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Actobotics Solar Tracker

By Luke Smith |
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This is a simple robot that uses two photo resistors to track the incoming light from the sun and move to follow it. This robot could be very useful in many applications, including what its intended use as a solar panel alignment device to maximize the energy produced.

This system uses one of the simplest ways of tracking the sun, using 2 photo resistors to sense light. When wired up with a resistor these simple photo resistors can be turned into photo sensors which will be covered later. However with 2 photo sensors and a shade we can easily sense if the sun is inline with the device or not. One sensor in an unshaded position to gather a baseline reading on the ambient sunlight. The other will be tied to a shade and put inline with the direction we want to point. When the sun travels overhead and past the shade, it will cover the sensor and the values from these sensors will vary greatly. This prompts the servo to move until the sensor values are almost equal again. This action will keep the device pointed at the sun throughout the day, as well as checking that amount of ambient light. When the light gets low enough the servo is reset to wait for the sun the next morning. This creates a 100% autonomous solar tracking actuator.

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