cheap solar power tracker

Discussion in 'General Electronics Chat' started by recklessrog, Jun 9, 2016.

  1. recklessrog

    Thread Starter Member

    May 23, 2013
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    I live in the south of England and we have had a few rare hot sunny days. I noticed how a big flower (sunflower?) always pointed at the sun which gave me an idea. I have a small solar powered fan that can clip to a baseball cap, I attached it with some gaffer tape and a small stick to the top of the flower stem and it has tracked the sun all day keeping the solar panel always facing the sun.
    Anyone got any ideas as to how to scale this up to move a larger panel, perhaps have the flower controlling a servo connected to a bigger panel??
     
  2. Kermit2

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 5, 2010
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    I would recommend a small DC powered gear motor of 1 or 2 rpm
    Use a bicycle chain and gears to get a geared down movement for the panels.
     
  3. RichardO

    Well-Known Member

    May 4, 2013
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    Put sensitive switches on each side of the "sensor" so that one is activated when the sensor moves in that direction. The switch either activates a relay or H-bridge to run the motor in the correct direction. :)
     
  4. mcgyvr

    AAC Fanatic!

    Oct 15, 2009
    4,771
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    Tie more sunflowers together? :)
    Maybe even braid the stalks.. That look pretty neat..
     
  5. recklessrog

    Thread Starter Member

    May 23, 2013
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    I was thinking more of an optical sensor on the stork to use PWM to control a servo, or use a belt round the stalk just under the head of the flower, run the belt around the control knob on an aerial rotator, My Yeasu rotator has incredible torque so may give it a try.
     
  6. Robin Mitchell

    Well-Known Member

    Oct 25, 2009
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    Would it not be easier to forget the sunflower and use two LDR sensors separated by a cardboard wall mounted at the bottom of the solar panel which is all mounted on a motor driven base?

    Basically, you would connect the two voltage levels of the LDRs to some differential amplifier that would detect which LDR has more light (this is the one that is directly facing the sun, or more towards the sun). This signal determines which way the motor should turn and when both LDRs are balanced (panel facing at sun directly), the difference is 0 and no more turning of the motor.

    BTW, South of England here too and the sun has been great!
     
  7. recklessrog

    Thread Starter Member

    May 23, 2013
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    yes of course, but i liked the idea of a natural organic sensor :)
     
    Robin Mitchell likes this.
  8. crutschow

    Expert

    Mar 14, 2008
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    What happens when the sunflower dies?
     
    ErnieM and jsallas like this.
  9. dannyf

    Well-Known Member

    Sep 13, 2015
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    A 555 plus two ldrs can track the sun in one dimension.

    Two such contraps can do two dimension tracking of any light objects.
     
  10. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
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    Using any sort of sun sensor not genetically inclined to follow the sun may lead your tracker to waste a lot of power tracking the brightest cloud in the sky.

    Mariners have used the fact that the position of the sun at any given moment is completely determinate. So don't track the sun, calculate where it should be.

    Of course, this depends on gaining enough energy via tracking to overcome the losses incurred by moving the damn array from side to side. Also making a secure but movable support that will not fail under high wind conditions.

    But I do kinda like the idea of pointing a camera at the sunflower. Oh, are they cold tolerant for winter use?
     
  11. ScottWang

    Moderator

    Aug 23, 2012
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    Cut the heads (flowers) to take the seeds and their bodies become Green manure.
     
  12. ScottWang

    Moderator

    Aug 23, 2012
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  13. crutschow

    Expert

    Mar 14, 2008
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    Ok.
    But they sure don't track the sun well in that condition. :rolleyes:
     
  14. ScottWang

    Moderator

    Aug 23, 2012
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    The sunflowers can be track the sun power, and even we eat their seeds, but the seeds no magic power, so we can't track the sun when we using the black cloth to cover our eyes and head.

    Maybe someday in the future, the scientist can figure out how the sunflowers can track the sun power, and make the ee product to be a sensitive component, but the component doesn't like the cds or solar cells, that is the biological technology.
     
  15. Techno Tronix

    Member

    Jan 10, 2015
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    I think putting sensors is the best idea.
     
  16. bertus

    Administrator

    Apr 5, 2008
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    recklessrog likes this.
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