Author Topic: My flimsy traker comming togeather!  (Read 1184 times)

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XeonPony

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My flimsy traker comming togeather!
« on: October 31, 2017, 08:23:43 PM »
needs allot more work but here it is so far. and my little power system and an autoxfmer for 120/240  flip. So I can drive my panel per normal from a 120v inverter.

the tilt actuator worked fine deff needs some grease and full 24v.

As some will see need to trim the upper clamp bolts, and put a cross bar in and going to mount an LED flood light and a tracker system control. And my monitoring panel, need to get some better gear yet.
« Last Edit: October 31, 2017, 08:30:04 PM by XeonPony »
Ignorance is not bliss, You may not know there is a semie behind you but you'll still be a hood ornimant!

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MattM

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Re: My flimsy traker comming togeather!
« Reply #1 on: October 31, 2017, 10:29:21 PM »
So what is your sample rate for positional adjustments?  Like, does it have a set period or does it adjust accordingly to time of day, calendar, and season?

XeonPony

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Re: My flimsy traker comming togeather!
« Reply #2 on: November 01, 2017, 06:50:12 AM »
haven't got that far still need to make the azimuth drives for it, as for how it will track it will be with a sensor system and a timed lock out period

I'm going lazy rout on the brains and found a cheap effective tracking controller

https://www.ebay.ca/itm/191406191627

sure I can make the electronics cheaper but that comes with every thing to just bolt on and apply power well worth it.

the whole thing is pieced together out of scrap pretty much so far it is coming along well. need to replace the main beam with 2*4 tube stock, or clamp some chanel on under to stiffen it up as it is too wabbly for my liking.
Ignorance is not bliss, You may not know there is a semie behind you but you'll still be a hood ornimant!

Nothing fails like prayer, Two hands clasped in work will achieve more in a minute then a billion will in a melenia in prayer. In other words go out and do some real good by helping!

XeonPony

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Re: My flimsy traker comming togeather!
« Reply #3 on: November 05, 2017, 12:01:51 PM »
Got all 4 panels on now kyroshera 135w at 17.7v wired series parallel for 260w at 33 Volts vmp 40v voc apx.

14.5 Amps measured at panel 37.5Amps into batteries! and the linear actuator is handling the load of the panels well.

So total label wattage would be 540w at 33 VMP
Ignorance is not bliss, You may not know there is a semie behind you but you'll still be a hood ornimant!

Nothing fails like prayer, Two hands clasped in work will achieve more in a minute then a billion will in a melenia in prayer. In other words go out and do some real good by helping!

george65

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Re: My flimsy traker comming togeather!
« Reply #4 on: November 05, 2017, 06:21:23 PM »

Looks a very well engineered and stable setup!  have you any comparison to the difference the tracking gives you over the panels when they were fixed or you didn't take notice?

One thing this brings home to me  is the advancement in the panels.  Your 4 panels could be eclipsed by one of the used panels I have and they are now old hat with the latest ones starting to push near 400W ea! Don't know what your requirements are but if you ever do need more power, you could get a huge increase very easily.

I wonder where we will be in another 10 years? You might be looking at your tracker saying " Hmm, those panels are only 400W each, I can get used 1Kw panels for only $50 a piece, maybe I should upgrade?"

OTOH, they may not go very far at all.  Will be a competition between the panel manufacturers and the power companies to see who's revenue goes up and who's goes down.  As always, the decider will be battery tech but in light of the fact the old lead acid is still best bang for the buck and they have been trying to improve batteries since they made lead acid, I won't hold my breath on that. Like car engines, been a million press releases about the new unit that was going to change the world that was never seen or heard of again, batterys have been much the same.

Be interesting to see which way things go because in my life, it's seldom been the way they predicted.  :0)

BTW, are you cleaning the snow off the panels or are they at enough angle for it  to just slide off enough for the panels to heat up and be somewhat self cleaning?

XeonPony

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Re: My flimsy traker comming togeather!
« Reply #5 on: November 05, 2017, 06:32:45 PM »
Well I come from growing up in the logging camps where power was a luxiory bulk of the time it was wood heat, diesel machinery and candle/propane lights. So power was never a large consumer, that 540w array ran me for a long time and is still running me fairly well, but this time of year genset is doing allot of work.

