With the global growth of solar technologies, the general public is beginning to utilize these efficient power sources in their everyday lives. In response, the NMSU Solar team is developing a product to help the enthusiasts and businesses that fuel this green movement. The NMSU Solar team is developing an affordable, standalone digital solar tracker that can be mounted to any device (e.g. solar panels, parabolic dish, etc.). The digital solar tracker is being designed to fit the needs of price conscious businesses and the abilities of hobbyists wanting to build their own personal tracker. The device utilizes a digital clock chip for the date and time, a simple magnetometer as a digital compass, and an accelerometer to detect the acceleration of gravity to locate the sun by its geographical location. Once the system has its target face within a few degrees of being normal to the sun, it employs a quadrant-photo-diode to precisely calculate the sun’s direction. By coupling the system with two multiplexers, an Arduino board, and an X-Bee chip, the system can be remotely controlled and monitored from a single command post up to a mile away. The use of the Arduino’s 10 bit resolution analog-to-digital converter allows the unit to have a remote DAQ system capable of reading temperatures, pressures, and power from the solar device. The results can be sent back to a computer for data logging or monitoring. Because these components are in water resistant housing with a small battery and a 10 watt solar panel, the system can give years of service. This basic design is an effective tool for large businesses or a “must have” upgrade for the enthusiast looking to gain every ounce of power from existing solar panels. By releasing the code and design to the public after its final development, the NMSU Solar team hopes to aid in the sustainability of a power hungry world.

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