arduino dual axis solar tracker

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lGv3K6VzWzM

It's an Arduino project controlling 2 linear actuators with 24v dc motors calculating the position of the sun on the sky using solar geometry http://www.pveducation.org/properties-of-sunlight/motion-of-sun One motor for Elevation and the other for azimuth. Schematics available in video.

And you need some guidance for what? Maybe posting in the correct place - Exhibition/Gallery.

PaulS: And you need some guidance for what? Maybe posting in the correct place - Exhibition/Gallery.

Yes, you are absolutely right, i missed that ... Maybe a mod can move it to correct place for me, pls?

OP, you can use the "report to moderator" control to contact us.

If you feel discouraged due to the comments posted so far ..don't. Some people spend their day doing just that. Fortunately there are not many on this forum

I looked at your video and indeed it looks good. Have you tried it in the sun with the weight of full panels on it yet. I would like to see your code and oerhaps a schematic that is not on a video. Some of us don't have the download capacity for a lot of videos.

While on that do you know how to save a u tube video without jumping through a lot of loops joining stuff? I looked for your email too but that was the same I suppose ..."join all this stuff then we might give it to you"

i am really happy that at least one person is really interested in this project, hi april :wink:

The schematics on video are…

  1. for the pontensiometers to the to axles for measuring the angles of tracker one for elevation 30-90 degrees and another for azimuth 120-240 degrees
    www.kokoras.com/solartracker/Angle_Pontensiometer_SolarTracker_schem_kokoras.jpg
    pontensiometers dont give me very acurate measurment but that was what i had in hand…encoders will do better job i suppose

  2. a switch so i can choose between sun tracking mode and manual mode
    www.kokoras.com/solartracker/Auto-Manual_switch_SolarTracker_schem_kokoras.jpg

  3. four buttons that move the tracker in all diractions when in manual mode, pressing together the UP and East will enter calibration mode
    www.kokoras.com/solartracker/Buttons_SolarTracker_schem_kokoras.jpg
    in calibration mode moves automatically to the limit switches of all directions one by one and measure the value of pontensiometer and stores it to rtc memory.

  4. DS1307 iic RTC and memory, maybe i should use capacitors on the crystal here, cause its loosing time :blush:
    www.kokoras.com/solartracker/DS1307_schem_kokoras.jpg

  5. just a led to idicate that one of limit switches is reached
    www.kokoras.com/solartracker/Limit_Indicator_switch_SolarTracker_schem_kokoras.jpg

  6. four limit switches of the four diractions of tracker, limit switches are mechanically adjustable so u can control the angle widths.
    www.kokoras.com/solartracker/Limit_switches_SolarTracker_schem_kokoras.jpg

  7. two motor control circuits h-bridge with relays, from here http://arduino-info.wikispaces.com/DC-Motors with the effect known as “fly wheel braking”.
    www.kokoras.com/solartracker/Motor%20Controll_SolarTracker_schem_kokoras.jpg

here are 3 different pics of electrincs as the project was procceeding
www.kokoras.com/solartracker/breadboard_solartracker_kokoras_1.jpg
www.kokoras.com/solartracker/breadboard_solartracker_kokoras_2.jpg
www.kokoras.com/solartracker/Breadboard_solartracker_kokoras_3.jpg

No i didnt use real panels cause i dont have one. the mechanical construction is done from an old fence that was removed. i bet it can hold one real panel for sure or maybe two. the piece of wood i put on has about the same weight of a real panel.the linear actuators are from hospital beds so the can support more than 100Kgr each. i suppose a mechanic must design a construction that is correct for the job it will do depenting of how many panels are gone placed on.

here is the arduino code, most of comments are in Greek language, sorry…
www.kokoras.com/solartracker/Arduinnocontrolledsolartracker.htm

here is the VB code
www.kokoras.com/solartracker/Solartracker_VB_code.txt

as for download a video from youtube i use jdownloader, just copy the link from youtube and the rest is easy.

very nice ! I liked it a lot.

