Connect with us

Who built the Sun Tracker?

Discussion in 'General Electronics Discussion' started by conntaxman, Aug 24, 2011.

Scroll to continue with content
  1. conntaxman

    conntaxman

    89
    0
    Jun 17, 2011
    Im trying to build the sun tracker cir, and I have put it together about 4 times and still getting the same results. the motor keeps on running. I guess the cir . makes the motor only run toward the west untill it see's dark. BUT, i would say that it should STOP when the two photo cells balance out, or it would be going Round,Round,Round . ha ha ha .
    I would like to know how many people built this and got it working. Would be nice to see them post here, and see what they did, to get it working. here is the link.
    http://phoenixnavigation.com/ptbc/articles/ptbc55.htm
    Im getting to think ,people are saying, "oh i built that cir. and it works fine, But they Never built it.LOL.
    I took the cir, apart now 3 times and rebuilt it on the bread board, and come up with the same results. the motor keeps on running and even the limit sw. won t turn it off.
    Even after a few Beer's it still keeps on running.
    HELP....
    tks
    John
     
  2. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    25,497
    2,839
    Jan 21, 2010
    I've seen that circuit a number of times and I have wondered what stops the motor running in certain cases.

    What I'd probably do is to have limit switches at the ends of the travel for the motor. These would disconnect the motor once they are activated. Placing a diode across the contacts in the appropriate direction will allow the motor to run in the opposite direction.

    The side-effect is that you have an extra diode in series with the motor when it's a limit, but that shouldn't be much of an issue.
     
  3. Resqueline

    Resqueline

    2,848
    2
    Jul 31, 2009
    If the limit switches have no effect you have made a very basic wiring error. Check transistor pin-out & voltages first.
     
  4. Externet

    Externet

    775
    168
    Aug 24, 2009
    There is two sun tracking devices that I know of; for solar irradiation perpendicular collection and for heliostats.
    I have built the second only, using an 'atomic' radiocontrolled clock modified to reverse the stepper driver direction when display shows 6:00 by the use of AND gates. No limit switches, no sun position sensors that fail in cloudy conditions.
     
  5. conntaxman

    conntaxman

    89
    0
    Jun 17, 2011
    solar tracker

    ------------------------------------------------
    Hello Resqueline. I have made this cir, now for 3 times, and the last 2 times i have checked all the parts to make sure that they were working.One person that build this said that he took out the east photo cell and replaced it with a 1K resistor. And he also told me that this cir .ONLY will track in the West direction once it starts to track in the morring. In this cir, they say to use DPDT relays.When i look at the print, I see them useing only 1 set of contacts, and it looks like they are useing the N.O. ones.And all they are doing is Crossing the plus and minus wires to each realy. The west relay is the one that runs, ha ha , ya , its working, ha ha ha . But the only thing wrong is that it won't stop when it see the sun.
    I hope that some one or any body that has made this thing and got it to run Post here.
    Tks
    John
    I'll be taking it apart Again, and re build it again.But I know I didn't cross any wire.
     
  6. duke37

    duke37

    5,364
    772
    Jan 9, 2011
    Rather than rebuilding it wrong for the Nth time or re-installing a faulty component, I would suggest that you disconnect the motors and swing the detector by hand, you can then check that the voltages change as they should through the circuit from the detectors to the relays.
    The limit switches need to be closed to stop the motors, check that they close. When closed, they connect the bases of Q1 and Q2 to ground, check this. If the motors still run then Q1 and Q2 have failed short circuit.
     
  7. conntaxman

    conntaxman

    89
    0
    Jun 17, 2011
    solar tracker

    ---------------
    Hi Duke.... Nice note. Tks. Im building the cir. on a pc bread board,[rye bread] I understand about the limit sw. and now that they have to be closed to stop the motor.. I have check all the parts and trans, when I rebuild the cir. and they all test good.,
    I only know of one person that says he has got this working, but he did some modifactions to it.Not that it wouldn't work as is, he says.But any other people that I have read about Have the same problem.
    what gets me is that their aren't many parts to this about 14, thats it.
    I just want to see if any other people have built this. It dose seem to be a good cir.
    tks
    John
     
  8. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    25,497
    2,839
    Jan 21, 2010
    Clearly I've not looked at it very closely, and everybody was too polite to point out that there are limit switches in the design.

    I agree with the suggestion that the device should be swung by hand.

    You need to determine if the limit switches are actuating, and that the CORRECT limit switch is actuating. If the motor is still running as it hits the end stop, try actuating the other limit switch manually and see if the motor stops. If it does then you have the limit switches the wrong way around (swap them over)
     
  9. conntaxman

    conntaxman

    89
    0
    Jun 17, 2011
    solar tracker

    .................
    Steve ,I still have the cir. on a bread board, Im still trying to build this cir. and get it working.
    Im getting to think that their is something wrong with the cir. Seems like other people are having trouble with it .
    John
     
  10. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    25,497
    2,839
    Jan 21, 2010
    John, you need to listen to our advice.

