Helio Trackers

AFTER you've done your research and concluded your experiments, it is time to prepare for the science fair. Ask specific questions about preparing for a science fair, including how to set up your display board, how to prepare a presentation, etc. (Please post questions about selecting a project or conducting your experiment by posting in the appropriate "area of science" forum.)

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Helio Trackers

Postby Raina Untermeyer » Sat Apr 20, 2013 10:30 am

Okay, so I'm a 14 year old student who plans on doing a Helio Tracker, I've seen the one here and was inspired to do it, although I do not have any knowledge on how to get started on it. Please help me, this project is due in a month and I guess I rushed into this without further analysis.
Raina Untermeyer
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2013 10:14 am
Occupation: Student
Project Question: "Can you please explain how does the tubing and the Helio Tracker work fully and how can I make it better or improvise parts that will make it better?"
Project Due Date: Next Week
Project Status: I am just starting

Re: Helio Trackers

Postby theborg » Mon Apr 22, 2013 7:36 pm

Raina Untermeyer,

Welcome to Science Buddies and thanks for your question. I would start by finding out as much about the original design as I could. If you look up the abstract for the original designers science fair entry, you will find a few words about issues he had with his design. You may be able to identify something you'd like to work on and improve. You can find the abstract here: http://www.usc.edu/CSSF/History/2009/Projects/S0217.pdf

This seems like a very technical challenge. You will need to understand phase changes and how to apply that to the placement and movement of a mechanical piston...just to get you started.
I hope this helps.

theborg
----------
"As the circle of light increases, so does the circumference of darkness around it."
~ Albert Einstein
theborg
Moderator
 
Posts: 238
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:26 pm
Occupation: US Air Force Space & Missile Operations
Project Question: "To explain all nature is too difficult a task for any one man. 'Tis much better to do a little with certainty and leave the rest for others that come after you, than to explain all things by conjecture without making sure of anything." - Sir Isaac Newton
Project Due Date: N/A
Project Status: Not applicable

Re: Helio Trackers

Postby Raina Untermeyer » Wed May 08, 2013 8:55 pm

theborg wrote:Raina Untermeyer,

Welcome to Science Buddies and thanks for your question. I would start by finding out as much about the original design as I could. If you look up the abstract for the original designers science fair entry, you will find a few words about issues he had with his design. You may be able to identify something you'd like to work on and improve. You can find the abstract here: http://www.usc.edu/CSSF/History/2009/Projects/S0217.pdf

This seems like a very technical challenge. You will need to understand phase changes and how to apply that to the placement and movement of a mechanical piston...just to get you started.


----------------------------------

Oh yes thank you! This has given me an idea on what to do now. Can I please ask, if I will need a photovoltaic panel for this? If so, what wattage do you prefer me to use? Please reply :)
Raina Untermeyer
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2013 10:14 am
Occupation: Student
Project Question: "Can you please explain how does the tubing and the Helio Tracker work fully and how can I make it better or improvise parts that will make it better?"
Project Due Date: Next Week
Project Status: I am just starting

Re: Helio Trackers

Postby theborg » Mon May 20, 2013 11:17 pm

Sorry for the delay in response. From what I can tell from pictures is a solar panel isnt required for the tracking device. Rather, the tracker moves with the sun due to the heating of fluid that exerts pressure on pistons that move the device in the right way. It looks to me that the solar panel is the thing that the robot sunflower is designed to keep pointed toward the sun. As such, it's size is not specifically part of the tracker.
I hope this helps.

theborg
----------
"As the circle of light increases, so does the circumference of darkness around it."
~ Albert Einstein
theborg
Moderator
 
Posts: 238
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:26 pm
Occupation: US Air Force Space & Missile Operations
Project Question: "To explain all nature is too difficult a task for any one man. 'Tis much better to do a little with certainty and leave the rest for others that come after you, than to explain all things by conjecture without making sure of anything." - Sir Isaac Newton
Project Due Date: N/A
Project Status: Not applicable

