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Author Topic: Solar Trackers, DIY, How to.......  (Read 46088 times)
DaveSnafu
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« Reply #15 on: March 06, 2012, 04:22:38 PM »

2 x 3m lengths, support 3 big panels = 60kg, I should think you could load em to 600kg with no probs.
Any way that works is great.........just like the cheapness thats all.
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clockmanFR
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« Reply #16 on: March 06, 2012, 09:05:34 PM »

Back from the steel stockholders yard, and it looks like one tracker steel costs will come in at about 190 for the frame, the frame hinge bar unit and the main mount tube. The main mount tube at 140mm dia and 4mm wall and 3.4m comes in at 46 on its own.

Going to get the second tracker steel tomorrow, (my boys are not at school on Wednesdays so need to get them out, and besides here the guys and office staff at the steel stockholders like to see infant's).

Probably up rate the main hinge box dimensions that everything on the frame sits on, as the hinges will need some good welding to prevent buckling when a strong storm wind is blowing.

Hopefully at the weekend i will post some preliminary drawings.

DaveSnafu, As you say if it works great then....
 In this instance there other factors at play, as the 3m by 4.2 PV Panel platform frame for these trackers is self supporting, and only rigidly supported in the middle with one 18mm dia bolt. I also have to allow for shock loading, say if the actuator breaks in a violent storm and the whole frame is torn backwards and forwards.

stann, I have a UK supplier who can cut me 32off 70mm long ally angle and bottom plates costs will be about 80 for all the panel clamps, i will still need to make a jig for drilling them all. 
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clockmanFR
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« Reply #17 on: March 10, 2012, 11:01:28 AM »

Okay, worked out distance for setting the 2 Solar trackers in the garden so they get every bit of sunlight.

And no shading problems.

Here's  Site Plan, its actually my 'whats under the ground plan' for just the garden.
Probably seen this before, but this is the drawing for my Latitude, which i have set the trackers at 11 meters apart. 


* P3100110a.JPG (109.3 KB, 461x346 - viewed 758 times.)

* P2290094b.JPG (111.6 KB, 461x346 - viewed 758 times.)
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clockmanFR
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« Reply #18 on: March 10, 2012, 11:14:07 AM »

Roughed out preliminary drawings and details of the trackers.

Main Mount assembly into the ground, note the dovetailing of the concrete base.

The tracker main design. Looks like a Centre of Gravity problem, ? May reduce the main pole height and bring it down so C.G is more applicable? Comments?

Adjuster for the seasons of the year.

Details of the pivot points.

Details of the actuator assembly and pivot points, but might change the actuator bottom fixing so it operates on one of the Season Adjuster arms, might keep it more simple. I can not mount the actuator from the main pole as this would foul with the season adjuster.

 


* P3100102a.JPG (75.49 KB, 323x430 - viewed 771 times.)

* P3100103a.JPG (99.38 KB, 369x492 - viewed 763 times.)

* P3100106a.JPG (98.45 KB, 369x492 - viewed 760 times.)

* P3100107a.JPG (95.63 KB, 369x492 - viewed 760 times.)

* P3100109a.JPG (115.31 KB, 369x492 - viewed 751 times.)
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biff
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« Reply #19 on: March 10, 2012, 11:38:39 AM »

Its looking good Clockman,
                         The detail is intresting.i look forward to pics of the actual finished tracker.It certainly looks neat.
                                                                                 Biff
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stannn
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« Reply #20 on: March 10, 2012, 06:47:32 PM »

Hi Clockman
You've been busy and you've certainly got a structure which is difficult to criticise, except for the centre of gravity problem. You could, though, abandon the upper 60 x 60 rectangular hollow section and modify the frame so that each of 4 hinges is attached to a 50 x 30 RHS. Wouldn't it be great if you had rotational dampers to remove any danger when you are servicing the tracker?
If you are thinking about wind loads then 1kN/m2 applied to the PV panels would be a good starting point.
Stan
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clockmanFR
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« Reply #21 on: March 10, 2012, 09:00:20 PM »

Hi stann, good evening biff.

Yes it would have been great to take the 4 hinges straight to the 30 x 50, but its the welding that's the unknown.

When welding up box section there is some serious distortion to the frame, so hence my doing the frame in layers, so to speak. So the 2 60 x 60 box that have the 4 hinges can be constructed individually then bolted up and welded to the next stage, with I hope little distortion/warping problems.

I had to do the Main mount drawings as i should be installing the main pole into its concrete next week. Once its in i then have difficulty welding (MMA) as its along way from a decent 20amp mains power supply.

Rotational dampers? hang on these babies are just getting bolt hinges with a little bit of grease. Cunning plan...I will put the sheep underneath in a small pen, so if the panels fly about abit, hey presto lambs wool landing. Ha Ha. Ba Ba.

Thanks for the wind loadings, gulp!

All but two of my recent design drawings are scrapped as i moved the pole down 270mm from centre, so now about balanced on the correct Centre of Gravity. 

Biff, I will post pics as i build and install.
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« Reply #22 on: March 10, 2012, 11:29:33 PM »

Clockman,

As the owner of a Lorentz tracker I was out 'tending' to mine yesterday. It had obviously 'lost it's memory' so I went out and put it in manual and waited for it to go full west, then full east (thus establishing and checking the limit switches) and coming back to the due south position in stages having established the limits. It has done this once before - it manifests itself in only tracking so far and then stopping for the rest of the day.

