Heliostat Design Version 2.0: Page 1


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Here is a set of heliostat plans which I have used in the past. It is a decent starting point if you want to build one of your own, but I certainly wouldn’t call it the final version.

Update: I’m currently working on a new and improved heliostat design. It’s located on this site’s forums. Here is the link.
http://cerebralmeltdown.com/forum/index.php?topic=357.0

Note: The electronics for this heliostat is on the Arduino Sun Tracking / Heliostat Electronics Control System page and the program for it is on the Arduino Sun Tracking / Heliostat Control Program page.

Range of Motion

This heliostat uses a leadscrew lever arm arrangement for both the altitude and azimuth rotation. Because of the way this system works, there is a limit to its range of motion. I would say that the azimuth range is maxed out at about -70 and +70 degrees (I limited mine to -60 and +60) and the altitude has a range of about -5 to +80 degrees.

This works well for where I live and for the altitudes and azimuths of the targets I’m using. In other parts of the world though this range might be too narrow since the path of the sun can vary greatly depending on your location.

To check to see if this range of motion is too constricting for your situation, you can experiment with the program on the page Heliostat Range of Movement for Chosen Target Simulation.

Note: The Arduino Sun Tracker program won’t even try to move the heliostat to a certain position if the required azimuth is out of range (the same isn’t true about the altitude). This means that if there is an issue with range that only occurs either early in the morning or late in the day, then the program will simply wait until the sun moves to a position where the heliostat can successfully reflect the light to the chosen target.

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Sketchup Model

I uploaded a Sketchup model of this design to the Sketchup 3D warehouse. You can download it by clicking the link below.

If you don’t have Sketchup, don’t worry because it is 100% free to download and install. It’s easy to use too.

Heliostat Design Version 2.0: Page 1 >> Page 2 >> Page 3 >> Page 4 >> Page 5

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