Any suggestion for an inexpensive rubber stopper such as these (see pic) for Fafco solar panels?

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I bought the $40 repair tool kit from Fafco solar panels which only comes with 10 rubber stoppers:

Since it takes four plugs per leak, and since I have dozens of leaks, I also bought (at about $1.50 each), dozens of additional plugs (and I'm quickly using them all up trying to stop the leaks in the Fafco solar panels!).
I'm ok for this job - but - I was wondering if you guys know of a cheaper alternative similarly shaped rubber plug I can find online?
It's not a lot of money ($1.50 per plug) but it's highway robbery considering it's 'just' a plug of rubber in a cone shape.
Do you guys have an idea for second sourcing these cone-shaped rubber stoppers somewhere else online?
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On 5/28/2012 4:14 AM, Arklin K. wrote:

I did a google search for "tapered rubber plugs" and got some hits, like this: http://www.widgetco.com/epdm-rubber-stoppers
There seems to be money to be made in rubber plugs :o)
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On Mon, 28 May 2012 08:14:50 +0000 (UTC), "Arklin K."

You can do the same thing the company selling them did and get them for pennies. First, have a mold made for $10,000 or more, test different rubber compounds until you find the one that has the right temperature, UV resistance, durometer, etc, and order a few thousand of them and then you can get them for pennies.
To get your investment back, you can sell them to others too. What do you think a fair price would be?
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They look like the size plugs used to repair automobile tires.
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Take a look at http://usaindustries.com/tube_plugs.php Would bicycle tire repair plugs work?
On 5/28/2012 1:14 AM, Arklin K. wrote:

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On 5/28/2012 3:14 AM, Arklin K. wrote:

I thought the panels were supposed to be replaced periodically?
Are they worth the trouble to repair?
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On Mon, 28 May 2012 10:28:53 -0700, Oren wrote:

The Fafco solar heating panels are warranted for life - BUT - but only to the original owner. What a scam. Why would it matter if you're the original owner or not? The panel is still the same panel.

Mine has the peculiar problem of two things combining: 1. The panels are the 'fancy' ones with little whorls in each of the thousands of tubes. Guess where the leak ALWAYS is? It's in the whorl itself where the rubber is thinnest. Don't get the fancy whorls!!!!!!!!!
2. Mine is, unfortunately, fifteen feet below the pool so water stays in during the winter even when it's drained and shut off, I think. I'm not sure, because I don't know for sure, but that's what Pico Solar told me who professionally installed the panels.
Personally, I'm so fed up with these Fafco solar panels that I feel like writing to the company to say they suck because of one or more of three reasons:
a) Bad materials (the whorl in particular) b) Bad installation (fifteen feet below the pool) c) Bad maintenance (I can't speak for the prior maintenance but I 'do' open the faucet at the bottom of the panels every winter
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-- X-No-Archive: Yes On 5/28/2012 1:24 PM, Arklin K. wrote:

Are you sure about that? Do you have a copy of the warranty for your panels?
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On Mon, 28 May 2012 14:55:40 -0500, gonjah wrote:

I've called Pico Solar in San Jose and that's what they told me.
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-- X-No-Archive: Yes On 5/28/2012 3:23 PM, Arklin K. wrote:

Will they honor it? I recently read that your lucky if solar panels last 10 years, and that's properly maintained.
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On Mon, 28 May 2012 15:31:37 -0500, gonjah wrote:

I would agree with that assessment, although I think the warrantee is for much longer than that (to the original owner only).
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-- X-No-Archive: Yes On 5/28/2012 3:23 PM, Arklin K. wrote:

BTW. Is that a full replacement life time warranty? Or one of those where you get a lowering percentage as they age? Something doesn't quite square up here. You probably need to read the fine print on that one.
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On Mon, 28 May 2012 15:19:02 -0700, Bob F wrote:

Yes. Of course. They quoted a 'great deal' at a 'reduced price' which came to about 5K dollars to replace the 13 panels.
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On Tue, 29 May 2012 04:55:44 +0000 (UTC), "Arklin K."

Wow! There goes 10 years of energy "savings".
--
Work is the curse of the drinking class.

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On 5/29/2012 12:59 AM, Caesar Romano wrote:

And he could get a Raypak Nat Gas heater installed for less than $3k
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On Mon, 28 May 2012 18:24:54 +0000 (UTC), "Arklin K."

Scam? It is plainly written what the deal is. If they did not warrant them for the original owner only, you'd see a more realistic 5 year or 10 year warranty. Nothing lasts forever, just ask the dinosaurs. Or people that sold shave ice 20,000 years ago and had a free supply of ice.
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On Mon, 28 May 2012 16:19:08 -0400, Ed Pawlowski wrote:

Ok. I'd say that's true.
But, I'd say the warranty isn't any indication of the quality.
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-- X-No-Archive: Yes On 5/28/2012 3:24 PM, Arklin K. wrote:

Sort of a moot point if the warranty doesn't transfer. I'd look into getting some new panels. If you have 12 leaks you're........going to be chasing leaks.
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On Mon, 28 May 2012 15:36:29 -0500, gonjah wrote:

I 'am' chasing leaks! :)
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You can not blame the manufacturer for:
Deterioration due to sunlight... The installer's poor choice of locating the system... The previous owner's lack of proper care and maintenance...
Are these panels on a direct loop circulating the pool water through them ? Or are they indirect circulating a fixed concentration of a completely compatible anti-freeze mixture like polypropylene glycol to a heat storage/ exchange tank ?
A direct loop system circulating pool water through the fragile solar panels is why you are having problems, there is chemical action taking place between the rubber tubes in your panel and the water which is going to shorten the life of the panels...
You would want to use the approved repair kit sold by the manufacturer if you want to not have problems... The bigger issue you seem to have is why you are not addressing the systems issue with your pool equipment -- i.e. it is poorly arranged and installed, it is left exposed to the elements and it is causing problems...
Your leaky pipes and valves are a combination of the wear and tear from the water pumping through and the fact that you have black plastic ABS piping left exposed to the sun...
Work on resolving the meta issues by sheltering the pool equipment so it does not needlessly deteriorate even further and then you can re-plumb it little by little as more leaks appear...
P.S. if you don't want green algae growing in your filters you need to look at alternatives in water treatment to prevent that growth but you will never be able to clean it all out of a filter once it has turned green...
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