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Home > Video > Video Display > Heliostat Design 2 – (a non-timing method)
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Heliostat Design 2 – (a non-timing method)

IDEA NOTE:  This idea is open for working models and improvements.   I have hardly any experience with steppor motors/worm gears, and have few tools and material to do this.  (Update:  It is very possible to use regular motors of particular qualities) So if you want to try it, and it works, you will be given credit in the overall design and construction.  Just because I have designed this does not mean you cant try something based on this design.  Every design, even patents,  can be improved, its valid logic so that growth is not limited.  Off the shelf solar trackers, perhaps two of them, have a good possibility in this system.  There are pro’s and cons to every heliostat system, for example weather it is electronically or (blindly) steered using an electronic timing program, or senses the sunlight for steering.  Some systems here on YouTube even uses a “water timing” method to steer at 15 degrees per hour.
Your input is needed on the forums where all the nuts and bolts about related things can be discussed.The benefits of this design:  Simplicity and perhaps low cost.  Does not need any computer for timing.  The same heliostat would work on Earth, the Moon, Mars, etc., without any new computer timing and the corresponding computer/.electronic timing program to actuate the motors to move the mirror.Downside to the benefits:  May have to be manually steered/aligned a bit at least once a day if the sensors cannot handle it.  It is possible that the sensors can be turned/adjusted  a bit to assist this daily alignment if need be, along with the gears.This is basically like my previous video (please view and read the notes there), but here I show were the light sensors would be, as I described before.
For the light sensors, there is no “pots” (voltage/current potentiometers) that I was thinking of in the circuitry.  Just some “comparator” or “logic” circuitry.  When the (say vertical) sensor is aimed at the sun both will be “illuminated on” giving a signal as such.  This signal should “shut/turn off” the motor.  When one sensor of the (say vertical) sensor team is illuminated a motor will be turned on to rotate the gear so that both sensors will be illuminated and then the motor will turn off.The sensors might be:  light dependent resistors, small solar cells, photo resistors,  certain color led’s.  All these are currently being used elsewhere on the internet to steer “solar trackers” for solar panels.  You will have to be very conscience of stray light hitting the sensors.  Small flat black tubes or shadeing needs to be considerd, and the size of the openings to the sensors.I believe a steppor type motor is necessary, and probably a worm gear (or other low ratio gear system) to increase the “fine tuning” of the the adjustments the motors will take to track the sun.   A very simple method/circuit to activate the motors is only necessary I believe.   No special circuitry, except that the vertical motor will need to be reversable since the sun “goes up” and then “goes down” vertically in the sky throughout the daylight hours.  Note, the motors can either be directly attached to the axis of the horizontal and vertical gears, or gear/pully connected to those gears.  Most likely a gear/pully – non direct drive – would be used for “fine aligning” the heliostat….specifically, it would take several pulses of the motor to amount to one minimal movement of the heliostat.Note, this is only a basic drawing to show the functional design possibilites.  There’s lots to “improvee”.  For example, the vertical adjust gears would most likely be in a upright/vertical position, perhaps afixed to a metal frame.  Also, where the mirror is attached leaves some ideas open, such as the gear section where the mirror is attached should be flat for better holding of the mirror.Along with the design, all the testing and improvements are needed.There are several good websites with good discussions about heliostats.  Here is one I recently found, with a DIY heliostat and discussions I think people interested (if not for yourself, but for others you know, etc):   has good discussions also for DIY heliostats.Please visit this forum for solar and cnc projects – make a connection and sign up for a forum if you havent by now: see my previous videos also on heliostat for any notes I didnt place here.I recently put “non quartz” in the title.  Basically this means no electronic/computer timing method is used for this heliostat to track the sun.   A quartz crystal is used to keep the accurate timing of these devices, and was/is used alot in clocks/watches and many electronic devices today.  Many good heliostats actually use electronic timing, but this project is for one without timing.
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