I got those around 2010 and they cost me huge now days I could buy 2Kw+ worth of panels (does math) 3.2 Kw to be exact!  but they have kept me utility free for near 7 year.

Last time I had manual tracking they made 3kwh vs the usual 1 some thing. So tracking is a huge benefit for a smaller array especially out here in my books, atm I am still making the hard ware once I get the azimuth drive figured I'll buy the controller and get it automated but I project it gaining me a full Kw h a day or better given the elips of the sun in winter is huge compared to near flat in summer.

I certainly plan to upgrade panels and I'll retire those to my yard lighting and tracking system power, at 24v I have my original morning star mppt 15, it will fit the job perfectly for its load timing ability.

base is solid pole has proven to be solid in high winds but the main suport bar is way too flimsy, I used some hay rope to steady it for now and reduce the wavering, need to put in heavier metal.

This is just to buy me time to make a tracker like the wattsun AZ units, and target is 3Kw total array will more then exceed my needs in this life! plus a couple wind gens as the winds here are near constant at 10 - 20mpH during the fall and winter. https://weatherspark.com/y/4404/Average-Weather-in-Yorkton-Canada-Year-Round
Ignorance is not bliss, You may not know there is a semie behind you but you'll still be a hood ornimant!

Nothing fails like prayer, Two hands clasped in work will achieve more in a minute then a billion will in a melenia in prayer. In other words go out and do some real good by helping!

george65

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Re: My flimsy traker comming togeather!
« Reply #6 on: November 06, 2017, 02:09:52 AM »

That's a big and worthwhile difference for sure!
I have been wondering if some sort of reflectors around a setup like you have would help? Bounce more light back to the panels and increase output.
Spose like tracking, it would depend where you are. I ran the numbers last week for adjustable tilt frames on my setup and I could make up for the losses for the year with just having a fixed summer angle with just 1 extra 250W panel on a 10KW system.
  Reflectors would depend on how much you could get panels for where you are and the cost of the material to make the reflectors.
It would be interesting for curiosity to see if and what difference they could make.

It seems nearly always more efficient to add panels rather than increase efficiency of what you have but your tracker certainly shoots that idea down.

DamonHD

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Re: My flimsy traker comming togeather!
« Reply #7 on: November 06, 2017, 04:27:11 AM »
Here's some stuff on mirrors/reflectors:

http://www.earth.org.uk/note-on-solar-PV-for-diffuse-light.html

Rgds

Damon

XeonPony

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Re: My flimsy traker comming togeather!
« Reply #8 on: November 06, 2017, 11:51:25 AM »

That's a big and worthwhile difference for sure!
I have been wondering if some sort of reflectors around a setup like you have would help? Bounce more light back to the panels and increase output.
Spose like tracking, it would depend where you are. I ran the numbers last week for adjustable tilt frames on my setup and I could make up for the losses for the year with just having a fixed summer angle with just 1 extra 250W panel on a 10KW system.
  Reflectors would depend on how much you could get panels for where you are and the cost of the material to make the reflectors.
It would be interesting for curiosity to see if and what difference they could make.

It seems nearly always more efficient to add panels rather than increase efficiency of what you have but your tracker certainly shoots that idea down.

with nice fresh snow unmangled by the dogs, and nice cold ambient I have seen as high as 721w from my 540w array! but too much mirrors will decrease output due to too much heat and wear the cell down, there is a thing such as too much light. So like most things every thing in moderation!

The cold is what really does it though, cold and sunny = big happy out put, the additional light is just a nice cherry!
Ignorance is not bliss, You may not know there is a semie behind you but you'll still be a hood ornimant!

Nothing fails like prayer, Two hands clasped in work will achieve more in a minute then a billion will in a melenia in prayer. In other words go out and do some real good by helping!

