Hobbys, electronics, this must be the right forum.
I obviously have way to much time on my hands.
I think I have spent about 100 hours playing with my home made solar panel and several different tracker circuits and drives.
I used to say I was too cheap to by new so I used old parts, Now I am GREEN 'cause I "re-purpose" my components.
Other than the solar cells themselves and the motor for the linear actuator everything came from my junk boxes and my shop.
The complicated circuit mounted on the panel tracks back to the east in the morning by itself. The last picture is of two VERY simple trackers that track west only and have to be manually reset to the east. One is encapsulated the other isn't. 3 parts and an old headphone plug. I got the circuits from RedRock circuits http://www.redrok.com/electron.htm
. If I was building this for anything other than a time killer until we leave on our 4 month trip, I would buy one of his PCB kits.
They both use the power of the panel to move itself, the motor only draws 100ma when moving, the simple tracking controller uses nothing, the h-bridge circuit uses 12 ma at rest. The two way tracker will move east earlier in the morning if it is attached to a 9v battery, but I haven't gotten a rechargable battery yet. The charge controllers blocking diode keeps it from drawing power from the house battery.
It won't move until the panel puts out enough juice faced away from the sun which is about 8:30 this time of year. Actually early enough to get good power output anyway.
I know, what a waste of time!
Sorry to hijack your forum, there just aren't that many electronics geeks anymore. Most people on forums get confused by electronics if they have to replace the battery in their cell phone.