Hello everybody. I'm still quite new at this, so bear with me, please.
I have only very recently been introduced to Arduino, and it's a wonderful thing!
I have wanted to implement an idea for a solar tracker for some time, but haven't had the development platform handy to do so with conventional MCU's so discovering the Arduino has been a complete bonus.
Co-incidentally, I've only just discovered this topic when searching around the Playground and Forum in order to work out how to get my finished prototype up on display. Should have come here first ..........
Until I have somewhere public to post my images and code I will just have to e-mail anyone who's interested any or all of the above, until I can get me head around how to get it up here.
In summary, I've used four small solar cells on a backing plate, separated by baffles that provide shadows when the plate is off axis (vertical of horizontal). The shadows are interpreted by the Arduino as differential voltages, which then translate into motor movement. I've used a simple robotic arm kit to get the articulation needed for movement of the panel, and control is achieved with a few IC's and a couple of relays on a breadboard hitched up to the Diecimilia.
What I've built is a model, but easily extensible to the real thing with appropriate interfacing on the output of the Arduino. I have produced circuit diagrams and code, for anyone who wants to have a look.
I'm open to suggestions for improvements, and also any practical help from those of you who have used the Forum and Playground a fair bit, as to how to post my work. At present I do not have a web host for any of this work (it's on my PC at home), so could use some advice about posting content from here.
I can be contacted at the following e-mail address:firstname.lastname@example.org
Have fun, the Arduino way !