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How about going Green with your garden tractor?

garden tractor electric solar battery green tractor diy lawn

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#1 Little Eddie OFFLINE  

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Posted May 11, 2017 - 07:14 AM

Had you ever thought, what if I could convert my favourite garden tractor to battery power? how powerful would it be? how long would it run on a charge? what batteries would I need? how much grass would it cut? could it pull a plough? e,t,c.  

       Well while there are a couple of electric riders on the market they are not very powerful and are mainly designed to cut grass and most of the DIY conversions either for just pulling or if they cut grass  only run for a short period before needing recharging!  but there is a way you could convert your own garden tractor and make it strong enough to do all the tasks that it does now, Interested? see video of an DIY electric tractor conversion in action :-  


DIY electric garden tractor, and it could be charged by solar, zero pollution

2hrs cutting approx 2 acres or 8-10 hrs pulling trailer on a charge

Converting to battery power is a great idea for a garden tractor I converted one 15yrs ago, I used the 3 separate motor design and it is still cutting grass on a daily basis, it is amazing how it never breaks down and needs almost no maintenance, I renew the batteries every 7 yrs I am just on my 3rd set now, my design will cut up to 2 acres on a 50cent charge there are no belts or pulleys and no oil on the entire tractor, it can pull a trailer for about 8hrs on a charge, because battery run time is the most important aspect of most conversions I paid particular attention to the most efficient design, I used 3 separate small motors one for the drive with electronic speed control and two smaller with a cutter blade mounted on the shaft of each cutter motor ,total amperage when cutting grass is approx 40amps, (2000watts) this design only uses the battery power req to do the job, very little wasted battery power, it uses magnetic breaking of both tractor and cutter blades and automatically applies parking brake when you stop or get off the seat, an amazing tractor.            for more info:-    electrictractor.net

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#2 chieffan OFFLINE  

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Posted May 11, 2017 - 07:33 AM

Might be fun to play around with but would still need a lot more power to do the garden work, mow the steep ground, etc. that I would need.  Doesn't mention the initial cost for the conversion, or the cost of the deep cycle batteries which are well over $100 each.  That conversion is on a lawn mower, not a garden tractor.  Interesting but no thanks.

Edited by chieffan, May 11, 2017 - 07:34 AM.

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#3 boyscout862 ONLINE  

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Posted May 11, 2017 - 11:03 AM

Somebody did it on here several years ago. In the 70s, there were acouple of electric GTs sold. Several of our members have them. Good Luck, Rick

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#4 637Yeoman OFFLINE  

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Posted May 11, 2017 - 11:37 AM

It does seem like a good idea, but too pricey to build at first. I do have a problem when people say that electric cars, tractors, etc have 0 emissions. It takes energy to make energy. For instance, you said that you can charge the batteries with a solar panel. It takes energy to make said solar panel, and that causes emissions. While the user of the tractor, may not directly be causing emissions, there was some made down the line.

#5 Kster526 OFFLINE  

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Posted May 11, 2017 - 12:53 PM

All of mine have gone Green, sorry I just could not resist. :bigrofl:

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    Electric Tractors

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Posted May 11, 2017 - 08:06 PM

Hello and thank you for sharing your electric tractor with us. I see that you are also a Site Sponsor > http://gardentractor...lectric-co-ltd/


Welcome to the site, looks like you have done lots of research and work to put together what you have, being able to get a 2hr cut time with a converted tractor is unheard of, at least I haven't heard of it.

I was wondering if you could some more details about you conversion, system voltage, type of batteries, approx. cost of the conversion.

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#7 Little Eddie OFFLINE  

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Posted May 12, 2017 - 08:55 AM

Hi all thanks for your comments ill try to comment on all of them!


I know you all have great tractors and would not want to switch to battery power for many good reasons, but electric tractors and electric cars have there place and I think everyone should know about new developments so they can decide for themselves!

example I just saw a youtube video of the Tesla electric car $135k compared to an Audi $135k car the Tesla did 0 to 100 in 2.2 seconds the fastest ever time recorded with a production car and I think 2-300miles on a charge? anyway enough of that! 


My electric tractor conversion will cut on steep grades and has excellent traction, the centre of gravity is very low because of battery placement, the cost of the 4 flooded cell lead acid deep cycle batteries are over $100ea but they last 7 to 8 years because of the smart charger, and with no gas, oil, filters, tuneups, they soon pay for themselves, cost of electric is about 50 cents per 2 acres cutting, maintenance is almost zero, add water to batteries and sharpen cutter blades,


The conversion can be done an almost any lawnmower or garden tractor, and different batteries can be installed for longer run times if desired,

The GE Electrotrack in the 60-70s were some of the earliest Ets and cost about the price of a new car, they are collector items now and many of them still run today,


Yes it does take energy to make electricity but it also takes energy to retrieve and refine oil to gasoline too! the big difference is my electric tractor uses about 1/20th of the energy of a comparable gas tractor and does not pollute when using the electricity, 


Kester I looked at your collection of JDs,  great, are they all electric? I would love to more about them?


