DIY Solar Tracking System Inspired by NASA (Parker Solar Probe)

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ChrisGreaves
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DIY Solar Tracking System Inspired by NASA (Parker Solar Probe)

Post by ChrisGreaves »

This YouTube video is, to my mind, and excellent seven-minute presentation.
I get to post in the hardware forum because
(a) It involves no programming (software) and best of all
(b) Does not depend on MSWindows :evilgrin:
Apart from the nauseous shots of zucchini seedlings at the 1m50s mark, the presentation is flawless.

(1) Note that the presentation shows snow on the ground, so this represents a place unlike Western Australia where solar tracking for solar power is not critical
(2) As a programmer I especially like the use of negative logic here, so critical to problem solving. The device works to minimize the impact of sunlight on the detectors. Neat!
Cheers, Chris
P.S. The source reference for this link mentioned that his implementation makes use of the previous owner's motion detector which, when a fox passes through, generates a signal to reset to "face East" during the night.
Cheers, Chris
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HansV
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Re: DIY Solar Tracking System Inspired by NASA (Parker Solar Probe)

Post by HansV »

A very clever idea!
Regards,
Hans

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ChrisGreaves
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Re: DIY Solar Tracking System Inspired by NASA (Parker Solar Probe)

Post by ChrisGreaves »

HansV wrote:
30 Sep 2022, 12:03
A very clever idea!
Indeed. Originally from NASA.
But I have grown fond over the years of tackling an "insurmountable" problem by examining the opposite of the problem. That seems to generate (in my warped mind :grin: ) fresh insights. I think it falls under the heading "thinking outside the box".
In this specific example, instead of pondering 'How can we get into sunlight", the question is reversed and becomes "How can we get out of sunlight".

I think it was a 1968 paper by the legendary Dutch (of course!) Willem Louis van der Poel that introduced me in 1973/74 to the concept of a single-instruction computer, and that "subtraction is a more powerful operator than addition".
That is the first memory I have of thinking "negation can be powerful". If you can subtract then you can subtract twice to get addition, but if you can only add, then you can't negate at all.
At that time I was studying architecture and the theory was that we could use a collection of Nand/Nor gates from the DEC parts handbook and actually BUILD a piece of hardware that could do ANYTHING!
Cheers, Chris
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Graeme
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Re: DIY Solar Tracking System Inspired by NASA (Parker Solar Probe)

Post by Graeme »

Ingenius simplicity!

The NASA Parker Solar Probe is a ground breaking mission too.


Regards

Graeme
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ChrisGreaves
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Re: DIY Solar Tracking System Inspired by NASA (Parker Solar Probe)

Post by ChrisGreaves »

Graeme wrote:
10 Nov 2022, 08:41
The NASA Parker Solar Probe is a ground breaking mission too.
"Mind-blowing", as I read the article.
For one thing, my brain did not evolve to contemplate electro-magnetic fields the way it can contemplate oak-trees or squirrels or rivers. Mister Puzey, in 1962-63 did a pretty good job of helping me to "see" magnetism, but today, still, the closest I can come to see electro-magnetic fields is to think of them like sounds, because I naturally use sounds to speak and to listen.

To that end I think of electro-magmetic fields as waves of varying frequency (in the electro-magnetic spectrum) and amplitude (ditto). And the sun, to me, is a giant electro-magnetic generator, like a rave-group amplified loud-speaker enclosure.

Now, computers I do know about. They run on electricity and use magnetism (well, they did until those ferro-magnetic core memories became just a memory)

So now we have a spacecraft based on computing technology, dipping into the sun's electro-magnetic atmosphere.

How do you keep a computer running in a sea of electro-magnetic waves that might fry circuitry?
And how do you store data and emit it back to Earth while the craft is in a sea of full-of-power - electromagnetic radiation?
Solar Flares, we are told, can knock out power lines 96,000,000 miles away.

(signed) "puzzled" of Bonavista
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