Solar ChumAlong – Solar Charger With Built-In Sun Tracking System

Posted on Feb 10 2009 - 3:40pm by Gadget King

Solar ChumAlong

For a solar charger to operate at peak efficiency, it always needs to be oriented towards the sun. So instead of just sitting there, pointed in the wrong direction while the sun slowly progresses across the sky, the SOLAR ChumAlong (chum?) continually re-orients itself so it’s always pointing at the brightest point in the sky. This is accomplished with four optical sensors, and results in a 30%-50% increase in efficiency over conventional, stationary solar chargers.

And while the SOLAR ChumAlong looks kind of flimsy, it’s actually designed to fold-up for easy transport, and can be setup in just a few minutes without any tools, making it a perfect addition to your camping kit. You can get it from Edmund Scientific’s for $399.00, but keep in mind that price doesn’t include the 12V rechargeable battery that’s required for operation.

Check out the video of the solar ChumAlong after the break.


2 Comments so far. Feel free to join this conversation.

  1. Scroobious Pip February 10, 2009 at 4:03 pm -

    So once you subtract the energy consumed on orienting the panel from the energy generated by the solar panel, do you actually come out ahead? I saw something similar to this done on a very large scale using hydrolic stands that consumed zero energy…

  2. Dave March 10, 2009 at 3:21 pm -

    ChumAlong only draws ~5-10ma of current during sampling of ambient light. When positioning, it draws ~150ma for only a few brief seconds to position the panel. During cloudy skies or after dusk, it shuts down and won’t wakeup and position the panel until there is sufficient light, ie. sunlight. Very efficient with minimal power drains on the battery being charged.

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