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Tracking Solar Panel Schematic Circuit Diagram

Utilizing Timed Control for Solar Power Orientation

In this design, a compact 12 V solar panel system aligns itself with the sun based on a timer mechanism, deviating from conventional light-sensitive setups. All the necessary components for constructing this project are easily procurable from a well-equipped hardware store or a DIY outlet. The pivotal axle is ingeniously crafted from the core of a roller blind, complemented by two bearings for seamless rotation. Appropriate angle brackets, readily accessible, secure these bearings in place. Positioned vertically, the rotation axis is directly powered by a battery-operated rotisserie motor. This motor not only offers a deliberate, slow rotation owing to its built-in gearbox but also possesses the versatility to rotate in both directions, making it an ideal choice for this particular application.

Tracking Solar Panel Schematic Circuit Diagram

Modifying the Roller Blind Axle and Selecting the Components

To integrate the rotisserie motor, the upper end of the roller blind axle is carefully filed down to achieve a suitable, typically square, cross-section for efficient motor engagement. Moving to the electrical aspects, a cost-effective electronic mains timeswitch, programmable for a minimum of four on-off cycles daily, is sought. The solar panel of choice should ideally be a 12 V solar charger designed for car, camping, or boat applications, with a maximum area of 0.25 m² to prevent excessive wind force that could damage the rotisserie motor’s gearbox. The module’s inclination angle remains fixed, determined by the latitude of its installation. Parts of the timeswitch, including the main portion and switching relay, are removed, leaving the clock functionality intact. This clock rotationally drives the axle eight times a day, advancing it by 22.5 degrees with each on-to-off or off-to-on transition from east to west through south.

Implementing Microswitches and Timing Sequences

The octagonal shape of the roller blind axle dictates its rotation angle, where corners engage a microswitch (S1) equipped with an actuation lever. Precise adjustment ensures the switch closes when a corner pushes the lever aside and opens when positioned between corners. The CMOS 4011, housing four NAND gates (IC2), controls the motor via the p-channel MOSFET T3. Each state change of the timeswitch triggers IC2, driving the motor until S1 also changes state. Optimal timeswitch settings involve specific on-off cycles throughout the day. After eight movements, the solar panel completes a 180-degree rotation, facing west. A counter (IC1) detects the eighth clock pulse, activating relay Re1 through IC3.

This polarity reversal powers the motor, guiding the panel back from west to east. Upon returning to its initial east-facing position, limit microswitch S2, directly actuated by the solar panel, opens. S2, open during the night and closed during the day, manages the connected load. The solar panel output can be regulated to 5 V using an efficient switching regulator, enabling operation of devices like small water pumps. Alternatively, direct power for 12 V lighting from the panel is feasible, eliminating the need for regulation. Both control electronics and the timeswitch require waterproof enclosures for protection.

Efficient Energy Storage and Electrical Connections

To ensure continuous power supply during cloudy periods, a 12 V battery setup is employed, consisting of ten 2800 mAh AA-size NiMH cells neatly arranged in a suitable battery holder. This assembly can be conveniently housed within a standard electrical junction box. Additionally, a 3000 mAh D cell is placed in the rotisserie motor’s battery compartment. This D cell is connected in series with the 12 V battery and charged through the solar panel. The connections from the rotisserie motor, involving both the motor and the battery, are established using a four-core cable. The original switch of the rotisserie motor is removed for this setup.

Component Values and Diode Selection for Optimal Performance

The values of resistors and capacitors specified in the circuit are not excessively critical; substitutions with similar types can be made for T1, T2, and T3 without compromising functionality. However, special attention is directed towards specific diodes. D3, a Schottky diode, plays a pivotal role in preventing reverse current flow into the solar panel, thereby minimizing power losses. For D4, a high-speed switching diode is essential since the 5 V regulator operates at approximately 250 kHz. It is crucial to select an appropriate diode; using a standard 1N4007 significantly reduces the regulator’s efficiency, making it an unsuitable choice. Furthermore, a small toroidal-core inductor (L1) is incorporated into the circuit for optimal performance.


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