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Self locking gears for parabolic solar concentrator

  1. Aug 31, 2014 #1
    Hello everyone, my question is: Would be ok to use a self locking gear like a worm gear for a solar tracker system on a 2 ton parabolic mirror dish? Would it be necessary some kind of brake system, or the worm gear would be enough?

    If so, are there any type of self locking gears besides the worm gear?. The idea to use a self locking gear is to stop the dish at a certain position and angle, so that the dish is perpendicular to the sun, and the lock would stop the inertial load (parabolic dish) from back driving the system.

    Also I have been thinking about the garage door opener systems, does anyone know how the system is locked and cannot be opened by simply pushing or pulling the door? Is the worm gear the thing that make it impossible to open the door by force?

    If you have had experience in positioning systems like big satellite dishes, antennae or parabolic solar concentrators (Solar trackers) what would be your suggestion to drive the system (actuators and transmission mechanism).

    Thank you in advance for your time.

  2. jcsd
  3. Sep 1, 2014 #2


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    Science Advisor

    Welcome to PF.
    Some worm gears are self locking, others not, the type of lubricant makes a difference.
    A worm gear will lock if the reduction ratio is high enough.

    Ball screws are low friction and so good for positioning. But they are certainly not self locking.

    The first thing I would do is to mount the dish so it is balanced in declination and right ascension on an equatorial mount.
    Continuously track in RA during the day. Elevation can be done by hand each few days.
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