Solar Trackers

As I mentioned in the previous post, I was going to design and build a solar tracker. As time has gone by, this has become more necessary.

When I first set the panel angle I was getting great performance (fairly consistent 1.1A off the panel). Now, 3 weeks later, not so much as the angles are all wrong again, and I am back to getting about 20 minutes of runtime in the evening.

When this battery is no good, I am going to look at substantially bigger ones (I am thinking 100Ahr) as from what I have read, the Ahr rating is set with the 20hr discharge rate. So 20Ahr doesn't mean 3 hours at 6A, it means 20 hours at 1A. Currently what happens is the lights go on, and the battery voltage starts to drop. The voltage reaches 10.5v and the charge controller shuts the power to the lights off (the main controller is attached directly to the battery) after which the battery recovers and the voltage goes back up by enough that the charge controller believes that the battery is in fact fine and turns the light power back on, the light controllers reinitialize themselves and sit for the night with a faint glow as the light controller firmware uses the LEDS as status at startup, and "all is complete and well" is rgb 32,32,32. However, the main controller doesn't realize this has happened so it leaves it all off which is probably a Good Thing.

Of course with a bigger battery, there is potentially more charging to be done each day, so having the panel tracking the sun and being at the optimal angle for as long as possible will become more important as adding more panel is not possible due to real estate.