Author Topic: Linear Actuators  (Read 1255 times)


  • New Member
  • *
  • Posts: 5
    • View Profile
Linear Actuators
« on: August 27, 2012, 04:21:49 AM »
To raise 4 solar panels on a caravan roof I will I think need a linear actuator  with sensors or a linear stepper.
Does anyone have any idea's about this ?
How will this fit into the Sun tracker code ?
If there is any way I can use a standard motor I would quite happily do so, however I think a slim line profile is needed on the roof.
Also when the panels return to their final rest position for travelling they will need to be clamped down I think…
I have ordered a whole new load of parts for the tracker on

and hope to build this next week……..


  • Jr. Member
  • **
  • Posts: 71
    • View Profile
Re: Linear Actuators
« Reply #1 on: August 27, 2012, 07:36:26 AM »
I posted on another thread of yours.

I am currently building a machine for mounting on a motorhome based around the Oyster satellite tracker body. Here you can see it both up and down:

It does not clamp down, it simply lowers its profile when driving. I would remove the satellite dish and then mount a solar panel  on the back of the arm (opposite side to the dish). Inside it uses a worm drive for up/down movement and gears for moving horizontally. They are driven by what look like small wiper motors (standard dc motors with 210:1 gearing) but these motors actually have an internal hall sensor to measure their rotation for accurate tracking. It is very heavily geared so that wind (and even pushing it hard) will not move the panel when it is up.

Using this along with a compass and gps it is possible to completely automatically track the sun with no human input. It could even be wired into the ignition a motorhome (or trailer lights of a caravan) so that it could automatically return to the home position when the vehicle's engine is running.