What it does
This project aims to improve the efficiency of the solar panels from external factors; specifically, my product will alternate the angle of the solar panel with respect to the surface of the earth so that the solar panel is exposed to the sun at approximately ninety degrees for the entire daytime period for the maximum efficiency. As a result, I successfully use 4 LDRs to build the sun tracking system.
How I built it
I use four LDRs which are photoresistors to detect the direction of sun light and using arduino to rotate two motors which could change the angle of solar panel. Using two motors in order to control the horizontal and vertical movements of the solar panel mount.
Challenges I ran into
During the process of complete the product, I also found some drawbacks and problems of my project. First, using hardboard to build the main structure is inefficient and lack of accuracy. Handmade unable to adapt to mass production in engineering. And using ruler and scissor is lack of accuracy compared to using computer 3D printing. For next time to build a hardware structure, I will choose to use 3D printing. Second, lack of welding tools makes me fail to install LDRs on the solar panel plane. In my plan, four LDRs should be on the solar panel plane to do the final demo to show customs the accuracy of detect the light intensity by my product. However, without welding gun, I have to install LDRs on the breadboard. This is an obstacle caused by my inadequate consideration.
What I learned
From this project, the biggest gain is that I learned about ADC and PWM again. In the previous lab, I only studied how to use ADC with one input sensor. But in final project, I successfully use ADC with four sensors. I also have a deeper understanding about fast PWM and duty cycle
What's next for Sun tracking solar panel
For a next step improvement, I will consider reducing the impact of weather and day and night on the product. For weather part, strong wind is a factor that will damage the product structure. I plan to add an anemometer as another input sensor on my product. Anemometer can spin with wind and the speed it spins is proportional based on the speed of wind. I will program so if wind speed is too high, the solar panel will rotate to be flat to reduce the damage of wind. For day and night, I would like to add a time system in the product. For example, everyday after 8pm, the product will stop receive data from LDRs and rotate to a fixed direction until next day 6am. This change could reduce the influence from other light source and reduce the power waste of total system.