Tracking Solar Brightness with a Homemade Sun Logger

The Sun Logger, a data logging device, combines several components we’ve used in previous Weekend Projects. You may recognize the light-sensitive photoresistor (Optical Tremolo Box) and the Arduino Uno microcontroller (Touchless 3D Tracking Interface). These parts, when combined with a 74AHC125 Level Shifter and SD card socket mounted on a homemade “shield,” will record the levels of light shining down on your project box. That data, recorded every 15 seconds to the SD card, can be exported later to any popular spreadsheet software and graphed, giving you a visual representation of light changes over time. This data could aid in knowing where best to plant a garden, or simply to understand changes of light intensity throughout the seasons in your micro-climate.

And while this project is readymade for recording levels of sunlight, the Arduino has a total of six analog inputs (labeled A0 – A5) and could easily record other variables. For example temperature, motion, or barometric pressure. Makers looking for a mid-level Arduino build, or knowledgeable coders looking to solder together their first homemade shield, the Sun Logger is a great project to build!

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28 thoughts on “Tracking Solar Brightness with a Homemade Sun Logger

  1. That was a great video! You said what to do, you said why to do it and you showed how to do it. Wonderful job. I look forward to more of the same.

  2. I coordinate garden activities for my son’s school and this will be a great project for kids to study sunlight patterns. Even if someone outside the school has to build the device (hard to tell if the teachers can work the construction into the students’ schedule), the students will get something out of studying the data. Can’t wait!

    1. That sounds wonderful ameyring. Keep me posted if you do find someone to build the device and coordinate with the students on tracking solar movements and intensity – it’d be great to get some localized data and input. Good luck!

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I'm an artist & maker. A lifelong biblioholic, and advocate for all-things geekathon. Home is Long Island City, Queens, which I consider the greatest place on Earth. 5-year former Resident of Flux Factory, co-organizer for World Maker Faire (NYC), and blogger all over the net. Howdy!

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