Introduction: Building an Automatic Solar Tracker With Arduino Nano V2

Hi! This Instructable is meant to be a part two to my Solar Tracker project. For an explanation of how solar trackers work and how I designed my first tracker, use the link below. This will offer context for this project.

The goal of this project was to improve on my old solar tracker, as well as add a couple of bells and whistles to make it more interactive. Some changes in the design are a new circuit board, fully laser cut wood body, and indicator LEDs and a buzzer.

Step 1: Materials and Equipment

Here are the materials used to build the tracker:

  1. Arduino Nano
  2. 5x 220 Ohm Resistors
  3. 3x 10k Ohm Resistors
  4. 3x Light Dependent Resistors
  5. 2x Servos
  6. 4x Blue LEDs
  7. Red LED
  8. Buzzer
  9. Perfboard/Breadboard
  10. Wire

This is the equipment used to build the tracker:

  1. Laser Cutter
  2. Soldering Iron
  3. Heat Gun

Step 2: Laser Cutting the Base Assembly

I have attached the SVG laser cut files below. Make sure the scale is set correctly before cutting.

Step 3: Assemble the Base

After laser cutting the parts, we need to file the edges of the rectangular pieces so they fit together. After that, we can hot glue the entire thing together. Make sure to have the piece with the arrows in the same position as the picture above, and make sure the piece with the wire hole is on the opposite side.

Step 4: Mount Servo, LEDs, and Buzzer

Now its time to mount the base hardware. For the LEDs and buzzer, I soldered wires to each lead and covered the bare sections with shrink wrap. I then labeled each component (to connect to Arduino properly) and glued it into place. Make sure to label each wire, otherwise, it will be difficult to troubleshoot later.

Step 5: Laser Cut Solar Panel Assembly

Step 6: Attach Side Panel Braces

Attach 3 braces to each side of the main panel.

Step 7: Attach Side Panels and Sensor Divider

Make sure to attach the pieces as shown in the images so that sensors can be placed properly.

Step 8: Assemble Solar Panel Arm

Step 9: Mount Servo With Brace to Solar Panel Arm

First, attach the servo brace to the servo. Then hot glue the servo to the arm assembly.

Step 10: Attach Solar Panel Mount to Arm

Step 11: Attach Solar Panel Mount to Base

Step 12: Attach Light Sensors to Panel and Drill Holes

Drill 2 1mm holes for each pin of each light sensor as shown in the image. Mount sensors as shown and solder wires to each lead. Make sure to label each wire.

Step 13: Circuit Schematic

I have attached a circuit schematic as well as a breadboard version.

Step 14: Solder Circuit Board

Following the schematic, build the circuit using a breadboard or solder together a chip using a perfboard.

Step 15: Attach Wires

Now its time to attach the wires. Since all the wires were labeled beforehand, this will be easy.

Step 16: Software

I have attached the Arduino code below. As all sensors are different, you may have to adjust some values to tune your solar tracker.

Step 17: Its Done!

That concludes this tutorial! I have attached a video of the tracker in action below. Please leave a comment and I will try to answer them. Thank you!

Arduino Contest 2019

Participated in the
Arduino Contest 2019