Solar tracking (1 Viewer)

Jan 27, 2018
2,710
2,179
Northampton
Funster No
52,151
MH
Rapido & Bongone
Went to MH show at NEC yesterday and picked up some info on a solar tracker. The Designer was not there at the time i was, so talked to missus no in depth questions or answers she was used to talking to people that weren't aware of advantages of tilting (yes a British one man band). Basicaly its floor mounted for portable solar panels (not included). At £479 its not cheap and I would have a few questions but not looked at their website. So www.nagonicdesign.com
 
OP
OP
the1andonly
Jan 27, 2018
2,710
2,179
Northampton
Funster No
52,151
MH
Rapido & Bongone
But does it use more juice chasing the sun than it generates by always facing it?
No
long answer no it uses self generated power to move. Other tracker owners have measured and calculated stating "it is worth it".
I didnt speak to the designer,"you seem to know more that most people coming here" was the answer to one of my questions. " not bloody difficult" was my thought, but didnt say. the web site does not answer the questions i would ask. I think it follows a set pattern and does not take sensor information to move. I don't know if it set the correct tilt according to sun position or guesswork or even consult this table or ap.
It did look compact packed
 

rwg

Sep 7, 2021
240
544
Funster No
84,021
MH
Benivan 120
Exp
Since 2021
One issue is that you only get an extra 40% to 50% power over the course of the day by tracking over what you would get by sloping the panel and pointing it south. On the cost side of things, it would probably be more economical just to buy a second portable panel (which will double your power), and if you have storage for one relatively slim portable panel, it's likely that a second will slot in nicely next to it.

cheers,

Robin
 
OP
OP
the1andonly
Jan 27, 2018
2,710
2,179
Northampton
Funster No
52,151
MH
Rapido & Bongone
One issue is that you only get an extra 40% to 50% power over the course of the day by tracking over what you would get by sloping the panel and pointing it south. On the cost side of things, it would probably be more economical just to buy a second portable panel (which will double your power), and if you have storage for one relatively slim portable panel, it's likely that a second will slot in nicely next to it.

cheers,

Robin
Price wise totally agree just checked on ebay £150 for 160w the tracker £500

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Aug 10, 2012
847
915
cambridge
Funster No
22,344
MH
Globecar
Exp
since2001
I talked with the designer/owner , nice chap, dedicated and keen…..
But for me it’s basically flawed , just buy a second panel
No moving parts to fail, no high cost, nothing to assemble and a 1/3 of the cost
If I were him, I wouldn’t go on Dragons Den with his idea….. it’s not a business that I can invest in and I’m out
ps. it’s not a new idea, I saw this 5 years ago by another ‘inventor’
pity…. I wanted it to be viable
 
Jan 1, 2019
762
1,427
Pembrokeshire
Funster No
57,780
MH
Hymer B704 PL
Exp
Since 2017
I am waiting for a system where I can attach a solar panel to my redundant satellite dish, that will rotate through the day making the most of the sun.
I am sure that an engineer will be along soon with a conversion kit that will make this happen. It has got to be financially viable.
 

MisterB

LIFE MEMBER
Feb 25, 2018
6,097
13,661
Essex
Funster No
52,564
MH
Adria 670 SLT
Exp
enough to know i shouldnt touch things i know nothing about ....
I am waiting for a system where I can attach a solar panel to my redundant satellite dish, that will rotate through the day making the most of the sun.
I am sure that an engineer will be along soon with a conversion kit that will make this happen. It has got to be financially viable.
They're already 'out there', as are simple solar trackers - try YouTube search!
 
Oct 29, 2016
4,532
53,749
Surrey
Funster No
45,842
MH
Carthago C Tourer
Exp
Motor Homing 5 years, caravan previously
Vanbitz were selling roof mounted tracking solar systems years ago, by a major brand, they were expensive, and I don't think the take up was that great back then.
Cant remember the Panel wattage either but not that big I guess.
LES
 
Last edited:
Mar 30, 2022
1,545
1,489
Funster No
87,744
MH
Swift Suntor 590RL
Vanbitz were selling roof mounted tracking solar systems years ago, by a major brand, they were expensive, and I don't think the take up was that great back then.
Cant remember the Panel wattage either but not that big I guess.
LES
They still do.
Below from Vanbitz's web site

"We keep a range of solar panels, rigid, semi-flexible and flexible, we even offer a fully automatic, self-tracking solar panel that in tests has proven to be up to 5 times more efficient"

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Clive Mott

Funster
Nov 12, 2012
288
476
New Milton
Funster No
23,657
MH
Concorde Charisma
Exp
Since 1972
If you have the space on the roof then better spend the cash on more glass based solar real estate.
 
