I've been trying to convince the DW to try dry camping but she's not too keen on "roughing it" any more than we already do, so anything I can do to make sure we've got a few 12v amenities is well worth the effort. Given that we only have space for one Group 31 battery, whatever I did would have to be reliable and efficient. So much the better if one the solution doesn't cost a ton and it's easy to use. I'm a "set-it-and-forget-it" sort, so if we're going to use 12 volt power, we'd need a way to recharge the battery and I wanted to take the guesswork out of positioning a solar panel to maximize it's power generating capabilities throughout the day. I wanted something that was portable, easy to set up and store and that took most of the guesswork out of using a solar panel. I needed something that was reasonably weather resistant and that didn't require much more intervention than picking a sunny spot, positioning the panel so it faced south and plugging it into a charge controller. There are simpler ways to control the direction of the motor but I opted for ease of installation and convenience in choosing the LED-based tracker controller. They come in many different shapes and sizes, each with different options but you can pick these up on eBay for between $20-$54US. Mine cost $19.99US + $10 shipping from China and it arrived at my door in about 2 weeks. In the end, mine came with an enclosure roughly the size of an average round snow globe though it'll definitely need some work to make sure it's weatherproof. Along the way, I though I'd share my progress in the construction, assembly and testing of a portable solar panel mount with built-in solar tracker. Materials: Qty: 2 - 24" x 24"x1/2" G1S plywood Qty: 1 - 2" ABS Shower drain Qty: 1 - 2" x 30" ABS pipe Qty: 1 - 2" ABS pipe cap Qty: 1 - 4" round junction box cover plate Qty: 2 - 10 tooth plastic derailleur sprockets Qty: 1 - 44 tooth x 1/8" chain ring (sprocket) Qty: 1 - 1/2" x 1/8" 112 link bicycle chain Qty: 1 - 4" lazy susan bearing Qty: 2 - 22mm skateboard bearings Qty: 1 - 2" circles cut from 1/2" thick nylon cutting board Qty: 1 - 9.6v cordless drill with battery pack Qty: 1 - Single Axis Solar Tracker Controller unit (6-24v, 4Amp) Qty: 1 - 12v on/off toggle switch Qty: 3 - Top-Mount Deck hinge Qty: 3 - 1/4" x 1" Pull pin (detent pin/cotterless pin) Qty: 2 - 1/4" x 1" Clevis pin (adjustable) Qty: 2 - small hitch pin clip Qty: 1 - 1" x 4" x 1/8" fabricated steel chain tensioner bracket and spring Qty: 4 - 1/2" solid rubber caster (non-swivel) QtY: 1 - 12" x 5/16" Allthread (ready rod) Qty: 2 - 5/16" (fits 7/16" socket) joiner nuts (for spacing bearings and as drive nut for drive sprocket assy.) Qty: 1 - 1/2" x 2-1/2" spring (for chain tensioner) Qty: 1 - 5/8" x 3/4" nylon bushing(for chain tensioner) Qty: 2ea - 1/4" Tee nuts and 3/16" Tee nuts (for mounting top mount hinges) Qty: 2ea - 1/4" x 1/2" stove bolts, 3/16" x 1/2" stove bolts (for mounting top mount hinges) Qty: 1 - 1/4" socket drive adapter Qty: 1 - 7/16" x 1/4" drive deep socket Miscelaneous 10/12 gauge automotive wire and connectors. Miscellaneous screws, nuts, bolts and washers Qty: 1 Quart - Killz Premium exterior primer Qty: 3 - Spray cans Duplicolor spray-in bedliner This is the 24" x 24" x 1/2" G1S plywood base of the portable solar tracker. The corners were rounded using a 2" radius and 1-1/4" x 4-1/2" handholds were cut out to facilitate carrying the apparatus. The base has been primed with Killz Premium exterior primerA 4" lazy Susan bearing and 44 tooth chain ring (bike sprocket) are attached to 5" x 5" x 3/4" plywood centered in the middle of the board. The dark circle surrounding the sprocket is the result of the caster wheels (attached to the underside of the top deck @ 16" o/c) rubbing as the top deck rotated during testing. The base and assembled top deck with drive sprocket assembly, casters and chain tensioner mounting post which has since been repositioned closer to the edge (top edge in photograph) to support the slack side of the chain and to make the tension spring more effective. Note the Tee-nuts installed on the underside of the top deck on the right side of the photo. These are the mounting points for the top-mount deck hinges which have had one mounting tab (with 1/4" bolt hole) removed so that they can be mounted as near to the edge of the deck as possible. Additional 3/16" holes were drilled and countersunk in the centers of the top mount hinges. The drive post consists of a 2" ABS pipe section cut to approximately 24" long. A 9.6v cordless drill motor, clutch assembly and 3/8" chuck has been placed inside the pipe (to be secured later). Note that the handle of the drill and battery charge display have been inserted into the side of the pipe and secured in place using Marine Goop UV resistant urethane sealant. This will be the rear side of the drive post. On the opposite side, another 1/4" top-mount deck hinge has been screwed in place. This will be the top mounting point for the solar panel. 