    Does the motor stop when you actuate the limit switch? If it does, great. it's working.

    If it doesn't, try the other limit switch.

    If neither work, you have wired stuff up incorrectly.
     
  11. conntaxman

    conntaxman

    89
    0
    Jun 17, 2011
    solar tracker

    ...............
    Hi Steave. after reading your reply I tried it again and neither of the limit sw. stop the motor, they just make the leds blink a little, Im going to take it apart again and rebuild it .I'll just use different parts,new ones again.The other times that I rebuilt it I tested all the parts and they tested out good and I put them back into the cir.
    It's not only me that is having this trouble, its other guys from what im reading.So I guess if we ,the help with everyone on here and get this going , all of you guys will have helped everyone else also. and made a tracker work. One guy told me that this tracker ONLY goes west and dose Not track back to look for the sun if it goes behind the clouds.The only time it goes back to the east is when night comes.Then it resets .
    John
     
  12. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    25,497
    2,839
    Jan 21, 2010
    If the limit switches don't work then you've seriously mis-wired them. They ground the bases of the NPN transistors which should turn them hard off and with them, the relays.

    It is also possible you have mis-wired the relays. If there is no power to the rest of the circuit, and only power to the motor via the relay contacts, the motor should be off.

    Also, the wiring of the relays is bad because pulling in both relays will short your power supply.

    A better arrangement has each end of the motor connected to the common connection of a relay, and the NC connections both tied to -ve, and the NO connections both tied to +ve. If you do this, the motor will behave the same way, but there will be no danger of shorting your power supply.
     
  13. conntaxman

    conntaxman

    89
    0
    Jun 17, 2011
    solar tracker

    ======
    steave. Thanks alot for the reply.You knoe Much more about this this i do..i use to do pluming/heating/remodleing/ and a long time ago builted stuff from cir . dig. I have to admit that I dont know what each componenet dose. but Im trying to learn .
    ....... I still cant see how No one else posted about this cir.. Not running correctly. Maybe not too many want to use it for soalr.\
    Im not screwing around with it tonight ., But I just bought some IRF510 mjosdft. to see if i could use thosd instwead olf he trans.
    John
     
  14. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    25,497
    2,839
    Jan 21, 2010
    Just changing components isn't going to help.

    Do the test I suggested. No power to anything *except* to the motor through the relays (i.e. disconnect the +9v).

    The motor should be unpowered. If it's not, you have wired the relay contacts incorrectly.

    If nobody has complained, the circuit probably works. There are a million things you can do wrong if this is your first project.
     
  15. conntaxman

    conntaxman

    89
    0
    Jun 17, 2011
    Hi Steve, will I must have had it wired wrong. I put it together again, and Didn't wire up the relays all the was, just the 12volts to the coil. Every thing seen to be working Fine.Both LEDs lite, also led 2 would light if I put my finger on one of the photo cells, or if it went into the dark. I can Adjust LED1 to go on and off with the 10k pot,well actually both pots could turn it on or off. I have the limit sw working. But the problem now is that LED 2 stopped working, it wont light, I changed Q4 and still nothing.I adjusted the pots,nothing,
    when I block the west photo cell the led will come on.
    I just changed out the LM339 and Led 2 still wont come back on. What ever is causing led2 not to work is my problem.
    Photo cell are working also.
    dam this is ****ing me off a bit. Couple of min, it was working good, im sure.
    any help would be good now.
    tks
    John
     
  16. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    25,497
    2,839
    Jan 21, 2010
    You may have damaged the LED. Replace it with another one.

    Was it very bright when it was operating? Maybe the series resistance is too low.
     
  17. conntaxman

    conntaxman

    89
    0
    Jun 17, 2011
    solar tracker

    .............
    I have both leds working now. I had the one end of the led2 stuck in the wrong spot. ha ha ha
    For some reason I don't hear my relays clicking in and out, I'll have to check that out, have the diodes in correctly . lol they use too. Well atleast I got this far. Here is what another person told me to do also."""
    #####
    I had to make several changes to this circuit to iron out the bugs, and one is at the 10k pot. I put a 1k resistor to ground there to keep from burning up the pot when it was adjusted to no resistance. The other change I made, was to disconnect the wire from pin 8 (night time sensing pin) and put a 1k/photo-cell voltage divider to provide for night time sensing. That was done because the circuit was too unstable. I also took out PC2 (photo-cell east) and put in a 3k to ground / 1k to +9v voltage divider in its place because the circuit worked ok under a desk lamp but didn't in the sun. Also, after blowing several Q1s and Q2s, I put in some mosfets. I know this sounds like a lot, but it really isn't that bad. The circuit will work if hooked up like the original schematic though, but I found it to be unstable.
    ####
    For the resistor on 10k pot, do you connect it to the Center leg?[wiper]. Next he said he took out PC2 .Now do you take a 3k resistor and connect one leg to the cir.side were the PC2 was and the other end to ground, and them take a 1k from the cir. side to 9v ?
    Also here is a vidio of his cir, and It seems that he has the 2 leds in it.

