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Advanced (Rotating) Solar Panels

Discussion in 'Suggestions and Feedback' started by gamerfriendly, Jul 26, 2014.

Thread Status:
This last post in this thread was made more than 31 days old.
  1. gamerfriendly Trainee Engineer

    I like that solar panels were added but I think they should also add solar panels that can rotate and face the sun automatically. They would have similar options to rotors too so that you could set a maximum turn distance to prevent it from hitting your ship if it's close enough to do so.

    EDIT: If you have an opinion on this, whether it's in favor or against, please leave a reply. Also, please don't simply "+1" or "-1" say what you think about the idea, what you like AND dislike.
  2. infAl Apprentice Engineer

    I didn't realise the sun moved...?
    In the event that the sun does move, I'd expect that once the devs implement programming you would mount the solar panels to rotors and write a program which adjusted the rotors by determining the maximum energy output of the solar cells. From an engineering perspective, I'd rather have tools to create any system I like rather than a prefabbed unit that can only do one thing.
  3. Floki Apprentice Engineer

    No, but your ship moves...
  4. Wombats Junior Engineer

    It's almost like we already have the tools to make our own....
  5. Mansen Apprentice Engineer

    To some extent - More rotor sizes and aiming spots wouldn't hurt as a whole.
  6. ataaron Apprentice Engineer

    An Option in the rotor settings as simple as [Face Sun]
    would take 5 Minutes to implement
  7. Vivicector Apprentice Engineer

    Have you tried placing solar panels on rotors and adding gyroscope to them? It may work.
  8. Crewman87 Apprentice Engineer

    To me this sounds like something that would come with programming blocks. At least I think that would be a logical thing to do.
  9. Mansen Apprentice Engineer

    Yeah it could certainly be a tie in to those.
  10. gamerfriendly Trainee Engineer

    To everyone who is saying or thinking "just put a solar panel on a rotor" I know that you can place a solar panel onto a rotor but rotors don't automatically rotate them to face the sun while your flying around. We already have this technology today, is it so hard to imagine that we should have it in the future?
  11. SyberSmoke Apprentice Engineer

    There are parts that would be needed to do this. Since the developers are looking to have us make the contractions, we need to beak down the idea into parts.

    1. Two rotors configured with limits. One would be needed for rotation tracking, a second if you want it to fold.

    2. Communication: This is the part that really is missing, parts need to be able to talk to one another so they know orientation and desired orientation. Right now rotors are an absolute, either here or there or in between because the rotor stopped there.

    3. Sensors: The tracking system needs to be able to determine the orientation of the sun relative to the ship. The devs will more then likely make this a new part, a sensor module that can detect or track things. Good for auto bay doors, sun tracking, lots of things.

    4. Proper element grouping: for it to work on a system by system basis, the elements should be segregated from other communication elements. It would suck to have three sensors all tracking something and the rotors spazzing out. This is organizational complexity, right now the UI is...dumb. It just spews everything with out really allowing you to stack, organize, collapse, and tier things. And all things talk to one another equally...this would need to change for player made automation to function better. A least I think so.

    So as you can see of the list a few things are missing. I like the idea...I would love even on my base to just build a pannel aray on rotors, hook it to a sensor and it auto orient. But hey, it will come in time I suppose.
  12. infAl Apprentice Engineer

    Sorry, my mistake. I skimmed the original post and overlooked the part about it being for a ship. I don't tend to think of solar panels as being useful for a ship.

    Solar panels would just be controlled by detecting the power output of the cells. Given a programming interface which supports reading the power output of the cells and setting the rotation of rotors, no sensor would be needed.

    Consider a situation where someone places two solar panels perpendicular to each other on the same rotor. How would a dedicated sun tracking sensor deal with that?
  13. TehRoach Apprentice Engineer

    Should we have another solar panels block with auto rotors that make it automatically face the sun?
    NO! definitely NOT!
    But what would be good and also solve the OP's problem would be some form of light sensor block, programming and/or extra keyboard options.
    ie you could toggle any particular rotor in the control panel to respond to input from the keyboard.
    eg Rotor 1 would spin clock wise while the "up arrow" key is pressed and anti-clockwise when the "down arrow" is pressed, stop when neither is pressed and maybe go into neutral when both are pressed.
    Rotor 2 could then be setup to respond the same way but to the left and right arrows, instead of the up and down ones.
  14. gamerfriendly Trainee Engineer

    I don't mind when people don't agree with me but at least give a reason for your opinion. Simply saying "NO!" doesn't help anyone know why you think this is not a good idea.
  15. HexZyle Trainee Engineer

    He gave you the reason why not.
    He said the task could just as easily be performed by using a rotor, and some programming. It would have the added benefit of not clogging up the G menu, being a customizable size, and the programming is something that is going to be added into the game anyway.
  16. Martinineter Senior Engineer

    But if people agree with you, they shouldn't state why? A '+1' is good enough? But if someone disagrees and clearly states how he would like the problem to be solved, it is insufficient.

  17. TehRoach Apprentice Engineer

    Umm TLDR maybe? :p

    my original post looked more like
    Where I actually agree with you in having the function, only disagree with it being a separate all-in-one device.
  18. waterlimon Senior Engineer

    I hope they implement programming in a way that makes it practical for small tasks and ships of all sizes.

