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Angle measurement

  1. Aug 31, 2012 #1
    I am looking for a digital device that is able to measure the angle of a rotating device.

    It will be used to align rotating solar cells with the sun. These cells are attached to a flat panel, that is fixed in the center with an axis, so only circular movement is possible. The panel needs to rotate from East to West (approximately) to optimize energy production. The position of the sun can be calculated, but the position of the solar cells need to be measured.

    I tried to use a fluxgate compass first, but this device is not accurate enough and needs to much time to stabilize.

    So what I'm looking for is an alternative to measure the angle between the solar cells and the axis.

    Any suggestions?

  2. jcsd
  3. Aug 31, 2012 #2


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    It seems to me your options are a rotary encoder or digital level. I would use a rotary encoder and calibrate your zero with respect to whatever vertical or horizontal datum you want.
  4. Aug 31, 2012 #3
    Thanks for your reply.

    I was thinking about this too at first. The problem is, the (fixed, in the ground) axis diameter is 0.3m and the solar panels are rotating around this axis. The panels are floating in water (the system is placed in a swimming pool), so the panels are sliding up and down a bit on the axis. This makes the attachment of a rotary encoder very difficult and fragile.
  5. Sep 1, 2012 #4
    How about a simple potentiometer? Calibrate your system to correlate a range of angular displacement to the change in resistance.
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