Home Made PV Tracker
This tracker uses an old satellite dish antenna tracking base to provide a mount for PV panels that track the sun across the sky each day. The satellite actuator is driven by the $35 tracker from www.RedRok.com.
The description was posted on the Fieldlines forum in March of 06 by Volvo farmer.
I bought two of these LED trackers
from Duane at Redrok recently. Man, these are a nice pice of electronics to come
out of an independent source. Here's the link if you haven't heard of these.
<http://www.redrok.com/electron.htm#led3x target= blank> Tracker
So I've got this little 2x80W array out at my garage. I always knew I wanted to build a tracker so when I mounted the panels, I did it on an old satellite dish mount that I had welded a couple of bed frame rails on. I did learn that bed frames are hardened steel after I ruined a few drill bits. I finally installed the actuator last week.
Anyway, I went out today with some wire and a pickle jar and actually got this thing wired up and it appeared to be working. The array was significantly east of the sun when I started and this tracker only operates the actuator for a few seconds every minute. By the time I had to leave, it had almost caught up with the sun. I really wanted to wait around and watch it work but was out of time
I screwed the pickle jar lid to a piece of 2x4 and drilled a hole through the lid for the wires to come through. The little electronic circuit was going to be tough to mount in a glass jar so I cut up some blue foam I had laying around and wedged and stuffed until it appeared to be firmly mounted in there. I then screwed the 2x4 to the top of the bed frame.
This tracker will park itself in the east after the sun goes down and Duane recommends using a separate battery for it's power. I had an old phone company AGM laying around so I used it. I have a 5W 12V amorphous panel I will hook to the battery soon to make up for the energy used to track the sun daily.
Old C band satellite dish and
actuator - free
3" steel pole found in neighbors scrap pile - free
Bed frame found in alley - free
Telco AGM battery from buddy at Qwest -free
Assorted scraps of wire -free
Pickle jar -free (Mmmmm, kosher dills)
Redrok LED tracker $35
20% gain on 160w panels, five sun hours/day...160WHR/day.... Priceless!
Volvo Farmer has since moved on to using the same tracker on a larger PV array -- details here on OtherPower.com...
Gary August 21, 2009