Hi , I have had an idea to create a sun tracker . The idea is to create a sun dial made up of solar cells in the bottom of a box that remains in a fixed position. Holes are drilled into the box so that the sun will shine onto different solar cells as the sun crosses over. Second or 3rd row of holes can be made to accommodate the different seasons. The solar cell that is activated will send a signal to a control device which in turn make adjustments to the solar collector. 2 motors X and Y, ( vertical and horizontal movement ) adjust the dishes to the correct position for collecting maximum solar energy. This idea would be feasable if many dishes were coordinated on a frame using a chain drive to connect multiple dishes to the motors.00:46, February 2, 2013 (UTC)Stephen.duqette (talk)
- Hi, Stephen. I believe that this is how many trackers work. Many do it with a single solar cell that becomes shaded as the sun moves causing a small motor to run and turn the solar device. Thanks for your input. Tom Sponheim (talk)
There's a problem with the device you described. It doesn't have any way to determine in what direction the collector is pointed, and to stop the motors from running when it gets to the right orientation. You could add components to do this, but they would make the device more complicated and expensive.
The way this problem is usually tackled is to have the sensors attached to the collector, rather than being in a fixed position. Usually, four sensors are used, two to control each of the two motors. Pieces of material are used to cast shadows on the sensors. If the collector is aiming too far upward, say, one of the sensors that control the vertical-drive motor is in sunlight, and the other is in shadow. This makes the motor turn the collector, with the sensors and shadow-casters attached to it, downward, until the sensors are both, briefly, in shadow. Then the motor stops. If the collector is aimed too low, the other sensor of the pair is in sunlight, which makes the motor turn the collector etc. upward. Similarly, the other pair of sensors controls the motor that turns the collector horizontally.
Of course, this design requires each collector to have its own set of sensors. That's not much of a problem. Little photocells are cheap.
I'm always happy to hear from people who have inventive ideas. I hope you try building your inventions too.