Portable Single-Axis Solar Tracker

Votes: 4
Views: 8873

The portable single-axis solar tracker is designed to track the motion of the sun across the horizon to improve the efficiency of the users solar powered equipment. This device contains many features that are generally found on more expensive solar tracking systems but can easily be implemented at a fraction of the cost.


1. LED sensors - LEDs are connected differentially and configured perpendicular to each other to increase sensitivity. When the intensity of the UV rays is greater on one LED a voltage is produced.

2. Decision Logic - Uses a micro to poll the inputs, control the motors output, provide necessary software hysteresis, and implements the auto park feature.

3. Reverse Inhibit - Implemented in the firmware to ensure that the solar panel keeps moving in a Westerly direction throughout the day.

4. Data Logging - Captures a voltage and current measurement directly from the solar panel once every two minutes. This data can be collected through the course of a day so that it can be imported into Excel or MATLAB for graphical analysis.

5. Auto Park - Enables the solar tracker to reposition the solar module to the East after sunset.

6. Indicator Lights - Two indicator lights positioned on each side of the solar sensor tells the user which LED is receiving more sunlight.

7. Manual Switch - Used to move the solar module manually.

8. Reset Button - When pressed it resets the microprocessor

9. On/Off - Switch to turn device on and off

10. Motor - Modified DiSEqC motor is controlled by the Solar Tracker Sensor and capable of bearing loads up to 32lbs.

11. Bosch Aluminum Frame - Capable of bearing heavy loads and aesthetically pleasing to the eye.

12. Aluminum Tripod - The motor is attached to the mast with U-bolts. Note the design could easily be implemented on more permanent structures.


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  • Name:
    Bryant Baker
  • Type of entry:
  • Hardware used for this entry:
    10 mm Red Lens LEDs, BJT Transistors, Resitors, Light Dependent Resistor, Capacitors, Microcontroller, Relay, uln2803A Relay Driver, Screw Terminals, DPDT swich, SPST switch, NC button, PCB, Project Box
    Software used for this entry:
    PicAxe Programming Editor
  • Patent status: