Based on its very nature, solar energy isn’t available 24 hours a day. Making the most of our suns energy requires highly efficient solar cells and advanced sun tracking systems. Sun tracking allows the solar cells to face the strongest sunlight while it is available, so they need to be able to detect the strength of sunlight in different directions to determine the best location for the strongest sunlight. The solar plates must be constantly adjusted to the correct angle and direction by the sun tracker system, which requires a multi-axis motion control system.
Because sun tracker systems are installed in outdoor areas in direct sunlight, the devices in the system needed to be able to withstand harsh environments and have wide operating temperatures. This particular system also required a robust DAQ module to measure voltage from different transmitters and a reliable controller with precise stepping control.
System Description: The ADAM-4117 measures the input voltage signal from the sunlight transmitters to detect the direction of the strongest sunlight then informing the result to PEC-3240. PEC-3240 controls the stepper motors of the sun tracker system. If the different strength of the sunlight is detected between two transmitters, the PEC-3240 will calculate the sunlight strength difference to adjust the stepper motors to find the optimal position of the solar cell module. If there is no difference of the sunlight strength between two transmitters, it means the solar cell module is in the optimal direction of sunlight. The system can keep track of the relative data to adjust the stepper motors to control the angle and position of the solar cell module for getting the best performance.
After implementing the PEC-3240 as the control mechanism for this application, the sun tracker system has operated efficiently and reliably without any breakdowns or downtime. This positioning system outlines the inherent strength and benefits of the PEC-3240, which is suitable for many similar motion control applications. Not only can this Embedded Motion Controller simplify existing system architectures to save costs, but its rugged design provides a very reliable solution. Combined with the Advantech ADAM Remote I/O module, the PEC-3240 offers more flexibility for different system requirements.