DH1  Conversion:- I use 3 separate electric motors and electronic speed controllers for best efficiency, No hydraulics, belts, pulleys or drive shafts, The PTO is an electrical outlet, cost of conversion is about $2000-$2500 depending on what you can get on eBay? but except for batteries it should last a lifetime, 

the batteries I use are regular deep cycle lead acid golf cart type, 120ah 12v x 4 batteries 48v system, completely recyclable, more or larger batteries or even Lithium can be installed for more runtime, but to be realistic if you have much more grass than say 4 acres you need a larger tractor,

there is more info and videos @  electrictractor.net

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#8 jimmy G OFFLINE  

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Posted May 12, 2017 - 11:41 AM

This is actually the future and it's closer than you think,the problem has always been storage,this has been solved but is cost prohibitive on a consumer level at the moment,the technology was first revealed to the public with the autonomous ion propulsion space ship's exploring the asteroid belt,these types of batteries are not charged and are only called so through application,they are generators, electrolysis is used much like that in hydrogen separation but instead of water being used as a base sorce to produce gas exotic metal's are used with leaching chemical reactions to extract ion's,the application's will be many,imagine mowing the lawn then unplugging the battery and plugging it in your car and going to work,search "ion propulsion" and " Palladium battery's"
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#9 js5020 OFFLINE  



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Posted May 13, 2017 - 04:44 PM

Someday I might like to have one.  A lot of my career has been spent working with electric lift trucks, wires and black boxes run by magic smoke don't skeer me.  Sizing motors would be my hang up along with the initial battery costs to get one up and running.  I have access to many free complete systems, most would be overkill for a GT though. 


But it will likely not happen, we are downsizing our property and will likely need to downsize equipment from GTs to a push mower and walk behind blower.  I do have a walk behind Gravely that might be a possible conversion candidate?

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#10 Little Eddie OFFLINE  

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Posted October 04, 2019 - 12:25 PM

Here are some videos of my electric tractor at work  

Tractor videos youtube



 2, https://youtu.be/nqhB3D47y_s

3, https://youtu.be/-fboyKdq-H8

4, https://youtu.be/ym94Q_IOWMg

5, https://youtu.be/9LWjfUjQ8a0

6, https://youtu.be/2pfPkIZZC_4


Edited by Little Eddie, October 04, 2019 - 12:35 PM.

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#11 bubbajunk OFFLINE  

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Posted October 07, 2019 - 03:06 AM

I think a lot of people like the idea of going electric but the cost is still way too high. The average homeowner around here usually opts for the cheapest thing Home Depot sells, which often is well under $1000. They don't do any maintenance, they run it till it won't go any more and just buy another one.
No amount of advertising or logic will convince that type of buyer to spend more than they absolutely have to cut the grass right now. They don't think ahead, and likely don't have the cash to even consider it. Even the used tractor buyers here are cheap, they don't know or care what the difference is between a $500 or a $2500 tractor, they just don't want or have the cash to spend. I've talked to a few neighbors who refuse to cut their grass more than once every month or so because it costs money to buy gas. Most wait till the township sends a letter or warning that they're in violation.


I've got one neighbor who waits till he gets a warning, then he only cuts what's not hidden by his fence. He'll only cut behind the fence if he needs to get to something he lost in the weeds. He manages a fast food joint, his wife is home with a kid and don't work, he's got a $2,200/mo. mortgage, and two car payments. He complains to me how much interest he's paying on his credit cards, then tells me he's got 7 that are 'maxed out. His property taxes are over $9K per year, and then there's things like car insurance, home owner's insurance, the electric bill, (we don't have gas or water here). Plus cable tv, which if he's like most here he's paying at least $100 per month for that. All that on what ever a fast food manager makes, its no wonder he can't afford to cut his grass.


When he moved in, the place came with a two year old Cub Cadet, he killed that the first year, he ran out and bought a Sears tractor, it lasted four months, he then bought a new Walmart special for $599, and its dead in the weeds outback already. He went green in a way, the other day he was out there cutting the yard with an electric string trimmer from Harbor Freight 4" at a time. He would cut about four feet or so, then sit down and take a break, slugging down huge glasses of iced tea. He got about 10 feet or so across the yard before the batteries died and he gave up. He's got a push mower but  its laying upside down in the weeds in the back yard behind the fence. Next to the Craftsman rear engine mower that's hanging from a bicycle hook on the side of a tree where he and his brother-in-law hung it two years ago to try and figure out why it shook so bad. (Half of the blade was missing). After he spent four hours trying to get the blade off with a pipe wrench and hammer, they gave up and bought another mower. It'll likely hang there till the hook or mower rusts away enough for it to let go and fall to the ground.

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