Solar cookers.... do you use one?

Discussion in 'Off Grid Living' started by Equilibrium, Jan 17, 2011.

  1. Equilibrium

    Equilibrium Monkey++

    There’s all kinds of plans online to build our own, Plans for Solar Cookers -- The Solar Cooking Archive and Making and using a solar cooker by Joe Radabaugh Issue #30, How to build a parabolic solar cooker | SolReka - Alternative Energy, News, Conspiracy Blog and Solar Box Cooker and this one uses old satellite dishes, Solar Cookers. There's plenty more where those came from. Ran into this on solar food drying which was interesting too, Solar Cookers, Ovens, and Food Dryers. Sorta curious if anyone’s using a solar cooker in temperate zones and if so….. did you make your own or are you using a store bought solar cooker?
  2. Witch Doctor 01

    Witch Doctor 01 Mojo Maker

  3. Tracy

    Tracy Insatiably Curious Moderator Founding Member

    I've made one to show the kids the power of sunlight (and how you can make brownies without heating the house in the summer :D). They're easy and effective.

    I couldn't depend on solar ovens for long-term around here, as I just can't depend on the sun. I remember Gpa used the sun and home made frames to dry his fruit leather.
  4. Equilibrium

    Equilibrium Monkey++

    I totally believe you on that parabolic cigarette lighter. Starting when our boys were little.... we've been camping with the same families. One of the families is into consumerism to the max and they own every latest and greatest gadget known to mankind. They have a 3 car garage they haven't been able to park in for 5 years at least if that tells you how totally into camping "stuff" they are. We don't normally pay much attention to what they buy since we sorta openly tease them about their frivolousness but.... a coupla years ago they showed up with a fancy parabolic solar cooker strapped to the top of their van and I've never seen anything like it before so we started teasing them about looking for messages from aliens in outer space but.... joke was on us. It worked.... boiled water in no time flat and.... we were winter camping.
    I'm thinking about how the kitchen heats up when I'm cooking which isn't a problem any time the heat's on but in summer.... that's got to be costing us when the A/C's on and we do get a lot of power outages where we live not to mention the cost of natural gas going up. We have a patio in full sun so I got to thinking "why not" start learning how to use a solar cooker now. A decent one would probably pay for itself in the 1st year alone.
  5. Equilibrium

    Equilibrium Monkey++

    From this thread,, “Solar cooking requires that you constantly go out and adjust the reflector array to make sure it is pointed at the sun, and takes hours upon hours to even get up to full internal temperature in the food. Also, your food is outside in a big shiny box that is literally a BEACON to anyone who may be looking for food, money, ammo etc. (IE Mutant Biker Zombie). Stick with the tried and true methods - camping stove - indoors (for efficiency and speed of heat up) and haybox cooking for keeping fuel costs to a minimum.

    Dual fuel or even propane camping stoves have the oomph and BTU's to get things seriously going. Additionally if you use methods like haybox cooking you save on fuels, limit your exposure to gasses/fumes from cooking devices, and it is literally a "set and forget" method.
    Regarding the camping stoves.... we've got one… a Coleman Exponent multi fuel I think and we have friends who have them. They do work great and I've tried many of the more popular brands sold at WallyWorld or Bass Pro Shops because we’re a camping kinda family and…. the other parents bring their “toys”. Anything that depends on sterno cans is virtually worthless IMO. The haybox method I'm not familiar with. I'll check into it for sure so thank you. The solar I have extremely limited experience with but... that parabolic is light weight and I saw it cook and we're talking it cooked a whole pot of stew for 10 and it only needed to be repositioned once... maybe twice but admittedly I didn’t stand there watching it the whole time so somebody could have been repositioning it. I don't know about the other types of solar cookers. The beacon comments were invaluable…. to me at least.

    Here’s the Sizzling Parabolic I had my eye on, Solar Ovens and Sun Cookers.
  6. Brokor

    Brokor Live Free or Cry Moderator Site Supporter+++ Founding Member

    Solar cooking is a viable solution for many places, and even though it isn't widely used or as simple as conventional is free energy and it can work in a pinch. A buddy I know uses some of that stuff, and even made a few projects. :: t h r i v e ! At that link, you can click on 'capturing heat' and get some basic info on how to make your own cookers.

    He also makes "Rocket Stoves" :: free local energy * out of tin/steel cans and they work pretty well. We call him "Vavrek", and he's a regular new age, hippie type and a really nice fella.

    I added the "Capturing Heat" .pdf to the SM downloads section.
  7. Equilibrium

    Equilibrium Monkey++

    It just didn't make sense to me during the summer to be running A/C while heating up the whole kitchen because of the amount of cooking and baking I do plus... power outages are pretty common around this land of 2 seasons... winter and construction and.... natural gas isn't free. Next month I'll order that parabolic and give it a go on my own. If it works the way I saw it work.... it'll pay for itself within a year. Thank you thank you thank you for the pdf. I caught the haybox instructions at the bottom and that for sure interests me an I'll probably try one of the box designs just for the heck of it.
    Motomom34 likes this.
  8. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    Solavore Oven

    I love this guy making jerky
    arleigh likes this.
  9. DarkLight

    DarkLight Live Long and Prosper - On Hiatus

    I built one for a project in...middle school. Cooked a number of things in it including the cookies and brownies I took to class. Was pretty cool. Cardboard box, foil covered reflector panels (also cardboard), insulated with newspaper. The most expensive thing was the glass that we put on the front.
    Motomom34 and Ganado like this.
  10. chimo

    chimo the few, the proud, the jarhead monkey crowd

    When the sun comes out I like to drop my drawers to roast a nice rump and some nuts.
    Ganado likes this.
  11. arleigh

    arleigh Goophy monkey

    I have one of those fresnel lenses from a TV, I am hoping to make a cooker with.
    It doesn't focus down as small as I might have preferred, but it is enough to melt plastics and burn wood.
    I have seen plenty of designs on line that work, but I am looking at doing something a bit more extraordinary .
    I want a unit that tracks the sun automatically . solar panel and motors.
    More importantly I want to build a solar still for water, that operates automatically as well.
  12. chimo

    chimo the few, the proud, the jarhead monkey crowd

    Nobody is going to scold me for not including a wiener? It's so hard to find a good straight man anymore. :(
    Ganado likes this.
  13. Ganado

    Ganado Monkey+++

    whut? did you say something riske?
  14. chimo

    chimo the few, the proud, the jarhead monkey crowd

    Sometimes I feel like My Shadow and Costello. ;)
    Ganado likes this.
  15. ghrit

    ghrit Bad company Administrator Founding Member

    The shadow knows you ain't solar cookin' when he's on the prowl.
  16. BTPost

    BTPost Stumpy Old Fart,Deadman Walking, Snow Monkey Moderator

    or if you live in a Rain Forest....
  17. voyaginator

    voyaginator Monkey

    We have the All Season solar cooker. As long as the Sun shines, the panels capture pretty well the heat.
    It can cook a 3 quart meal. Very light weight and foldable.
    Sunchaser and Ganado like this.
  18. Sunchaser

    Sunchaser Monkey

    This is great! What have you cooked in it so far?
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