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Tony installed an Eco-58-1800-30 collector in August 2007, using a Resol RF pump station and BS4 variable pump speed controller.  Tony writes:

" I finished during August and I have been running almost exclusively on solar water
since then (now mid October), so I am very happy with the result.

I used a 30 tube 58mm Panel

Resol Pump station

Resol BS4 Controller

Total antifreeze contents of system is 5 litres

My biggest fear was getting the roof installation sorted. I was concerned about the
possibility of water coming through the tiles. I seem to have overcome this by using
a piece of lead hammered out to produce a raised volcano shape about 10 mm
greater diameter than the pipe. This I then filled with silicon. The pipe was then lagged
over this so any water shouldnít reach the silicon. The lagging was then protected by a
metal skin (made up by a friendly pipe lagger for me) This would protect every thing
from the elements.

Initially I thought the double threaded bolts would be the correct way to mount the frame, but they were not long enough to reach the wood on my roof. These were changed for the straps which actually proved to be a better system and is what I would advise using.

The pipe work installation was quite straight forward. I managed to keep the number of compression fittings to a minimum by using 15mm pipe benders. This proved to be the best way to go as most of the compression fittings leaked on first try. A full length tube with bends is also better for flow rates as compression elbows are very tight.

The pump station made installation straight forward. I wanted the display visible so it is mounted at the top of the stairs and has proved very interesting. It does not matter
extending the sensors cables as they are PT 1000 so adding extra length to the sensor cable  will have only a fraction of a degree error. Programming the controller was straight forward once I had received the extra information from Eco-nomical on how to get into programming mode (this is not shown in the manual).

One thing to do which doesnít seem to have been covered by anybody is to earth bond you pipe work. You can usually cross bond it in the airing cupboard linking it to the cold feed pipe, just in case you have a fault.

Another part that I want to mention is the air removal. I opted for the automatic air scoop, although slightly more expensive I didnít fancy having the vent outside on the roof. I have had no trouble with this even when filling from dry. The air is easily extracted but it may take a little longer. If you need to have the pump running just temporarily add a 100 TO 200 ohm  in series with the collector sensor ( gives a 25 to 55 deg C rise in indicated temperature). The station will then start the pump at 100%, this will then push the air from the manifold without much of a problem. Also opening the flow to the radiator is a quick way of extracting air. Just remember to keep the filling bottle pressurized so that it can make up the losses during purging.

If you need to drain the system down and like me you donít have a convenient bleed
location at the lowest point you can use your filling bottle and a vacuum, just make sure you donít let any liquid into the vacuum. This actually proved very effective at reducing losses of cooling fluid when adjusting compression fittings.

I purchased a fully insulated tank - BUT! You must add extra insulation to the tank. I used B+Q space blanket wrapped round and tapped to seal. Pay special attention to the top of the tank and the pipe work that is connected to the top. You really will notice the difference in the reduction of heat loss.

Overall this has been a very interesting project.  I have been impressed with the
performance of the system. I am considering adding another 20 tube panel to make
use of the weak light levels in the winter months, and I might re-pipe the heat dump
circuit to go through a bathroom towel rail".




This is a very neat and professional job which Tony has done.  Note however that Armaflex pipe insulation can be left exposed.


Here is a view of Tony's home made lead tile.  We are often asked about suppliers for special lead pieces, here is an example of how it is relatively easy to make your own.






Here is Tony's ingenious method of draining his system.  Don't attempt this unless you can be quite sure you can prevent fluid entering the vacuum, which could be dangerous and cause serious problems!

Thanks to Tony for providing this information.


Send mail to SW@eco-nomical.co.uk with questions or comments about this web site.
Last modified: 05-06-09