DIY Miniature Solar Tracker

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About: Awesome Electronics Tutorials, Projects and How To´s

In this project I will show you how to create a solar tracker which like the name implies can follow the movement of the sun throughout the day. And at the end I will show you the energy harvest difference between a solar tracker mounted solar panel and a flat mounted solar panel. Let's get started!

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Step 1: Watch the Video!

The video gives you all mandatory information about the solar tracker. During the next steps though I will give you some additional information.

Step 2: Order Your Components!

Here you can find a parts list with example seller:

Amazon.com:

1x Arduino Nano: https://amzn.to/2MCkpI2

2x SG90 Servo: https://amzn.to/2lJDT24

4x Photoresistor: https://amzn.to/2tHYY1a

4x 1kohm Resistor: https://amzn.to/2KjGBds

Ebay:

1x Arduino Nano: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?...

2x SG90 Servo: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?...

4x Photoresistor: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?...

4x 1kohm Resistor: http://rover.ebay.com/rover/1/711-53200-19255-0/1?...

Amazon.de:

1x Arduino Nano: https://amzn.to/2KDRt5r

2x SG90 Servo: https://amzn.to/2lHKJoG

4x Photoresistor: https://amzn.to/2Kz7Gpb

4x 1kohm Resistor: https://amzn.to/2lIp1kD

Step 3: 3D Print the Solar Tracker Parts!

Here you can find the utilized model on thingiverse: https://www.thingiverse.com/thing:708819

And here you can also download the remaining part that I created by myself.

Step 4: Create the Circuit and Upload the Code!

Here you can find the schematic and code for the project. Feel free to use it to create your own solar tracker.

Step 5: Success!

You did it! You just created your own Solar Tracker!

Feel free to check out my YouTube channel for more awesome projects:

http://www.youtube.com/user/greatscottlab

You can also follow me on Facebook, Twitter and Google+ for news about upcoming projects and behind the scenes information:

https://twitter.com/GreatScottLab

https://www.facebook.com/greatscottlab

2 People Made This Project!

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49 Discussions

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LauraCM03

14 days ago

Hello, I want to create a MTTP solar tracker, how did you manage to extract power generation data? Why did you use an ads module?
thanks

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niklasbrenner239

Question 5 weeks ago

How much Amp's should my power supply have to power this project?

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NIKOSGR

6 months ago

Hello im constructing this solar tracking system for a project. Would anybody be interested in explaining the code to me? I am new to coding and i would love to understand what the code does. Thanks alot.

1 reply
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randal42NIKOSGR

Reply 3 months ago

Hi NIKOSGR, I've just started reading the code and discovered the language reference here: https://www.arduino.cc/reference/en/
Also, GreatScott is using timer interrupts to send output to the servo motors instead of using the Servo object. (I'm a complete newby at interrupt programming.) That allows for more precise control over the motors than using degrees of a circle.
Basically, the code reads the values from the four analog photoresistor inputs (A0 - A3) then uses a series of if statements to compare the values and change the servo positions if needed.
I'd love to hear from someone who can explain timer/interrupts, or point to a really good tutorial about them.

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AdamW265

Question 4 months ago

Hi. insted of using 50-100kohm photoresistors i used 10-20kohm. What lines in the code should i change to make it work?

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oidjw

Question 6 months ago


Hi
1.Do you need to install a library for the timer one on the arduino
2. Will this code work on an arduino uno.
and the schematic given is different from that in the video 5.17

thankyou

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nikitaweka

1 year ago

This is the type of instructible I avoid. Its like saying 1 bye a ford engine, 2 buy a ford body work, 3 buy ford wheels. Put them together and you have a Ford car. It`s crapsmanship and must be avoided.

3 replies
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offtherails2010nikitaweka

Reply 7 months ago

EXACTLY As mkphillips and BrownDogGadgets have advised, totally agree with them.

If all youre going to do is sit around here and criticize other people's projects, then your in the wrong website..

You should be in the;

"how many negative people does it take to change a light bulb ???
A= NONE because they'll all sit in the DARK and COMPLAIN !!!"

ROOM........................................................................................

We DARE You to do better...

But judging by your profile not having made a single thing to publish, it doesnt look like youre up to the task, so if you aint got anything nice to say, do as youre suggested by instructables and;

"We have a be nice policy.
Please be positive and constructive."

So, to be CONSTRUCTIVE, my mother brought me up teaching me that if you didnt have anything nice to say, then you should keep your thoughts to yourself and remain quiet...

Or you just dont belong here...

GreatScott has a MASSIVE FOLLOWING, HUGE YOUTUBE Channel with LOADS of video's showing how he gets things working and is an inspiration to many of us.. So unless you can do better i suggest you do as my mother instructed, i was brought-up, not "dragged up"

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BrownDogGadgetsnikitaweka

Reply 1 year ago

Wait... what? Your comment doesn't make a lot of sense. Yes, he's using standard off the shelf parts... but no one is going to build all these electronics parts from scratch (like who seriously builds their own servos?!?!). This is a solid project and a solid write up.

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Seacully

Question 7 months ago on Step 4

Will you please post the schematic file as well? I want to create a circuit board in Eagle. Thanks!

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Aljawasi

7 months ago on Step 4

Salaam alikom, I can't download the code

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munna1982

Question 8 months ago

hi there..does anyone has the image of the back part of the circuit which works.. it seem Great Scott forgot to upload that image as per his power logger video he did previously..

need help as mine, i could have wrongly sloder it..

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DaleW62

1 year ago

I am definnally a NEWBIE to the whole electronics ideas - it's looks like it would be handy but you don't explain how & where & what the back of you board looks like with your wiring & motors. Also You seem to have forgotten to tell WHAT THAT BIG ORANGE thing is on the front of the solar panel & why do you cover up a 3rd of the panels with it? Wouldn't the extra panels proved extra power to the servos for motion & not take a loss in the panels production? Ok I see that there isn't any panels covered by the Big orange thing but it still looks like lost space

1 reply
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offtherails2010DaleW62

Reply 9 months ago

That big orange thing with the cross-segment on the solar panel is a divider that separates each of the 4 Photoresistor's so that each one can track only a portion or a quadrant, having all 4 gives the perfect tracking ;-

https://i.stack.imgur.com/qjBiV.jpg

Quote;
"A voltage divider is thus formed at the junction between photo
resistor and another resistor; the output is taken at the junction point to pass the
measured voltage as input to microcontroller."

SOURCE:
https://www.ripublication.com/irph/ijeee_spl/ijeeev7n6_04.pdf

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alecmaster

Question 1 year ago

It seems that the code he provided does not work, has it been changed since he uploaded this instruction?

1 answer
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JaidA1alecmaster

Answer 9 months ago

check if u used arduino uno instead of nano

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efoster6

9 months ago

Great instructable. I saw one recently on youtube using 4 small solar panels and 4 small dc motors I think it works on the same principal

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DavyR1

Question 1 year ago on Step 3

How much of the extra energy achieved is used up by the extra circuitry of the servos etc? I suppose it would be more efficient the higher the rating of the panels!