Step 2: Making the base, and mounting the wheels

To make a nice, sturdy base I cut the 2x4's at angles and put them together to make two triangles. You can make them whatever size you need, depending on the size of your panels. I then tied them together with a couple of 2x4's at the base, and a couple up top. This made a nice, sturdy base to mount the wheels to.

I cut a couple of small pieces of angle iron with a hacksaw, found the mid point on the cross members, and attached them exterior woodscrews. I put the wheels through the holes, and spun them with satisfaction.

Here is a picture of the top wheel being mounted.
<p>Hello ,</p><p>This is really awesome </p><p>but if we don't have LED sensor tracker </p><p>Can we replace it ?with what ? </p><p>Thanks ! </p>
<p>Why pay a huge amount like $1000's for utilization of solar or wind power when you can have the opportunity to build your own home made solar system for less than $200. You can Learn more on http://inplix.com</p>
I want to add this tracker to my solar array over the next month or two. It seems the largest consideration is going to be which linear actuator to use. <br><br>Obviously if you can find a free or cheap one from someone who is junking an old satellite dish that would be great. <br><br>But if left to buy one, other than the stroke and finding one of the appropriate voltage, how much force should one be able to exert on say, 2 45W panels and still be able to operate in blowing winds? It seems like you would want to minimize this in order to draw the lowest amount of current from your battery bank so that you gain the maximum power from your tracker and invest as little power as possible into driving the thing. Thoughts?
<p>trackers will make you solar array work better.</p><p>sales5@vigordigital.com</p>
Should two Linear Actuators be used for a larger array? Say Four Panels?<br>Thanks folks.<br>
<p>yes, it should be</p>
Hi hdb111; <br> <br>I think I understand what your asking: <br>Can one drive multiple independent linear actuators from a single tracker. <br> <br>The simple answer is no. Due to friction and different weight balance they tend to get out of sync. <br> <br>A better, and cheaper, method is to link multiple bicycle rims together with a cable. A single actuator moving the cable can drive quite a few panels. <br> <br>Note! These multiple panels should be separated so there is minimal shadowing. <br>I have a Excel spreadsheet that deals with shadowing issues. See: <br>http://www.redrok.com/led3xassm.htm#shadowing <br>http://redrok.com/Shadowing1.xls <br> <br>Duane <br>Red Rock Energy <br>redrok.com/led3xassm.htm
<p>We have produced wifi and tilt inclinometer for 15 years in Shanghai, China.</p> <br><p>These inclinometers are used on solar tracking system such as single-axis, dual-axis, 0~360&deg; range. There are more specifications in my computer. Once you are interested, I will send them to you.</p><p>Many solar tracking companies, such as Juwi Solar, Scatec Solar, have chosen us as a long-term supplier.</p><p>For example, Scatec Solar has built two PV plants in South Africa.</p><p>One is in Dreuenberg, which used 535 sets of our inclinometers. The other is in Linde, which used 300 sets of our inclinometers.</p><p>Our cost and quality are very competitive.</p><p>If you are interested, please let me know. Thanks</p><p>sales5@vigordigital.com</p>
<p>Great work ....Solar energy is becoming best solution for Energy Crisis in the world.</p><p>http://www.uenergysolar.co.uk/</p>
<p>I was looking into solar trackers when I found your project. Very nicely done ! I would also like to point to something I have found on youtube =&gt; https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ljTJqQYSJ8g</p>
<p>Sometimes simple is better. thanks for the link.</p>
u r brilaint
I love the idea of solar or wind energy but dont know too much about them. How much power does this give and how can it be used inside?
cool and nice many thanks for the helping people.
cool and nice many thanks for the helping people.
