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Frequently Asked Questions
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Concentrating the sun rays to convert them into heat isn’t new at all and you can do it with a magnifying glass, we know. What’s new with Lytefire is our applications and our design’s that is meant to bring direct solar heat to entrepreneurs, schools canteens, to power activities with free energy. The idea is to get people to adopt Lytefire smoothly everywhere it’s needed while making their living with it and transforming calmly the centralized energy system.
Like everything in this life, it’s a choice. At the time of the industrial revolution, decision makers decided to go with fossil fuels and then electricity, which shaped part of the world as we know it: constant energy availability, speed, and collateral damages. In the 1970’, various countries started to study and experiment solar thermal but funding have been discontinued to favor solar electricity. This is great but most of human’s energy needs are in direct heat, meaning that we do not absolutely need electricity for everything, especially food transformation. And this is true eveywhere the sun shines. The time for more solar thermal energy is now.
Our focus is on collective uses and entrepreneurship. You can find one huge solar concentrator in Font Romeu in France, solar plants in Spain and individual solar cookers and boxes reaching 400 Watts with relatively cheap price and even free plans. All this is great for sure and we encourage you to explore different options! Our mission is to spread widely a powerful tool delivering 2000 Watts and more. Lytefire can serve professional and semi-professional baking, roasting and cooking users, it can be installed in canteens, hotels, festivals, campings, it creates sustainable jobs in the Global South and it also suprisingly inspires pioneers entrepreneurs in countries where the grid is good and the electricity is cheap.
It doesn’t pollute when you use it.
It gives you access to a free and unlimited energy (reduced energy bills!).
It creates no smoke and no dark particles damaging your health and the air.
Any meal can be cooked or baked with the same flavor.
It fights deforestation.
Read more about our impact here.
It’s time to clarify an important point about Open Source.
We believe in all the virtues of open source, but because of its limitations, we decided not to embrace that path. We are explaining here our model.
The common understanding is that one can open source anything if the know-how is shared without intellectual property rights, without ownership and therefore without patents. In our field, most of the solar cookers for example had their plans for free in open source for decades for people to build. Recently, we saw some models...read the full post here
– It is recommended to use sun glasses every time you cook or bake, that’s for sure!
– As for any stove or fire, you do not leave the device unattended.
– To test the Lytefire and check if it’s well focused, you will place a wooden stick on the focal point. Careful, it can be 900°C (1650°F) at the focal point so you will never allow anyone to place their hand or cross if the Lytefire is on. The wooden stick will burn well, probably with flames and everybody will suddenly see the “solar fire”. This will allow all the users, friends and family to see that people must be aware of that power.
– Sometimes, people also put a fence around the Lytefire, mostly to prevent chicken to get nervous with their reflections.
It works exactely as with a barbecue, a stove or an open fire: you don’t let that unattended, right? So someone should always stay close to the Lytefire when it’s in use.
There is an "Off position" for all the Lytefire’s and it’s when the mirors are all facing the ground. Once you are no longer using the Lytefire, you can simply tilt all the mirrors down so they no longer reflect the sun, and then there is no longer any risk just like when you turn off the electricity.
Apart from some roasters getting nervous when seeing themselves in the mirrors and attacking their reflections, we have no report of animals being endangered by Lytefire.
The reason is that when not in use, all the mirrors are facing the ground and the risk, with no sun on it. During usage, the solar rays are all targeting the focal point, where you cook.
As for any stove or fire, you do not leave the device unattended.
As for any stove or open fire, you do not leave the device unattended. If you show the burning stick to your kids, they will get that they are not supposed to play around.
That is the point! You can save quite a lot of money with this solar oven, and we help you to calculate your future savings with the calculator.
Lytefire is easy to fix and maintain if needed or if a part is accidentally broken. If properly built and painted, your Lytefire will last between 16 and 19 years. Since it’s all stainless steel, it is solid and adapted to daily usage. It’s also easy to clean: only water and soap to clean the mirrors from time to time.
With Lytefire Deluxe Big Oven + Roaster, you can bake 38kg (84 pounds) of bread per hour.
The different sizes of Lytefires yield different amounts, as well as the baking technique.
Baking technique: Using bread tins/pans improves the efficiency of baking as compared to regular bread baking. This is because the surface of the bread tin will transmit the heat quicker to the bread, and with the tins a lot more dough can be fit into the same oven as opposed placing bread loafs without tins.
Size of Lytefire: The larger Lytefire will bake a larger amount of bread in the same time.
So in Detail:
With Lytefire Deluxe Big Oven + Roaster, you can bake 30-38kg (up to 84 pounds) of bread per hour using bread tins.
