2AP Sun Tracker

  • All-weather construction
  • Wide range of mountings
  • Many payload configurations
  • Computer interface provides programmable positioning mode
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2AP Sun Tracker

The 2AP tracker is an all-weather and reliable tracking and positioning instrument. It is used to accurately point small and medium sized payloads, either as a dedicated sun tracker or as a computer based positioner. The 2AP incorporates two stepper motors controlled by an on-board micro-computer. After configuration as sun tracker by a host personal computer only occasional checks of the internal clock are required.

The optional Sun Sensor kit provides active sun tracking capability for indefinite unattended operation.

The 2AP has a battery back-up for automatic restart after temporary power outages. When fitted with the optional Pointing and Shading Ball Assembly the 2AP provides mountings for up to three shaded pyranometers and four pyrheliometers.

Designed for use in a variety of applications and environments.

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Specifications

Pointing accuracy < 0.1° passive tracking / < 0.02° active tracking (with optional sun sensor)
Payload 65 Kg
Power supply 24 VDC / 115 VAC / 230 VAC 50/60Hz
Operational temperature range 0 °C to +50 °C; with optional cold cover: -20 °C to +50 °C; and with optional heater and cold cover: -50 °C to +50 °C
Mounting base Flat base plate
Dimensions 42 x 26 x 38 cm / 30 kg
Communication interface RS232 and Win2AP PC-software
Transmission type Worm and bevel gears
Power consumption 50 W (150 W with optional heating)

FAQ

  • 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.

      Is your question still unanswered? Contact Support
  • 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 your question still unanswered? Contact Support
  • 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 your question still unanswered? Contact Support
  • 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.

      Is your question still unanswered? Contact Support
  • 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.

      Is your question still unanswered? Contact Support
  • 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)

      Is your question still unanswered? Contact Support
  • 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)

      Is your question still unanswered? Contact Support
  • 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.

      Is your question still unanswered? Contact Support
  • 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.

      Is your question still unanswered? Contact Support
  • 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 your question still unanswered? Contact Support
  • 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.

      Is your question still unanswered? Contact Support
  • 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.

      Is your question still unanswered? Contact Support

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