solar cookers international network (home)

 

solar oven trackers

tracstar makes two solar oven trackers. the smaller version of the self-powered tracker described elsewhere can be used for solar ovens advantageously.

since that tracker is somewhat expensive and over designed for most solar oven users including hopeful deployment of solar ovens in the third world, tracstar has designed an even simpler version. with this system the solar oven sits on a lazy susan turntable and a motor with a wheel turns the oven and turntable. a small solar panel powers the motor. the oven must be placed on a flat smooth surface large enough that the wheel can walk around an arc with the solar oven in the center. trackstar will build these units for $45 currently. if we get enough demand we will try to get the price down from there.

the use of trackers for solar ovens permits unattended operation. this permits the oven to be left "on" so that energy can be stored for later use, for prolonged cooking as for some dishes and canning, or even arranged for the cooker to start cooking at a later time. a tracker also allows the use of a thermostat so the oven can be kept at a constant temperature.

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solar oven tracker update

currently the above is all that is available, however, there has been an increase in interest in these trackers lately and we are getting low on the parts we use to make them. consequently we are thinking ahead. for the next version we will probably make a small stand and include the platform for the stove which currently the purchaser must supply. this way the tracker can be used on any surface and will be a little easier to use not being flat on the ground. we will also probably purchase a better gear motor. this will add some to the cost but greatly improve the product and be usable "out of the box."

many people have purchased other controllers than the simplist so here is a complete description of the self-powered controllers we make. each controller uses a small panel that is made up of 3 or 4 solar cells to produce a nominal 1.5 volts.

  • skylight tracker controller: this controller uses 4 panels. it will orient to the sun no matter what. however, it will rotate 360 degrees in the summer when returning at sunrise, so is only suitable for applications not requiring any wiring. it is reasonably accurate at about 1-2 degrees. it is also reasonably sensitive and will track, depending on time of day, down to about 20 % sunshine. since it has the most small panels it is the most expensive and costs $68.31.
  • self-powered returning pv tracker controller: this controller only uses three panels and instead of going 360 degrees reverses to get back to the east in the morning so it can be used with systems that have wires. under very unusual conditions it can loose the sun. its travel must be restricted so it will only rotate through an azimuth angle of about 210 degrees. otherwise it is pretty much the same as above and costs $54.78
  • self-powered tracker controller: this is the same as the above returning controller but with only two panels. it will find and track the sun as long as the sun is within about 110 degrees of the direction of the tracker. it costs $46.88.
  • solar oven controller: this controller only uses one panel made up of smaller cells. it will only track forward. it will find the sun up to about 110 degrees behind the sun. it is not quite as sensitive or accurate as the above controllers but is entirely adequate for solar oven use. it is usually only sold with a solar oven tracker but its cost is $21.36

these are made by hand in limited quantity using the best quality cells.

small power systems
74550 dobie lane
covelo, ca 95428

800-972-7179
fax 707-983-6525

sps@pacific.net
http://www.pacificsites.com/~sps/

 

this document is published on the solar cooking archive at http://solarcooking.org/tracker1.htm. for questions or comments, contact webmaster@solarcooking.org

 

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