Use the Gears-IDS Invention and Design System to build an autonomous Solar Tracking Device.
The solar tracker uses a friction drive coupled to a motor, belt, and pulley drive to track the azimuth (East to West) motion of the sun. The tracker uses a two (2) position pneumatic actuator to optimize the altitude position of the collector surface.
Using both a motor speed reduction drive and a pneumatic actuator controlled by a microprocessor, provides ample opportunities for hands on engineering education and real world system integration challenges.
The solar tracker is controlled using a Parallax Basic Stamp and Board of Education. The project documentation includes a 40-page Basic Stamp manual authored by Andy Lindsay, an applications Engineer for Parallax, Inc. The manual includes instructional exercises, circuits, and programs used to complete the autonomous control systems for the solar tracker project. Because the GEARS-IDS Kit is built using precision machined parts, heavy duty (0.090" thick) stamped aluminum structural components, and all metal industrial grade gear head motors, you can customize your solar tracker project by fitting it with a variety of solar energy harvesting devices. Engineering experiments and design projects could include medium scale photovoltaic panels, water heaters, or solar ovens.
The GEARS-IDS Kit makes it possible for you to design and build a variety of engineering projects using industrial engineering components in the comfort and convenience of your own classroom.
The version shown below has been fitted with a 12-volt, 5-Watt photovoltaic panel that is used to both power the motor and charge the battery.
GEARS-IDS Project Description Document of the Solar Tracker
This 80-page color document illustrates and describes how to build an autonomous 2-axis solar tracking device.