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Home News Tech-Talk Solar Power - Road Trip Shower!

Solar Power - Road Trip Shower!

Many years ago, after returning from a longer stay in the USA where I build my first road trip van, I dreamt of owning an old Mercedes van and cruising through Europe. I saved up the salary I got for the mandatory community service, which back than was 13 Schillings per hour (€ 0,97/h!), but after one year I had enough to buy my first Benz!

[Road trip van #1: cruising around in the nineties with a Dodge Tradesman, 1976, V8, 363 horsepower]

[Road trip van #1 wasn't that reliable and burned about as much oil as fuel but the custom flame job I added sure looked cool!]

The interior and all the features I added in- and outside were cheap and simple but functional. So was the water tank that I built out of 2 big plastic sewage pipes that I carried on the roof. The storage capacity of 100 Liters was more than sufficient for a couple of showers. The water wasn’t hot, but it sometimes got a little warm after parking the van in the sun for a day.

[Road trip van #2: Mercedes Benz MB100, 1993, 4 cylinder, 75 hp! One of the most efficient vans out there!]

From an energetic point of view, the hot roof of a car is a big waste of caloric energy. Wouldn’t it be great if you could somehow store and use this energy? Yes it would! And there is a simple way to do so!


[The main ingredients: A water tank and 100m of black hose, both LDPE (low density polyethylen).]

[Temperature check on a summer day. The hose heats up to about 50-60C°!]

[Building a collector. This wooden construction will be used later on to carry the hose.]

[The collector is now painted and ready to coil the hose.]

[A small water pump and electronic temperature control.]

[The first test run! Setting up the system before mounting it on the car's roof.]

[Finishing up the collector.]

[Mounting the collector on the roof rack.]

[Housing and insulation (3cm Styrofoam walls plus plywood) for the tank. It keeps the water warm over night!]

[For the first tests the water tank goes on the roof, Meanwhile I installed it inside the van.]

[Connecting the hoses: Collector-pump-tank!]

[Connecting the hoses: Collector-pump-tank!]

[Done! And there's even space for my surfboard! The surface area of the collector is roughly 1,2 m2.]

[Minor details: Finding the right spot for the electronic temperature control.]

[It works! The first field test showed that hot showers up to 45°C (if desired) were totally possible!]

[Solar power - and free, hot showers rule!]









Umfrage: your vision!