Robotic Solar Charger Adjusts Itself for Optimal Light
This way the solar charger generates maximum power at all times.
By Eric Doyle, TechWeekEurope - Filed Aug 21, 2013

GadgetPower has launched the GP1200 Robotic Solar Generator (RSG), a portable solar powered charging unit which automatically tracks the sun for optimum power conversion rates.

The company is now seeking distributors for its generator which uses a combination of sensors and astronomical statistics to ensure the RSG’s compact solar panel. is always angled to harvest the most solar energy possible.

Jamie Clary, founder of GadgetPower, said, "Portable solar power cells have to be constantly adjusted to maximise the conversion of light into power, especially under UK weather conditions. I desinged the RSG so it can be turned on and left to do its job without constant intervention by the user."

The core of the RSG is a 2.5W solar panel connected to a dual-purpose 12V, 1.2Ah/20h battery. The battery’s key role is to store the harvested energy but it also powers the system’s robotics. When it powers up, the system automatically seeks the sun, adjusting its vertical and horizontal orientation to find the best settings to generate maximum power. This process repeats if the sun becomes obscured or at dawn.

After this calibration, the system rotates horizontally at a fixed speed of one degree every four minutes to follow the sun. In the vertical plane, the sun’s “motion” appears not to be so regular as it rises and sets. To allow for seasonal variances in the sun’s height above the horizon, the RSG recalibrates its vertical position every hour.

According to Clary, this is enough to minimise the use of battery power to adjust the panel, while maximising the charge obtained.

A three-colour LED lets the user know how the device is performing: whether it is activated, whether it is ‘calibrated’ and, by blinking red through blue to green, how much charge is in the battery. When the lamp glows continuous green, the battery is fully charged, and the magnetically-attached panel can be removed and placed on another battery base unit to charge it up while the original battery is in use.

The current unit can provide sufficient power from one day’s sunshine to charge a smartphone twice or, using a 12v DC to AC inverter, it can power a laptop for two hours, GadgetPower claimed. Clary added that the units are especially useful in remote areas where a conventional power supply is not available.

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