Below are my comments on your reply.
I know your a busy man like the rest of us so I say lets work on adding one new feature at a time and see how that goes. I know others have had the main code up and running for 2 years now with no problems so we know the base sun tracking code is working just fine.
I say forget about any Iphone & Android apps for now since I think your right about it probably driving you nuts when it comes to trying to get it working on all devices and software versions without issues. Plus as Alobo says Blynk is a software platform that has already created a Iphone and Android app that allows you to connect to Arduino boards as long as your Arduino is wirelessly connected to the net which is probably unlikely for a sun tracker but still it worth checking out.
I plan on just adding a low power Sharp Memory LCD to the tracker with a simple button interface that will allow you to enter the GPS coordinates which you can source from a phone, gps tracker, or the internet or a built in GPS receiver. I see no real big benefit of having a custom application for entering GPS coordinates when setting up the tracker but that's just my personal opinion.
What do you think?
---------------------------------------------------------------Add code for GPS support. -
I honestly have never even used a GPS with an Arduino, but I suspect that it would probably only take maybe 10 minutes to add the code for it, so why not have it? The code may only exist as something that needs to be uncommented to work, but that would at least be good enough for some rough experimenting. Actually, if anyone has a GPS wired up maybe you can help me test the code.I have a Adafruit Ultimate GPS receiver that I can use to help test your code. If it's really easy to add support for a GPS Receivers Data Output then lets add it for quick, automatic system GPS coordinate population.
I plan on making portable units that are not permanent so having automatic location entry via GPS would be really nice. Having the option to also enter it manually via a LCD screen and a couple capacities touch buttons is a good backup for the unlikely event that the GPS system fails. A lot preppers buy our systems just to be prepared for the collapse of the financial system, government, or electricity grid, and any of those situations could cause the loss of the GPS system for civilian use should the government want to shut it down. These situations would make renewable energy production even more valuable and important.
If you add GPS support to the code I can and will test it for you and provide detailed testing data for you to review. Let me know what you think.
Add code for Compass support. -
Realistically, there is a good chance this will never happen, but like the GPS code I might just stick it in the code commented out so that people can play around with it if they feel like it. It would definitely be cool, but I'm not sure if the compass modules are reliable enough or not.I've been testing a digital compass with a different solar tracking setup and it can be tricky when you have them close to DC motor magnets since they will throw off the compass readings.
But what I find interesting is that they are using these digital compass chips in quad copters to provide the direction of the travel accuratly even though the compass is surround by 4 heavy duty DC motors no more than 12 inches apart that are running at high RPM while the quad copter is flying around. So I think there is a digital compass solution that will probably work but more testing is required to find the right digital compass chip for the job.
I have been using a old Honeywell compass and its OK but have a newer compass on hand that I have not had the time to test yet. I picked this compass because guys are successfully using them in their custom quadcopter builds without problems. Here is the compass I have on hand along with a few Adafruit Ultimate GPS modules: https://www.adafruit.com/products/1746
If you add the code for compass support I will do testing on this also and provide detailed testing reports.
I'm using worm gear drive motors for the dual axis movement and they are very nice because they only require power when the motor is moving and zero power when stopped. This setup has tons of power and holding power when not moving. I see no backlash from my little testing.
I have attached some images of the prototype motor setup I'm testing and happy with so far.