How to Solar Tracker (Single-or Dual-axis) - Maximum Technology

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Thursday, November 24, 2016

How to Solar Tracker (Single-or Dual-axis)

If you already installed a solar system on a motorhome, with electricity on your camping trip or at home Supplement, and your power consumption or you can take your home completely off the grid, then you probably know that the panels work best when they are aimed directly at the sun. This sounds simple enough, except that the sun moves in the course of the day. Therefore, there are now a number of different mechanisms, which work on a number of principles with the objective of the orientation of your panel or array of panels directly in the direction of the sun, known as solar Tracker.


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There are two basic types of Tracker, single-and duel-axis Tracker. Single axis Tracker every month or so an account for the seasonal changes in the sun are set in position, the single axis is then used to track the daily movement of the sun across the sky. Duel axis trackers to eliminate the need for monthly adjustment by using an axis-to track track the sun's daily movement and other axis, the seasonal movement. A single axis solar tracker improves solar radiation by approximately 25%, and a dual-axis tracker is around 40% according to this article on old goals.
This solar tracker system is designed for light measurements from the East and West (left and right) side of the solar panel and determine which kind of movement the control panel to go directly to the source of the light. A servo is used, press the panel-tracker; these are can be available in a wide range of sizes and scales, according to your panel size. Although this tracker is a single axis, two sensors and Servos can be easily duplicated, dual-axis control.
This project assumes you know the basics of Arduino programming, otherwise read my article on getting started with Arduino.
You could also build in this project your own solar panel as well, here is our guide on how to a solar panel at home. If you are thinking of switching some or all of your homes power supply to solar energy, you can read my article about switching to solar energy first.

Step 1: What You Will Need For A Solar Tracker

Here is a list of the items that you need in order to complete this project. If you are in search of a dual-axis tracking then you need to double-click on the servos, LDRs, and resistors.
• An Arduino (Uno is used here)
• Single-Axis Tracking (Short DIY Design Shown In step 6)
• 2 x 4.7 K Resistors
• 2 x LDRs
• PWM-Servo
The specific servo model or the size is not specified, as it depends on the size and weight of your solar panel. In this project, a 9 gram Analog servo. You can use any size PWM hobby servo with the Arduino although the larger servos need their own power supply.

Step 2: Mount the components




First, you need to start with the mounting of the components on your solar panel, or a hole, the grid Board. The LDRs (light dependent resistors), or PRs (photo-resistors) change their resistance with changing light, so you need to be connected, in a way, the changing resistance is converted into a changing voltage that the Arduino understands. The servo to the PWM outputs is controlled by the Arduino.
If you are going to be the Installation of the solar tracker permanently then you might want to solder the resistors and LDRs, so that you can not loosen up. If you just try this project for the fun of it, a breadboard is perfect.
The basic circuit for the connection of the LDRs and a servo to the Arduino is shown in the attached image.
The resistors R1 and R2 are 4.7 K, the PR1 and PR2 are the two LDRs and the servo can PWM each hobby Servos. If you are using a servo that is larger than 9 grams, then the Arduino is probably not going to be possible to supply enough power to its full torque capability, you need to supply the servo directly with its own 5V power supply.
If you make a permanent installation, then it is best to solder the resistors to the right in the vicinity of the LDRs on the control panel. In this way, you can be a single 4-wire cable from the control box to the sensors on the panel, the four cores 5V, Gnd and then signal 1 and 2 of the LDRs. As soon as your LDRs, and resistors were soldered together, you can assemble on your solar panel. Mount the LDRs on the East and west (left and right) sides of the window with a view in the direction of the sun. Make sure that you are not darkened in any way by the frame and an unobstructed view of the sun.
A plug Board was used in this project is purely to spread the Ardunio 5V power supply to both the resistors and the servo.
The servo must be sized according to the size of your solar panel. The control panel used in this example is small and relatively easy, a small servo was therefore, and is powered by the Arduino. For a larger servo (9 grams), you will need to power the servo externally, as the Arduino does not have enough capacity for you. Be sure that you will work the connection of the external energy sources of the ground to the Arduino GND as well as otherwise, the PWM control signal to the servo.

Step 3: Upload the sketch




Now you can't upload your sketch to the Arduino, if you uploaded a sketch before you follow this guide, first steps.
The sketch is shown in the attached image.
Here is the link to download the Solar Tracker code.

The code key measures the light intensity from the two photo-resistors, see it then compares the two to get more light. If the difference is greater than a small threshold, then the Arduino is the servo says move in this direction, guiding the cover in the direction of the light source. If the light falls below a certain level on both sensors, then it is recognized as the night time, and the plate is moved to again in the East at sunrise.

Step 4: Autodesk Circuits Diagram & Simulator


Here the setup is drawn in Autodesk Circuits, the code is imbeded and can be simulated by pulling the light intensities on the LDRs as soon as the simulation has been started.




Step 5: calibration of the Sensor error

Due to the differences between the LDRs, resistors, and the resistance of the wire used, there is a difference between the signal of two sensors, even if you get the same amount of light. This is taken into account by the introduction of a calibration offset in the calculation of this number must be adjusted in the code to match your configuration. Adjust this calibration factor, where it is stated in the code,
Line 13: int calibration = 204.


The most accurate way for the determination of this factor is, the light evenly between the two sensors, and then use the Serial monitor on your computer to read the values output from the East-and west-sensor. The difference between these two values is compensated by the calibration. The LDRs are very sensitive, so that the tracker will only be moved if the difference between them is larger than 15 in the code, otherwise it would be constantly tracking forwards and backwards and wasting energy.
If you are not familiar with the Serial interface, then you can play around with this value to the tracker, when a light shone evenly on both sensors.

Step 6: Preparation Of A Single-Axis Tracking

While this instructable is centered around the Arduino controller and is not intended to detail a tracking power, because of the extremely diverse selection and the size of the panels available, here is a brief overview of the design, along with some key pointers.



Your stand should look like the attached picture, when it is finished.
Ideally, should the stand be made of aluminium angle, as it is strong, durable and suitable for outdoor use, but it can also be made of wood, plywood or PVC pipes.
The stand is essentially composed of two parts, the base and the support. You joined about a pivot point on which the panel rotates the support. The servo is mounted on the base and the arm pressed the panel support.

The panel should protrude from the panel-support-as little as possible, the out of balance load on the servos to a minimum. In the ideal case, the pivot point is to the center of gravity of the panel and the panel support, so that the servo has the same load regardless of the direction of the panel, although this is not always practically possible.
Two servos can be used, for heavier plates, one on each side of the plate. The geometry must be identical, and the servos must be of the same type/model. You can then duplicate the servo code in the software, so that both servos the same reference position, and roll to press together the control panel.
For very heavy panels or solar arrays, the servos replaced the stronger stepper motors need to be. The stepper motors have to be driven by a driver board such as this.
Please let me know if you done this project or something similar. I am always looking for faster and easier ways to do things. You can leave a review in the comments under this link, some of your ideas on our page.

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