Special Solar Tracker Circuit Kit from MTM Scientific, Inc
Computer Chip Controlled Version (Beta Release) #ST2-HD-PIX
This special COMPUTER CHIP CONTROLLED SOLAR TRACKER CIRCUIT KIT (Catalog #ST2-HD-PIX) from MTM Scientific is a new product we are making available on a limited basis for advanced electronic hobbyists. Identical in function to our other Solar Tracker Kits, this kit contains all the electrical components for building the circuit (shown above) to automatically find and follow the sun across the sky. Just like our other kits, this tracker circuit finds the sun at dawn, follows the sun during the day, and resets to home at nightfall for the next day. This kit is ideal for driving a single axis solar tracker with a 12 VDC gear motor or linear actuator that you provide. Also included, but not shown, are the same 2 photocell sensors, 2 limit switches and 20+ page booklet we include with all our Solar Tracker Kits.
So what is different about this kit? This new version of our Solar Tracker Kit is controlled by a PIC microcontroller running a computer program written in PICAXE BASIC. Much more information about the Picaxe family of microcontrollers is available at Phil Anderson's website (www.phanderson.com). The Picaxe Chip can be reprogrammed using the serial port of your computer using the Picaxe Development Platform Software (Download and Installation required). Obviously that would be a project for advanced hobbyists capable of reading and writing computer line code and reading circuit diagrams. Note: We provide the Picaxe chip already programmed for this kit.
Did you add any new features? Yes, two new features were added in the software code: 1) The Tracker has a FAST/SLOW update rate limit which only allows position changes once every 1 minute, or once every 10 minutes. This feature reduces wear and tear on the mechanical and electrical hardware. 2) The Tracker has a software feature which requires all motion updates to be of 1/10 second duration or more, to reduce 'jogging' and 'hunting'... essentially software controlled hysteresis.
What are some ideas for advanced applications? Advanced hobbyists might consider writing code to do optimized sunlight threshold detection, smart parking, historical data analysis, bright cloud ignore, heliostat applications and really... just about anything imaginable. With 2 kits you can implement dual axis projects. We are interested to know more about your code improvements... a key reason we are offering this kit!Please note: This circuit kit is for advanced electronic hobbyists interested in experimenting with PIC computer control of Solar Trackers. This kit will control a Solar Tracker after assembly, similar to our standard kits. However modifying the computer code will require advanced skills such as line coding, serial port communication and self-directed project development. This kit includes a supplementary handout with special circuit diagram, additional details and a listing of the PICAXE BASIC source code.
PICAXE SOLAR TRACKER KIT (Catalog #ST2-HD-PIX)... $88.50, Worldwide Shipping Included. Supplies of this kit are limited.
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