and a professor at the university is doing a CFD computer analysis on it. (computational fluid dynamics) We will compare notes after the testing phase and then I will write an article for the technical communities and engineering societies. No I am not an engineer but a retired electirician. Anyone wanting more information contact me. Take care.

-- Rich, Nevada,

9 comments so far

View gene's profile


2184 posts in 3880 days

#1 posted 03-13-2008 03:57 AM

Hi! Richard
I know that a lot of folks won’t realize the amount of work that you have invested here. I do and the information you forwarded to me was very interesting. You did a great job on this and I think a lot of the members would like the way that you present the project.
God bless

-- Gene, a Christian in Virginia

View Karson's profile


35120 posts in 4397 days

#2 posted 03-13-2008 04:44 AM

So If I read this correctly. The heating portion is a closed loop. The air is heated moves up into the bird house section and then down the back of the black heating section, into the bottom and then goes back up again.

You are recording the temps during daylight. What about night time?

-- I've been blessed with a father who liked to tinker in wood, and a wife who lets me tinker in wood. Southern Delaware soon moving to Virginia †

View FlWoodRat's profile


732 posts in 3906 days

#3 posted 03-13-2008 08:26 AM

Nice concept. The process you are describing involves a simple heat transfer principle of natural ciruclation due to convection. The warmer air is less dense and thus rises. As it cools, it returns to the lower elevation. Have you considered adding a vent to the underside of the eave to allow some of the heated air to escape? This would serve as a thermostat. If you made the opening adjustable, it could be repositioned seasonally. Again, nice work.

-- I love the smell of sawdust in the morning....

View scottb's profile


3648 posts in 4324 days

#4 posted 03-13-2008 03:23 PM

I”m always intrigued by the simple, or rather non mechanical applications for solar heating, and how effective and trouble free they can be – to operate, not necc. build.
Great design & idea.

-- I am always doing what I cannot do yet, in order to learn how to do it. - Van Gogh -- --

View GaryK's profile


10262 posts in 3985 days

#5 posted 03-13-2008 03:25 PM

I never would have thought to make a solar heated bird house. Very interesting.

-- Gary - Never pass up the opportunity to make a mistake look like you planned it that way - Tyler, TX

View Peter Oxley's profile

Peter Oxley

1426 posts in 3871 days

#6 posted 03-13-2008 03:39 PM

I wonder if this could be scaled up and applied to a shop? Have cold air coming off the floor into the solar heater, and warm air coming out if the top of the heater into the shop …

Once, I saw a solar heater that was hundereds of pop-cans stuck through holes in a sheet of ply. The ply and cans were painted black, and the heater was being used to heat a chicken roost.

-- -- --

View Dadoo's profile


1789 posts in 3987 days

#7 posted 03-13-2008 06:57 PM

It can be scaled up to heat the shop. Or something like it anyhow. The unit is gravity fed (heat rises) and the heated air can be fan forced by 12VDC auto fans that run off a 12VDC auto battery, which is recharged by a solar panel. Free heat and electric. I really like anything that’s free. You’ll need to place it on a southern facing wall or roof. Mother Earth News has some great articles on this. It could also heat water to around 140 degrees F. This hot water can be piped thru your flooring (radiant floor heating) and heat your house. Your existing hot water heater would take over at night.

The only drawback is the butt ugly black panels on your house! I’m getting away from woodworking now so I’ll end this note.

Oh! Nice idea Rich but when the summer sun comes you’ll want a roof overhang for shade or you’ll have frikaseed bird! LOL!

Hydrogen is also just around the corner.

-- Bob Vila would be so proud of you!

View cajunpen's profile


14575 posts in 4062 days

#8 posted 03-14-2008 09:32 AM

And I thought I was a good guy by putting out seed and a bath for the birds. Now they get a heated bird house – you are going to be a popular stop for them.

-- Bill - "Suit yourself and let the rest be pleased."

View rikkor's profile


11295 posts in 3871 days

#9 posted 03-14-2008 11:08 AM

That is a real good prototype using the thermosiphon concept. I wanted to do something like that for my bedroom window back in the seventies, but I never pulled it off.

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