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Solar Mirror

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Rodneyq

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Hello, I am part of a project team working on a self-oriented solar mirror. As none of us are electronic engineers I am looking for some advice on selecting motors for the device. I will attach some images of the prototype in order for you to visualise it. A cardboard scale model, a structural diagram and an initial circuit diagram. The prototype will be made from lightweight materials - PVC and wood. The mirror will be lightweight also as it will be adhesive mylar and not glass. It is only a proof of concept we are creating. I am looking for advice on how to select the motor not necessarily suggestions of motors. I am interested in whether to use a DC motors with an encoder, stepper motors or servo motors. Torque and voltage requirements also. The mirror operates on 2 axis and 2 motors are required.

Thanks in advance. Any information I have left out just ask.
 

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Tony Stewart

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Probably worm gear DC motors with servo feedback and battery backup to avoid catastrophic focal error meltdown in case of grid failure. Must withstand 100 yr+ window storms.
 

Externet

Active Member
A solar tracking mirror seems more a heliostat project than a a solar panel project.
What is the intention ? Illumination ? Heat ? Power generation ? Concentration ?

The choice of flexible plexiglas/polycarbonate mirrors may be a bit better than adhered mylar.

The best way to implement tracking is avoiding the need for tracking, or making it minimal.
If the intention is illumination or warming, consider the too often ignored "other kind" of heliostat :

----> http://www.cleardomesolar.com/solareflexpanels.html

Those convex bendable mirrors in 4 feet x 8 feet ; or aluminized plastic, or plain polished mirror-like aluminium sheets ; or thin stainless sheets should be capable of a LOT of sunlight harnessing towards the intended target, plus much more sturdy against the elements. Oh!... lightweight heliostats do not survive wind. Murphy's laws clearly states that "any lightweight heliostat prototype will encounter wind the day of the test" making your efforts frustratingly miserable as you will be trying to hold a sail in position...

If the plan is tracking with servos for flat mirrors, there is hundreds of articles and tutorials on the net. Sorry if this sounds like popping your balloon, but you must be aware of proper alternatives.

---->
 

MikeMl

Well-Known Member
Most Helpful Member
Looks like you are just going to point the mirror open-loop based on time of day and some model of earth' s orbit around the sun. Why so complicated?
Solar trackers are a dime a dozen, including right here... (see post #9).
 

Rodneyq

New Member
Yes, I should have stated that it is a heliostat - it will reflect light onto a desired area. The purpose is not the main focus at this moment. It is a sensorless design which uses data about the Sun's position in the sky. Thank you for all your input.
 

Externet

Active Member
A heliostat I made with tracking governed by a commonly available radioed 'atomic' clock, keeps alignment even at cloudy times. No sunlight/shade position sensors were used. Every minute (of time) steps a half a minute (of angle) by correct gearing, powered by Li-ion kept charged by tiny solar panels. The stepper motors used were canibalized from defunct printers :

----> http://s588.photobucket.com/user/Innernet/library/?sort=3&page=6

Good luck !
 
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