Check out the individual product pages for more info on each Lytefire’s peformance. The Lytefires available in your region are listed on the shop.
WEATHER AND CLIMATE
You need a clear blue sky for the Lytefire to work. If it’s a fresh spring day, a hot summer morning or a sunny winter afternoon, the Lytefire’s can be used whenever there is direct sunshine. Diffuse radiation does not work and in cloudy weather, there is no direct radiation.
If you’re not sure you can check your region here: https://globalsolaratlas.info/map
Remember that NeoLoco’s solar bakery is in Normandy, North France. Arnaud runs the oven a few days per month to bake and roast 10 months per year. This allows him to generate a steady revenue.
The cold does not prevent Lytefire to work at all. Lytefire has already operated at negative temperatures in Switzerland and Finland! All it takes is clear skies. The temperature doesn’t matter.
The wind circulates nicely between all the mirors to prevent boat sail effect and it is possible to use the Lytefire in moderate winds but we advise to limit its use from 60km/h of wind. Beyond that, we recommend placing your mirrors in a safe position, facing the ground. If the wind is beyond 70km/h, we recommend dismantling the mirrors rows and store them inside.
On our Hub, which has a forum to support DIYers and many ressources, including video tutorials, there is a thread on wind-proofing with design suggestions for areas with strong winds.
Lytefire can be used everywhere. We have used Lytefire in the most Nordic Finland, to locations right on the equator like Kenya. So we can safely say: The Lytefire can be used anywhere on the planet whenever there’s sun!
The Lytefire DIY Stove is a vertical solar concentration system through an upward reflector, and the Lytefire DIY Oven, Lytefire Deluxe Oven + Roaster and Lytefire Deluxe Big Oven + Roaster are direct horizontal solar concentrators. The upward reflector causes efficiency loss. The less time light needs to change directions the better. So with the Lytefire Oven design there is only one reflection, not two like with Lytefire DIY Stove.
Build times differ greatly based on available tool set, workshop permanence, fabricator experience and the kind of music you’re listening to.
The following estimates are based on 1) having the basic tool set, the three jigs, as well as grinder, drill press, vice grips, C-clamps and metal chop saw, 2) 1 competent fabricator and a dedicated workspace, and 3) all material onsite.
For a Lytefire DIY Stove, a setback-free build can take 32 hours. 40 hours is a reasonable guess for an experienced builder. For a Lytefire DIY Oven, 10 to 12 days is reasonable.
You can seriously decrease that amount of time by putting on some good music and inviting enthusiast friends.
A variety of materials are required for the build. We attempt to describe where to purchase the requisite materials.
Steel: all structural steel profiles for the Lytefire should be available from most steel retailers. The stainless steel for the oven might be more difficult to find, but most sheet metal retailers or distributors should be able to help.
All fasteners (screws, nuts, bolts, rivets) should be available at any big hardware store.
Mineral wool or glass wool insulation should be available at most large building centers.
2 or 3 mm mirrors are available at many custom glass workshops. Cheap mirror is available at recycled home works stores (for example, Habitat for Humanity ReStore in North America). Also, Walmart has 4 foot by 1 foot bedroom mirrors for $7.99CAD that are 2mm thick mirror and yield 4 mirrors each, compared to $5CAD per mirror cut by local Toronto glass shop)
Most of the bits and pieces (for example, wheels, latches, hinges, drill bits, cutting disks, etc) are available at big hardware stores like Home Depot.
Every single thing is listed and detailed in the Lytefire DIY Stove and Lytefire DIY Oven construction manuals.
We cannot recommend any retailer nor give indication of price because it varies so much from one place to the other.
That being said, in France, all the material for a Lytefire DIY Oven with oven is between 3 000€ and 4 000€ max. In the case of Kenya, prices for the materials for Lytefire 5 can be as low as 1 354€.
For Lytefire DIY Stove the costs are much lower as it requires less materials. In Canada the materials for Lytefire 4 are around 800€, in Kenya around 400€.
A professional welding level is needed and if you’re not there yet, you can simply learn. It’s not very hard but it has to be well done.
2mm and 3mm mirrors are normally easy to find in almost any middle-size town. We recommend 2mm.
No matter if you build it yourself or if you purchase it, you’ll learn from us how to replace the mirrors (with tutorial, at distance guidance, or direct on-site explanation). No worries, you’ll break 5 or 6 but after that, you’ll see it’s easy.
Acrylic plastic mirror could work and it could be cheaper and lighter than glass! Other Fresnel lens (not plastic) could maybe work, creating very high temperature that are not needed for food processing.