I have been wanting to update the Sun Tracking / Heliostat program to a 32-bit micro controller for some time now. Thus far, I had been waiting for the 32-bit Arduino duo to be released, but no one seems to know when it will be available for purchase. In the mean time, I’ve managed to get the program running on the leaflabs Maple micro controller http://leaflabs.com/devices/maple/.
The main reason I’ve gone to the effort to move to a 32-bit board is because a 32-bit micro controller is capable of doing double precision math. This means that I can use a much more accurate sun position algorithm. Also, many of the other calculations (i.e. calculating the altitude and azimuth of the heliostat) will introduce negligible error. The error caused by the calculations on the Arduino aren’t much of a concern for sun tracking, but for a heliostat, they can be rather significant when the light is being reflected over a long distance. For example, a heliostat aiming at a target 50 meters from the heliostat could be roughly half meter off of its mark.
Some other benefits of the Maple board are that it has 39 I/O pins (vs. the Arduino Uno’s 14) and 16 Analog pins (vs. the Arduino’s 6). Additionally it has 128KB of Flash memory, which is 4 times more than the Arduino’s 32KB. This is quite nice considering that I seem to be running low on all of these things on the Arduino.
I have posted the program along with information on how to use it on the forums, so check out the below link to learn more.
Let me know if you have any suggestions. Thanks!