Need Help with solar tracker!

Discussion in 'Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers' started by mikeknight, Sep 23, 2009.

  1. mikeknight

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 23, 2009
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    I want to build a small model solar tracker. For this rig I need:

    1x Stepper Motor
    1x Stepper Motor Controller
    8x Light Sensors
    1x Microcontroller

    4x small solar cells
    Rig will be made with Plexiglas.

    Can someone please help me find the stepper motor & controller, light sensors, and microcontroller that compatible with each other. Please help me find ones that are low cost and preferably made by the same company.

    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  2. blueroomelectronics

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jul 22, 2007
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    Why do you need 8 light sensors?
     
  3. mikeknight

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 23, 2009
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    I plan on putting 8 light sensors surrounding 180 degrees around the solar tracker. So the solar panels will turn to the sensor that senses the most light. If you know a better way to do this please let me know.

    Also if you can get me links for the step motor & controller, light sensor, and microcontroller that are low cost and work together.

    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  4. blueroomelectronics

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jul 22, 2007
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    You can mount two sensors on the moving panel, a simple light shield between them. Google shows plenty of circuits.
    [​IMG]
     
  5. mikeknight

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 23, 2009
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    Thanks for the idea, but i really want to program a microcontroller. If you could help me find the above supplies, it would be much appreciated.

    Thanks,
    Charles
     
  6. blueroomelectronics

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jul 22, 2007
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    Which microcontroller? If you're going to use a microcontroller you could make a clock calender based heliostat instead of a solar tracker.
     
  7. mikeknight

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 23, 2009
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    I don't have a microcontroller, that's why I'm looking for one. If you could help me find the supplies listed above, that would be great. I would really like to make the solar tracker.

    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  8. blueroomelectronics

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jul 22, 2007
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    Any modern microcontroller should work. Myself I use PICs

    A good choice might be the 18F4620.
     
  9. mikeknight

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 23, 2009
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    Can you help me find one with board, either serial or usb output to pc. Trying to get one for under $50.00.

    Thanks,
    Mike
     
  10. blueroomelectronics

    AAC Fanatic!

    Jul 22, 2007
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    A PIC programmer / debugger like the PICkit2 or my Junebug kit are about $50
     
  11. mikeknight

    Thread Starter New Member

    Sep 23, 2009
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    It will only move on the x-axis, because the panel will be fixed @ 36 degrees. It will face east and move west along with the sun.
     
  12. beenthere

    Retired Moderator

    Apr 20, 2004
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    You only need to track in one axis. If the plane the solar cells swing in is tilted to the local latitude, the sun will always be at the same apparent altitude. Look at the explanation of an equatorial mount - http://science.howstuffworks.com/telescope5.htm

    Any photocell will o.d. with direct sunlight. You will need filters.

    It may seem spiffy to actually track the sun, but adjusting the azimuth every so often will be just as good. Learning to run a stepper motor is good experience, though.
     
  13. AlexR

    Well-Known Member

    Jan 16, 2008
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    This only true if you align the azimuth and elevation at the start of each day.
    The equatorial mount cannot take seasonal changes of elevation into account. However this being somewhat pedantic and single plane tracking is good enough for most solar panel applications.
     
  14. gloreix

    New Member

    May 18, 2012
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    Hiya everyone, I want to build a dual axis sun tracker with micro-controller, and also with stepper motor. I just need circuit chematics of the board. Who wants to help me urgently. I will use 2 bipolar stepper motors, and the pic 16F877A.. Please help me.
     
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