Adjusting the tilt angle of my solar array--->novel method proposed

Adjusting the tilt angle of my solar array--->novel method proposed because my PV Arrays are on a 21' high steel pole.

Instead of using the adjustment bar that came with the system I propose to use certain parts of a ratcheting load binder. Once ,if properly positioned , it would not have to be disconnected.Thus I could ratchet it into the ideal seasonal sun-angle position.

1598-ratchet-chain-binder-5-16-x-3-8_3_640.jpg

7-27-201273709PM.jpg

Is this workable?

The normal way would require ,at minimum, two persons plus scaffolding.


IMG_0157-1.jpg

GGK

Comments

  • vtmapsvtmaps Solar Expert Posts: 3,741 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Adjusting the tilt angle of my solar array--->novel method proposed

    What is the point of having such tall poles? --vtMaps
    4 X 235watt Samsung, Midnite ePanel, Outback VFX3524 FM60 & mate, 4 Interstate L16, trimetric, Honda eu2000i
  • mtdocmtdoc Solar Expert Posts: 600 ✭✭
    Re: Adjusting the tilt angle of my solar array--->novel method proposed
    vtmaps wrote: »
    What is the point of having such tall poles? --vtMaps

    To increase the wind's leverage on the arrays...:p

    Seriously though - interesting idea to use a turnbuckle. How would you attach it to the support arm?

    I suppose it's useful range would depend on the balance point of your pole mount hardware.
  • Gitchee Gumee KidGitchee Gumee Kid Registered Users Posts: 19
    Re: Adjusting the tilt angle of my solar array--->novel method proposed
    vtmaps wrote: »
    What is the point of having such tall poles? --vtMaps
    vtmaps,

    Due to the topography and the abundance of trees about 150' to the south

    GGK
  • Ralph DayRalph Day Solar Expert Posts: 1,000 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Adjusting the tilt angle of my solar array--->novel method proposed

    I could see how the turnbuckle would work, but it's still 20 feet off the ground. Maybe a long pole to slip over the handle, then walk from side to side on the ground to work it (what about as angle changes?) I think you're going to end up going up a ladder to change the angle. If so, maybe attach a piece of square tubing to the pole for a safe anchor for the ladder. Good luck whatever you do.

    Ralph
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,183 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Adjusting the tilt angle of my solar array--->novel method proposed

    I think a +- 20 foot adjustment lever is needed, that is anchored to the bottom of the pole. All adjusting can then be done from the ground...
     
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  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Adjusting the tilt angle of my solar array--->novel method proposed

    How much lateral travel do you have on a ratcheting binder? I am guessing only a couple of inches. Is that enough to move the array far enough?

    T.
  • n3qikn3qik Solar Expert Posts: 741 ✭✭
    Re: Adjusting the tilt angle of my solar array--->novel method proposed

    I would look at a C Band Dish Actuator. The better ones are wind rated for 10-12 foot dishes. No more ladders/poles. Just flip a switch to move it in/out.
  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,436 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Adjusting the tilt angle of my solar array--->novel method proposed

    Weren't 10' dishes mesh, so that they would cast off much of the wind? Similar area of PV would have more exposure to the wind I would think.

    Tony
  • RCinFLARCinFLA Solar Expert Posts: 1,477 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Adjusting the tilt angle of my solar array--->novel method proposed

    I would also suggest dish actuator (acme screw drives). These are very strong. They come in 18", 24" and 36" arm length so you can pick what stroke you need. (likely 18" stroke will do.) Typical motor voltage is 48 vdc. Many have hall effect interruptor for keeping track of relative position, some have resistive potentiometer although pots are unreliable as they are subject to weather and aging.
  • n3qikn3qik Solar Expert Posts: 741 ✭✭
    Re: Adjusting the tilt angle of my solar array--->novel method proposed

    The holes where not that big. The 10' I had, had 1/4" size holes. Plus, on a dish, it had to move 150+ Deg. On a solar array, only need to move 50 Deg. so the mounting point can be moved farther out from the pivot point.

    Another plus would be to set the array close to 90 deg. during any snow.
  • mtdocmtdoc Solar Expert Posts: 600 ✭✭
    Re: Adjusting the tilt angle of my solar array--->novel method proposed

    That's a great idea to use a satellite dish actuator. It looks like they can be had for about $100. I have a Wattsun tracker with 1-axis traking. The 2nd axis tracking with manual control of tilt would have cost another $500 which did not seem worth the small increase in PV harvest. Besides I can - with some effort - manually adjust the tilt - but it's really a 2 person job. It's not easy to drag myself (or my wife!) out there during a snow storm to do the job.

    It would be great to have a way to easily adjust tilt for seasonal changes and especially snow shedding. I don't want to spend the $700 required for a retrograde addition of 2nd axis tracking from Wattsun.

    Has anyone used a satellite actuator to adjust tilt on a Wattsun tracker or other pole mount ? How hard is it to wire up to the controller? Any recommended brands?

    Thanks for any info and for the great idea!
  • n3qikn3qik Solar Expert Posts: 741 ✭✭
    Re: Adjusting the tilt angle of my solar array--->novel method proposed

    The $ 100.00 ones maybe too light duty.

    As for a controller, just need a on-off-on, momentary, center off, DPDT switch.
  • Gitchee Gumee KidGitchee Gumee Kid Registered Users Posts: 19
    Re: Adjusting the tilt angle of my solar array--->novel method proposed

    Gentlemen,

    Your suggestion of the actuator is very intriguing .I was unaware of their existence.( being " A New Guy " )

    Now if some you wannabe engineers out there could come up with some design ideas I would be eternally grateful.

    GGK
  • Dave AngeliniDave Angelini Solar Expert Posts: 6,355 ✭✭✭✭✭
    Re: Adjusting the tilt angle of my solar array--->novel method proposed

    Did power fab spec the mount for that height? I would just add more panels and not do anything to compromise the strength of the system, with pole heights that you require.
    "we go where power lines don't" Sierra Nevada mountain area
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  • n3qikn3qik Solar Expert Posts: 741 ✭✭
    Re: Adjusting the tilt angle of my solar array--->novel method proposed

    Will need to know the length of the tubular support bar.

    Min to Max tilt angles.

    If I scale this out, guessing it should be 23" center to center of the bolts.



    Attachment not found.
  • sawmillsawmill Solar Expert Posts: 93 ✭✭✭
    Re: Adjusting the tilt angle of my solar array--->novel method proposed

    I had a much smaller array (since replaced) than yours that used a linear actuator to adjust the tilt angle. Like n3qik stated this is an ideal way to prevent snow build up by tilting to 90 deg. All that is needed is a 24 to 48 volt supply and a DPDT switch. To be honest I have quit adjusting for the seasons because of the small gain realized. I do use E & W trackers on some of the arrays.

    If you decide to go the actuator route, a heavy duty unit will be necessary. I have about 20 used actuators picked up from scrap yards and no two are alike. Some use a hard rubber gland for the acme screw to rotate in, some use metal on metal and others use tiny ball bearings in a screw type race.

    When I used an actuator to adjust tilt on my first tracking array, it was the hard rubber or composite type and after a couple of years this partially stripped and would allow the tilt to change in strong gusts. With your height one might want to consider safety cables to prevent the array from slamming into the pole in the event something gave way with the actuator.
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