TinyTracker

TinyTracker connections and orientation
Tracking system diagram

At less than 2" square the TinyTracker lives up to its name. The Atmel ATTiny microprocessor applies advanced logic and data filtering techniques to the LED light sensors for controlling any sort of East-West tracking system.

Most people don't know that just like LED's give of light when supplied with the right voltage, they also produce a voltage from receiving light. They're too small to be practical sources of power, but they are a very practical, and economical light detector for use with microcontrollers.

A built-in power regulator provides 5v logic supply voltage from the main motor power suppy, and accepts a wide range of input voltage, up to 36vdc max! Making it perfect for connecting to most 12v or 24v solar power systems. Ultra low power use makes the TinyTracker efficient too. Nominal tracking frequency is 3 minutes. Automatic nighttime detection will reset the unit to an Eastern position.

Here's a link for how to build an enclosure.
We recommend mounting the unit inside clear glass or plastic jar/dome to provide full 180 degree visibility for the LED sensors. Mount the jar sideways to get a clear view through the side. This is easy if you attach a water-tight PVC conduit fitting to the lid, and attach the lid your array. Then the jar just screws down over it. Take care to shade unnecessarily exposed areas with silver paint or foil to avoid creating a little solar oven that will overheat the electronics.

Regardless of what kind of solar tracking application you have (PV, heating or whatever), just mount your enclosed TinyTracker on your solar array, next to the panels so that it faces the same direction as the panels. Try to avoid reflections that can confuse the sensors. The north-east or south-east corner is usually preferred. Connect a motor like one of our linear actuators, and supply dc power, and you've got the best deal possible on a solar tracking system!


Specifications:
Voltage: 35vdc max, 12-30 recommended, up to 60V with separate logic power supply
Tracking Freq: 3 minutes
Max Motor Run: 5 minutes
Sampe Period: 0.5 seconds
Daylight Level: >380 (internal A/D converterter value)
Eastern Return: 10 minute delay

Special versions are available by request (maybe your motor needs a longer run time for return). The TinyTracker may also be re-programmed using a variety of tools available for Atmel microprocessors. The Arduino community provides a wealth of resources for such purposes.