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Old 07-17-10, 01:45 AM   #171
nibs
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Great thread Daox!!
I have been given a pair of craftsman mowers that I would like to electrify, one has no motor & the other is working with the ice, both are gear box models. I do not weld, but do have a small milling machine & lathe, do you think it is practical to bolt up the battery carriers?
How big a motor do I need with a 42" two blade deck?
Can I get by without a speed controller?
What about running a dual voltage set up using a series/parallel arrangement with solenoids?
My daughter had a battery explode, I never thought it would happen this close to home.
Cheers & thanks.

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Old 07-17-10, 02:46 AM   #172
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nibs View Post
...do you think it is practical to bolt up the battery carriers?
EV builders have done that without any issues. Go with what you know.
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Old 07-17-10, 07:55 AM   #173
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I agree with Clev. As long as you make it beefy enough it'll be fine (same goes for welding). I went with welding because thats what is quickest and easiest for me.

My motor is a bit undersized as you know if you read the whole thread. It is a 1.6hp motor that replaced a 8 hp motor. I think if I would have had a 2hp motor I'd be fine. Take that general ratio, 1/4 the power of your gas engine, and you'll be around what you'd need for your mower.

You can get by without a speed controller just as I have, but you'll have to get the correctly sized pulleys to get the speeds correct. Mine works fine even though its spinning faster than it should right now.

IMO its not worth having a fancy contactor setup to vary the speed of the motor. The mower is made to run at one speed, just use it like its intended.
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Last edited by Daox; 07-17-10 at 08:11 AM..
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Old 08-06-10, 09:35 AM   #174
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I just got confirmation that my chargers have been shipped. I went with four Soneil 1206S chargers. They are 3A onboard automatic smart chargers. This should allow me to use the mower, plug in, and forget about it until I need to use it again. They'll also allow overnight charging, so I can use it every day if I wanted.

I will wire all the chargers together so its just a one plug deal. This setup will be much better than my current method of charging each battery individually with one charger and having to remember to move the charger to the next battery 1-2x a day.

They did cost a pretty penny at just under $50 each, but it will make the mower a lot easier to use. I'd like to get it to the point where its simpler to use than a gas mower, and I think I'll be very close once I get the chargers installed.

On another note, my wife cut the grass for the first time with the mower this week. It took a little instruction, but she had no problems with it other than the normal quirks of having a 30 year old mower.
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Last edited by Daox; 08-06-10 at 09:38 AM..
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Old 08-09-10, 06:09 PM   #175
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Hi, Daox. I got three of those for my elec-trak ("battery defender pro" at batterymart). They seem to work as advertised, but they get unbelievably hot during use (too hot to touch)! Also, my flooded batteries don't get quite to the 14.5V trip point at which they switch to float voltage. They get up to about 14.45-14.47, and sit there and cook at 3A for as long as you leave it plugged in. The three amps is just not enough to kick it over to float stage for batteries this big (It seems the chargers are NOT temperature compensated).

If you are using 12V batteries instead of pairs of 6V batteries like I have, you may be OK. Also, if you use sealed batteries, you will likely be OK, since they seem to get a little higher more easily.
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Old 08-10-10, 07:17 AM   #176
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I'm not sure who makes the battery defender pro, but I asked the Soneil distributor I went through and he told me (he was very knowledgeable and helpful) that they only put out about 10W of heat. I guess I'll see when they come. My 12V batteries are flooded, so I hope thats no problem, and I don't anticipate it being one. The Soneil name seems to be a good one. I asked the distributor about this to see if he has any comments.
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Old 08-10-10, 07:22 AM   #177
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Also, last night I finished up the new front rack for the mower. It now fits two batteries side by side like the rear rack. Looks a bit funny, but I didn't see any other easy way to do it. I was going to post pictures up last night, but the site was on the fritz.
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Old 08-10-10, 09:59 AM   #178
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Here is the reply I got from the distributor:

Quote:
Hi Tim,
I agree, it's likely a poor imitation. I have used a lot of Soneil
chargers personally over the years, and while I don't make a point of
playing with them in use, I have never found one too hot to touch. Nor
have I ever had a report of such. In open air, at room temperature or
lower, it should not be able to happen.

I can't speak for knock-offs.

As for the Soneils, I stand behind the product. If you aren't satisfied
with something I sell you, I'll replace it or refund your payment.

Incidentally, as the poster states, the chargers are not temperature
compensated. Given their original application, Soneil assumes charger
and batteries will be at room temperature, so no need for the additional
complexity and cost. Given that lead-acid batteries provide their best
life at room temperature, it's a reasonable approach to make an
affordable charger.

Darryl McMahon
Econogics

After talking with Darryl, he convinced me to go with a name brand product. He basically informed me of stolen Chinese designs. Now I'm even happier that I did.
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Last edited by Daox; 08-10-10 at 10:01 AM..
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Old 08-11-10, 08:02 PM   #179
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Woo, time for pictures.

Here is the front rack before I removed it.




Chopped it up.




Welded in extensions on one side.




Welded in the extension on the other side and got it back on the mower.




Put the batteries on it.




And a nice zoomed out shot. It does look a little funny now IMO. However, I really couldn't find a better place to put it. If I would have put the new battery in front of the old one, it would have stuck out farther than the bumper. You really don't want to be bumping batteries into things, and I really don't want the mower longer than it already is, so I went sideways.
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Old 08-14-10, 01:59 PM   #180
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My chargers came in the nick of time (Friday). This leaves me with the weekend to work on the mower and get it all converted to 48V. Here is what the chargers look like. Nice and compact which will be nice for installing.





The chargers came with this end on them. I ended just snipping it off and going with ring terminals so I could attach them to the batteries.




Since I'm bumping the voltage from 36V to 48V, the motor rpms will increase from ~4800 to ~7200 rpm. This requires me to resize my pulleys to keep things spinning on the mower the correct rpm.




Here are the new pulleys. If you have been following this project, you know that my deck was spinning too fast before, so I have reduced the size of the mower deck pulley a fair amount. The drive pulley was reduced in size just enough to compensate for the voltage increase.

I got it all back together and took it for a quick spin around the yard. The mower deck pulley seems to be sized good, but the drive pulley seems to be a bit large now. I will have to use the mower a few times to see if its not just my imagination and the power of a fresh charge.

The great news is that the mower was only pulling ~75A while cutting on the short spin. This is a great reduction in amperage and actually almost exactly where I thought I'd be after the bump to 48V.





After the quick spin, I installed the battery chargers. They're not currently tied down anywhere, but that'll be the next step.




And, this is as it sits right now. If the grass drys out later today I'll be taking it for a good spin to see how the new setup really works.

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