Soda can solar heater

Soda can solar heater

Dan’s soda can solar heater provides up to 120 degrees of temperature differential.

Ever since I built my first soda can solar heater three years ago, I’ve received plenty of input on how to improve the design for better heat output. For that reason, I never hooked up the first one – in fact, I gave it away to a friend – and set about building a bigger, better version, suffering through three cold winters in the garage. I started out by looking for a sliding glass door, which I found locally for free, then took all my measurements from that. Minus space for the insulation, the sliding glass door allowed for 180 cans (versus 50 for the first version), which took a while to accumulate, given that I’ve sworn off soda the last few years.

While Dan doesn’t provide many directions for his project, the blog entry for his first heater provides much more information.


9 thoughts on “Soda can solar heater

  1. Bryon says:

    Dont’ forget that most modern glass doors and windows have coatings to specifically reduce solar (heat) transfer. You would probably have a more efficient system by using plain glass.

  2. Review says:

    Interesting stuff. But how much does it cost and where can i get it?


  3. craig says:

    I first saw a version of this in a window unit like an air conditioner about 30 years ago. This tall unit looks like a very efficient design as natural heat rising convection could help circulate the hot air out with the smallest of energy efficient fans. As far as the LOW-E glass that blocks solar radiation, I don’t know how much that would hindewr it but worth a look. I would not use regular glass, but plexi. Even 2 layers of regular glass transfers cold inside more than one sheet of plexi. Touch a glass window on a cold day and feel the cold transfering from outside to inside through the glass. Now try a plexi window, not as much cold transfering through.

  4. Simon says:

    Naughty Make. You forgot the units! 120 degrees F. The original article leaves them off too. 120 degrees C WOULD be enough to boil water at normal pressure!

    For a endless supply of empty cans try your local software development shop :)

  5. Colecoman1982 says:

    As with the Low-E glass, make sure not to use a door with double pained glass.

    1. David Traver Adolphus says:

      Ouch, ouch?

  6. says:

    I wonder if an evaporative A/C could be made with a similar technique.

  7. Strider says:

    Why would you want a soda can heater all it dose is warm up your sodas dont you want them cold or dose this heat your house.

  8. Jan Paulussen says:

    I also made a similar collector with cans, but I also made a high tech controller for it, using a raspberry Pi, set up as a LAMP server, and therefore it is possible to use your smartphone t control the collector. You can find the code and explanation at Or mail me for more explanation…

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My interests include writing, electronics, RPGs, scifi, hackers & hackerspaces, 3D printing, building sets & toys. @johnbaichtal

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