Solar Panel Sun tracker





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  1. #1
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    Default Solar Panel Sun tracker

    Im looking for someone that can build a structure to mount solar panels on that i can then use to drive via a small servo motor to track the sun and keep the panels facing the sun permanently?

    Was thinking about talking to Uys about it, but i dont want to start getting into a business with these type of things where i try to make money.

    What i am looking at is someone, who can build a easy frame on swiwel, that can be used as a step by step guid on how too. Then send it to me so i can add the motor and control and post another step by step how too so that anyone who wants to build their own one can just follow the steps.

    Any ideas on who wants to volunteer?
    Gerhard
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  2. #2
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    Brilliant idea remembering to have 2 servo motors,one for left to right and one for up down movements.
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  3. #3
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    Gerhard first do a couple of experiments with the panels mounted horizontally, vs tracking ...


    I did some experiments last year. YES, there is "some" benefit to tracking. BUT, there are so many other factors ....


    see what effect the shade of ONE leave has on a 100W panel !!!!



    FOR ME - it is more important to have a permanent fixed system that makes use of the sun at all possible times. This results in more power harvested than optimal positioning for shorter periods of time ....



    but you have the skills and equipment, would love to see what your tests reveal.




    PS - for MAX efficiency the angle of the panel should be the same as the latitude, ie about 32 degrees in the Cape. for best AVERAGE efficiency the angel of the panel should be latitude + 10 degrees. Then just a pivot to rotate it to follow the sun. Alternatively a full three axis system to keep the optimum angle and to follow the sun ....

  4. #4
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    @ChrisF,if you have 2 brackets made having 2 solar panels inserted at say a 15 degree angle ie arrow shape. Would this not be a cheaper option ,due to the sun movement as one panel loses the direct sun,the next panel collects full sun. Hence eliminating the constant up down ,move panel scenario.
    Isuzu STD 2.5d 2x4 rear diffy lock
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    215/80/R15c tyres
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    GPS,Bluetooth
    Eagle eye dash cam --stolen ..bought another one
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    I DON'T LIVE IN AFRICA,AFRICA LIVES IN ME- Kyle my son

  5. #5
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    Default

    If angle on latitude is very important, its easy to add a gps/compass unit. They cost around R200 so wont make a huge difference to cost and will then tell the user the ideal direction and angle to place the panels and have just 1 servo to turn panels left and and right as an arc on the sun.
    Gerhard
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  6. #6
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    Quote Originally Posted by hunter26 View Post
    @ChrisF,if you have 2 brackets made having 2 solar panels inserted at say a 15 degree angle ie arrow shape. Would this not be a cheaper option ,due to the sun movement as one panel loses the direct sun,the next panel collects full sun. Hence eliminating the constant up down ,move panel scenario.
    Willys is an electronic wizz, so he can do stuff I can only dream of !!


    the manual method tilting of panels is just too much of a pain to justify 2 or 3 % gain in energy ..... in MY opinion.



    looking forward to seeing what Willys does with the auto version though ....

  7. #7
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    Default

    If you are going to have a motor to auto track then that in itself would consume power so is the gain vs the loss of the motor/ servo worth the effort?
    I usually make a makeshift structure that pivots in the middle and our camp assistant turns it if we are not there
    Morning facing angled to the east, midday horizontal and afternoons angled west, works like a charm.

    An auto system would be cool though
    If Force is not the solution, not enough of it was applied....

  8. #8
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    This motor that i plan to use draws 3A/coil and would be used for less than 2s. I guess 20times a day so total draw would be .6Ah per 24 hours.

    3nm torque should be enough to turn the swivel point.

    Now, i just need a builder.
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    Gerhard
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    Default

    mmmm

    Subscribed

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    Nobody make trackers any more, panels are cheap enough that you can just add more panels to compensate.

    I still have those that works with gas to track the sun. Just two tanks on both side of the frame, connected with a tube and reflectors to heat one tank and thus move the weigh and swivel the frame.
    Johan Kriel

    LC's and Echo Chobe

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  12. #11
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    Default

    Track the sun by reading two LDR (light dependent resistors) with a small plastic "wall" between them, using an arduino. You want the two LDRs to read the same.

    As the little walls shadow falls on one LDR and changes the reading, tilt to rectify. This works on overcast days, sunny days etc.

    You can implement two axis tilting this way.

    Hein
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  13. #12
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZS6HDV View Post
    Track the sun by reading two LDR (light dependent resistors) with a small plastic "wall" between them, using an arduino. You want the two LDRs to read the same.

    As the little walls shadow falls on one LDR and changes the reading, tilt to rectify. This works on overcast days, sunny days etc.

    You can implement two axis tilting this way.

    Hein

    Um? Thats what is said im gona do?
    Gerhard
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  14. #13
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    I once had an idea to build something like this. But my plan was to have a wind-up coil or spring to move it over a 180 degree horizontal and 90 degree vertical arc over a 12 hour period - obviously the angles and timing would need a tweak based on season and latitude but that wouldn't have been too difficult. So you wind it up in the morning and point it at the sunrise - and then it slowly does its thing for the rest of the day. But I couldn't find anyone else who thought it was a good idea.

    Steve
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    Quote Originally Posted by ZR6SGN View Post
    I once had an idea to build something like this. But my plan was to have a wind-up coil or spring to move it over a 180 degree horizontal and 90 degree vertical arc over a 12 hour period - obviously the angles and timing would need a tweak based on season and latitude but that wouldn't have been too difficult. So you wind it up in the morning and point it at the sunrise - and then it slowly does its thing for the rest of the day. But I couldn't find anyone else who thought it was a good idea.
    I think it is a good idea. Post pictures of the build.
    Gandalf: '77 Series III 109" SW (He's old, he's grey, he smokes, but on an adventure you want him as companion...)
    HF, VHF, UHF
    Detroit Locker rear, Truetrac LSD front
    Hardened valve seat ULP conversion
    British cut cam shaft
    VW carb conversion, electric fuel pump
    G-Tech Electronic Ignition
    Hankook M/T 235/85/16

    Frodo: '12 Jimny (SWAMBO)
    Stofpad spacer lift and underbody protection

    Platkar (work): '15 Ranger 3.2 AT 4x4 with AluCab

  16. #15
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    Never actually built it. Just had the idea. But no backing so never took it further.

    Steve
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  17. #16
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    Ok. So i got someone to design something nice today and someone to build. But they pmd me so hope they will throw the idea on here so we can discuss it.

    Wink wink.
    Gerhard
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    Mercedes GLA 2.0 diesel (SWAMBO)
    And a Summit Everest trailer that SWAMBO loves.

  18. #17
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    Is this another one of these one sided threads? Seems to be getting quite common on this forum.
    Todd
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  19. #18
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    What is a one sided thread?
    Flip

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  20. #19
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flipside View Post
    What is a one sided thread?
    It's written in English
    Isuzu STD 2.5d 2x4 rear diffy lock
    2x spotlight,2x fog lights
    215/80/R15c tyres
    1 x great humourous driver
    GPS,Bluetooth
    Eagle eye dash cam --stolen ..bought another one
    snorkel soon
    Craig
    I DON'T LIVE IN AFRICA,AFRICA LIVES IN ME- Kyle my son

  21. #20
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    Default idea

    Hi here's ideas from google
    The key is that your structure needs to be small for transport and sturdy when assembled. Got mine to 60% and stopped. Sold house and now all my tools are in storrgae...
    PM if you want me to help you where I can.

    Cheers
    Andre
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