Friday, April 20, 2012

How to Make an Arduino Solar Tracker : Part 1

In the next couple of days i will be making an arduino solar tracker. The is the first post in the series of posts in which i show you how to make an arduino solar tracker

What Are Solar Trackers?

It is a well known fact that solar panels give maximum power when the incident ray from the sun hits the solar panel perpendicularly. Hence if a solar panel is kept along the ground, it will give maximum output during the noon when the solar radiation is maximum and the suns rays strike it perpendicularly. 

solar panel output
Formula for calculating solar output

This is where solar trackers come in. Solar trackers follow the sun, just like a mechanical sunflower. I will be building a single axis arduino powered solar tracker which tilts the solar panel in the direction of the sun. Using a solar tracker increases the output of a solar panel by 50 to 60 percent although it may not be practical at all scales and sizes.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

How to make a solar cell using diodes

So the other day while i was studying about solar cells, i realized that a photovoltiac solar cell is very similar to a standard silicon diode, they are both p-n junctions, the only difference  being that a solar cell has a higher surface area. So i decided to use an 1N4148 standard small signal rectifier with an exposed die. I connected it to a Multimeter to check the voltage coming out of the diode. To my surprise, it worked! After concentrating the light to the diode with a magnifying glass, i was a able to get a usable voltage from the diode

Although i doubt that this would be more efficient than a standard photovoltiac cell, i believe that this might be useful in low cost applications
Please feel free to give any suggestions and improvements in the comments

Thank for watching!

EDIT: I got featured on!