MONSTER SOLAR TRACKER ONLINE!

Well, I did it, over a beautiful weekend in sunny Florida.  I managed to fit twelve Kyocera KC130 PV panels on a single tracker for a total of 1,560 tracking watts!  It required a total of 6 more 10 foot lengths of galvanized 1 1/2″ uni-strut.  The reason for this maddness is the new Apollo T-80 MPPT solar charge controller will accept a higher voltage for my nominal 48 VDC battery system.  I have decided to use six panel arrays, this raises the voltage and I can use smaller source circuit copper wire to get the power into the garage.  The price of copper wire is still up pretty high so using a smaller wire saves money and the higher voltage has less IR losses.  We had a thunder storm fire up yesterday evening just as we were washing the PHEV with wind gusts around 20-30mph.  The new array stayed put and didn’t even shake.

mvc-846f.jpg  mvc-845f.jpg  mvc-847f.jpg

Since the rest of my system is on 4 panel arrays I have them wired as three 4 panel arrays for now.  Next weekend I will be digging the trench for the underground PVC conduits from the “tracker farm” to the solar power wall in the garage.

I must add, tracking controls designed and sold by Duane C. Johnson through his company Red Rock Energy

http://www.redrok.com/led3xassm.htm#led3xc3 

 Duane was kind enough to put together a kit of parts for us “Electronic Wizards” and priced it very reasonable.  I really could not order all the parts for what he sells the LED3X kit for, which is around $20.  Duane has put a lot of thought into his design, saving myself and others that are able to design and construct such a device, TIME.  When you you finally reach 50 years of age you come to realize TIME is more important than a few pennies.

The theory of operation is unique.  There is a timer set on mine that goes off about every 60 seconds. The position of the sun on the two sensors (which BTW, are just a pair of Jumbo Green LEDs) determines whether the motor is driven to the East or West.  The timer continues 24/7, at sunset or shortly afterwards, the sensors both being DARK select EAST, so every minute the tracker moves EAST.  I have the duration set for 3 seconds of motor drive every minute.  At around 10:30PM both my trackers are at the full EAST position shut down from the internal limit switches built into the actuators.  When the sun starts to come up in the morning and it gets high enough to set the direction WEST the motor runs for three seconds starting the array on its westward journey.  I selected 3 seconds for one reason, so the array could play “catch-up” with the sun in case a cloud passed over the arrays.  After about 11AM the trackers move 2 seconds WEST and back 1 second EAST.  This goes on until about 3PM when the full 3 seconds is needed to keep up with the setting sun.

Good job on a well designed product Duane!

I used a peanut butter jar with a round aluminum backing plate inside to stiffen up the lid and attached it to an aluminum angle.  I used a Heyco weather tight connector for the wires.  I sell them with lock nut for less than $1.50 each if you want some.  That’s less than any one is selling them for online. I paint the yellow lid with flat black paint to protect it from UV break-down.

 led3xc3.jpg    mvc-848f.jpg

Tracker #2 had four KC120s and four KC130s feeding the Advanced Energy GC-1000 grid-tie inverter.  I moved the four KC130s to tracker #1 for the 12 panel setup and took four KC120s off the roof to put back on tracker #2.

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One Response to “MONSTER SOLAR TRACKER ONLINE!”

  1. Good morning Jim, WOW, you have been busy. I would like to get with you and have you explain more to me on what you have done. I enjoyed how you explained the process. I have a friend of mine that has been wanting a very simple system installed on his patio roof approx 14×26 with slight pitch to roof on backside by pool & 2 sections 24×16? (I have not seen or measured area) of his home located in Lansbrook area. Also need to get started on this website. Please call me at your convenience. Thanks, Trey Home: 727-466-5817 Att/Cingular Cell: 727-466-7880

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