Working on the Solar System

Not NASA's nor ESA's work exploring the solar system but rather the solar collectors used in heating the pool at the Painted Pony Resort.  To put it bluntly I made a mistake and as a result damaged 2 panels.  The system had a leak last year and after digging up the lines and cleaning out the lost fluid I could not locate the apparent leak.  I recharged the system with water and left it alone to see if time would show the leak.  The system ran fine all season never losing pressure.  So in the fall I reburied the lines and continued to run the system.  Of course once buried I began to lose pressure indicating a leak.  I kept the system running but at one point during the cold weather shut the system down and had a freeze.  So I began the process of pulling the 4' x 8' panels and exploring options.  I found ruptured pipes inside 2 of the panels and began the repair process.  I realized that while I could cut out and replace end connections any split pipes required brazing.  So I set off to learn how to braze copper pipe and after learning the fundamentals of brazing I repaired the ruptured tubes.  Then it was a reversed process of replacing the repaired panels back into the system.  After getting the repaired panels installed and recharging the system, I brought it online and started bringing the pool back up to 85 degrees.  Using the geothermal system I built was able to maintain the pool at about 70 degrees but the goal is 85.  Currently, the pool is back above 80 using only the solar system and is ready for guests.

water inside solar panel

Removing a solar panel



  1. congrats on brazing! I was mixing up braising with brazing

    braise: to cook (meat, fish, or vegetables) by sautéeing in fat and then simmering slowly in very little liquid.

  2. After all the work, I prefer your kind of braising. Food is much better and more rewarding than moving large heavy solar panels and fixing pipes.

    1. I've heard that English is a hard language to learn, what with homonyms like braze, braise, to, too, and two, there, they're and their

  3. I'm always getting words confused and it seems to increase with age. I write then edit, then unsatisfied with the changes start over and do it all again. After several rounds I generally give up, declare victory, and hit the publish button.