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How to Design A Solar Tracker?


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Hi, I am new to this forum. :) I need help for designing a project which title is, "A control system to keep a solar panel pointing towards the sun". It is basically a sensor & microcontroller based project. I have found a related block diagram on the internet which is shown below. The processor is a microcontroller. What is the X and Y position sensor used for? Is it use to move the solar panel vertically and horizontally? For the motor portion, what type of motor should I used? ???

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I am just a beginner on the subject but it seems you want to rotate the solar panel to get the greatest voltage. To rotate the motor in a certain fashion will require microprocessor generated digital pulses. You just send the code. You will need two motors, the vertical and horizontal. You can use a loop to generate a mass output of code that will be required to totally go vertical and totally horizontal. Your stop for the motor will be a trigger. It will continue to turn the motors until the voltage reaches the prescribed level. The circuit is a simple biased latch set to trigger at the prescribed voltage level. This thing is going to drive you crazy because the drawback is that it will continue to turn the motors until the prescribed voltage level is reached. It won't stop at a lower voltage level when the prescribed voltage level is never reached.

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K-Master,
Welcome to the forum. Solar trackers are pretty easy with micros. You just need a couple of light sensitive resistors and a bracket that points straight out that will cause one or the other to be shaded when the they are not both pointed directly at the sun. Then, you code the micro so that the shaded one causes the motor to move a short burst. The program cycles over and over again, so that the motors are always correcting if needed.
The nicer ones will also add code to detect when it is night and when it is a cloudy day. You might need to do some testing for the cloudy day. Night should be easy since there is always some amount of light on an LDR even when it is shaded.

The above information is for a tracker which only moves left to right (East to West). If you want one that moves left, right, and up, down, this is the X and Y axis type. The X axis is the East to West movement and the Y axis is the Up and Down movement. For this, you would need 4 LDRs and something to shade them for the Up and Down position as well.

Hope it helps.

MP

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