Polar (aka Dip/Tilt) vs. Equatorial Solar Tracking Mounts

Most popular solar tracking mounts that are not of the Azimuth/Altitude variety are what I call the "polar" type (aka dip-tilt).
I've been struggling with how to communicate this issue for quite a while and finally found a way to illustrate the problem using OpenSCAD to draw it in 3d.

New DarkStar Solar Tracker Android Application -- Dark Blue 2.0

Screenshot of android application

We've published version 2.0 of the DarkBlue Android application for use with our Dark Star dual axis solar tracking controller. This version really makes setting up and monitoring the Dark Star controller an easy and fun experience. Installed users should get update notifications through Google Play Store services.
The DarkBlue application uses the smart phone's Bluetooth module to communicate with the Dark Star controller and provides a full featured configuration utility.
The new version features a completely revamped GUI and color scheme.

Dual Axis Astronomical Solar Mega Tracker Video Series

We now have six part video series to introduce the dual axis astronomical solar tracking Mega Tracker. All the the steps in setting up the main axis (most of which is identical for the elevation axis) are shown in full detail.

Solar Tracking and Light Level Settings

Solar tracking light level parameters and tracking event conditions

While the DarkStar dual axis controller features convenient editing of tracking parameters via the DarkBlue Android application, our TinyTracker and Track'n Park controllers also utilize the same advanced tracking parameters (which can be customized with an AVR programmer device). The most important values are the Daylight and Sunlight threshold values which determine when the controller is active and when tracking events actually happen. To help explain these settings we've created this diagram to show how these values are used.

New Temperature Park Trigger Demo - Mega Solar Tracker Controller

One of the things that really gets me excited about the Mega Tracker is the possibilities with the i/o ports located along the right side. The Mega Tracker provides a total of 9 general purpose i/o ports. This video shows a peak at what is possible. The first seven ports have ADC for analog inputs. The last two may be used only for digital i/o.

New UNO Single-Axis Solar Tracking Controller

This March is our 6'th company anniversary, and we are happy to celebrate with the release of our best single-axis solar tracking controller yet:
The UNO.
What the UNO tracker lacks in terms of fancy features it makes up for with a basic robust and user friendly design.
Key features that set the UNO tracker apart:
- twice the current handling capability of our other controllers
- single-axis remote solar sensor
- membrane keypad for easy operation
- ultra-low ambient current usage

Dark Star Solar Tracking Controller - Intro Videos

Dark Blue Android App - Part 1: Features and Parameters

This video introduced the various features and settings available with the DarkBlue app for operating the Dark Star dual axis solar tracking controller.

Dark Blue Android App - Part 2: Connecting and Editing Parameters

A Guide to Solar Tracking

Solar Trackers have been around a long time, but there are a lot of misconceptions about them and most people don't know about their practical applications. More people than ever before are using solar power, and while grid-tied solar installations greatly outnumber off-grid solar, the number of off-grid users is still steadily growing. Depending on your situation, solar trackers have a number of possible benefits. Choosing the right kind of tracking mount is important. Unfortunately there aren't a lot of packaged tracking mount solutions.

Is Off-Grid Solar cost effective for you?

Compound Parabolic Evacuated Tube Heater Experiment - Part 1

I thought I'd share a couple pictures of my latest water heating experiment. These evacuated tubes can be found fairly cheap, but making a manifold for a whole bunch of them is complicated and expensive. With just two evacuated tubes a couple simple Tee joints will do. If you've never played with these heat tubes, they really are amazing. Just like a glass thermos they insulate the central part from outside, and they have special low emissivity coating as well to make sure that they trap all incident heat radiation.


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