These days, a kid would be lucky to win a corporate fridge magnet as a prize - but as a teenager I won an actual fridge (plus a washing machine, as well as literally dozens of other awesome prizes, including a flight in the blimp over Sydney harbour, and a Dragons rugby jersey signed by the team).
Anyway, one of the best prizes I won was a solar hot water system to go on the roof of the family home. That was in 1987, when I was 12, and that baby is still producing hot water for my mother to this day. (My Mum reckons that the fancy paint set she bought me for my 10th birthday - which seemed extravagantly expensive at the time - was one of the better investments she ever made).
|A blast from the past: "Samantha's in hot water" (and in the local paper). I'm sure my Mum was proud, but I got teased pretty badly about this at school. Nevertheless, I was chuffed.|
We chose an evacuated glass tube system this time - and the tubes are fantastically effective at gathering heat from the sun's rays.
|This was about 30 minutes after the evacuated glass tube collectors had been installed - and even on such a gloomy afternoon, the exposed section of the outlet pipe was too hot to touch. Love it!|
|The Solar Controller - for hours of interactive fun! (This reading indicates that the water in the tank - "T2" - is at 55C)|
|At 6.30 this morning the evacuated glass solar collector tubes were icy - but not for long!|
|The sun, arriving for work at 6.30 this morning|
I'd almost forgotten how much fun data collection can be!