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Ideas are Powerful

by Brad
(Las Vegas)

Click on each image

The recent issue of the Solar Cooker Review is available here:

and as I reviewed it, I noticed many interesting things. The parabolic cooker made by Spain's AlSol company was featured, and just last week I was watching their You-Tube videos and wishing I had a product like that in the US.


The Solar Cookers International

made a presentation to the United Nations yesterday, and hopefully they include the ASSC (All Season Solar Cooker) design in their collection of solar cookers. Personally, I think that design is the best solar panel cooker, and I love to play with the design to see what transpires.

This week, the inventor of this design, Jim LaJoie, and I talked about many things, including cooking concepts, and ideas on how to spread his design as something easily grasped. Recently I saw a CooKit picture, that was unitless.

which was called the "King variation", and I thought about how effective that could be.

So I started with the first picture (above), a general, not-to-scale layout of the ASSC, with extended top and bottom reflector areas. Although I know Jim prefers to focus the sun, to increase cooking efficiency, using sun-sights on the cooker's edges, I'm an incurable Tim Taylor type of thinker, who believes bigger is better. The larger the catch area, the better....and that's my next prove or disprove my thinking with side-by-side ASSC's...hey, I've been wrong before but until proven wrong...

Okay, let's take that first picture and color code it based on its dimensions. Doing this helps you think of the cooker as flexible. You can take that second picture and see that the third picture is the list of sections you will need to put it together with. Going further, I made a simple spreadsheet which allows you to choose your tailored cooking box size, and have the needed panel size to make the complete unit, calculated for you.

The modular idea of the ASSC, also allows someone to collect the pieces of the puzzle, that is the ASSC, and tape it together on the backside. This also allows several people to work on different shapes, cutting them out, and applying reflective tape, simultaneously. Have a classroom of kids? Assign them all a piece. Have them put it together as a team. They'll grasp the isosceles triangle, rectangle, square, etc. Talk about the angle of the sun hitting each section.

Will an angle less than 45 degrees escape the cooking box? How many BTUs or Watts are truly being captured? (See my other spreadsheets). You get the idea.

Down-loadable spreadsheet for the All Season Solar Cooker ASSC Spreadsheet


Phew!!, Lots of great information.

thanks again,


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Feb 16, 2011
Follow Up
by: Brad

Since posting this entry, I have built several panel cookers, changing the size and layout each time, looking for that perfect design. Although I like the idea of using simple, repeated shapes like squares, rectangles and triangles, their use did not create the best design. The best design I've found, is Jim's ASSC (All Season Solar Cooker) panel cooker, when it comes to efficient use of materials, and ability to focus.

In corresponding with him, we brainstormed a bit and worked out a way to more easily scale up or down, his design layout. We're both separately testing the idea, using the scaling idea to design the ASSC panel cooker around the cooking vessel, as I've shown on this post.

Jan 22, 2011
Now Watch This...
by: Brad

The TED presentation on how to build a toaster...


Now you can fully appreciate the solar oven.

Jan 22, 2011
Made Modifications
by: Anonymous

Just so you know, I have altered this design slightly, to fill in the potential gap between the side flaps and the box bottom, and cut off a bit of the half-isosceles.


Can't help it.

Jan 22, 2011
Easy Test
by: Brad

For those wishing to test the design very easily, you can print the picture, to a full page, and then cut it out and fold. This also gives you a little model to use when cutting and assembling a regular size version.

I built an 8" base version today, using nothing more than a ruler, pen, knife, foam board, duct tape and aluminum tape. Took less than an hour. My 8 1/2" cocotte was placed in the bottom, at the diagonal, and it got "rocket" hot very quickly. Hope others use the spreadsheet and let us know how it went.

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