EcoRider: Adding Onboard Chargers

by Tim Fulton on September 9, 2010

This entry is part 11 of 15 in the series Ecorider

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Since I upgraded to 48V, I now have one more battery to charge. I used to pull the mower into the garage, put a trickle charger on one battery and a fast charger on the other. That night or the next morning I would move the fast charger to the next battery and let the trickle charger continue with its battery. That evening or the next day it would be fully charged and ready to go. Of course, now I have another battery which means one more day of charging and having to remember that I have to put the charger on the next battery.

I really didn’t like the idea and hassle of doing all of that, so I looked into getting an onboard battery charger(s). This would allow me to pull into the garage, plug in and forget about it until I need to use it again.

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I poked around the net and looked at many options. I ended up contacting Darryl who runs Econogics.com a Soneil charger distributor. Darryl was extremely helpful in helping me choose the right charger for my mower. In the end, I chose to get four individual 3 amp chargers from him, one for each battery. This makes sure each battery is topped off as much as can be and doesn’t overcharge them at all.

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Installing the chargers was extremely easy. I just ran the positive and negative leads to each battery with ring terminals. The other end of the charger is just plugged into a power strip I had. Now, I have a single plug to plug in to an extension cord instead of trying to find places to plug in four chargers.

Having used it a few times, it is really great. I finish mowing, pull into the garage, grab my extension cord and plug in. I sized the chargers so that the next morning the mower is ready to go again. No more hassle and the batteries are now being taken of a little better which means longer battery life. As added icing on the top, the Soneil chargers are much more efficient than my other chargers I had been using. So, it now uses even less power to recharge, a little over 3 kWh to do my whole lawn. Thats the equivalent of about 1/10th gallon of gasoline.

EcoRider Build History

{ 2 comments }

1 Ben Nelson September 11, 2010 at 10:27 am

My Elec-Trak works in a similar manner.
I have one charger on each of the 6 batteries (which are two parallel strings for a 36V system.)
All six chargers go into a single power strip under the seat, which plugs into an extension cord.

The chargers are only 1.5amp, so they are slow, BUT I only mow the lawn once a week. WHO CARES how long it takes to charge!?

2 Tim Fulton September 13, 2010 at 9:29 am

I agree Ben. The chargers do charge faster than need be. However, I can not mow my entire property with one charge. Having overnight charging allows me to mow the whole thing over the weekend if I need to (which admittedly is almost never).

The other reason I got the Soneil chargers is that I wanted to go with something a bit more domestic. Soneil is actually based in Canada which is close enough for me.

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