Fixing a solar hot water controller

By Eco Guy 10:28am 1st October 2012
Fixing a broken solar hot water controller need not be that expensive

According to recent reports (see CNN & The Australian) it appears that the speed of the Greenland ice melt has been increasing at an 'alarming' rate...

The trouble with this is that this is only a problem if:

  1. The measurements are indeed accurate enough to allow this analysis to stand, and,
  2. The melt water remains as melt water and is not taken up by other parts of the climatic system (i.e. it gets converted back to ice somewhere else) and remains in balance as a whole.

Now, look at the following:

Embracing Data 'Noise' Brings Greenland's Complex Ice Melt Into Focus

To quote:

"An enhanced approach to capturing changes on Earth's surface via satellite could provide a more accurate account of how ice sheets, river basins and other geographic areas are changing as a result of natural and human factors. In a first application, the technique revealed sharper-than-ever details about Greenland's massive ice sheet, including that the rate at which it is melting might be accelerating more slowly than predicted."

Basically a way has been found of 'cleaning up' the satellite data to give us a more accurate picture of the rate of ice melt. again to quote:

"In addition, the enhanced detail of where and how much ice melted allowed the researchers to estimate that the annual acceleration in ice loss is much lower than previous research has suggested, roughly increasing by 8 billion tons every year. Previous estimates were as high as 30 billion tons more per year."

I think you will agree that is some difference between 30 billion and 8 billion tones a year.

How much is a billion tones of water?

One 1000 litres or kg's of water is a ton, that takes up one cubic meter. Therefore a thousand by a thousand by 1 meter square of water is one million tones. Go up another 1000 meters so you have a 1000 meter by 1000 meter by 1000 meter cube and that is equal to 1 billion tones (water is heavy!).

Now the surface area of the Earth is 510 million square kilometers. So if we take the millimetre 'height' of our 1km cube (i.e. 1 million millimetres) and divide that by the Earth's surface area we get how much 1 billion tones of water increases surface height if equally spread across the planet, which is easy, its 1/510 of a millimetre or 0.0019 mm.

So 1 billion tones water EQUALS 0.0019 mm of surface height increase.

Basically, what is everybody getting so worried about???

Water freezes..

Now you can't just look at Greenland and its ice melt without considering places where the ice is freezing. Have a look the graph below of Antarctic Sea Ice Extent.

Notice something strange? Yes, the Antarctic has accumulated well over a million square kilometers of sea ice above the average. Now even if that ice was just 1cm deep (likely to be far deeper in the places where it is covered, but this makes for simple maths) then that equals 10 1km cubes of water or 10 billion tones of water...

See how utterly daft it is to consider what happens in one part of the environment without the other parts? Also this points out how important it is to have accurate measurements.

Related Content Tags: solar hot water

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Comments left

  • Solar Hot Water Systems Perth said:

    Good thing you figure it out without spending lots of dollars. Solar hot water systems is really a great idea to used in every household.

    ON Sun, 7 Oct 12, 4:26pm probably from Philippines  Reply to this comment

  • Nkonnect said:

    A very usefull and for too much needful for household plans.for house purpose its very usefull product for houseperson its very much needful product.

    ON Fri, 24 May 13, 2:06pm probably from India  Reply to this comment

  • Steven said:

    Same problem hills evacuated tube system. Pump light on but no pumping. Pump not the problem. Open up controller box and press the relay, then there's clicking, and then pump starts.What relay did you use?

    ON Sat, 30 Nov 13, 6:28am probably from Australia  Reply to this comment

    • Eco Guy said:

      Unsolder the relay and take it to jaycar to get a replacement, around $5. Your contacts have become pitted.

      ON Wed, 4 Dec 13, 11:15am probably from Australia  Reply to this comment

      • Omots said:

        Thanks Eco Guy and Steven for taking the time to lodge the problem and solution. Same issue for me with my Hills Solar Controller. At first I thought it was the pump, but after tapping the controller and then the relay, I realised the problem was in the controller. Anyway, Swapped the relay with a new one from Jaycar. Now working fine. $8 is way better than a few hundred.

        ON Thu, 5 Dec 13, 10:08am probably from Australia  Reply to this comment

      • Billc said:

        Eco Guy (and Omots) I know this thread is a bit old but I've no alternative . . . How can I identify the relay? There is a marking on the board of RL3 - is the relay on the reverse of this? Is the changeover foolproof? Incidentally it's a Hills Esteem system . . . Thanks.

        ON Wed, 16 Jul 14, 4:56am probably from Australia  Reply to this comment

        • Eco Guy said:

          Hi Billc,

          The relay will be the (usually black or clear) plastic box with 8 soldered pins on it (2 for the coil, and 6 for the switch). The pins are of standard centers so an equivalent relay should fit with no problem - just take the old one to Jaycar to be sure

          ON Tue, 22 Jul 14, 7:24am probably from Australia  Reply to this comment

  • Dsteve said:

    I have a Hills Esteem II solar hws with a Er2 light on the controller and a T1 light showing - anyone know what this means. I am quoted $1375 to replace the controller and pump but I am not even sure what is wrong as the troubleshooting in the manual supplied is useless.

    ON Tue, 11 Feb 20, 2:00am probably from Australia  Reply to this comment

  • Colin Symonds said:

    Our hills solar is not working red light is flashing on controller can someone tell me what this red light means thanks Colin symonds

    ON Mon, 13 Dec 21, 8:33am probably from Australia  Reply to this comment

  • Bob said:

    Hi. we have an older Hills solar powered hot water system. It was in the house when we purchased the house.The hot water supply is working perfectly but about a week ago I bumped the control box and the red collector sensor light started flashing. I turned eveything off, took out the plug and switched it back on. It continued to flash. It stopped after a few days but has started again. Everything seems to be working and we have plenty of hot water. What should I do> Thanks. Bob.

    ON Mon, 2 May 22, 1:02am probably from Australia  Reply to this comment

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