Rooftop Solar Shower (size, weight & Capacity)

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Rooftop Solar Shower (size, weight & Capacity)

Postby G-Mac » Wed Jan 25, 2017 2:47 pm

Hey everyone. I'm looking at building a solar shower for the rooftop of my teardrop that is on order. The trailer has a full roof rack and plenty of room, so I'm thinking of making a square out of 6" PVC that runs just inside the edge of the roof rack and is attached to the rack for security. I would place pads under the shower and angle it slightly toward the rear where I plan to put the outlet. This will allow me to get most of the water out of it while on a trip. I'm fine with the building portion of the project, but I'm not sure how to figure the capacity (and weight) of the shower based on size of pipe, etc. Any help would be appreciated.

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Approximate shower dimensions: 60" W x 84" L x 6" Dia
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Re: Rooftop Solar Shower (size, weight & Capacity)

Postby fotooutdoors » Wed Jan 25, 2017 7:17 pm

Volume is a function of length and radius for circular pipe.
V= l × π×r^2
Your proposed design has a max volume of 4.7 cubic feet, which is 35 gallons. At 62.4 pounds per cubic foot, that works out to nearly 300 pounds.

I would be very reluctant to carry that much weight up high, regardless of if your roof and rack can handle it. If you want a shower, I would seriously consider a pressurized system or go lower tech, low flow, and therefore lower capacity.

Sent on my phone. Pardon the autocorrect.
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Re: Rooftop Solar Shower (size, weight & Capacity)

Postby G-Mac » Thu Jan 26, 2017 12:37 am

I appreciate your response. That's actually quite a bit more than I expected. That said, I think I will just downsize. Something around 5 or 10 gallons is more my speed and a lot less weight. I could drop the size of the pipe, or just go with a traditional straight pipe solar shower.

I intend to install a fresh water system, but space is limited and it will probably just be drinking and cooking water. The solar shower is for the rinsing and such. No need to get fancy. I'll pressurize it with air from my on-board system as-needed.

Thanks again!
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Re: Rooftop Solar Shower (size, weight & Capacity)

Postby fotooutdoors » Fri Jan 27, 2017 11:33 am

Glad I could help. Some quick numbers for you as you consider your configuration. The approximate volume (gallons) per foot of each pipe diameter is below
6": 1.5
5": 1
4": 2/3
3": 1/3

It will be hard to get all of that volume as water in a horizonal pipe, though.

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Re: Rooftop Solar Shower (size, weight & Capacity)

Postby Tiki TD » Tue Jan 31, 2017 10:35 am

4" PVC pipe is not made to be pressurized. you might find fittings that don't seal up very well for pressurization.
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Re: Rooftop Solar Shower (size, weight & Capacity)

Postby Aguyfromohio » Wed Feb 01, 2017 1:22 pm

The wife and I have used solar showers tent camping for many years, and they work pretty well.
I had a really long reply typed up showing all the calculations and specifications for tubes on your roof, but really, why bother?
Buy one of these for 20 bucks and hang it on a tree, or lay it on the ground.

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Re: Rooftop Solar Shower (size, weight & Capacity)

Postby QueticoBill » Wed Feb 01, 2017 1:46 pm

I agree with Aguyfromohio - I have one of these: http://www.seattlesportsco.com/camp-shower-5gal.html and only $14.95. Works well.

(Hey! I'm from Ohio too - or at least born there!)
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