Mary B

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Re: My flimsy traker comming togeather!
« Reply #9 on: November 06, 2017, 04:50:10 PM »
For full sun tracking via computer the rotor I use for my 2 meter antennas would do the trick! https://www.hamradio.com/detail.cfm?pid=H0-012453 it is capable of turning a 3m dish! Not cheap but an off the shelf solution for ideas... there are rotor controllers on the market available as kits that could turn my rotor if I decide I don't like the factory controller. If I can remember who makes the kit I will add it to this post.

My rotor is basically 2 dc motors driving worm gear reduction boxes, some people are using large stepper motors for precision. All computer connected to tracking software(cheap/free) that can track the moon or sun(sun noise is used to test receive systems to see how well they are working)

XeonPony

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Re: My flimsy traker comming togeather!
« Reply #10 on: November 06, 2017, 07:48:12 PM »
a cheap 6" slew drive bearing is plenty and allot cheaper lol


using a 24v motor and worm drive from a mobility scooter gives more the the needed drive torque

trick is getting a cheap bearing, my budget just went to 0 due to idiot driver cutting me off and taking out my car. I now own a shiny new dash cam with rcmp report line on speed email! start holding these morons accountable!

But as to the panels the mount did its job! got home to nice charged batteries!  now to jerry rig a simple azimuth drive and get them suckers tracking!

need to draw out the angle of movement and rig up a simple leaver system so I can just use my pile of linear drives.
Ignorance is not bliss, You may not know there is a semie behind you but you'll still be a hood ornimant!

Nothing fails like prayer, Two hands clasped in work will achieve more in a minute then a billion will in a melenia in prayer. In other words go out and do some real good by helping!

XeonPony

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Re: My flimsy traker comming togeather!
« Reply #11 on: November 08, 2017, 06:07:26 PM »
Well great results! 434 peak watts, 1.46KwH of solar gain today at 3.36 sun hours.

So need to adjust the pitch as I'm short 106w! and most likely adjust the azimuth a bit as wasn't sunny when I assembled it and been working so haven't been able to target it, not bad though given the ruffing it.

So as I projected a huge gain from the old ground mount, and with the tracker it should easily get to the 3kwH projected during winter, sadly another calc is holding true too! 300L of diesel per month for heating :( got wood to buffer that a bit!

Need to get some blades mad and get the wind gen going!

I need 3KwH a day now days, my system was designed for a meager 1KwH a day originally.
Ignorance is not bliss, You may not know there is a semie behind you but you'll still be a hood ornimant!

Nothing fails like prayer, Two hands clasped in work will achieve more in a minute then a billion will in a melenia in prayer. In other words go out and do some real good by helping!

george65

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Re: My flimsy traker comming togeather!
« Reply #12 on: November 09, 2017, 02:37:18 AM »
sadly another calc is holding true too! 300L of diesel per month for heating :( got wood to buffer that a bit!

You ever tried adding Veg or used engine oil?
You can pre filter and just need to adjust the burner mixture control a bit and will work fine.  Even if you went 50%  it would make a big difference to your heating cost. I know there is a lot of fearmongering about it, 90% IS repeated BS from people whom have never touched the stuff and just repeat other rubbish they read or hear, 5% is people taking shortcuts and not paying due diligence and the rest is minor things that are easily and cheaply offset.
 It's not perfect but neither is heating oil/ diesel.

 
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Need to get some blades mad and get the wind gen going!
Hate to say but solar seems so much more power for so much less money and maintence!   :0)

Quote
I need 3KwH a day now days, my system was designed for a meager 1KwH a day originally.

You could offset your heating cost a lot with more panels.
Even if you didn't need it through the day, you could use an old hot water system to store the heat and pump it  through a radiator at night.
At my last place I heated a 200L drum which sat in a corner of the house near the back verandah with the Veg oil burner and used a small pump to circulate the water till it came up to heat.  At night the drum just sat there with a small fan behind it and just shed a gentle warmth that took the chill off the house and lasted all night.  Wife had a screen divider thing in another room so I took that and put it round the drum and it looked nice and you'd never know it was there.

I was thinking of doing something similar with this house but in practicality, the best, most efficient and easiest way is just to get more used panels to offset the the cost of the reverse cycle AC .

