Thanks Steve for kickstarting my imaginative juices again....
Actually, once the D3 acquires the correct satellite, it responds to signal level to peak. This is fundamental feedback and an array of photocells, or thermistors could provide a simple feedback signal.
Some of the same concepts are used in doplar radar/fire control radar/tracking radar systems. Phase shift can be direction and signal level (ampiitude) can be distance to target. I spent a few years making those gadgets work.
A couple of simple operational amplifiers and an array of off the shelf photocells or thermister could produce the signal. Where it could be injected into the D3 I don't know, since I have not looked at the actual circuits, but the D3 uses signal level to peak, so it has a feedback loop available.
I know there are commercial versions of systems for positioning solar arrays available, but you might come up with a new system. I come from a long line of people who just tinker with stuff like that.
Good luck and keep the discussion going. Some of us retired folks still believe that there is always a 'new' way to accomplish a task....
Scott, Take a look at the Wattsun web page. That system uses a luminance tracker based on a CPLD chip that could be re-purposed to replace the D3/2 controller output. That controller was designed by an engineer in Albuquerque.
Thanks, guys. This project is still in the works, I just got sidetracked by an automatic chicken door project...
The solar burner has been tested with hand aiming, and there is no question it can produce intense heat almost instantly. So once locked on to the sun's signal, by whatever means, if it can track it from sunrise to sunset, there is a tremendous energy potential here so long is it is not overcast.
That LED3x Solar tracker project could be just the ticket. I am sure there is a way some sunlight could be funneled into something like the LED3x, without cooking it. It may just be a matter of mounting the sensor out of harms way, and focusing a small mirror (polished stainless steel, aluminum, etc) on it, which is located in the focal point of the parabola.
If the circuit is designed for linear actuators using limit switches, it doesn't seem that it would be too difficult to configure a Datastorm with limit switches. Then drive the dc motors as needed, as if they were linear actuators.
I was hoping to use a D3 and a Datastorm, but using a Datastorm mount only, and adding new electronics & controls, could be the way to go, ultimately.
Be sure and let us all know when you getting something functional. It sounds like a fun project.
-------------------- Don Marr WWW.OREGONRV.NET 541-683-5361 See where I am Country Coach Concept 40' F1 - D3|7000s|99W|LinkSys wireless with 1000mw WiFi amp & Ext. antenna Posts: 3413 | From: Eugene, OR | Registered: Jun 2004
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Thanks! Will do. I want that LED3x circuit that agkirk posted for Christmas. It seems to me that should be my starting point on the control system. At that price, I could ruin a half dozen of them in the course of tinkering, before even approaching the used price of a D3. And if I get comfortable with the control system, then I can easily port it over to control photovoltaic panels, solar water panels, and other projects. Also, there is an entire community of people using that controller to track the sun, with a variety of mounts. Good stuff.