PROJECTS: SOLAR TRACKER
Seeking Sun / Seeking Shade
The solar tracking platform follows the sun thanks to a photovoltaic cell that keeps moving into the shade.
A The sun provides free energy as sunlight.
B A solar cooker turns sunlight into heat for cooking.
C The turntable supports the cooker.
D Wheels and a central axle let the
turntable rotate, lazy-Susan style,
atop the base.
I A coupling made from a bronze bearing
with cylindrical shims and setscrews connects
the motor’s 0.159" axle to the drive wheel’s
E A photovoltaic
(PV) cell, aka solar
cell, converts the
sunlight that hits it
into electricity to
power the turntable’s motor.
F A small shade
keeps the PV
cell out of direct
sunlight for brief
periods as the
sun moves across
G A sliding boom connected to the turntable holds
the solar cell and shade away
from the shadow of the cooker,
in a westward direction relative to
H The PV cell powers a motor.
J The drive wheel turns the
turntable until the PV cell is
back in the shade.
K A brass tube and
act like a mini sundial
for determining the
for the cooker on
NOR TH POLE
North Versus South
Northern Hemisphere: the cooker faces south and the
platform turns clockwise, tracking the sun east to west.
Southern Hemisphere: the cooker faces north and
the platform turns counterclockwise, also tracking east
By sundown, you have a delicious slow-cooked meal!
AZIMUTHAL TRACKING Apparent east-to-west
motion of the sun in the Northern Hemisphere,
on solstices (red, green) and equinoxes (blue)
Illustration by Damien Scogin
102 Make: Volume