Project: Solar panel order

After creating my first solar panel, I showcased it outside of my house. After a while some of my father’s friends liked the idea and needed my help. They had already built the core physical model with mounts for motors, panels etc. but had problems with programming. They had already purchased microcontroller (Arduino) but didn’t know how to program and set up one with the motors, photoresistors, buttons and overall process of movement according to sun position.

The first part I was working on was controlling bigger pack of panels. To be precise, 16 panels all connected and mounted on joint, which was capable of movement in horizontal as well as vertical axis. Now he has 18 panels mounted and is capable of producing up to 4kW. He is using this energy to heat his entire house and boiler in summer as well as winter.

The movement was created using pair of bidirectional DC motors. I was told that the motors were capable of slow movement using 2 simple circuits. To close those circuits, I used couple of 5V relay modules for Arduino. Motors were also built with inbuild limit switch, which clicked when the motors reached their limits. He used 2 pairs of photoresistors which were all divided by a cross.

He also asked me to include buttons for him to manually control the movement. The reason he asked me to do so was that he had some experiences with strong winds and wanted to horizontally adjust the panels so they wouldn’t break. I told him that he should consider having small weather station for measuring wind speed. He told me he was fine with the button setup.

In the next part I was working on a smaller pack of panels I would say 2 or 4. I was contacted few days later after I finished my bigger pack. The person who contacted me just asked for functioning, programmed circuit.

After he came over to me and asked me to do the job I told him I would contact him when the job is finished. I called him that evening and told him that I had built and programmed functioning circuit. He came over next day, we discussed implementing end switches, on and off switch for manual maintenance. I had to implement some basic variables for him to play with when setting up the panels, like sun sensitivity etc.

The program also required some debugging but was repaired soon enough and he took the circuit home and integrated it with his own circuit. I’ve never actually seen his setup but I was told everything was working fine.

So, this was the first time I’ve done something useful for somebody else. It felt great and satisfactory at the same time. I wasn’t taking it as a job but as something I enjoyed.

*Bellow are picture he sent me*