1. Welcome to our site! Electro Tech is an online community (with over 170,000 members) who enjoy talking about and building electronic circuits, projects and gadgets. To participate you need to register. Registration is free. Click here to register now.
    Dismiss Notice

Solar Tracker Using 555 timer

Discussion in 'Electronic Projects Design/Ideas/Reviews' started by sle7in, Jan 23, 2010.

  1. sle7in

    sle7in New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 23, 2010
    Messages:
    18
    Likes:
    0
    thanks vizier, just wanna ask before I purchase the component...
     
  2. Vizier87

    Vizier87 Active Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2009
    Messages:
    1,495
    Likes:
    12
    Location:
    Johor Bahru, Malaysia
    You won't understand electronics by completing full-blown design and succeeding in simulations if you're working with components. Buy all basic components, make some mistakes on a breadboard, burn some transistors and you'll learn much more. Story of my life, take it in a good way.
     
  3. Mr RB

    Mr RB Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    4,716
    Likes:
    194
    Location:
    Out there
    Just as a starting point if you want a really simple solar tracker using 2 light dependent resistors here's a scematic.

    This assumes the 2 LDRs are mounted to rotate with the panel (east/west) and have a divider card between them so that one LDR is shadowed if it's not pointing direct at the sun.

    As for turning the panel back to east after it gets dark, that could be done with another LDR and transistor and relay that comes on after it it quite dark.
     

    Attached Files:

  4. dave

    Dave New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 12, 1997
    Messages:
    -
    Likes:
    0


     
  5. Dragon Tamer

    Dragon Tamer Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    848
    Likes:
    5
    Location:
    Landenberg, Pennsylvania USA

    this is a standard stepper motor controller: [​IMG] there are 4 coils inside the motor, right? so it stands to reason that 10/4=2.5 in other words there are 2 outputs on the 4017 that are not used. this will cause the motor to briefly stop rotating until the ic is reset. and in my link you are looking for the image that 3v0 posted, the big one. that is my failed circuit when i tried to achieve a similar goal.

    if you go to radio shack then you can buy limit switches for no more than a dollar. PBNO stands for Push Button Normally Open, an open circuit has no current flowing. A Push Button Normally Closed has a closed contact and therefore a completed circuit.
     
  6. BrownOut

    BrownOut Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2009
    Messages:
    4,630
    Likes:
    60
    Location:
    Huntsville, Alabama USA
    What the heck are you talking about? All outptuts of the 74194 are being used. There is no 4017 in the diagram you posted! Please do your homework before posting. If you honestly don't know how something works, then ask.

    What does your failure have to do with what can be achieved? Many others have succeeded where you have failed. I've used steppers since the 70's, and I've never had any of the issues you are trying to convince me exists.
     
    Last edited: Jan 27, 2010
  7. pvd

    pvd New Member

    Joined:
    Jan 21, 2010
    Messages:
    33
    Likes:
    0
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2010
  8. Dragon Tamer

    Dragon Tamer Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    848
    Likes:
    5
    Location:
    Landenberg, Pennsylvania USA
    to start you don't need to get nasty about it (although i did get your point so congrats). the diagram i posted was an example, the entire shematic was not needed, that's my bad i shoul have been more specific. what my 'failure' is suposed to be is a point; you don't need to make something that's complicated, if you can get away with a simple solution. incase you missed it, this thread was posted by someone who does not have a great deal of technical knoledge (if i'm wrong correct me). to demonstrate what i was saying earlier, get a 555 timer, a 4017, a stepper motor, and some transistors and try to make it run smoothly (unless it has 2 coils, then your cheating). ... wait they had steppers in the 70's?!?!
     
  9. BrownOut

    BrownOut Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2009
    Messages:
    4,630
    Likes:
    60
    Location:
    Huntsville, Alabama USA
    I'm getting tired of watching you posting the same false and erroneous information over and over. A noobs job is to keep his eyes and ears open and try to learn from those who have gone before, not to try to defend something that was completely incorrect to begin with. This forum is for people who know what they are talking about. Those who don't should listen to those who do.