Re: Helio Trackers

Postby Raina Untermeyer » Sun May 26, 2013 2:35 am

Oh I see, thank you! I have to ask, will the alchohol with 70% instead of 91% suffice?
Raina Untermeyer
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2013 10:14 am
Occupation: Student
Project Question: "Can you please explain how does the tubing and the Helio Tracker work fully and how can I make it better or improvise parts that will make it better?"
Project Due Date: Next Week
Project Status: I am just starting

Re: Helio Trackers

Postby theborg » Mon May 27, 2013 12:48 am

It appears to me that the evaporation properties is a key design factor. A 70% solution will not evaporate quite as easily, therefore you will have to determine if the temp required to turn it into a gas and exert pressure on the pistons can be reached by reflecting sunlight onto the vessel holding the solution.
I hope this helps.

theborg
----------
"As the circle of light increases, so does the circumference of darkness around it."
~ Albert Einstein
theborg
Moderator
 
Posts: 238
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:26 pm
Occupation: US Air Force Space & Missile Operations
Project Question: "To explain all nature is too difficult a task for any one man. 'Tis much better to do a little with certainty and leave the rest for others that come after you, than to explain all things by conjecture without making sure of anything." - Sir Isaac Newton
Project Due Date: N/A
Project Status: Not applicable

Re: Helio Trackers

Postby Raina Untermeyer » Tue May 28, 2013 1:40 am

Oh I see... by any chance do you know how the pistons will work and how it will actually move the head of the device? I am quite intrigued and have no clue how to attach the tubes to make it move.
Raina Untermeyer
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2013 10:14 am
Occupation: Student
Project Question: "Can you please explain how does the tubing and the Helio Tracker work fully and how can I make it better or improvise parts that will make it better?"
Project Due Date: Next Week
Project Status: I am just starting

Re: Helio Trackers

Postby theborg » Wed May 29, 2013 2:40 pm

Unfortunately, it is difficult to see how the plumbing was constructed. But, it occures to me that at each control node, there is a vessel holding a fluid that is set at the focus point of reflectors designed to heat the fluid into a gas. When that gas expands, it pushes on some sort of piston. This piston would need to be attached underneath the device on the opposite side from the control node. For example, if you had 4 nodes (N, S, E, W), as the sun moves across the sky from E to W, it would warm the E node up first causing a piston to push up on the W side causing the device to pitch toward the E node, bringing the face of the device into an optimal sun angle. You would need to have the head of the device able to pivot in any direction. One side of the piston would need to be attached to a hard point, such as the stand below the pivot point so that it can have something to push against. The other side would be mounted, as previously mentioned, below the opposite control node. Again, this is how I'd build it. It's unclear from the pictures how the original designer built his machine.
I hope this helps.

theborg
----------
"As the circle of light increases, so does the circumference of darkness around it."
~ Albert Einstein
theborg
Moderator
 
Posts: 238
Joined: Mon Oct 03, 2011 12:26 pm
Occupation: US Air Force Space & Missile Operations
Project Question: "To explain all nature is too difficult a task for any one man. 'Tis much better to do a little with certainty and leave the rest for others that come after you, than to explain all things by conjecture without making sure of anything." - Sir Isaac Newton
Project Due Date: N/A
Project Status: Not applicable

Re: Helio Trackers

Postby Raina Untermeyer » Wed May 29, 2013 8:28 pm

Thank you! Although I am having difficulties in finding the right tubes, I'm not sure if this device would work as expected :/ I think the tubes are only available somewhere else and not here but I will try to find them and try to do as you said :) Thank you again!
Raina Untermeyer
 
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Apr 20, 2013 10:14 am
Occupation: Student
Project Question: "Can you please explain how does the tubing and the Helio Tracker work fully and how can I make it better or improvise parts that will make it better?"
Project Due Date: Next Week
Project Status: I am just starting


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