BLOG 16 – Summer Time Heat is coming

With summer comes higher outside temperatures in most locations.  When operating the 12PRSAT Dual Axis rotor system, the ambient outside temperature can become an operational issue if not managed properly.  The positive features of an enclosure made from aluminum is that it is lightweight, sturdy and is easy to machine in the manufacturing process.  The negative to using an aluminum enclosure is that it has very high solar radiation absorption characteristics.  What this means is that the aluminum absorbs most of the heat energy from the sun and the aluminum gets very hot.  On a midsummer afternoon here in Northern California I have measured the enclosure at greater than 140 degrees F with a non-contact temp meter.  This can be a problem for the 12PRSAT Dual Axis Rotor System as it contains temperature sensitive electronics.  The Single Axis products do not have such a problem as there are no active electronics in the rotor head.

What this all means to the operator is that the internal electronics which includes the motor drivers and sensor logic along with a micro-controller and voltage regulators will get very hot.  The system will get hot enough that tracking operations can become erratic and fail as the higher current parts shut down to try and protect themselves.  To keep these failure from happening, the system will disable tracking operations and go into a non-operational mode to help protect the electronics when it senses the temp is too high.

To help mediate the problem with the aluminum enclosures absorbing excess energy and overheating the electronics, we have a simple thermal shield kit that can be used to shield the lower motor unit from the direct sunlight.  This simple shade will extend your operating time on those warm summer days.  You can also turn the system off when not actively tracking, allowing the electronics to not self-generate heat.

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