Uno power this two-axis solar tracker

Back in 2011, Jay Doscher had his power unexpectedly cut for 12 hours. After dealing with a refrigerator full of spoiled food, flashlights with dead batteries and a lack of candles, Doscher decided he needed to be better prepared for the next time the electricity went out.

His goal? To build a fully automated, portable solar tracking unit capable of automatically following the sun to optimize solar collection for those inevitable off-the-grid days.

As HackADay’s James Hobson notes, two-axis solar tracking units can help increase daily output by approximately 30%.

“Doscher’s makes use of a 12V gear reduced motor to provide panning and a linear actuator with positional tracking to control the tilt. To track the sun he’s got a digital compass and an Adafruit Ultimate GPS breakout board,” Hobson explained.

“To control it all he’s using is an [Atmel-powered] Arduino Uno (ATmega328 MCU). It’s a very slick and well engineered system and [Jay’s] hoping to spread it around the world — the entire thing is open source.”

Interested in learning more? You can check out Doscher’s tracker build log here and the relevant files on his GitHub repository here.

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