Skip to content

Sun Seeker 3D

Now that we have an awesome solar power setup (AM Solar rocks!) the question arises – Will we have sun at this campsite?

I found this cool iPhone app called Sun Seeker 3D. It uses the iphone's built-in GPS to figure out where you are, the date and time to correlate to sun position tables, and the iPhone compass and accelerometer to figure out what direction and orientation you're pointing the iPhone camera.

All of that sounds complicated, but the result is easy. You turn on the app, switch to 3D view, and point the phone at the sky. On the display for the camera, it shows you where the sun is , the path the sun will take through the sky, and what time it will be at each location. It seems accurate so far.

If I aim it up through the skylight of the trailer, I can see when the sun will shine on the solar panels.

The photos below are samples I took pointing it up through the skylight (which is between two solar panels, conveniently.)

Sun Seeker 3D

Sun Seeker 3D

(posted by Kevin)


  1. marksp marksp

    So, after determining the path, is the idea you move your trailer to maximize exposure? Do you have the tiltbars on your AM panels?

    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Kevin Kevin

    Sometimes we might adjust our location in the spot a bit if it affords more solar power. Mainly, I just use the information to decide if we need to conserve electricity. We have a few high-demand “luxury” items that we won’t run if the solar input is low and we’re staying a long time. Examples would be the espresso maker, the microwave, and Laura’s hair-straightening iron. We have non-electric alternatives for all those.

    We don’t have the tiltbars for two reasons … first, it seems rare that a campsite is oriented so that you could actually tilt the panels South. Second, climbing on top of the Airstream is generally a bad idea given the roof construction – and inconvenient since we don’t carry a ladder. Also, the extra power one would gain from the tilting is pretty minimal in most practical situations.

Comments are closed.