The dish must be manually positioned to face arc of travel or azimuth of the sun across the sky. In North America most of the time this will be slightly in the southern sky. The jack legs should face south and the dish needs to be tilted so the sun's rays hit the dish perpendicular. This is the north/south tilt adjustment.
The pot sits on a stationary gimbal axis which will auto level the pot regardless of the north/south angle of the dish. The operator must manually position the dish to face the general east/west direction of the sun before operation. This is required to get the sun's rays to hit the light sensors. The toggle switch on the operators box will activate the motor to rotate the dish in either direction to move it into position.
Setting the cook start time:
If you want to set out you food in the dish in the morning and be gone all morning but want lunch ready for when you get home but it only takes 1 hours to cook then the cook start time option must be set. Setting the cook start time is done through the scroll knob and LCD screen
Setting the cook temperature and cook time:
The operator can set a cook temperature with the scroll knob and LCD screen. The stainless steel thermocouple will monitor the temperature of your food and display the temperature in Fahrenheit on the LCD display. There are two types of cooking profiles; first is the cook to a defined temperature then stop cooking, and second is a maintain temperature for a specified time period. For example, if you want to slow cook a chili at 160 degrees for 3 hours then the dish will continue to cook the chili until it reaches 160 degrees. At that point the dish will rotate away from the sun to stop the cooking. Once the temperature of the food reaches 5 degree less the programmed cooking temperature the dish will then rotate back to face the sun in order raise the temperature back up. This temperature control loop will continue to until the specified cook time has lapsed.
Atlanta Robotics would like to thank the following Mechatronics Engineering students from Southern Polytechnic State University who helped in the research and testing of this solar oven.
The team wrote two papers describing the theory, challenges, and operation of the design project. The following research papers can be downloaded below.
Research paper 1: Click here to download
Research paper 2: Click here to download