Instructables
Picture of Programmable Smart Solar Oven

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
useful.

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

 
Remove these adsRemove these ads by Signing Up
MichaelT91 month ago

I am trying to design myself a small (around 30 inch cubed) greenhouse that can rotate with the winter sun capturing and storing heat to offset freezing nighttime temperatures. I want to be able to extend my growing season. Your oven is very much how I want my greenhouse to work except I want the design to be geared towards not only using the sun during the day but also using stones or water to hold heat after the sun sets.

dlginstructables (author)  MichaelT927 days ago

An interesting idea. Just off the top of my head these are my thoughts: The small size of 30cm cube is going to make it difficult to keep warm all night because of the high surface-to-volume ratio. Also, the small size of your collecting area (30 x 30 cm) is only going to collect at most 15 watts of heat for, say, 6 hours of daylight. I'm not sure, but I think you're going to have to have a larger collecting area, such as a separate hot water panel, which heats up water that you can then use to keep the box warm at night. I'm happy to help you brainstorm some more about this.

vineets1 year ago
Great idea..I wonder how this could be modified with Parabolic solar cookers. Most parabolics claim to cook within the 45 minute window, so a tracking mechanism could be the icing on the cake. I'm not good at woodworking so I'm probably going to try this with a ready made parabolic.
solar panel3 years ago
(removed by author or community request)
dlginstructables (author)  solar panel3 years ago
Thank you for your comment. Do you work for pvsolarchina? My general impression on a programmable solar oven is that there would not be much of a market for them. What do you think?
this is great. Very intelligent with the Arduino board, once i have enough resources ill start buiding:)
mansor3 years ago
How to get Arduino cip outside US.and how much cost.
dlginstructables (author)  mansor3 years ago
The Arduino was developed in Italy, so it must be available in many countries. The price is around $25. I would look online for a store that will deliver to your country? What country do you live in?
mjawed4 years ago
Good work Bro!
BTW, solar cells could also be mount on the same sun tracking fixture to recharge the main battery for tracking motor power supply, which will makes it stand alone solar cooker.
And add a buzzer to alert you when the cooking is done.

Nice idea....:)
Thanks for sharing!


dlginstructables (author)  mjawed4 years ago
Thanks for your comments! I like both ideas. I have thought about having a solar panel connected to a huge capacitor instead of a battery, but I don't think I could get one big enough to run the motor for the 7-8 seconds needed to turn the oven out of the Sun.