EcoRider: It Works, and Good Too

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by Tim Fulton on December 16, 2009

This entry is part 9 of 15 in the series Ecorider

Well folks, the first blades of grass have been cut with the mower in its hopefully final form. This was done over Thanksgiving weekend and it was fairly cool out (40F / 4C) for mowing. But, seeing as how my grass hadn’t been cut in over a month, I took the opportunity.

The mower worked great. It cut great, and overall operated very well. It had plenty of power and never bogged down (which just means slowed down in the electric world). It was pretty quiet too. The loudest thing on the mower is the mowing deck which sounds like a big fan. When the deck isn’t spinning, the next loudest thing you hear is the gearbox whining. All in all, it was a blast to use.

However, there are definitely issues to iron out yet. First off, the pulleys are still oversized so 1st gear mowing is still very slow, and 2nd gear mowing is still very fast. This is probably the biggest problem. The fast spinning mowing blades also suck a lot of amps out of the batteries. So, downsizing the pulleys to get rpms back in line will be an important next step. The other thing I found out was my drive belt was slipping. This was likely causing excess energy loss from the setup. So, I either need to adjust the clutch or get a new belt.

ecorider

The other things that need to be done yet are smaller things. For instance, this voltmeter was pulled out of a 36V forklift that the local EV club salvaged one weekend. This will eventually be my battery full/empty gauge. Right now, I am just using a digital voltmeter strapped to the mower. It works, but the gauge is a much more elegant solution.

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