DRIED FRUIT AND VEGETABLES ALL YEAR ROUND
The construction of your solar dryer is done with the plans below:
For building materials, we recommend using wooden boards screwed together.
Tips to improve the efficiency of your solar dryer:
- Use dark materials to capture the sun’s rays at the absorber (3). When using materials such as wood for example, it is recommended to cover the material with a black paint. (Do not cover glass and plastic surfaces with this paint)
- Cover the collection surfaces with a glass or plastic plate to retain the sun’s rays and create its own greenhouse effect
- Keep glass/plastic surfaces free of all types of impurities (dust, soil, etc.)
Drying times will depend on the sun’s presence, and also on the amount of food to be dehydrated.
Ideally, the temperature inside the dryer should be 45 to 50°C. It is useful to control the temperature with a thermometer, because a temperature that is too hot cooks the food and a temperature that is too low will not allow the food to dry, and it will be damaged.
– Galvanized sheet metal
– Wooden cleats or wooden sticks
– Silicone insulation seal
– A plastic plate (or glass if plastic is not available)
– Black paint
– Screws and tips
– 4 hinges
– 3 door locks
– Screen or mosquito net for air inlets and outlets
– Synthetic foam (optional)
– A thermometer (optional)
CONSTRUCTION OF THE DRYING CHAMBER
1. Cut parts A, B, C, C, D and H out of wood according to the dimensions shown in the diagrams. The door will be formed by part A and located opposite the solar collector. The solar collector will be fixed under part C.
2. Cut a 25 cm x 25 cm square on side B as shown in the diagrams.
3. Do the same with the D side. These openings will regulate the temperature.
4. For the base of the dryer, cut off the legs: 4 pieces of wood 10 cm wide and 90 cm long. The thickness of these cleats is important, as they will form the base that will carry the entire dryer.
5. Attach two pieces of wood to the outside of the B-side and two pieces of wood to the outside of the D-side, as shown in the diagram. Add a board between these two feet to ensure good stability.
6. Assemble parts B, C and D using wooden strips on the inner parts, as shown in the diagram.
7. Cut 6 wooden strips 80 cm long. Attach them to the inner parts of sides B and D, 20 cm apart, as shown in the diagram. They will be used as a support for the racks.
8. Attach part A, which will form the door, so that there is a 10 cm opening above the door. Put two hinges and a locking system. Place the H side between the B and D sides above the air outlet opening.
Construction of drying racks
The 5 drying racks are 97 cm x 97 cm squares. They are made with wooden sticks. A fine mesh or a piece of mosquito net is attached to each square.
CONSTRUCTION OF THE SOLAR COLLECTOR
1. Cut pieces E, F and G according to the dimensions shown in the diagram. Paint the interior surfaces of parts E, F and G with black paint.
2. Assemble parts E, F and G using rods placed inside.
3. Place the glass on top of the solar collector, fix it on sides F and G with silicone glue.
4. Place the screen on the side as shown in the diagram. The net will allow air to pass through, but will prevent insects from entering the dryer.
ASSEMBLY OF THE SOLAR COLLECTOR AND DRYING CHAMBER
1. Attach the solar collector to the drying chamber using wooden boards on sides B and D, as shown in the diagram. For proper orientation of the solar collector, the angle between the collector and the drying chamber must be 45 °C.
2. It is important to ensure a good seal between the solar collector and the drying chamber in order to obtain a good circulation of hot air. Seal holes and openings with wood or silicone glue.
CONSTRUCTION OF THE ROOF OF THE SOLAR DRYER
Cut 1 piece of sheet metal 1.40 m x 1.40 m and fix it on top of the drying chamber
FINISHING OF THE SOLAR DRYER
1. Cut two 27 cm x 27 cm pieces of wood to close the side windows. Use hinges to attach these squares to the openings on sides B and D. Install locking systems. All openings in the dryer must be closed or covered with a mosquito net to prevent insects from entering the dryer.
2. Attach pieces of screen to the side windows.
3. Attach a piece of screen above the door for hot air outlet.
4. Check the door for leaks. Place pieces of wood or foam to seal the holes if necessary.
LITTLE TIPS FOR USE
- Install the dryer in a sunny place, facing due south.
- Wash food before drying, remove damaged food.
- To facilitate the drying process, when possible, cut the food into thin slices or small pieces. Small foods that cannot be cut can be dried as they are.
- It takes 1 to 4 days to dry food in sunny weather. In case of bad weather, store the dryer in a dry place, under a shelter. If the bad weather persists, it is possible to finish heating in a mild oven.
- Store dried food in a clean, airtight container, preferably in a dry, cool place.
- Select the foods you want to dehydrate. Avoid those that are too ripe.
- Place food evenly on the sieve to promote regular drying.
- Make a note of the date you dehydrated your food and do not eat it after one year.