of our hard work had paid off.
Six months after graduation, I borrowed the
solar tracker from WVU Tech’s Electrical Engineering
department and made several modifications. I
recessed the microprocessor inside the base with a
glass cover plate to protect it from dust (Figure 9).
I added a power connector and voltage regulator, so
that the tracker could be powered from a wall wart
(for repeated indoor demonstrations and resulting
lack of solar charging). I made the bug eye’s arm
retractable for ease of transit and storage. And
finally, I sanded, stained, and polyurethaned the solar
tracker for a high gloss shine. If this device was going
to be my legacy at WVU Tech, I wanted it not only
to work but also look nice (Figure 10)!
I have come a long way in my pursuit of
robotic/electronic knowledge, and I realize that
I have merely scratched the surface. For every
success that I enjoy, there have been many
hundreds of miserable failures. If you are new to
electronics and have an intense desire to learn, then
DO NOT GIVE UP — EVER!!! After years of midnight
tinkering and scores of mind-numbing boring books, I
am finally starting to get this stuff. New and wonderful
possibilities are presenting themselves to me, and it is
an amazing feeling!
If you are interested in building a solar tracker of
your own, visit www.nutsvolts.com for block diagrams,
wiring diagrams, schematics, datasheets, parts lists, and
code. Feel free to contact me at samuelaaronward
@ gmail.com. NV
■ FIGURE 9. Glass cover plate over recessed BS2p40
Solar Tracker Video
West Virginia Robotics Club
West Virginia University Institute of Technology
■ FIGURE 10. Finished Solar Tracker after some modifications
in January 2009.
August 2009 27