Solar tracker project – motor arrived

The motor I ordered has arrived and I’ve incorporated it into the prototype. Here’s how it now looks. Very Heath-Robinson! 🤪

motor operating the lift-and-twist mechanism

There’s still a few problems to solve. Mainly that the motor draws too much current for common and cheap hobby 6V solar panels.

After making the video I poured some water into the milk container to see what it did to the current drawn by the motor. It drew 250mA for only a combined weight to lift of around 500g. Without the water it’s about 100g, needing around 200mA.

Don’t quote me on those figures, they’re very rough and ready.

I’ve emailed the supplier of the motor for options, mentioning the following:

  • The solar panel I have to use can’t deliver the required load current unless it’s really bright sunshine. Besides, at 6V the 12 rpm is too fast.
  • I think a worm drive would work if I could get the final output shaft to rotate at 1rpm or less. Or maybe a pinion and timing belt???
  • Ideally I’d like something that would draw only 100ma under load so maybe an alternative motor would be better (with a worm drive / pinion-timing belt as well)???

Let’s see what they say.

That’s all until the next update 😎

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Mark Ridley is semi-retired and followed a career as a freelance business analyst. He has delivered business requirements resulting in many successful, high-profile projects for the private and public sectors, including the merging of the then Customs & Excise and Inland Revenue Inward Payment Systems into a single integrated system for the new HMRC. He now develops free-to-use online tools for artists and designers, helping them promote their designs on social media.

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