This question is not about the main imaging sensor, but about the autofocus sensors and circuits on a DSLR.
I read that sunlight may damage the shutter or the main sensor. But when using the DSLR, since the shutter and the main sensor will only see sunlight when the picture is taken, the time that they are exposed to direct sunlight is weakened. Meanwhile, using ND filters further reduce impact on the shutter and the main sensor.
However, the auto-focus sensors and elements are always getting the light from the mirror, and sunlight is always reachable, even if it is weakened via ND filters. Therefore, when doing a long time (for instance, hours long) time lapse, will the extensive exposure to sunlight hurt the auto-focus sensor? If so, is there any solutions or workarounds? Thanks!