Video: Troubleshooting and tips for the chimney solar dryer


This two-minute video discusses important tips in assembling and using the chimney solar dryer. The video is broken down into three chapters.

  1. Selecting a site for the chimney solar dryer  Make sure to put your solar chimney dryer in a flat area with good sun exposure. You will want to orient the dryer so that the chimney is in the north if you are in the northern hemisphere, and south if southern hemisphere.
  2. Optimizing air flow — The clear plastic cover should be tucked in tightly to ensure air is flowing only in one direction. 
  3. How to know if the airflow is working — You can test the airflow in several ways, including attaching strips of tissue on pole in the middle and watching to see if they flutter. 

This video is part of a series of short videos about how to build and use the chimney solar dryer, designed by UC Davis researchers. Closed captioning is available on the video and a transcript is provided below.

Tips for building and using a chimney solar dryer, with troubleshoot (video transcript)
Researchers at UC Davis designed a solar dryer for small-scale farming systems around the world. 

This video will go over tips on using the chimney solar dryer and is second in a series of three videos about this dryer. More information is available in the manual on our website.

First, selecting a site for the chimney solar dryer. Before you build the dryer, you will need to find a flat, outdoor area to use it. The area should be larger than four meters long by one meter wide and allow the whole dryer to have good sun exposure, not shaded by trees. 

Clear away tall grasses and rocks that could damage the plastic.

If you are in the northern hemisphere, you will want to orient the dryer so that the chimney is in the north, as it is here. If you are in the southern hemisphere, then you will want your chimney to be in the south.

Optimizing air flow. The clear plastic on your completed chimney solar dryer should be tucked tightly so that air can flow only in one direction: entering at the end of the table, flowing across the fruits and vegetables to dry them, and continuing up and out the chimney.

Make sure to tuck plastic tightly behind the vertical boards that connect the table to the chimney around the chimney window, on the ground on either side of the table, and under the chimney.

Make sure that the clear plastic is secured and use poles to weight down the plastic down on either side of the table. 

How to know if the airflow is working. You may test the airflow by attaching some small strips of tissue paper to the pole above the product, in the middle of the table. These strips will flutter when air is moving correctly. 

When air is warm and flowing through the chimney you can sometimes see a shadow of a shimmer just above the chimney's shadow.

The suction from the chimney will make the plastic over the table concave, as air is being sucked through the dryer. 




Value Chain

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Chimney solar dryer