|Final Assembly & Raising|
Our neighbor was kind enough to bring over his worktruck on the weekend and help us set everything up on the foundation. The mast had to be lifted into place and bolted down, and then the frame mounted on top.
We put tar on the bottom of the base to help protect it from the water. Not that 5/8" of steel is going to rust through anytime soon, but it's probably a good idea. :-)
And there it's finally bolted down! One of the holes didn't quite fit over the bolt, so the hole had to be ground a little bigger. Other than that, everything went pretty smoothly.
The hinge tube and bearings were all mounted, so once the frame and everything was lifted into position, that 2" steel pin was slid in and held everything in place.
Next up was installing the panels. They don't weigh that much, but they're bulky and you wouldn't want to be carrying one up a ladder. We used moving blankets as padding, and then slid them up the ladder and into place. There are 8 bolts that hold each panel in place. The holes in the panels are eliptical, so you have a little room to move things around and get them all even.
Here's a view from the back. Notice the electric linear actuator; the original intention was to use that to drive the array. As it turned out, it wasn't really up to the job as that whole thing is pretty heavy. I think the biggest problem was the slop introduced by it. In wild windstorms, the array would wobble an uncomfortable ammount because of the slop in the gears :-). The temporary solution was to replace it with a 2" steel pipe to lock the array in place in the noon-day position.
And there it is, the grand finaly! Right after it powered up and came online. That actually ended up being the day before I had to go back to school, so the project halted here for a few months. The tracking control and actuator was added later. So onto the next page...