    Tks again
    John
    I did google that voltage divider. But not sure of it.
     
  18. conntaxman

    conntaxman

    89
    0
    Jun 17, 2011
    solar tracker

    #######################
    I came to think working on this "sun tracker made by Richard Gideon and post on the Phoenix board is a lot of bull.I don't think that he ever got this working correctly.I think that the Phoenix board should remove the cir, so other people wont get screwed out of money and time.
    Even on that site you can not post, but they say send us an email, ha ha what a joke.
    I think that I'll just get that sun tracker from a place on the web that sells them and every one that I had read about that bought one said that it worked fine.
    This cir, will blow the Q1 and Q2 transistors easy, also it will blow out the 10k pot . This is what one fellow had told me.He made quite a few changes on his.
    I thank the ones on here that gave me some ideas of what to do.I can follow a cir. but I cant build a cir from scratch.
    I have always helped people out and went out of my way to help them get the job done, even if i had to do it myself. I guess the newer generations are changing.
    If I ever figure this out or get a cir of this working I WILL P0ST IT ,just to let the other guy know how to put it together with out going through a lot of s.

    so "" Richard Gideon"" i think you are full of s. and you don't have a tracker working by the drawing on that site and yes I would tell you that in person.
    John
     
  19. (*steve*)

    (*steve*) ¡sǝpodᴉʇuɐ ǝɥʇ ɹɐǝɥd Moderator

    25,497
    2,839
    Jan 21, 2010
    Did the transistors ever get hot while operating? How much current do your relays require?

    I'm not sure what would burn up, unless the photocells were actually photodiodes, or they had an uncommonly low resistance. It's a trap, because the circuit just isn't going to work with that pot set to 0 ohms. I might design it differently so that the other adjustment isn't affected by this one, making VR1 (the 10k pot) a potential divider rather than the way it is wired right now. If I used a series resistor, I would make it under 1K because you may need to adjust it to be a lower resistance than the other leg. I'd go for something between 220R and 560R maybe.

    I think this is because VR1 needed to be set to a low value, and as I suggested above both adjustments interact somewhat. One solution I have already given, the other would be to increase the value of R1 from 1K to maybe 4k7. However there's no reason not to use a separate sensor.

    OK, this is not the greatest idea. This removes a key aspect, that of trying to balance the light seen by both photodetectors. Doing this *may* work for a particular photodetector over some range of brightness, but is not a generic solution.

    I see no reason for this unless the base drive is insufficient. As long as you get enough voltage swing (and I expect you would) mosfets are not a bad idea, but I don't see that they're required.

    I think that the choice of LDR by this person (and possibly of relay too) was inappropriate.

    I think that some of the changes suggested are good, and I think there are others you could make. But it's not obviously fundamentally flawed.

    John, I think that's a pretty big call to make. You have made a number of errors in wiring up your device, and you may have other errors.

    If you don't hear the relay clicking, I suspect you've got insufficient base drive to the transistor. The easiest solution if you have more transistors is to wire up a pair of them in a darlington arrangement. If you have some logic level mosfets you could try them also.

    I do think you need to be careful about what you find on the internet, but you also need to keep your frustrations in check and allow the possibility that the original author did get it working.
     
  20. conntaxman

    conntaxman

    89
    0
    Jun 17, 2011
    solar tracker

    ,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,
    Steve, I read all you have said, and Know that you are MUCH SMARTER then this richard guy. But I still say that I don't think that he has it working as shown. With that said ,I don't know why but I will try your changes, and try and to find Mosfet that will work in place of the q1 and q2, I tried "TIP3055" transistor, but had no luck with it..
    The v2 has hardly any effect on led2.
    oh I also did what he said to do with the photo cell res.Cover the face with tape to get the ohms to about 3000, Didn't help either.
    As for the transistors, I could buy more,.
    Again thanks for all your help and comments, And I cooled down today,but looking at this bread board in front of me dose make one wonder.
    John
    Maybe I'll try it again, I don't like to walk away from anything that I couldn't finish.
    Now i go to post this and a box comes up saying "your message is too short, you need about 10 more char.
     
Ask a Question
Want to reply to this thread or ask your own question?
You'll need to choose a username for the site, which only take a couple of moments (here). After that, you can post your question and our members will help you out.
Electronics Point Logo
Continue to site
Quote of the day

-