    There is nothing complicated or complex about using the stepper solution, your tortured drawing notwithstanding. The O/P is an engineering student, and as such, should be capable of understanding these simple concepts, if you would cease trying to overcomplicate them. In fact, I really don't care which circuit he uses, I only care about getting the information correct, and nothing you've written about the steppers has been correct. Once again, it's not a complicated solution, no matter how much you try to complicate it.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2010
  10. gary350

    gary350 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2005
    Messages:
    1,097
    Likes:
    53
    Location:
    Murfreesboro, TN 37129 USA
    You are making this a lot harder than it needs to be. This is what I did. I put 2 photo cells in the bottom of a flat funnel. It is a home made funnels made from 2 pieces of 1/4" plywood and a couple of 1x2 boards. Sun here is at its lowest point 35 deg in the winter and its highest point 85 deg in the summer. The funnel has to be 85 - 35 = 50 deg wide. Ok so I made my funnel a tiny bit wide about 55 degs by 1.5" thick. A 1x2 board measures 1.5" wide. The funnel does not come to a point it has a flat bottom for the 2 photo cells to set on. The funnel is mounted so the wide part is vertical. When the sun moves over and the light goes into the funnel and hits the 2 photo cells it closes a relay. When the relay closes a motor rotates the unit until it moves out of the sun. When it moves out of the sun it stops and waits. Every time the sun moves the photo sells tell it to move again. All day long it moves. At the end of the day it stops moving and something has to make it return to start. A limit switch will not work because the days get longer until June 21 then they get shorter until Dec 21 then they get longer again. A clock works good tell it to return to start at midnight. You need a limit switch to make it stop when it returns to start. Next morning the sun starts things all over again.
     
  11. colin55

    colin55 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2009
    Messages:
    3,534
    Likes:
    82
    Location:
    Melbourne Australia
    Why did you use 2 photo cells?
     
  12. gary350

    gary350 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Dec 28, 2005
    Messages:
    1,097
    Likes:
    53
    Location:
    Murfreesboro, TN 37129 USA
    To turn on a relay. Not enough power for the photo cells to run a motor. Every time the sun closes the relay the unit moves forward out of the sun. I was using a 120 VAC motor to make 20 solar collectors track the sun. The collectors were making steam to run a steam engine in July and August.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2010
  13. Dragon Tamer

    Dragon Tamer Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    848
    Likes:
    5
    Location:
    Landenberg, Pennsylvania USA
    your design has peaked my interest, if you have any photos please share them with us.
     
  14. Dragon Tamer

    Dragon Tamer Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    848
    Likes:
    5
    Location:
    Landenberg, Pennsylvania USA
    maybe i don't get all of my information about steppers correct, i don't use steppers a lot. i am only speaking from my personal experience with stepper motors, and my personal observations about this thread. if you try to use a circuit like the one i posted the other day, then you have to try to get some kind of light sensor to interface with the circuit. with my circuit you are using a minimum number of parts to drive a simple circuit. granted it's not as accurate as a stepper motor, true, but with solar cells you usually just need to get most of the light to shine on the panel. if that is the case then my circuit will work just fine for this application. it sounds to me that you are trying to discredit my reputation (what little i have), which i do not appreciate at all. i have not done anything to say that you are wrong, i only said that there are simpler solutions out there.
     
  15. BrownOut

    BrownOut Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2009
    Messages:
    4,630
    Likes:
    60
    Location:
    Huntsville, Alabama USA
    How is my saying that the stepper is a good solution trying to discredit your reputation? You don’t need me to discredit you; you have done that to yourself. You choose to challenge me and my opinions, but you had nothing to challenge me with, aside from incorrect misinformation and pigheadedness in sticking to your flawed logic. I don't appreciate a noob thinking he can tell me about the subject I spent nearly 3 decades practicing. From the start, you chose to dispute my post, not the other way around, so wipe your nose and keep your ears open and try to learn something. Really, you remind me of another cocky noob who thought he knew enough to tell senior, experienced people how wrong they were (ericgibbs remembers him well, I'm sure). When someone would tell him how little he knows, he would cry to the moderators and have the member warned/banned. I have to say I don't miss him at all.

