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Solar Tracker Help

Discussion in 'Renewable Energy' started by Muad'Dib, Jul 9, 2009.

  1. Muad'Dib

    Muad'Dib New Member

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    Hello,
    I am attempting to create a simple solar tracker using two equal solar panels hooked up to each other, positive lead to negative. The idea being the panel that obtains more light will push it's current across and drive an electric motor in the direction that best orients it with the sun. The problem arises due to the fact the panels are very small and well balanced and cannot create anywhere near the amount of power needed to drive the sort of electric motor I will be needing. Any suggestions for using these panels to control a larger supply of electricity, or somehow amplifying the current output? I have considered using relays/transistors, but am new to electronics and do not fully understand what I need.
    Thanks for any help.
     
  2. Jules_Theone

    Jules_Theone Member

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    If I understand you correctly, you want to connect both panels together +to- and -to+ and which ever panel is in the sun the most will power the motor. Short answer - it won't work. Firstly, if you connect the two panels together like that, they are essentially shorting each other out so you will get nothing from the panels when they are both pointing at the sun (or 180degrees away from the sun). The protection diodes which are in series with the panels will take all the current leaving nothing to power motor. A better idea would be to use a comparator circuit to compare the voltages from each panel and a relay to connect the motor to most powerful panel. To get the required power, use a capacitor or battery to store the power in then discharge to the motor when there's enough.The motor will have short bursts of power applied to it.
     
    Last edited: Jul 10, 2009
  3. Muad'Dib

    Muad'Dib New Member

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    hmm, sounds like I was going about this incorrectly. Although I should have specified that these are individual solar cells, and I do not believe they have protection diodes, although I may be wrong. I did a little research on comparators and it looks like just what I need. I also like the capacitor idea, as that may solve some of my problems with the low power output. Thanks for bearing with my poor explanation and the help!
     
  4. dave

    Dave New Member

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  5. Jules_Theone

    Jules_Theone Member

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    If you don't have protection diodes in series with the cells, they will cook each other. The diode in solar panels stops reverse current destroying the panels at night. I would connect the panels in series to get a higher useful voltage, as long as both panels are pointing in the general direction of the sun it will be ok. Do you know what voltage you have available for each cell? I've seen comparators which go as low as 2.5 - 3.0v. Also I didn't ask how powerful the motor you were planning to use is and how large the array you wanted to move?
     
  6. Muad'Dib

    Muad'Dib New Member

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    I was under the impression that the diodes were in place so that that batteries being charged by panels don't drain at night or when in the shade, I wasn't aware that the panels would actually be able to do damage to each other. If I understand what you're saying, I should hook the panels up so that they may achieve the necessary power to drive the motor. My real intention with the panels was to use them as a sensor for the sun, or were you talking about hooking up the two panels in series to the comparator?
    YouTube - Simple DIY Solar Tracker
    This is very similar to what I am trying to achieve, except I hope to do so on a larger scale through somehow allowing the panels to open or close a larger supply of electricity. I believe the cells can output approximately 3v-4v each. I'm not entirely sure how large a motor I will be using, but I think that it will be well beyond the output of just a few of these panels.
    Thanks again
     
  7. mbarazeen

    mbarazeen Member

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    may be im late to read this thread and reply, but if your idea is to use this to control power to a large circuit then the intensity of the light available would be enough, you can use a omni directional LDR for this with some electronics.
    if you ned to move a solar panel always facing the sun, use two sensors of LDR togethr with some opamp to control a motor to move your panel, then the panel can give you maximum power.

    as some one sugested, when you drive the motor, the voltage drop will disturbed your comparator input and it will start to oscilate.

    razeen
     
  8. Bharath R

    Bharath R New Member

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    HI,I am gonna do the project on solar tracking system using RTC(Real time clock)&stepper motor... I need the circuit diagram for this.... can u pls help me? wanna do simulation also!
     
  9. mbarazeen

    mbarazeen Member

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    why do you need RTC? there are many ways to make it, with simple CCT or even with processors etc. you have to post hwat you have worked out so far on it or how you want this to work for you.
     
  10. ezelis

    ezelis New Member

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    There is one more way to achieve solar tracking. Use 4 LED's and LM339 comparator, than you'l be able to use those solar cells to generate power, instead of using them as sensors. I've built one my self and it works great, if you build one, don't get confused that the motor runs one direction when it's both sensors are pointed at sun, it's oscilating, so u need to change the value of R2, it's simple, because it is potentiometer. P.S. Sorry for mistakes at reply, I'm not using english daily. Edgars
     
  11. cr0sh

    cr0sh Member

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    I've seen a solar tracker before that used no electronic components at all; worked by the heat of the sun...
     
  12. Fan9

    Fan9 New Member

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    Vertical Axis Solar Tracker Help

    Hi, i need urgent help and reply.

    I have a NE 555 timer , L297, L298 and stepper motor

    i wan to combine them together to build a solar tracker just 1 axis (Vertical up and down direction.)

    Problem is i dont know how to combine them together.
    I trying look at the data sheet on the web and combine l297 and l298 (without the diodes) and clock to ne555 timer (monostable) but the stepper motor cannot move! checked my NE 555 with LED is working. If got sch to show mi connection will be good or advice please!
     
  13. mbarazeen

    mbarazeen Member

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    As i understand what you have, can only help you to drive the stepper motor, further you will have to use some LDR and OPAMP to run the motor in both directions depends on the light intensity of two LDR on the axis.
     
    Last edited: Dec 22, 2012
  14. 4pyros

    4pyros Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    Did anyone notice this thread was over two years old before being revived by a nowb.
     
  15. Fan9

    Fan9 New Member

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    The problem is I cannot even drive the stepper motor!
     
  16. 4pyros

    4pyros Well-Known Member Most Helpful Member

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    Start your own thread and we will help
     
  17. Fan9

    Fan9 New Member

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