Solar Tracking

Here it is. I slaved away all new years day to produce a 2 axis solar tracker. (I had a very bad false start on new years eve, I got off work early and attempted to build rotating brackets from caster wheels. Fail. Oh painful fail.)

Click for larger image.

I found a ‘lazy susan’ bracket at a local hardware store that was rated at 500lb’s ! The discovery of the bracket changed my idea completely to a turntable design, its much easier to motorize and to build in a second axis thats manual.

The pole attached to the panel can be used to rotate the panel in one axis manually to configure it to point towards the sun depending on the time of year; in winter the sun is lower in the sky, in summer a bit higher.
The turnrable arrangement which will eventually get motorized, does the main east to west tracking.

I had my first experience using my new jigsaw (bought used for $10; black and decker, IMHO the best… especially for $10 🙂 )

I cut a 8 & 3/4″ x 3/4″ round drive disk (courtesy of just the right sized breakfast plate to trace) which sits between the bracket and the top plate, I figure I will use a belt drive on the motor.

All the wood used was scrap, mixed types, thicknesses and shapes. The next step will probably be sealing or painting, its going to be in direct sun quite a bit, it needs protection.


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