Our Lab team was responsible for designing and constructing a mechanism that rotates a solar panel towards the highest light intensity.

I coded the entire Arduino program, which had to read in analog input from the potentiometer, & voltage changes from the photoresistor. It also had to output and control both a stepper motor and a DC motor.

By translating the changes in resistance of the photoresistor, and recording them across a 180° sweep in 10° increments, I could find the highest relative light intensity. I used the stepper motor to control the photo sensor. Then I would command the DC motor to turn to the correct position by live-reading input from the potentiometer, creating a closed-loop control system, albeit a basic one. The system had a ±10° precision.

We were only given a few instructions and just 6 components we were allowed to use. These were:

  1. 5V stepper motor
  2. 5V DC motor
  3. 2″x2″ photovoltaic Cell
  4. 180° rotary potentiometer
  5. Photoresistor
  6. Arduino Uno & Motorshield
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