Very nice little program running on the PC. Maybe you can add a reading of power being output by the solar panel (when you have one), also light sensor values, etc to the graph.

keep posting. congrats

I just managed to upload all in my site

http://www.kokoras.com/solartracker/en/

I like your project. I wrote a "Solar" program in BASIC about 30 years ago. There is a lot of considerations as you work through this problem. Longitude and latitude of the solar site, the solar day of the year. Azimuth, and position of the sun, etc., etc. 30 years ago, it was positioning panels built of old automobile radiators to supply heat. With the availabilty of small microprocessors like the Arduino, much of the celestial math can be eliminated, and just differentiate between multiple light sensors, and logically move to the brightest as your target. Keep up the good thought process, us old guys are counting on you!

nice project! Have you measured how much energy the tracking costs and how much the extra gain is? And if you would only have one motor?

robtillaart: nice project! Have you measured how much energy the tracking costs and how much the extra gain is? And if you would only have one motor?

I wish I had a copy of my old program.."solar.bas" that was on many old BBS's and more than one Public Domain software CD's. My program calculated the output (in wattage) difference between panel alignment settings. The misaligment of a panel by as little as 5 degrees was significant, especially during the winter months where the solar day is short. Dig around and try to find that program, I had included all source code and permission to copy, etc.

Gus,
First of all very nice project and very neat Arduino and VB sketch. Thanks for sharing:I also just completed the dual axes sun tracking system but i have used no mathematical model. Actually i dont want it too much complication like yours. Here is my circuit with some info.

MOVED

Can some one share me formula evolved in construct Dual axis tracker

AMPS-N: Can some one share me formula evolved in construct Dual axis tracker

Why don't you check out my blog post ?

http://kokoraskostas.blogspot.gr/2013/12/its-solar-tracker-project-with-arduino.html

[quote author=Kostas Kokoras link=topic=129919.msg1536974#msg1536974 date=1389128527]

AMPS-N: Can some one share me formula evolved in construct Dual axis tracker

Why don't you check out my blog post ?

http://kokoraskostas.blogspot.gr/2013/12/its-solar-tracker-project-with-arduino.html [/quote]

I checked your blog post. They are saying formulas envolved are not longer'

Ok, sorry, you are right.

Now its working.

Please check again

http://kokoraskostas.blogspot.com/2013/12/its-solar-tracker-project-with-arduino.html

Well i am not sure if i understood your questions, but i hope i can help you.

You need to calculate the two angles of the sun, azimuth (horizontal) and elevation (vertical). they depend from time (day of the year, time of the day) and the coordinates (longitude, altitude) that you are.

Also you need to measure the angles of the two axes of the tracker (horizontal, vertical). the tracker must face South 180 degrees (for the North Hemisphere).

Every time you calculate new angles, you must turn tracker.

For any further questions please contact me to my email kostas@kokoras.com

thanks for the reply,

SO i consider azimuth angle need to be if tracker will move in horizontal axis, elevation / altitude angle for the vertical axis. any other point need to be considered like Seasonal change ,shadow length during coding while calculations.

DO you know any link which gives information on calculating backtracking algorithms to avoid shadowing,increase efficiency

If i wanna run Nrel code. Which controller is best in arduino. http://www.nrel.gov/midc/spa/

AMPS-N: thanks for the reply,

SO i consider azimuth angle need to be if tracker will move in horizontal axis, elevation / altitude angle for the vertical axis. any other point need to be considered like Seasonal change ,shadow length during coding while calculations.

DO you know any link which gives information on calculating backtracking algorithms to avoid shadowing,increase efficiency

If i wanna run Nrel code. Which controller is best in arduino. http://www.nrel.gov/midc/spa/

I think that when we track sun position based in calculations we don't need to use seasonal correction, cause calculations are based in time and day of the year.

I don't know any backtracking algorithms to avoid shadows. Try to place your trackers where there are no physical shadows, and away from each other.

Nrel code is very accurate, but i dont think its needed for photovoltaic panels solar tracker, since you lose 1% of direct suns power at 8 degrees misalignment.

Keep things simple.