Homemade DIY Sun Tracker

Hitman's sun tracker
1st tracker schematic:
schematic 1
I have no clue as to who designed this but "Good Job"
heres my working prototype using #1 schematic:

prototype 1
The only flaw I found with this design is that it constantly does a full 360 degree turn every day instead of reversing the motor to get back to the east in the morning.

2nd tracker schematic:

I couldn't get this design to work at all, it might have been either my MOSFET's needed a lower gate voltage or the relays needed too many miliamps.
The designer has other versions of these trackers using green leds on his website http://www.redrok.com/electron.htm
heres my prototype:

3rd sun tracker schematic:

So far so good with this design, the only thing is the amount of current it uses.
In full sunlight it was using 166ma, in the shade it was 40ma and when it started tracking it used 452ma. There must be a way to improove on the 166ma in the sunligh and make some sort of an auto shutdown.

Heres my prototype:

As you can see the design uses cds cells instead of green leds as in the 2nd schematic,  This design works rather well so I will use it to power my tracker drive.

Sun Tracker Drive Unit Once again I searched the net for information on DIY tracker drives. I came up with many different types of designs, some used electric car window mechanism, automotive power mirror mechanisms, old satellite dish, even dripping water from a bucket mechanism but many of these seemed to complicated to construct. So I came up with my own reallly EZ way to make one, check this out:

Did you figure out what it was ?? Its a rotor for a TV antenna, I figured since it turns to the left and to the right, it must be running a nice little DC motor. NOT !! its AC but the gearing and the way its made makes a perfect tracker drive, Don't know why no one else thought of it !
I removed the coils from the AC motor and kept only the bearings, center shaft with the gear on it and the brackets holding the thing together. I installed a small 12V motor with a belt drive going to the center shaft with the main gear.

Heres a pic so you can see what I'm talking about:

And heres a couple of pics of the finished product

Cheers Hitman.

UPDATE Sept 19 2008 I'm not entirely satisfied with the amount of current drain there is coming from the sun tracker, it seems the 2 relays are constantly on in full sunlight. Each is rated at 60 ma and both 555 ic's consume 20 ma so that makes a total of 160 ma. SUCKS !!
On top of that it uses 40ma even at night, this is not acceptable, I must find something else. The first schematic only used 20ma in the light and 0 in the shade, the second one using the green leds didn't use any power at all, it was powered by the leds. I'm gonna try another design by the redrok.com guys using green leds again.

4th sun tracker schematic:

I'll get back to you all with some conclusions in a few days.

UPDATE Sept 27 2008 I've been playing around with the 2 variable resistors on the tracker and I've been able to lower the power the circuit consumes. I've adjusted the east sensor to where it turns on when hit with sunlight, this was the main reason why it used 166ma. Its now down to 40ma during the daytime and 15ma at night which is acceptable. I will still try different designs, including self powered ones either using green leds or even some small 3 volt PVC's I happen to have around here somewhere.

Another small bug !! my antenna rotor driver broke I could hear the motor running but it wasen't turning !!! At a closer look I found that 1 of the small gears were eaten away, probably a weight problem, I don't think they were made for that much weight.
I'm gonna try to change the gears for something a little more hefty.