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The Resilience Hub & Portland Maine Permaculture Message Board › Solar Dehydrator Construction

Solar Dehydrator Construction

Jonathan C.
user 13818542
Portland, ME
Post #: 2
I am making a solar dehydrator based on the plans at http://www.builditsol...­ I am wondering if any of the permaculture community would be interested in helping to build this and then it might become a community resource or at least the knowledge of how to put it together would be part of the community. Basically this is an informal skill share and way to grow the community and for me to not work in a vacuum. I am not sure when in the near future I will have time to tackle this but if people are interested we can connect via this Discussion and make plans. Jon
Lisa F.
Group Organizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 2,329
John, I think this a great idea. If people chime in with their interest, let us know some times when you might be working on this and I can bump it to the calendar or our facebook feed - or we can just keep it low key!
A former member
Post #: 122
John, I would like to be part of the project.
A former member
Post #: 24
This is a great idea, however, what I have read about dehydrators is that if the temperature is too high, it cooks the plant and they turn to mush or they seal their exteriors and their insides rot. Contrary to this, is if the temperature is not high enough, they will not dry sufficiently and you will have a mold situation.

There is a specific temperature range in which to successfully achieve optimum dehydration. What controls does this device give you? From the picture, is it 100% passive?

John, how are you designing your dehydrator building, with software or a pencil? smile


Jonathan C.
user 13818542
Portland, ME
Post #: 3
Dennis, This is a big experiment to see how it will all work. There will have to be monitoring at first to find out how hot and how fast it will dry foods. The plan is to let it be passive, although if it needs it, an automatic vent might be rigged to help control temp or a solid state control powered by PV could be used. My guess is that airflow is more important than high temps for getting the moisture out of the product and will help control mold or cooking issues. As a child we dried apple slices hanging in a window so this project is just to tweak the process and make it a bit more efficient. My goal is to keep things as simple as possible. I think this will be built from lines on the garage floor. I spend enough time using CAD for things that just building is often a nice exercise and reminder that there is life outside of the computer. Just to clarify this is not a building but a small solar collector married to a box with trays and vent on top. 4 or 5 feet long by 2 feet wide
Jonathan C.
user 13818542
Portland, ME
Post #: 4
Dennis, I see from my original post why you thought a building (noun) I should have said construction but building (as a verb) made sense in the context of my thoughts. Jon
A former member
Post #: 26
Time to do some imagineering.
Chris R.
user 13064831
Portland, ME
Post #: 3
Very interested...hoping to convene soon.
Amy G.
user 44116742
Limerick, ME
Post #: 9
Hi all: there is a solar dehydrator in place at koviashuvik local living school in temple. the knapp's have been using it for a couple years now. i wonder if it would make sense to contact them and brainstorm together???

also, here is some info. from them regarding an upcoming open homestead evening:

Koviashuvik Local Living School Open Homestead, Pot Luck Supper and Brainstorm Sharing
Thursday, August 22nd, 3-7:30pm
-Tours starting at 3:30pm
-Potluck supper at 6:00pm-bring your food to share and dishes and utensils with which to eat it
-Supper to be followed by a sharing of inspirations, hints and ideas; anything from tips on food storage to dreams about community building
-Come for an afternoon tour of our homestead/school which includes a stone root cellar, ice storage house, subterranean green house, Cree Indian style earth covered lodge, rain water catchment, solar dehydrator, and the classiest composting toilet ever built! Walk through an organic garden that fully feeds a family or four-year round. We will see the walls of beans wild-food plantings, compost piles, three-sisters gardens, nut orchards and perennials. Also on display: homemade rocket stoves, our acorn processing system, and a variety of local-material craftwork and hand tools. Come ready to learn and to share ideas!
-For more info./directions, please call 778-0318 or visit
Jonathan C.
user 13818542
Portland, ME
Post #: 6
An update on where I think this is going. I hope to gather supplies in the next week and maybe build this the weekend of the 24th 25th. I should have an over abundance of tomatoes to dry by then as well as other veggies to experiment with. I will keep this thread posted once I have a firm plan on time. If it turns out that it is just a few folks showing up that is fine if more folks express interest in the next two weeks then it would be great to have a heads up on who is stopping by. A big part of the appeal of this for me is the process and experimentation. I design and build things for a living and I really enjoy the tweaking and refining of a design. My plan is to use as much salvaged stuff as possible so right now I have a nice piece of glazing that will dictate the rest of the dims. More to come as we get closer.
Thanks, Jon

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