2 wire x 10 gauge double-insulated wires run from the battery and motor out through the top of the post. Both will later connect to the Solar Tracker control unit. A 1/4" socket drive adapter was locked firmly in place in the drill chuck and a 7/16" deep socket placed on the end of the drive adapter. "C-shaped" bands of 2" ABS pipe, 1-1/2" pipe were glued together with Marine Goop and a 1/8" thick piece of rubber mat was placed inside them. These layers slid over the drill motor (cut and placed so as not to obstruct airflow of the motor) prior to inserting the assembly inside the 2" pipe so that the motor could later be removed/replaced if necessary. Note that the open end of the deep socket is recessed approximately 1/8" from the end of the 2" pipe so that it will later slide as far down onto the sprocket drive nut as possible. The drive sprocket assembly with 10 tooth derailleur sprocket mounted to 5/16" Allthread (ready rod) drive shaft. Skateboard bearings were inserted in 2" x 1/2" think nylon cutting board circles with a joiner nut and washers placed between the nylon circles. This was then mounted to the junction box cover plate using #10 - 24 bolts, washers and nuts. A second joiner nut is placed at the opposite end of the drive shaft which is where the 7/16" deep socket connects to. Here you see the nylon cutting board cicles with the skateboard bearings, the joiner nut and washers separating them and the mounting bolts which secure the assembly to the mounting (junction) plate. Note that the 5/16" Allthread (ready rod) has been trimmed to allow the drive socket to rest as far down on the drive nut as possible. The drive assembly was test fit through the underside of the top deck through a 2" hole. Note the chain tensioner in position a few inches behind the drive sprocket. The mounting post for the tensioner was later relocated toward the left edge of the top deck in order to support the chain, to make the tension spring more effective and to make positioning the tension spring easier. This is the top view of the drive sprocket assembly inside the 2" shower drain fitting. Note that the 5/16" drive shaft and #10 screws which hold the assembly together have been trimmed. You can see the top of the skateboard bearing which was partially recessed in the nylon using a 7/8" spade bit, shaved down to 22mm. A 5/8" spade bit was then used to finish drilling through the nylon so that the drive shaft could spin freely. The same process was used for the bottom bearing. NOTE: It's important to note that all holes drilled in the drive sprocket assembly were drilled using a drill press in order to help maintain balance and alignment in the assembly. The end of the 2" ABS drive post has been sanded and polished so that it more easily inserts fully into the 2" ABS shower drain fitting. 1/4" holes were drilled through the sides of the fitting and the inserted drive post. Hitch (pull) pins attached to lanyards which are mounted to the underside of the deck are inserted through the holes to keep the post in place. Using an awl, alignment marks were made in the top edge of the shower fitting and in the drive post directly above it. The 10 gauge power leads run through a 2" pipe cap into the base of the controller enclosure where they're connected to the controller's power connection. On the right of the power post, the leads for the motor are reversed so that when power is supplied, the motor turns backward to rotate the top deck properly. The leads from the battery connect on the left. The enclosure base is screwed to the pipe cap, then the controller's logic board is mounted to the enclosure base. The wires are pushed inside the drive post, the cap is placed on the pipe end and screwed in place on either side of the cap. Note that very little adjustment of the clear LED's is required since, even with the clear enclosure cover in place, they're very sensitive to sunlight. Behind the LED's is the heatsink. Though it will accommodate up to 24 volts, this unit limits power output to 4 amps, more than enough to turn the 9.6v drill motor. The fully assembled 2" ABS drive post with solar tracking controller enclosure, top-mount deck hinge, 9.6v battery and top deck. Here's a video of the cursory test after initial assembly: https://youtu.be/qd3gPZm1Fxw I later adjusted the LED's so that the top deck would center perfectly with the sun then set the unit out on the deck behind the house and let it do its' thing for the afternoon. I have to admit that there was some pretty satisfactory giggling from yours truly when the controller would automatically reposition accordingly every 3-6 minutes. Just a quick little adjustment and that's it... sweet! At this point, there's little left to do but paint, reassemble and mount the solar panel. It's all ready to go and the DW will be out of town, so I'm hoping to have everything done by the end of this coming weekend. Left to do: Install weatherproof 12v On/Off Rocker switch Finish painting Reassembly Weatherproof controller enclosure Testing I've already disassembled everything for painting but will continue to update with more photos as things progress. If you have any questions or would like to see an additional photo to help explain something better, please let me know and I'll see what I can do to help.