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mclark999

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Reply with quote  #11 
Quote:
Originally Posted by stmbtwle
I've tried making a "solar tracker" from those videos and couldn't. Note the wires go UNDER the board (to what?). There's more to it than they're letting on.


I've seen many solar trackers using Arduino as the controller. They are pretty simple to make. That is what I would work with, but then I've been having fun with Arduinos for about a year.

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mclark999

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Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by gbwillson
What about using ball joints, wheel bearings, or universal joints off a junker car or truck? Sure would be heavy duty and likely cheap or free.

Greg in MN



Those are good ideas for the panel. I think the pivot for it will be easy.  The duct itself will have to be able to pivot or twist the same amount. 

Here's one solution. Just pricy.  https://www.grainger.com/product/29RP37?cm_mmc=PPC:+Google+PLA&s_kwcid=AL!2966!3!166596746636!!!g!364014902786!&ef_id=WiHhqQAAAHAc1DWw:20171215155444:s&kwid=productads-adid^166596746636-device^c-plaid^364014902786-sku^29RP37-adType^PLA

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stmbtwle

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Reply with quote  #13 
Re the tracker, I think I'd simply buy one.
https://www.ebay.com/itm/Complete-Electronic-Single-Dual-Axis-Solar-Tracking-Controller-for-Sun-Tracker/281550511818?hash=item418db7deca:m:mBYr3ZYUPDAPI0OD1-HALeA

I don't think I could build it for the price.

As for the collector mount, how about a couple of these? You could run the duct through the center.
https://www.amazon.com/1000-Lb-capacity-Hardware-Turntable-Bearings/dp/B071ZD31Z5/ref=sr_1_1_sspa?ie=UTF8&qid=1513355521&sr=8-1-spons&keywords=lazy+susan+turntable+bearing&psc=1

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Solar is like the wind. It may be free, but putting it to work isn't!
Willie, Tampa Bay
Gordy

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Reply with quote  #14 
If you have a "Pipe Line Supply" near by, consider 8" heavy wall PVC pipe as your duct and pivot. Like in your drawing, run the pipe from the building with an elbow glued to each. The PVC pipes on the collector will need to be sanded a bit to make it rotate easily in the elbow as a swivel joint. I'd grease the joints with petroleum jelly or dielectric grease both are low odor and seem to not dry out. The PVC is sturdy enough to mount bracing to if you need it, and can be wrapped in insulation.
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Gordy,
Minnesota
mclark999

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Reply with quote  #15 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Gordy
If you have a "Pipe Line Supply" near by, consider 8" heavy wall PVC pipe as your duct and pivot. Like in your drawing, run the pipe from the building with an elbow glued to each. The PVC pipes on the collector will need to be sanded a bit to make it rotate easily in the elbow as a swivel joint. I'd grease the joints with petroleum jelly or dielectric grease both are low odor and seem to not dry out. The PVC is sturdy enough to mount bracing to if you need it, and can be wrapped in insulation.


I think this is a fantastic solution. 


I could use one of these at each end with a piece of 8 inch pipe swiveling inside. Not too pricey. 

https://www.homedepot.com/p/DURA-8-in-Schedule-40-PVC-Coupling-SxS-429-080/203218411



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Gordy

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Reply with quote  #16 
I didn't know HD had that big of pipe available, also did not think an elbow would be that much $$$. What I was thinking was an elbow like this, and rigged like in the drawing below.

https://www.homedepot.com/p/Charlotte-Pipe-8-in-PVC-DWV-90-Degree-1-4-Hub-x-Hub-Elbow-PVC-00300-1800/203949945

[charlotte-pipe-elbows-pvc-00300-1800-64_145] collector slip joint.jpg 
What I was thinking, is the same setup on top just flipped over so it is pointing down,




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Gordy,
Minnesota
gbwillson

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Reply with quote  #17 
I think Gordy's PVC solution would work great for the duct connection, though I have my doubts about the pivot action operating smoothly, as all of the weight will be on the lower pivot unless you can somehow rig it so the top pivot has some of the weight. I have an idea on how to do this rattling around in my head when you get that point. Adding bearings or a bushing to the pivots might help ease the movement too. 

Since we are approaching the winter solstice next week is there any way you could chart runtime on a sunny day from now until you shut it down in the spring? Might be helpful to see how much run time you actually achieve with a pivoting unit compared to a stationary unit.

Greg in MN
stmbtwle

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Reply with quote  #18 
A good start but I can see a problem.

You'll have to support the weight of the collector somehow. Otherwise the lower pipe will eventually bend under the weight and bind.

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Solar is like the wind. It may be free, but putting it to work isn't!
Willie, Tampa Bay
stmbtwle

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Reply with quote  #19 
Hmmmmm. I was just reading up on "arduino solar tracker". I never realized it was this simple! (I'll have to build one!)

All the versions I've found so far are "hobby size" and use a servo as an actuator; that would never work with something as heavy as a full-size array or collector, but I think the code could easily be modified to drive a pair of relays, then one could use heavy-duty linear actuators.

Off to the drawing board!

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Solar is like the wind. It may be free, but putting it to work isn't!
Willie, Tampa Bay
mclark999

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Posts: 182
Reply with quote  #20 


That's a better solution than what I was planning. And inexpensive.

So far, it's looking like I could add on the swivel mounts, solar tracking, and swivel ducts for about $100 over the cost of a stationary panel. There's certainly extra labor involved too. I'm encouraged. Thanks for your great ideas everyone.

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Double screen hot air collector
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