XeonPony

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Re: My flimsy traker comming togeather!
« Reply #13 on: November 09, 2017, 07:27:06 AM »
My heater is an old pot burner, there is no adjustments! if it had a removable ash bowl I'd certainly do that, I may make a modified one!

I know what you mean I grew up with all sorts of fuel oil heating systems they are very forgiving so long as the fuel is clean from dirt rest is just air/pressure settings, used engine oil does need pre-warming for good misting, but for my style it would be good dripping! but easily don.

Solar is easier and cheaper, but has one draw back, it doesn't work over night! Where I live wind is dam well constant in winter at 10 to 25mpH right in the sweet spot, so even my crappy air X was able to carry my base load at night of apx 5amps cont. So for me wind is a huge benefit and makes up for the shorter winter days.

ANY good RE system should have at bare minimum 2 sources of power, ideally 3.

For me it is Solar, Wind, Honda gen set, back in BC it was solar, Hydro, Honda. If you just chase dollar signs you'll be sorely disappointed with the results! Doesn't mean you can't save and shop around but need to look at the larger picture and just put the money where you get the most bang from it.

it is in the works a couple solar thermal collectors feeding a couple water buffer tanks for a boiler system with some DC heating elements as the dump load, or I'll use the ac side, either case I plan to save every watt as a watt or btu from all systems.

Slow and steady as they say, the most critical fix is the poor insulation and air sealage of the house! just that alone would cute heating cost in half as atm I am heating the out side just as much as I am inside!
Ignorance is not bliss, You may not know there is a semie behind you but you'll still be a hood ornimant!

Nothing fails like prayer, Two hands clasped in work will achieve more in a minute then a billion will in a melenia in prayer. In other words go out and do some real good by helping!

Bruce S

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Re: My flimsy traker comming togeather!
« Reply #14 on: November 09, 2017, 11:54:51 AM »
I 2nd George65's comments on the veg oil thingy.
I backed off for a while when the old Mercedes went to a better place.
I'm back getting my cold filter system setup for the greenhouse.
The petcock adjustment setup that PEPA (RIP) had kept his system adjustable right inside his home.
If memory serves me right , he used his wife's old stockings as a final filter , and that stuff looked clean enough to cook with.

Cheers
Bruce S
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george65

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Re: My flimsy traker comming togeather!
« Reply #15 on: November 09, 2017, 05:37:39 PM »
My heater is an old pot burner, there is no adjustments! if it had a removable ash bowl I'd certainly do that, I may make a modified one!

I made some pot burners that had adjustments for heat output if not mixture. ( which they didn't require)  Just have control over the primary air and they will go from simmer to furnace. Ran them on veg and WMO and they woked a treat. I'd be out playing with them at night and the mrs would brong coffee and sit there with me in the cold dark night. It was very nice actually although we often went inside and found we were then cold! :0)

For a fixed flue setup, I made the pot removeable but putting an old car scissor jack under the thing. Flue was fixed but the pot went up to it. To clean you just lowered the jack and slipped the pot out.  Mine was literally an old pot with the flue welded to the lid and the primary air holes in it. The first part of the flue wasn't Drilled with secondary air holes, it was expanded steel mesh. It burnt really clean ( and Hot!) and this is what I put it down to, unlimited secondary air.  It still pulled a god draft on the primary air which did surprise me but it worked well.  That was about my 3rd incarnation.

The pot burners DO get a lot of ash though. My favourite burners by far are forced air swirl type. Have a load of Vids of them on my YT channel doing stupid power outputs and would easily burn 1L of oil a MINUTE  but all the ash is ( I take it) blown out and the things never clag and are always perfectly clean at the end of a burn. I did one little burner that used a small 12V Blower for a bot bilge and that would put out plenty of heat for a home.

For fuel control which is the critical part especially on the small burners I have been playing with the little dosing pumps for fist tanks and the like off fleabay. With a PWM controller you can get a lot of control. I was also thinking of linking the PWM to the air blower so they were scaleable. Thing is though, the latitude of the air fuel ratio is so wide you don't need much control on the air although it might save some watts and if you werent' extracting heat from the flue. ( many people duct it out a wall asap which to me wastes heat) would be better to just have enough air for a clean burn.

