• Sun Tracker

    • Is it possible to mount 4 pyreliometers plus an extra sun sensor?
      • Yes. Normally 4 of these side-mounted sensors is the maximum, however we are able to make an extension on one pyrheliometer mount for the extra sun-sensor.

    • How much power is needed for the 2AP?
      • The power use of the 2AP itself is about 1.5 A to 2 Amps. (internal fuse is 3 Amps slow)

    • What power supply is needed when heaters are used?
      • The power use of the 2AP itself is about 1.5 A to 2 Amps. (Internal fuse is 3 Amps slow)

        Part number for the 24V heater kit is: 12136346.
        This kit contains two 50 Watt heaters.
        So the current for these heaters is 4.2 A (at 24V), fuse is 5 A slow blow.

        If we add up the total power we have:
        5A (heaters) + 3.15 (2AP)= 8.15 A

        Normal conditions:
        4.2 A (heaters) + 1.25A (2AP) = 5.5 A normal

        Therefore a 5 Amp power supply will not survive very long.
        We recommend to take a power supply that can deliver the 8.15 A. (when heaters are used)

    • Does the 2AP work autonomously?
      • The 2AP works fully autonomously, after the setup. Setup is done in combination with a PC. (Entering Longitude, Latitude etc.) Indeed a data logger is needed to collect data from the sensors, but this logger has no (hardware) connection with the 2AP.

    • Can the tracker be connected to a PC at 30 m distance?
      • To connect the 2AP with a PC for communication, a 3-wire cable is used (or 2 wires plus shield) as described on page 5 of the manual.
        Advised is a shielded cable, where the shield can be the ground connection.

        • On the 2AP side the wires are connected to the communication board.
        • On the PC side a 9 or 25 pin Sub D connector is used for the serial port.

        This cable length can be 30 meter. We can supply this cable, but it can be bought "around the corner".

        The communication software is included with the 2AP.

    • Why does the COM port of my Pentium not address the 2AP like my old 4.86?
      • The CMD and sun tracker software will work on COM1 or COM2 only, specified as the first parameter after the program name in the command line. Make sure the 2AP is connected to one of these two ports. Problems can also occur if another program has taken over the COM port and will not give it up. Also, some Compaq computers have non-standard COM ports, which the CMD and sun tracker programs cannot communicate through. The solution for this problem could be found in a simple add-on card with a standard extra serial port, if it can be set as COM 1 or 2.

    • What is the range of the temperature?
      • The temperature range for the 2AP tracker is:

        Standard temp range: 0 - 50 degrees Celsius
        With cold cover: -20 - 50 degrees Celsius
        With cold cover and heater -50 - 50 Degrees Celsius

        Normally the heater is built in, in the factory. However we can supply you with a kit plus instructions to do it yourself.

    • What is the accuracy of the 2AP tracker in combination with a sun sensor?
      • The 2AP has the following errors:

        • Time
        • Setup (leveling)
        • Calculation (algorithm according to Michailsky error max. is 0.025 degree)
        • Mechanical (BD = 0.09 and GD =0.045 degree max.)

        The first 2 are user controlled and the last 2 are fixed.

        Assuming that the leveling is done optimal the only error remaining that can be corrected is time. If we assume that the clock is reset every 1,000,000 seconds (11.5 days) there will be an expected error of 5 seconds. If we assume that the sun rotates 360 degrees in 24 hour then RMS 0.72 * 5 seconds = an actual time error of 3.6 seconds. For a period of 11.5 days the total time error contribution is 0.015 degrees (the diameter of the solar disk is 0.25 degrees). Per year this would result in 0.5 degree.

        If this time correction and the check on leveling are done on a regular interval there is no need for a sun sensor. If however this interval can or will not made, the sun sensor will correct for both (leveling and time).

        The sun sensor is normally used for first checking the tilt error. Assuming that there is sunshine for at least 2 full days over the full day. This information is stored in an internal log file and used to correct (in combination with PC). Over this period the user has to correct time. (if more than 2 weeks). After this initial run and correction for tilt, the sun sensor is used for time correction. This means that optimal accuracy is maintained without user (time) correction. This means that the 2AP is within specs the whole year without intervention.

        Please note that the sensors used on the 2AP also need maintenance on a regular base (drying cartridge and dirt on domes).

        Better than giving an error in percentage we would like to show the benefit of not having to correct to clock. The 2AP error in degrees can be calculated as percentage of 360 degrees, but the error in sensor reading depends on the type of sensor.