    It was you who came on here to tell the other members off, and say they were being "redundant" whatever the heck that's supposed to mean. Then, you told us of how we would all be beat senseless with our own ideas. You're arrogance stunk up the whole thread, so don't cry when an experienced member sets things straight. For now on, how about just write your opinions and leave the personal comments about the other members who are posting out of your posts????

    You primitive circuit isn't really much simpler than a stepper, and doesn’t save many components. I count about 22 parts in the stepper controller, and about 18 parts in your orignial drawing, so you save a whole 4 small components. It may or may not be the better solution, depending on how the whole system is configured, but failure to understand how something works does not mean it's too complex, necessarily. Personally, I'd rather use the transistor switches than clunky relays. If properly done, the stepper doesn't need any timer, clock or other device to reset itself each morning. It can just sense the sun rise and slew back to the East as required. It's simple, performs well and does not stutter, or whatever you think it might do. There is a condition called "stall" but that wouldn't be a concern in a system such as this.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2010
  16. colin55

    colin55 Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Feb 14, 2009
    Messages:
    3,534
    Likes:
    82
    Location:
    Melbourne Australia
    BrownOut Can you make a summary of your best circuit and show it to us again so we conclude this thread with the best circuit available.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2010
    • Like Like x 1
  17. BrownOut

    BrownOut Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2009
    Messages:
    4,630
    Likes:
    60
    Location:
    Huntsville, Alabama USA
    Heh! I don't know what circuit is best; it depends on how the system is constructed, how the sensors are positioned, the scheme to reset the mechanism at the end/beginning of each day, desired performance, and other factors. Bottom line is that there are many designs what will perform satisfactorily. I just don't think any of these designs, including the stepper solution, are very complicated. I think the stepper is cleaver and has some advantages over the simpler designs, and would work very well if designed properly. Maybe I’m attracted to the novelty of the method. On the other hand, some can't seem to get their heads around the theory of operation, so they prefer a simple analog design. There are many effective ways to do it. All will work in a simple array pointer.
     
    Last edited: Jan 28, 2010
  18. Vizier87

    Vizier87 Active Member

    Joined:
    May 12, 2009
    Messages:
    1,495
    Likes:
    12
    Location:
    Johor Bahru, Malaysia
    Sometimes snickers from the less experienced is something to savour, eh Brown? When they come back and plead for help... :) Just take it in a good way, Dragon and let the forum live rather than debating endlessly. Mistakes need to be admitted, and joked about so that we can go on living in grace.
     
  19. Mr RB

    Mr RB Well-Known Member

    Joined:
    Jul 22, 2008
    Messages:
    4,716
    Likes:
    194
    Location:
    Out there
    My ONE transistor circuit is best of course. :D

    I bet nobody even saw it hiding there in post #43.
     
  20. BrownOut

    BrownOut Banned

    Joined:
    Jun 10, 2009
    Messages:
    4,630
    Likes:
    60
    Location:
    Huntsville, Alabama USA
    I saw it. Also noticed the title on the drawing :) But you have to go out every night and point your array back to the East. Um...
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2010
  21. Dragon Tamer

    Dragon Tamer Member

    Joined:
    Oct 8, 2009
    Messages:
    848
    Likes:
    5
    Location:
    Landenberg, Pennsylvania USA
    he does have a point. BrownOut, i'm sorry if i offended you in any way. but just for a second, look at this from my point of veiw. you work with steppers on a daily basis (that's my assumtion anyway) so for you, making a stepper circuit is easy. an engenering student like me, does not know how to do it properly. you're right that steppers should be used in some applications. the circuit(s) that i posted were simple for me to make and they all worked (except the third one, i can't get that one to work). i noticed a recurring problem with my circuits though. where i live the sun rises at about 7 this time of year, the circuit can't see the sun untill about 10. so i have made a sugested circuit that i will post at a later time because i don't have it saved on this computer. can we still be freinds?
     
    Last edited: Jan 29, 2010

Share This Page