I want to find an old wood burner and set up a small forced air burner in that. Seen lots with the draft burners but cleaning the crust out every day would annoy me when I knew they could run clean and burn cleaner still not clagging up the chimney.


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is in the works a couple solar thermal collectors feeding a couple water buffer tanks for a boiler system with some DC heating elements as the dump load, or I'll use the ac side, either case I plan to save every watt as a watt or btu from all systems.

I forgot about that. I saw some of those glass tube heaters on fleabay last night. With the efficiency you get from PV panels, I bet they would work a treat where you are. Being so insulated, It would seem the cold wouldn't make much difference to them. Mate has a water heater with those, don't know how many tubes but he has a 400L hot water system and it will boil that by 10 am on a good day even if it were lukewarm the night before after all the kids were done.

They are pretty cheap now and I think you would get loads more heat out of them in your situation than the flat panel type. Again, heat the water through the day and circulate through heat ex changer ( car radiator) at night. Friend say's he gets heat out the things even on cloudy days which you don't with flat panels.

I'd really love to get an old place somewhere as a holiday house and do all this stuff. Hard here as the place is in an upmarket estate and it's all about appearances. Doing this DIY I love would upset the neighbors, bring the council sniffing round and take $250K off the value of the place. I'm lucky that on one side where the sun comes and the shed is located the neighbour is really good and we get on well. He thinks what I do in my place is my business and he makes plenty of noise in his shed so I won't have a problem running the lister or other engines and that's the side all the panels will face which he thinks is great to make your own power.
Ideally I'd have somewhere I could do Micro Hydro because I'd really like to put something with that together.

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Slow and steady as they say, the most critical fix is the poor insulation and air sealage of the house!

I understand that.... now.
New house is obviously so much better insulated than the old 100 yo one.
Come in on a winters night and it's so much warmer. Come in in the evening after a hot day and it's so much cooler.
What remains to be seen however is how it goes after a string of really hot days as we get here. Building has  to heat up eventually and when it does, i'm thinking it's going to hold that heat well. That's why I want to put an obscene amount of panels up so I can run the AC to my hearts content and not go broke in the process.

I did notice that all the doors did have foam sealing. I can see why. Now it's all gone away and perished, when it's windy the crack around the whole door has a breeze coming in around it. Major thermal leaks there and the place has 6 doors, 4 of them doubles. Might just tape some of them shut!  :0)
Definately going to have to replace the foam.... once I clean the old crap off and repaint.

 Old house had MUCH better fitting doors and 2 of which were sliders so quite well sealed. Just had air under the swing doors which was easily sealed by a draft stopper sausage thing. These doors leak like sieves all round.
That foam stuff may be a good place to start with your place too?

XeonPony

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Re: My flimsy traker comming togeather!
« Reply #16 on: November 10, 2017, 05:36:13 AM »
lol I foam the Fck out of it, I get 2 inch polystyrene white prill board then cover all windows and ancillary doors with a 1/8 interference fit, it's there to stay! problem is they're the best sealing this house has, the cinder block down stairs where never filled with any thing, so massive levels of leakage (Need to jack house up and fill all with sand) I don't think the house was ever wrapped, po's put an addition on and I feel a breeze there so they never bothers to seal that.

Roof is original ship lap and in craptastical shape. Starting to think be easier to dump 30l of diesel and start from scratch!

1.66KwH yesterday in their current position with a mild peak watts of 415w so that's about 4h peak sunshine hitting them, so far things seem dead on track, I can gain more moving them, but then I break that lovely ice ancor they have so will avoid that.

Sounds like a good set up for the pot burners! I used to make miniture RV sized air tights out of old 40pound propane jugs the longer skinny style,  so think I'll give that a shot in the future.
Ignorance is not bliss, You may not know there is a semie behind you but you'll still be a hood ornimant!

Nothing fails like prayer, Two hands clasped in work will achieve more in a minute then a billion will in a melenia in prayer. In other words go out and do some real good by helping!