Mark 3 Digital Tracker

I have been selling my analog tracker board here for about four years. They work very well, and are very reliable. The only problems people have with mine are installation issues, blown fuses from when the "friend" hooks it up backwards, not mounting to face the sun, etc.

The tracker here takes the best features of all of my other trackers and incorporates them in a tracker with advanced micro computer control.

Notable improvements over my analog trackers:

- extreme wide angle sensor for mounting not facing the ecliptic, or for north-south tracking
- adaptive algorithms for when hooked directly to the output of a way to fast motor
- user replaceable fuse for when the "friend" hooks it up backwards.
- thermal management for when the motor is just to much for the tracker, or for dead shorts across the output.
- standard fault indicators from my other trackers.

This solar tracking controller will drive a motor to position anything you want to follow the sun on a single axis. For two axis tracking use two of them. It can be used to position solar cells, a reflector to heat water, or anything else. The controller is mounted on the object to be steered with the sensors positioned along the rotational axis. Using most any D.C. motor up to a maximum of 12 VDC @ 4 amps, it can easily cause a solar collector, reflector or array to follow the sun through a single axis. I have tested this with a motors as fast as 4 rpm, but slower movement will get much more accurate results.

The controller uses a differential sensing approach and can drive the motor in either direction by reversing it's output. These can be easily configured to "park". I.E, it will learn throughout the day which direction it moves to follow the sun, and then head back in the other direction 4 hours after sunset. This feature is turned off by default, but can be enabled very easily.

Here is a time lapse video of one of the Digital Mark 3.1 trackers tracking throughout the day. Note the minimal hunting caused by tree shadows at dawn and dusk. Some is unavoidable, but I have been able minimize it through careful design.
Here is another video of one of the Digital Mark 3.1 trackers tracking on a partly cloudy day. Note the minimal hunting.
I provide plans and instructions for making the mechanical tracker in the video at with the purchase of a tracker circuit board.
This controller will work with 12V motors (24V and 36V versions availble), solar panels, and batteries. Actually, they will work with any voltage from about 10V to around 18V (28V and 38V for high voltage versions). You should not exceed 20V (30V,40V for high voltage versions) with these. You will need to mount this under glass or plastic to protect it from the weather. A glass or plastic jar upside down works pretty good. Wiring instructions are included. You are not strictly required to use limit switches with these Digital trackers, however it is always a good idea to use limit switches in your design unless what you are controlling is free to move in a full circle, or they are built into your actuators. Here is a good link on how to wire limit switches:

Note that this controller is tuned for sunlight, I use a 5mW red laser to test them.

Controller has indicator LED's to let you know when the sensors have tripped, as well as fault and heartbeat indicators.

These can easily be wired for manual tracking with a couple of switches. I will include instructions on how to do this with your purchase.

Please select voltage version when you check out. Thanks!


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