    • Is there a compensation for temperature drift?
      • The controller board has a temperature compensated oscillator module for the microprocessor. While power is applied the firmware keeps accurate time and updates the real time clock (which is not very accurate) every 8 hours.

        We enter a room temperature correction, which compensates for initial calibration of the oscillator module. The oscillator module can drift up to ±11 ppm over the 0 °C to 70 °C temperature range. The module can also drift up to ±2 ppm in a year.

        The temperature drift is different for each oscillator so cannot be compensated for in firmware.

    • Is compensation for pressure variations needed?
      • The air pressure that is required should be an average value for the site the instrument is operated. It does not need to be updated over time. The meaning of it is to correct for (a small) optical shift due to atmospheric pressure. A normal value depends of course on the heath of operation. A value of 1000 mBar is typical for sea level.

    • Is there a way to fix a tracker via remote PC?
      • You can try the following:
        If you send the command “CO”, the 2AP will cold start. This means ignore all present settings and start without using any previous (possibly wrong) settings.

        If you then start the sun tracker program, it will start up with the message “”recovering from cold start””

        Then longitude and latitude etc. will be recovered from the .ini file, the time and date of course cannot be stored and has to be entered again. If no further error message is given, the 2AP is most likely operational again.

        This could solve the problem, if not please contact us and we will discuss further options.

    • Why is the altitude limited to 2000 m?
      • The 2AP BD altitude specification (2000m) is limited by the CE and CSA (Canadian Standards Association) recommendation for main power board design. CSA recommends that AC boards have certain spacings between the board tracings for various elevation (pressures). As the pressure decreases there is more probability for arcing when the wires are close. Unfortunately there is not enough room internally, in the 2AP BD, to increase the size of this board (to make the spacings bigger).

        The best solution is to sell/quote a 2AP Gear Drive with 24VDC, as this would eliminate the altitude restrictions associated with high voltage AC.

    • How many (CHP 1) pyrheliometers can be mounted?
      • Standard one CHP 1 mount is included. An extra mounting clamp can be added on top of this CHP 1 mounting. The same can be done on the other side. So standard, 4 CHP 1’s is possible.

        The SOLYS Gear Drive can easily handle more, but for mounting more instruments (e.g. 8 pyrheliometers) a larger mounting plate is required.

    • What about the pointing accuracy?
      • Pointing accuracy is better than 0.02°, when active tracking, under all conditions.

    • Can the PMO-6 be mounted?
      • Yes, like on the SOLYS 2 a special mounting clamp is available for the PMO-6.

    • Is there any altitude limit in this as in 2AP?
      • The power supplies used in the SOLYS have EN60950-1 approvals. This means approved up to 5000m. If higher altitudes are required we can check or test if this is feasible.

    • How long takes the night time rewinding?
      • It takes a few minutes for the SOLYS to return to its home position. Then the SOLYS goes to sleep mode (for power reduction).

    • Are the Zenith/Azimuth Positions of tracker available in log file?
      • Yes, both the Solar Zenith and Azimuth positions and the SOLYS motor Zenith and Azimuth positions are available in the log file.

    • What is the power requirement for AC and DC?
      • The power requirement is for both AC and DC is 25 Watt during operation and 13 Watt at night. For the SOLYS “night” is from ~ 5 minutes after sunset to ~ 5 minutes before sunrise.

        When used in cold climates, the heater switches on to keep the interior above -20°C

        This is switched automatically and only used when powered from AC.

        The cold cover can be used to reduce the required heating power.

    • Is there any option for Sun sensor, can we remove from tracker?
      • The Sun Sensor is supplied as standard with the SOLYS Gear Drive. It can be removed (or not mounted) then the SOLYS will follow the sun based on its internal calculation.

        This is normally accurate enough, but does not correct for any misalignment or unstable mounting.

    • How well does the SOLYS work in salty air that is close to the ocean?
      • Like our radiometers, the SOLYS’s are made of anodised aluminium. Until now we did not see any effect on the functioning of the trackers that are mounted on the sea shore.

        The SOLYS has in addition to the radiometers a paint coating to further protect it.

    • Do you recommend the SOLYS Gear Drive in polar conditions?
      • Absolutely! Great care has been put in extending the temperature range and minimising the possible disturbance from dry air (ESD) to make the SOLYS Gear Drive suitable for this climate.