I have been using solar ovens for a number of years. I love to cook food with the Sun's energy, and, more often than not, the food tastes really good. I decided to do this project because I want to use the oven more than just on weekends, when I'm around to tend it. I know that people who do solar cooking sometimes put food in in the morning and come home after work to a cooked meal. I have done that myself. However, it is really hard to have control of the cooking duration and final outcome if you just leave the oven sitting by itself.
This instructable describes how to build a rotating platform that is controlled by an Arduino microcontroller. It follows the Sun until the food has cooked for a
predetermined amount of time and then it will turn the oven away from the Sun. I've only had a few opportunities to use it, because our rainy season just started, but I am
very pleased with the results and I can't wait for more opportunities to use it. After spending so much time on a project, it's very gratifying to know that it will actually be
Note: These instructions assume that you are using a box cooker. If you are going to use some other type of solar cooker, you will have to make some modifications.
Note: If you live in the tropics, the Sun may be so high that there is no way to completely turn the oven away to stop cooking. In that case, I think the best solution is to
make a mechanism that closes the reflector over the top of the oven.
The system consists of
- a circular platform on a lazy susan bearing
- a geared motor that turns the platform and a circuit that drives the motor
- an optical sensor that the microcontroller uses to determine if the oven is facing the Sun
- a temperature sensor that is stuck into the food being cooked
- the Arduino and a bunch of electronic components
- the Arduino program that I wrote