Hi Team, <br>Here is Wunderbar 12, <br>Just an update on my Bike tracker Project. <br>After building 2 and got them working by hand, I was a happy person, sending a photo to my friend a German Tool Maker, he warned NOT to build my trackers like this, as the roof is not a good environment, and he believes I must redesign the lot to do without the Bike wheels. He said you have 30 years warranty on this solar panels, and the wheels will fall apart after 3 years, when I am also 3 years older! <br>We started on the redesign, so far so good, when I have a array going, I am happy to post a few photos. <br>Yes it is NOT easy to build something low priced but high Chocolaty, <br>Have a good KW day! (KW stands for Kilo Watt)
Hi bwiter, <br>Thank you very much for your WUNDEREBAR Idea. I love it so much! <br>I have just copied your tracker, I used my existing Alu frame. I am waiting for some panels to complete my test unit. Then I will give you some Photos. <br>I will build 108 trackers, as I have 9 arrays of 12 panels on my very large roof all up 30KW. My production is down to 100KW average per day. I need to get 150+KW to repay my $80,000 loan. <br>I adjust the angel every month, but I find I need to track East - West the panels for more production. <br>We got winter here in Brisbane and it is nice to work on the roof now. Can anyone help me: I will put the panels 250mm apart and join the trackers with a rod to have 12 trackers working of one linear actuator, with this nice freely movement of the bike wheel, I am sure I will get it working, the shade problem is my worry, right now in winter I find 250mm a bit to small, but I need to save some room, would 500mm be better? <br>Any comment would be welcome. <br>Thank you again, you Gays are helping me a lot with all your input. <br>E-mail: Solar_Lover@bigpond.com
ALL electronics has a linear actuator for 36$ but its also 36volts,&nbsp; Do you think you could string 3 panels together to power the actuator. Will the redrock run on 36vs?<br />
These types of actuators use permanent magnetic DC motors. Just run the 36V, or 24V, actuator on 12V. They will move slower, a good thing, with little loss in force.<br><br>Duane<br>Red Rock Energy<br>redrok.com/led3xassm.htm
Will the 12v be enough to trip the relays though?
Hi wmiles: <br>There are no relays in linear actuators. <br>Just the motor and asociated limit switches. <br>Duane <br>Red Rock Energy <br>redrok.com/led3xassm.htm
On the redrok site, the pictures show the LED tracking sensors attached to the moving reflectors. Your picture shows the sensor attached to the fixed frame. Does your arrangement track OK?
Anyone know how to contact Duane from Redrock? I really want one of his tracka's but have had no correspondence as yet<br><br>cheers
Great project but honestly it could be so much more better looking. Please may I suggest that you find a hippy, artist friend to carve some awesome nature scenes into the wood, faries, suns, moons, stars. etc, then stain it, and you're ready for the solar festivals.
I'm new to the electronic field and sometimes it seems intimidating to me. About the Led tracker, do I need to know how it works in order to use it? I would like to know how it works. Can you explain a little on it. Thanks
&quot;Bicycle wheels, working tirelessly (no pun intended)&quot;<br><br>No pun intended? Really? Because it sure looks to me like you absolutely intended to make that pun.
It was still funny.
Very nice and some good info,i like free info! <br>I will keep this page may add to my free diy solar panel E-Book <br> <br>https://sites.google.com/site/earthforsolar <br> <br>I am trying to get together as much free info as i can on diy solar <br>you Did a nice Job on this !! <br>thanks, <br>David <br>at www.solarcells101.com
Very helpful, thanks for sharing!
Thanks for sharing the photos are good
A nice simple and effective design. Thank you for sharing it. Isn't it funny how the minute you share your project with the public, we instantly began re-analyzing and re-designing it to death and flooding you with a million ways you could have done it better? Oh well, that's just human nature I guess. You did a great job!
You know you could have said that a better way LOL 9-)
Yeah, I know...I had that one coming didn't I? lol
Thanks for making this. It is truly instructable. <br>I have a question about the movement. <br>How many degrees do the panels move each day? <br>
great project
red rock just keeps your money
Great work.. Now I just got to get a solar panel to put on it hehe Thxz for the post.
