The purpose of this was to design and implement a two-axis solar tracking system utilizing the National Instruments C-Rio real time controller. In order to accomplish this a prototype was modeled in CAD. This prototype used two 12 V DC motors to change a solar panel's rotation and tilt based on feedback data from three cadmium sulfide photoresistors. This configuration was chosen for its ability to create both a left-right rotational and an up/down tilt differential. In Addition this approach uses National Instruments Labview to control a solar tracking system. Using Labview add uniqueness to this project by adding a graphical programming approach instead of conventional text based coding.
Solar collection data was taken for seven days. During the energy collection performed on the first day and the second day the sensitivity was calibrated for outdoor conditions. The results have shown that a 28% increase in energy collected with solar tracking, however due to the energy demands of C- Rio controller and motors the net energy gains were less than a stationary collector.
This project has resulted in a working solar tracking prototype. With a few design modifications an upgrade to this system may prove useful in future research. With the growing complexity of technology, interest in mechatronics will continue to develop requiring further research will be necessary. Therefore, this project provides Purdue University with demonstration prototype in the up and coming field of mechatronics.
Mechatronics, Solar Tracking
Date of this Version
Mechanical Engineering Technology
Month of Graduation
Year of Graduation
Master of Science
Head of Graduate Program
Dr. Gary Bertoline
Advisor 1 or Chair of Committee
Professor Henry Zhang
Committee Member 1
Professor Mark French
Committee Member 2
Professor Brad Harriger
Applied Mechanics Commons, Computer-Aided Engineering and Design Commons, Controls and Control Theory Commons, Electrical and Electronics Commons, Manufacturing Commons, Other Mechanical Engineering Commons, Signal Processing Commons