Linear actuators

garynappi Registered Users Posts: 99 ✭✭
I have my recently installed solar panel currently set for the winter sun angle, and due to its inconvenient location, getting up there to change the angle as the sun changes position is a bit of a pain. So, I'm thinking that I want to install a linear actuator to do it for me. 

The way I implemented / redesigned the panel mount it would be a simple matter to get it setup... really just run the two wires and screw the actuator to the two aluminum 1" square support tubing pieces I have added on the panel mount.

The actuator I'm looking at does not have need for limit switches as it has a remote control like a car alarm.

Has anyone here implemented linear actuators in their system?

Are they reliable and worth the trouble?


  • BB.
    BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 33,404 admin
    One our posters here has recommended:
    24V DC motors supplied as a package from Array Technologies i.e. The Wattsun

    In this old thread from 2009:

    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • garynappi
    garynappi Registered Users Posts: 99 ✭✭
    THANKS Bill, the links helped. This site has GR8 info.

    The statement...

    "More panels beats tracking in all ways except one, if you don't have the space for the extra panels then maybe a tracker might be a solution" is today not entirely all encompassing of the practicality.

    The other reasons tracking for me is a reasonable solution are:

    12 volt Linear (my system is not 24v) actuators are in the $50 range and about half the cost of a second panel, one third considering having to add a mounting bracket to a second panel, also inaccessibility to move the panels easily (in my case being 68 Y/O) is yet another issue. 

    A problem I'm having with actuators is their design (IMO) limitations. I do not want to install limit switches on the panel due to reliability and complexity implementing it issues, and models I've found with limit switches in the base have insufficient length / stroke to cover my summer / optimum / winter settings. 

    Ideally I'd like to find an actuator that has reversible 3 wire, self reversing after actuator stop, or even reverse polarity motors for up / down reversal. 

    I'll likely wind up with a second panel anyway but if I do find an acceptable tracking solution I'll deploy it on both.