Dual axis solar tracker with online energy monitor
This project was one of my final projects I did on my exchange studies in Finland.
For this project I worked together with Fatbardh.
This is a much larger and more advanced version of one of my first projects ever.
Also a solar tracker: http://www.instructables.com/id/Arduino-Solar-Tracker/ .
The features of this solar tracker are:
- Solar tracking: making sure the solar panels are aligned to the sun as long as possible.
- Energy monitor: This measures the voltage and the current generated by the panels and calculates the generated Power and Energy.
- Data logging: this sends the data from the energy monitor into the cloud of ThingSpeak.
- Also there is an LCD to display the values of the energy monitor
In this instructable are technical drawings of the project included. And at step 10 there is a link to the complete project report and presentation.
To read more about the energy profit from this kind of system please read this chapter on wikipedia.
This is also my entry for the 3D printing contest:
I would love to have a 3D printer. It will help me a lot to do other projects. To make gears and enclosures. So if you found this Instructable interesting please vote for my Instructable in the 3D printing contest.
My excuses for my spelling mistakes, you may always let me know if you see some.
Step 1: Overview
We used 2 solar panels of each 12V 150W which will bring the total to 300W.
The energy monitor uses 2 current sensors, to measure the current.
And one voltage divider to get the voltage down to a voltage that the Arduino its analog-digital-converter or ADC can handle.
If you don’t want to make it your self you can buy one as well: ebay link
Light direction sensor:
Light direction is detected by four Light dependent resistors or LDRs. Each of the LDRs is placed in a voltage divider and the signal is fed to the Arduino its ADC.
The end stop Switch
The end stop makes sure the mechanical construction doesn’t collide in its self.
The motors are 12V linear actuators from internet.
And are controlled with a very simple H-bridge.
The ESP8266 is a cheap WIFI module which we use to send the data to a ThingSpeak datastream
The display is used to display the energy monitor values
The microcontroller we used was an Arduino ATMEGA 2560
For the charger you should search for a MPPT (max power point tracking) chager. And for sure not buy the one in the picture because this one overcharged our batteries and is not MPPT.
For more detail: Dual axis solar tracker with online energy monitor