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Ideas for a solar panel cleaner
post May 22 2008, 05:55 PM
Post #1

Director of Galilean Photography

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From: Austin, TX
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Just had an idea for a solar panel cleaner. Place a small, black tank on top of the deck. At the bottom of the tank is a one-way valve pointing into the tank. At the side of the tank is a pressure-relief valve tied to the dust removal tubes.

  1. Starting at daybreak, the tank starts filled with cold, dense atmo.
  2. As the tank warms, the pressure builds within the tank.
  3. Once the pressure reaches the cut-off of the pressure relief valve, the valve triggers and opens full-bore until the pressure difference reaches zero, and it then closes.
  4. Pressurized air comes out of the tank and blows off dust from dust-sensitive devices, camera, solar panels, view ports, etc.
  5. At night fall, the tank cools, lowering the pressure within the tank until it is below the outside pressure.
  6. The one way valve opens, refilling the tank with colder, denser air.
Because the tank isn't required to hold high pressures, it can be very light. There is about 100 degree C difference between day/night, meaning during the day the tank should reach about 50% higher pressure than night time. The pressure difference can be increased by adding a heating element.

This removes the need for storing a gas for the cleaning, as well as any need for a pump.

Ready...Set...Rip 'er apart!

Space Enthusiast Richard Hendricks
"The engineers, as usual, made a tremendous fuss. Again as usual, they did the job in half the time they had dismissed as being absolutely impossible." --Rescue Party, Arthur C Clarke
Mother Nature is the final inspector of all quality.
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post May 22 2008, 06:01 PM
Post #2

Senior Member

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From: Sloughhouse, CA
Member No.: 197

Creative and simple. However, my gut feeling is that the pressure differentials would not be significant so the velocity of the venting gas will be low and the duration brief. That "air" is not very dense and it requires a whole lot of energy under those circumstances to get the dust particle to move and to break whatever electrostatic bonds might be holding the dust particles in place.

If Occam had heard my theory, things would be very different now.
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