Jan 26, 2017
3,500
11,869
Mid Suffolk.
Funster No
47,068
MH
Autosleeper Inca
Exp
Eight Years and 28,000 Miles.
Decent panels don't necessarily need sunlight to produce power, they should work well on a bright day, ours mounted flat on the roof keep both of our batteries topped up even on a rainy day.
 
May 8, 2016
1,685
82,713
silver coast, portugal
Funster No
42,972
MH
C Class: 7 years
Exp
Boatie for 20 years
They use tracking arrays (not portable) a lot on Portugal, where the sun is more intense.

Tracking is usually controlled by a GPS receiver, I believe. Gets the coordinates & time, works out the sun's position at that given time, then hope the wind doesn't blow the blessed things over.

Thet seem to be quite popular as fixed arrays. Most m/h owners use yacht wind turbines
 
Last edited:
May 7, 2017
1,980
2,306
Suffolk
Funster No
48,544
MH
2017 Chausson 718XLB 180
Exp
20 years
But does it use more juice chasing the sun than it generates by always facing it?
Mine did !! It was so well fitted it took out the rear Skylight when it turned the first time,I think the fitter got a boll---ing🥴
 
Sep 17, 2017
5,647
10,557
Birmingham, UK
Funster No
50,575
MH
A-Class
Exp
2017
My dad (retired, too much free time) played with making solar trackers for a while. He's got a 50w panel to power their small compressor fridge when they go camping.

He tried light sensing trackers, GPS with fun maths and multiple Health Robinson mechanisms. In the end he's the panel on a slope adjustable rack that you roughly set from a little pointer on the side. It then rotates an arbitrary amount on a simple lazy Susan type arrangement a few degrees every 30 mins with a servo and a microcontroller with a real time clock. He says it gets about 40% more power than just laying the panel flat.

He did try a more complex two axis tracker so it would lean back in the middle of the day. But he needed to input lots of data to set it up and calibrate it each time. It didn't give him much more power and was far more faff and less reliable. He also tried more accurate rotation angle calculations. But if you're camping in England in the summer, the differences weren't worth the complexity in the code.

His arrangement just sits on the grass next to the tent with a control box in a tiny waterproof snack box. It's battery lasts a few weeks. Power wires going back to the battery in the tent.

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Feb 19, 2018
5,085
86,613
EAST ANGLIA
Funster No
52,484
MH
Murvi Morello
Exp
Since 1975
I'm sure I saw a Funster with a tracking solar panel on the roof of his M/H at Drax last year. I was very envious and I thought it was a brilliant idea, scratched my head for months on how to attach one to my redundant TV scanner, in the end I gave up, bought myself a portable panel and removed the scanner. The van height is now 6" lower. Yet another triumph for my KISS philosophy :Grin:
 
Jan 1, 2019
762
1,427
Pembrokeshire
Funster No
57,780
MH
Hymer B704 PL
Exp
Since 2017
Took a picture of these panels in Portugal on a moveable structure

76147630-66EE-4A04-B968-AC99229280E3.jpeg FF6B7825-2B15-445B-A867-1EAFC97BB3BC.jpeg
 
Sep 17, 2017
5,647
10,557
Birmingham, UK
Funster No
50,575
MH
A-Class
Exp
2017
Took a picture of these panels in Portugal on a moveable structure

View attachment 721714 View attachment 721715
These appear to be single axis. They are at a fixed vertical angle and rotate around the base through the day. They probably don't get optimal output in the midday sun, but they get more in the morning and evening when power generation is more needed.
 
Dec 2, 2019
3,658
7,901
Amersham
Funster No
67,145
MH
van conversion
Exp
Since 2019
These appear to be single axis. They are at a fixed vertical angle and rotate around the base through the day. They probably don't get optimal output in the midday sun, but they get more in the morning and evening when power generation is more needed.
It’s probably a manual adjustment for the season. I have a ground mount array, that has provision for seasonal tilt. After a year, I gave up on changing the angle, and left it for winter optimum angle. The total harvest it’s negligible for my effort. The east west tracking is where the most advantage exists.
 

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