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Friday, January 10, 2014

Can Solar Panels Power a Water Trough Heater?

My friend Chase Saxton is smack dab in the middle of the cold front moving through Kentucky. He built a shelter for his horses, which has helped tremendously, but now the horses' water trough is freezing over.



I shared with him how I put an electric heating element in a rubber water trough to keep my chickens' water from freezing. Unfortunately, he doesn't have power ran to the horse shelter. He asked me if I thought some solar panels from Harbor Freight would generate enough power to run a water trough heater.

So, I'm asking you guys. What do you think?

24 comments:

Richard V Sipe III said...

Probably Not. For most livestock heaters a 100% NO because they are 1000+ Watts and your Harbor Freight Solar Cell is only producing 45W on a good day and only during the daylight which is in short supply in the winter. You would need 25 sets just to have a chance (plus a big battery bank and a better charge controller).

There is this one though: http://www.tractorsupply.com/en/store/farm-innovators-multi-use-utility-deicer-250-watt which is only 250W and is thermostat controlled so you may have a chance if you had a few panels powering a few 6V golf cart batteries and a good pure sine wave inverter. No matter how you slice it, though its going to be expensive (easily $1,000)

Allison said...

I found a store that sells solar heated tanks, but they are pretty pricey. Maybe there is a DIY link somewhere?!?!

http://www.ranchtanks.com/productinfo.html

Allison
bigcitybackwoods.blogspot.com

Allison said...

http://www.builditsolar.com/Projects/WaterHeating/SteveTank/SteveTank.htm
http://highmountainhorse.blogspot.com/2009/11/insulated-water-trough.html

Here's a couple links I found that might help!

Allison
bigcitybackwoods.blogspot.com

PioneerPreppy said...

You could make a solar set up that would do it even using the harbor freight kit but it would require batteries and need to be out of the weather and need some few days to charge up fully. It would be cheaper overall to just purchase a solar heater/tank already set up but those usually require a few days of charging as well.

The Orange Jeep Dad said...

Hmm, it's not looking good so far. I wonder if he can run some REALLY long extension cords out to the horses?

PioneerPreppy said...

He might try one of these:
http://www.hydrogenappliances.com/hotwater.html

With a car battery to hook it up to.

hobo said...

I read an article on how a fellow in Montana made a solar heated stock tank - interesting concept & may be worth a look. http://www.motherearthnews.com/diy/solar-stock-tank-zmaz10onzraw.aspx

sidetracksusie said...

It's a two ax handle winter for sure!
I've chopped my share of ice on ponds when I was "younger" and lived in MO. Broke a few handles. Always have a spare handle. It's a great work out, too. My grandparents never had the luxury of having any tank heaters, it was always human energy expended twice a day for several tanks.
The temps in KY at 2200 Friday are all above freezing, so maybe the worst has passed but winter has only begun to here is what I would do:
Since moving to Wyoming where our winters are mild, LOL, I have wrapped tanks with insulation and then made a box around the tank with insulated foam board, the foil-backed stuff about 3 inches thick. I made a lid to fit just inside the tank. It will float on top of the water. Cut a hole in the middle of the floating lid about 8-10 inches in diameter for the horses to get to the water. Cover the whole thing up at night with another piece of 3"insulation that is the "lid" to the box you have created around the tank. We used tape that is designed for cold weather to hold the sides of the box of insulation together and I just made my outer lid "hinged" with tape, so I could open it up all the way during the day and close it at dusk. I actually threw a tarp over the whole thing and used concrete blocks to hold that down, which helped to keep everything together when the wind picked up at night.
An outer box of plywood with a hinged plywood top would work, if he's got a sheet or two of that on hand. Just wrap that tank with soft insulation and float the rigid insulation on the top of the water.
This is probably as clear as mud. Just ask and I'll try to explain it better if there's confusion.

sidetracksusie

Anonymous said...

I apologize if this shows up two or three times, not enough coffee yet...
I also lost a day in my post above. Temps are above freezing on SATURDAY evening, not Friday evening. Hope your friend is thawed out!
sidetracksusie

Anonymous said...

How many head does he have to waster? Sometimes it is easier to bring them up to drink twice a day where he does have electric.

Anonymous said...

get a minnow life minnow aererator less than 20$ takes a D battery runs 12 hrs. per
bubbles make the water move so it cant freeze.

Renewableenergycentre said...

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Survival Skvez said...

Since it appears that solar isn’t going to be able to keep the water from freezing but it’s too far away to run power easily an alternative might be a DC heater run from battery and swap the batter over every couple of days for one that is charged back where utility power is available.

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