I really like the design where you bolted boards to bicycle wheels -- it's an elegant, strong solution that uses (as you mention) free resources. Even bent rims would work fine.<br> <br> I'll have to give this some thought ... I'm working on a design for an &quot;external <a href="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trombe_wall">Trombe wall</a>&quot; which I can attach to an existing window for the venting.&nbsp; Of course, making it insulated, situated off an existing wall, and now pivoting, I'm getting away from the simplicity of Trombe's design.<br>
Not to denigrate the work you did, but do you really need the photo sensor?&nbsp;The position of the sun can be calculated for any time of day, any day of the year. Why not just program an EPROM&nbsp;to store a lookup table for the correct angle, hour by hour, day by day (about 4,000 data values for the daylight hours of a single year), and use it with a simple microcontroller to adjust the angle incrementally? A bit more complicated at setup, but probably about the same total price, more accurate, and likely more reliable.<br />
Uh... How about because his approach is considerably easier and cheaper? And didn't you read about the brightest part in the sky not necessarily being where the sun is?
Sure, there are many ways to do it without using any sensors, this is just how I chose to take a crack at it. The reason I went with the sensor over the EPROM is that I know how to hook up the sensor, but have no idea what an EPROM is.<br />
Is there and equation to calculate the inclination i need to set the panel to for any given place on the world? Or is a matter of guessing towards&nbsp;optimization?
If your panel has a fixed inclination (as the one in this Instructable does), you usually want the angle to be the same as the latitude of the panel's location.&nbsp; A location's latitude is very close to the mean sun height over a year.<br />
That's DEClination and you need to set the normal to the axis to the COlatitude (90-latitude).<br />
Some also call this Zenith Angle
There seems to be enough confusion without adding yet another layman's term. Why not just stick with standard astronimical terms?<br><br>http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Declination
You're arguing over semantics.&nbsp; Inclination and declination are complimentary, as are latitude and colatitude (the equation you give for colatitude <em>is</em> the equation of a complimentary angle).&nbsp; To say the inclination and the latitude are equal is the same as saying the declination and colatitude are equal; the former is just easier for most people to understand because they already know what latitude means and how it relates to their geographic location.&nbsp; <br /> <br /> Also, the original question asked about the inclination of the PV panel, not mean annual solar declination, so I gave my answer in terms of inclination.&nbsp; Declination is primarily a astronomical term, and though using it here would give you the same results, it's not technically the correct nomenclature, as we are not directly discussing the sun.
The word is complEmentary and I'm not arguing about anything. You seem to be doing that for both of us. ;-) And yes, declination IS an astronomical term and it is highly relevant to the discussion since ignoring the solar declination will definitely reduce the overall energy efficiency. If we're not &quot;directly discussing the sun&quot;, then what are we discussing? And no, the declination is not the same thing as the &quot;inclination&quot;, as you put it, or the latitude, at all. Declination is the angle that the sun makes relative to the earth's equatorial plane and it varies between +/- 23.5 degrees. At either extreme, only about 90% of the light energy is reaching the cells if you don't compensate. The astronomical term &quot;inclination&quot; refers to something entirely different from the latitude:<br /> <br /> http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Inclination<br /> <br /> If by &quot;inclination&quot; you mean the angle that the axis of rotation of the mount makes with the horizontal plane then OK. You need to align the axis in your local meridional plane, that's the plane that cuts through a north-south line at your location, and tilt the axis toward the sun so it is at an angle equal to your latitude. Then you need to add the declination angle throughout the year for maximum efficiency. You can easily calculate the angles or find a table and make a simple scale that allows you to quickly change the angle for any given week.<br /> <br /> To put it simply, for your sake, make the angle of the frame equal to your latitude and align the axis in a north-south direction.<br /> <br /> Before replying, do some homework this time.;-)<br />
Again, that's DEClination, and here's a simple equation to calculate it:<br /> <br /> http://pvcdrom.pveducation.org/SUNLIGHT/DECLIN.HTM<br /> <br /> You then need to add the result, which can be positive or negative, to your COlatitude to get the current angle that the normal to the rotational axis should be at.<br />

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