Author Topic: Robotic solar tracker for panels sitting flat on a carport  (Read 4121 times)

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Offline CuteajaxTopic starter

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Robotic solar tracker for panels sitting flat on a carport
« on: March 07, 2023, 09:25:26 AM »
I need help to design and build a solar tracker mechanism so that my solar panels can track the sun. The panels are coupled to a rack that is lying flat on my car port. There are 6 panels and they are arranged in 3 groups rack of two panels each. The 3 groups should be connected so that they can move at the same angle. I want the tracker to work with two linear actuators on opposite ends of the car port. At sunrise, the linear actuator farther from the sun?s direction tilts up the panels from its end so they can face the sun while the second actuator doesn?t work but acts as a stationary pivot. The tracker electronics actuates the actuator every 15 minutes (time duration should be configurable) to move the panels towards the sun based on input from the light sensors. By midday, when the sun is exactly overhead, the first actuator allows the panels to rest flat on the roof of the car port, then stops working. As the sun moves overhead towards the west, the second actuator takes over the work of tilting the panels while the first actuator only works as a stationary pivot. The tracker electronic control continues to work with the photo sensors at preset time interval to make the panels face the sun using the actuator to tilt it. At sunset, the second actuator rolls itself back to the original position where the panels lie flat on the car port. The whole process is repeated the following day. I need help on the right mechanical mechanism to connect all the components togethers as well as the electronic circuitry that controls everything. I have attached a crude sketch of how the panel stands on the carport.

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Re: Robotic solar tracker for panels sitting flat on a carport
« Reply #1 on: March 17, 2023, 12:40:31 PM »
I'd recommend putting them all on a rotating bar, driven by a single worm gear motor, and low to the ground so wind won't bother it. Use a timer to rotate 1 degree every 3 minutes or so (or whatever, timed with the sun in your area/season). You'll need a microcontroller (with accurate clock), a motor driver, and an MPPT.

I use solar panels for everything, but keep them fixed in place. Didn't want to deal with all the added complexity for only 20% more power. My understanding is the latest panels you can buy can handle the sun at an angle to the panels much better than the older ones out there.