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Forum Index : Solar : Clever solar tracker

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Gizmo

Admin Group

Joined: 05/06/2004
Location: Australia
Posts: 4803
Posted: 07:10am 04 May 2008
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I met Bob yesterday.

I met Bob through Phill ( fillm ), Bob is 81, lives about 5 minutes from my place, and is full of interesting stories. Bob and his wife have been forced to live off grid from time to time and Bob, being the inventive type, has found ways tp provide the creature comforms in some very clever ways.
Apart from his own generators and inverters ( with hand wound transformers ), Bob once built a solar tracker. The pictures he showed me were impressive, it was a big frame with I think about 8 full size solar panels. The frame was built around a differential from an Austin ( from memory ), and used a windscreen wiper motor as the drive, along with a chain drive to the Austins diff pinion shaft.
The electronics were clever. Using a few descrete components, a NE555 and a 4017, some logic and a few switches, the tracker worked like this.
The panel is facing east. When the sun comes up, the timer is triggered to start. Then every couple of hours, give or take, it rotates the panel 15 degrees. So over the course of the day, the panel is rotated to follow the sun. Its not tracting the sun by light, its tracking by time, so its not affected by cloud cover, which can cause a light dependant tracker to hunt around.

At the end of the day, when a limit switch is reached, the pannel revolves back to its starting position, waiting for the sun to come up next day. Bob said he added some filtering so its not triggered by lightning.

I thought the idea was clever.

While I was there I showed Bob a F&P motor, which he thought was very interresting.

Glenn
People say 2020 is a terrible year, with the bush fires, COVID 19, and riots. But I see it as the year we woke up to ourselves.

JAQ Software
 
fillm

Guru

Joined: 10/02/2007
Location: Australia
Posts: 729
Posted: 05:41am 05 May 2008
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Hi Glenn

Thought you would find Bob quite interesting , would like to be able to sit down and pick his knowledge on areofoil design as he worked with Fokker aircraft design for a long time . I have the circuit design for Bobs tracker as you know and he said to Photo copy it and send it back . I would have to OK it with him before posting it for all to use . I sat down and watched the video he lent to me on Enercon wind generators being built and erected in Europe , they are basicly a massive F&P , no gear box and 1.6 mega watt down to 300 k/watt , definatly worth grabing of him to have a look when I send it back . Anyway it was good to hear you went over and had a yarn with Bob .. Phill
PhillM ...Oz Wind Engineering..Wind Turbine Kits 500W - 5000W ~ F&P Dual Kits ~ GOE222Blades- Voltage Control Parts ------- Tower kits
 
Gizmo

Admin Group

Joined: 05/06/2004
Location: Australia
Posts: 4803
Posted: 11:27am 07 May 2008
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Hi Phill

Yeah he's an interresting old fella, will visit him again in the next few weeks. I'll have to see if I can dig up a good F&P for him. I had a look at his model planes, some clever work there, all electric drive.

I'l ask him if I can borrow the photos of his tracker and that circuit diagram to put on the site.

Glenn
People say 2020 is a terrible year, with the bush fires, COVID 19, and riots. But I see it as the year we woke up to ourselves.

JAQ Software
 
herbnz

Senior Member

Joined: 18/02/2007
Location: New Zealand
Posts: 258
Posted: 11:43pm 07 May 2008
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Hi
I have more less this system driving. Car Diff Wiper motor, Panels mounted on old steel bed frame.



Motor drives panels round to set tilt bed frames free to pivot and offset rod gives steeper tilt morming and evening as panels move round.
control at the moment is via timers more less as above. This i only considered a quick easy method about 3 years ago. My plan is to fit two detectors in such a way that one will be lower in value if sun is not shinning straight down. this would start timer driving motor say 10 sec then stop repeat after a time if the forward cell is not getting brightest sun . this would only drive forward until either limit switch or if dark is detected then drive motor would reverse until back at morning position. no worries about hunting as only drives one way under control. sounds complicated but electronics simple.
Herb
 
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