At least Lorentz supplied a new boot (FOC as well) for the actuator arm as the original 'rubber' item failed after 3 1/4 years.

Reading your updates with interest.

Regards

Richard
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uber39
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« Reply #23 on: March 11, 2012, 10:08:30 AM »

Hello clockman,
           as someone who has made their own tracking frames, I spent days trying to figure out hinges, ended up working around trailer axles and hubs been up for two years now with no problems. I will try to post pictures as soon as I work out how I'm not the best with technology, but I do have a teenager at home still so we'll see.
         uber39
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clockmanFR
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« Reply #24 on: March 11, 2012, 03:20:09 PM »

linesrg, I was kindly given a copy of the manual for a Lorentz tracker, (thanks ecoG...... )so i have seen how they are bolting the structure together.

I have shifted towards an all metal gear heavy duty actuator that's easily obtainable new at about 125 and is good for 4500N. As i see problems with C & G with the East to West movement, its not much but i reckon the actuator will have to pull up/lift about 30Kg.

uber39, Welcome. Since i am a Hugh piggott wind turbine man, and see his extremely simple methods of rotating pivots in the elements that have stood the test of time. I have adapted his techniques with this design of Trackers, ie, reasonable thick angle iron with a good tolerance hole and a good loose bolt in it with double lock nuts and plenty of stiff grease. Look forward to your picks.
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stannn
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« Reply #25 on: March 11, 2012, 09:24:47 PM »

Hi Clockman
There is something nagging me about the design of the foundation. As you know, the mass of your structure is relatively low. The design load for the foundation is an essentially horizontal wind load on the panels which creates a shear force and a large bending moment at ground level. You have drawn a foundation slab which is large in plan (1250mm x 1250mm approx) but relatively shallow at 700mm. My concern is that, even though the slab must have a mass of 2500kg, it will heel about one lower edge and try to pull out of the ground at the opposite edge (notwithstanding the dovetailing). I would be a lot more comfortable if the foundation were much deeper, albeit with a much-reduced plan area. Then one could be certain that the bending moment would be reacted in the ground by HORIZONTAL opposing bearing loads at the top and at the bottom of the foundation.
Stan
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« Reply #26 on: March 12, 2012, 09:33:02 PM »

what oh stann, Many thanks for your comments keep them coming.

Yes the foundation on paper looks small, but i have manged to drop the main pole nearly 300mm, (new C of G) and my ground/subsoil is heavy as hell, chalk/clay.

I agree with you about the wind trying to topple the foundation, as per the Fieldlines Forum posting link.
So i will have a think about some pile driving in the hole, or dig down in the centre a bit more, but i would rather not as her indoors think its a big enough hole for moles!. 

In general i hate excessive concrete.

Thinking on, i might pile drive 8 steel concrete reinforcing rods at a slight angle into the bottom of the hole and leave a good 300mm of the top in the concrete, I know its not good practice, but i am not digging another hole. I have not done tracker 2's hole yet, so get scribbling?.

I also find that digging my wind turbine guy wire/rope holes, that at 700mm x 700mm the depth is limited to comfortable digging at around 700mm.

So I have 3.5 sheets of ply up in the air.

   
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uber39
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« Reply #27 on: March 13, 2012, 01:41:03 AM »

hello again clockman,
            sorry still trying to workout photo's, as for foundation- put down 150-200mm post holes in the corners and you should be right, thats what we do to hold up monuments in the cemeteries down here, and what the engineer told me to do on mine 
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« Reply #28 on: March 13, 2012, 11:49:16 AM »

Good day Clockman
As I intimated above, I prefer the wind load to be reacted as horizontal bearing loads in the ground, so avoiding being reliant on the mass of the foundation and shearing of the ground. To this end, the ideal concrete foundation would be the shape of the trig points found on the top of our hills but inverted. I would suggest 1000mm wide at the top, 750mm wide at the base and a minimum depth of 1000mm. These widths are roughly in proportion to the 2 reactions.
Of course it could be hollow but that would raise issues with the steel pillar.
Stan
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« Reply #29 on: March 13, 2012, 08:17:27 PM »

uber39, blimey you do big bodies then?  Grin Don't want to meet your clients on a dark wet and windy night?.
Yes, i think you maybe spot on, with 4 corner steel posts driven into the base of my present hole.

stannn, For the first time i will disagree with you on this one, sorry   signofcross , regards the upside down pyramid/trig point. Of Course i will await your, "I told you So".
I can see where you are coming from but with my heavy clay/chalk subsoil ground its getting mass down and locked in to the ground, dovetailed, so if it does move its got a drag a couple of tons of clay etc up with it if it should ever topple over. And at 700mm to 1000mm depth the clay is pretty consistant with its stickiness/glupeyness all year round.

All my buildings around here i have had to use raft foundations for their footings, but what i have noticed over the past 10 years is the actual ground moving. If i bang a stake or steel tube in deep, say 500mm, within a few years its wobbly because of the ground being soft in winter then rock hard in summer.  

Do not fear, number 2 hole will be a 1000mm x 1000mm column going down as far as i can practically dig it, the taper will be achieved naturally, ie, i will not be squaring/vertically up the sides.

I will post a couple of pics of some of my exciting holes and subsoil conditions.  laugh
 
« Last Edit: March 13, 2012, 08:25:09 PM by clockmanFR » Logged

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