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Helen Dawson

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Last updated: February 18, 2016      
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Cupcake Solar Cooker set up

Helen Dawson began solar cooking in 1984, and has used various homemade solar cookers. She lives in Karingal, Victoria, Australia and is the designer of the Cupcake Solar Cooker.

Catenary reflector hack backyard solar cooking just for fun!

Solar cooking with mylar foil on cardboard and a big sheet of aluminum foil building insulation.

On the washing line.  Requires a day with no wind or a sheltered location.

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Low tech 6 clothes pegs catenary reflector

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Hanging cooking pot over mylar and foil washing line reflector

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Beans in a matte black ceramic bowl, sealed into a pyrex container with a silicone lid

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Hologram mylar gift wrapping stuck on cardboard

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Rice cooking in late afternoon sun pegged up catenary reflector on the washing line

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Washing line catenary solar reflector in late afternoon sun

As we are close to the beach every morning is misty or some cloud cover. I was getting a bit fed up with long cooking times, so rigged up a caserole serving tray to hold pyrex containers with a black ceramic bowl inside.

Corning pyrex now has flat silicone lids with borosilicate insert, which can form a seal for cooking. This is a flat lid, so it can fit inside solar ovens close to the top glass.  Press down on the rim at the lip to open or close the lid and form a seal.  Very convenient for solar cooking.  Matte black ceramic bowl heats at the top rim first. 

Cooked porridge with ground almonds 1 hour.  Beans 2 hours.  Rice cooking now for dinner at 3pm.

The clothes pegs surprisingly have stayed in place all day.  I raised the lowest point of the sides with some sticky tape just for the time being, and it didn't matter which direction the hills hoist swung after 9am.

So thought I would put up this entirely UNSCIENTIFIC backyard hack solar reflector, with no measurements, and 6 clothes pegs 10 cents, reflector foil  $4. No idea where the focal area was, in the middle somewhere, probably a few cms above where I hung the bowl.  Just threw it together and hoped it would work.  And it did!

Late in the afternoon it is necessary to tether the washing line so its not swinging around, and peg the east side up to keep cooking.

Solar cuppa

Two mirrors set at a 60 degree angle. This makes a 6 times sunlight reflector with no fuss at all for a quick cuppa. One set can face east, one set can face west, and in the middle one facing the equator. This creates a stable shape for fixing to a wall. Photos to be uploaded here shortly. If the mirrors are hinged they can be folded back and secured against the wall.

External Links

See also

Contact

Helen Dawson
6 Lingi Crt
Karingal, Victoria 3199
Australia

Email: hdawsond@yahoo.com.au

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