Green Collar Careers - Fabricating
a Solar Survey Transit
Home Made Transit
Using a video tripod with a center post or removable head it can
be can converted in into a Solar Survey Transit for determining sun
azimuth / direction and elevation / altitude paths.
- Video tripod with removable rotating head ($30)
Abney Level ($40)
- Round 360° 4-6" diameter Protractor with solid center ($5)
- 3" diameter margarine tub lid
- Two 1-1/4" inner diameter flat washers (just large enough to fit
- Remove the rotating head from the tripod.
- Drill a hole dead center in the protractor just large enough
to slide over the tripod head stem
- Drill a hole dead center in the margarine tub lid just large
enough to slide over the tripod head stem
- Trim the outside of the margarine tub lid just enough that the
protractor scale can be read
- Install the first washer on the stem
- Install the protractor on the stem
- Install the margarine tub lid on the stem
- Install the second washer on the stem
- Reassemble the head with the protractor pieces fixed to the
- Mount the Abney Level on the camera mounting screw
The stem height should be set so it slightly binds the protractor.
You will rotate the protractor to calibrate 0° to magnetic north using
the compass. It will later be reset to true north for the
Chances are there will be steel parts in the tripod that may
affect a compass reading. Check alignment to magnetic north
with the compass at least 10 feet away then move closer to the
tripod to see where/if any changes begin to occur.