We’ve sold over 1000 of the Bubble Domes, mostly to restaurants for outside dining, and also to many individuals who have erected them on their patios or in their yards. We’re amazed at some of the clever adaptations people have made to different circumstances. As the owner of Sonostar, I have a bit of the geek in me, too, and I thought I’d share some of the modifications I’ve made, and hopefully, encourage some of you to share your own field mods publicly.
We have a nice yard and I chose to put the dome out on the patio so we can eat dinner inside it at night. You’ll notice immediately that I’ve put two solar panels between the bubble dome cover and the frame. I’m using thin-film photovoltaic panels, each with 100 watts charging capacity, because they’re lightweight, flexible, and fairly inexpensive. You may also notice the palm trees. Yes, we’re in southern California, but it gets cold here, too, like sometimes down in the 50’s!
The sunlight goes right through the Bubble Dome Cover, letting the photons collect on the solar panels, which are themselves protected from the weather outside by the transparent cover. The wires are wrapped around the struts to keep them out of the way.
There’s plenty of room inside the dome for a table for 4, 6 or even 8 people. I put a 1500 watt electric heater in the middle, which not only keeps the dome warm, but gives off a lot of light. The heater is plugged into my home electric service, as the little solar generator in the background can’t handle all the energy it requires. The green section above the heater is an old patio umbrella cover that also fits between the frame and the cover. It’s just the right shape, and gives us some much needed shade in the daytime. The light hanging above the heater is a USB-connected LED light that only uses about 1 watt.
The portable solar generator is sitting on a shelf built inside one of the triangular windows. It has a built-in inverter that converts the solar DC power to AC 110 Volt power. We use it mostly to drive the colored LED lights we have all around the inside of the dome. It’s also good for charging a cellphone or a laptop when I’m working outside. The shelf was made using four ½” slip joints, two 45 degree elbows, and two 3-way side-out corner connectors and some Home Depot PVC. You could also use the shelf to serve food through the triangular window, if you don’t want to keep opening and closing the front door.
The net effect is a very fun enclosed space that feels like it’s a part of the outdoors.
If you have some retrofits or modifications you’d like to share, please feel free to post them. If you have any questions about any of the mods I’ve made, or where to get any of the parts or gadgets, feel free to write us at: firstname.lastname@example.org.
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