    Eg. not requiring some expensive dedicated computer block (ok maybe if you need extra computing performance to run your AI pilot but not for simple things like rotating solar panels)

    I would just like to have a 'programs' tab in the control panel where you can create them and control the whole ship in any way you like, with ship wide computing time limits.
  19. Leif_The_Head Apprentice Engineer

    Tracking devices in general would be cool, and automated solar panels getting the most out of the sun would be one use, but they also could be used to aim your self-engineered turrets on ships. For that I'd suggest this as an extra block which has a dedicated front (just like cockpits) and then uses 2 rotors (as you use them anyway to hook it up) to face directly what they are set to face.

    -1 for the automated all-in-one Solar Panel, this game is called Space Engineer and not Space Construction worker.
  20. gamerfriendly Trainee Engineer

    1) 'Here is what you could do instead' is not a reason it's an alternative. 'Here is why I think it's a bad idea' is a reason.

    2) You could "just as easily" manually adjust rotors to face the sun? Just as easy as automatic? As for clogging up the G menu, I already have that issue on my large ship. I think they should have the objects hidden if they are in a block group and can still be found by "expanding" the block group and also by using the search bar. Or maybe just an option to "hide" and "show hidden." Also, this is more for moving ships rather than stations so the solar panels (at least on my ships) are going to be on the ship itself and not on some large platform controlled by one ore two rotors. To get the same functionality I would need additional rotors and blocks for each solar panel which would increase the weight of my ship. So now I would have twice as many rotors as solar panels...this would clog my G menu even more.

    EDIT: @HexZyle
  21. gamerfriendly Trainee Engineer

    I hadn't thought of it that way. But you're right people should explain their reasons regardless of whether they like it or not. Maybe there's something about a suggestion that they don't like but as a whole it's a good idea so they just +1 it. That's not really helping the idea be the best it could be.
  22. SyberSmoke Apprentice Engineer

    But that is not how space engineers has been developed really. If you look at each elemenst in the game, they are discrete, purpose built objects. Solar panels generate power based on their angle to the star, rotor rotate things, the constant is they do not talk. They are not smart and so if we follow the trend then a third purpose built part needs to be implemented. One that allows the detection and control of other objects.

    The thing is this new part would be complex, it would require a level of communication that we do not have right now. I understand the idea that you could track the sun using power output alone. But that defeats the point of the game as I understand it, that being engineering solutions from distinct parts.
  23. infAl Apprentice Engineer

    Yes but the devs have publically discussed plans to implement a programming system. They haven't discussed plans to implement a sun tracking sensor.


    lso... how do you think solar arrays in the real world are oriented to the sun? What type of sensor do they use? You could potentially do it with a camera and image processing to track the most intense light source etc but I think you'll find they simply adjust to a position which provides the highest voltage across the array, which translates to maximum power output. If I'm wrong, that's fine. I don't mind learning something new.
  24. Clent Devon Trainee Engineer

  25. SyberSmoke Apprentice Engineer

    Simple solar tracking systems use a wedge with two solar cells on each face. A cover runs down the middle to provide a shadow. The differential in voltages from the two cells are measured as if the sun is at an angle, the cover will cast a shadow over one or the other. That differential in voltages determines the angle of incidence to the light source allowing the motor to move the array to match the suns position in the sky.

    This is of coarse only for a single axis system, a multiple axis system requires a more complicated system to keep your solar system pointing at the sun. This system can also be used to angle and monitor multiple arrays using one small sensor. So they are very cost effective usually.

    Now looking at Space engineers, yes you can use potencial energy input to determine the angle to the sun, assuming your system is set to auto rotate until it finds the best point to cut out. But the does come a point where programming or another method comes to play. Seeing that I am not a programmer and I do not know what a programmable block would require, I do not count it as a solution. Especially if a patch can break the program in the block.

    I personally would prefer a sensor block. Something like the ore detector that I can set to a specific mode and it will track what I tell it to be it the sun, a ship, asteroids, minerals, or so on. I think it would be nice if my torpedoes could have some guidance. :)
  26. mikeloeven Senior Engineer


    You have no idea how hard I was laughing after reading this.

    Any way tracking solar panels would be very useful however they would need to be compact enough to be useable and the tracking would have to be 100% automated because lets face it the current control panel is a mess
  27. Derini Trainee Engineer

    I look at the problem - and it is not that the panels do not move.
    The problem is that not enough power.

    It is solved in several ways.
    1. Changing the position to save power (light sensor +
    Drive + programming movement of the drive depends on sensor)
    2. Changing the position of the new device panel (think is wrong)
    3. Make power is not dependent on the angle of a stream of light.

    My opinion - one option right (but is no programming opportunities and option 3). The question is how this is critical. I think it is not critical. Because there are reactors or you can install the panel in several positions simultaneously. I think you just have to wait for the programming if it is :)
  28. RyansPlace Apprentice Engineer

    *Reviving this thread since introduction of sensors brings it relevence.

    Could you add a 'Detect Thermal' option to sensors to allow construction of auto-tracking solar panels?
  29. ppumkin Trainee Engineer

    Hi Yea i agree. Sensor for light or hear or whatever would be great.

    I wrote a very simple script to control the motor (in programmable block) but there is no way to detect what the light level is on the panel. in the options the solar panel disaplys variables max and current but the API says there are no actions or variables for solar panel

    bummer! It could have been a nice 10 liner script. It would adjust the panel to the best power output, or light detection!

    Any updates on how to do this? Can i access base class for solarpanel and get the power some how ?

    I would love to do this!
  30. ppumkin Trainee Engineer

    Ohh yea. I got some text !

    IMySolarPanel  panel = panels[i] as IMySolarPanel;
    var t = panel.DetailedInfo; 
    get me max and current.... now can i use grep? doh.. substring? hmmm :) This will be interesting
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