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Old 08-20-14, 12:37 AM   #1
thenewblack
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Default Electric Floor Burnishing Machine

First I apologize if I'm posting this in the wrong area. I thought the similarities between a e-mower would help out with my question.

I have a propane floor burnisher that is having some engine problems. I would like to convert it to electric power. Electric floor buffers are nothing new, but I thought it would be a fun project to use my old frame and build it myself.

Here are a few details on the machine. It currently uses a 17hp Kawasaki that spins a 28" pad about 1500 rpm. Some nights I use it as long as 3 hours. I also would need to keep the weight down somewhat. Stock it weighs around 240lbs. So minus the engine its probably in the neighborhood of 80lbs.

Basically I'm just wondering how difficult and expensive it would be to build. I looked up a major brand e-buffer and noticed that it uses a 2.5hp 2000RPM 36V DC motor. Along with three 12-volt 228 AH batteries. It claims 3 hours of run time. It weighs 270lbs. Some of that weight comes from having a built in charger, a drive motor, and extra panels for looks.

My idea is that once I removed my old propane engine, I would just mount the motor vertically in the same spot. I was going to post a pic of my buffer frame but I have yet to reach 5 posts. If you search for "Mean Machine 28" Buffer", mine looks like the one in the second image.

It seems simple, but I just need some experts to chime in. Price, weight, durability are my 3 main areas of concern.
If you read this, I thank you. And I thank anyone who has advice to give on it.

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Old 08-20-14, 10:07 AM   #2
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First off welcome to the site.

The floor burnisher sounds like an interesting project. Electric definitely sounds like it would be a nicer way to go. Just remember there are trade offs when going to battery electric. I'd mainly be concerned with run time. 3 hours will be what you get with brand new lead acid batteries. In a few years, you will not have 3 hours anymore, you might be down to 2 depending on how well you've taken care of them. If this is acceptable, great! If it isn't you'll want to beef up your battery pack to make sure it'll last for you.
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Old 08-20-14, 10:44 AM   #3
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Thank you for the welcome, as well as the advice!

Would it make sense to spend more on a lithium type of battery initially? Also is there a source for motors that is preferred on the site? Just curious what the cost of the motor would be as well. The trade off in battery costs would probably even itself out because as it is I spend about $15-20 to fill a propane tank every week.
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Old 08-20-14, 11:50 AM   #4
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Lithium batteries would definitely be more cost effective in the long run. However, they are a lot more expensive up front. They're also finicky, so you will want some sort of battery management system (this is what OEMs do), or you'll have to keep a very close eye on them (which I've found isn't so easy).

Motors are mostly whatever you prefer or can find. I am not exactly sure how you use a floor burnishing machine. Do you need RPM control, or is it just on/off? I would imagine that a permanent magnet motor would be a good fit though. That is what I'm using on my electric riding mower, and they aren't too pricey either. Mine is made by motenergy.
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Old 08-20-14, 01:28 PM   #5
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Thanks, for the info. An rpm adjustment would be nice but not strictly necessary. I would definitely opt for one if I was given the choice though. Do you have any ball park idea of what the motor would cost? Or how much more the lithium would be up front? I guess maybe it would be more simple to get it set up initially with regular deep cycles though? Thanks
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Old 08-20-14, 02:47 PM   #6
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A motenergy ME0708 (what I have on my mower) goes for about $450-$500.

A lead acid pack of that size is going to be around $900. Lithium will cost roughly 3X as much.

Switching from lead acid to lithium requires a new charger(s), or the charger to be reprogrammed at the least. So, its good to choose one or the other.

How much do you really use this machine?
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Old 08-20-14, 03:39 PM   #7
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Okay thanks! Those prices are very doable. We have a cleaning business and I have lots of 36v and 24 chargers already so going with the lead would probably save me from buying another one. I use the buffer 2 or 3 times a week. Generally spending a total time of 2-2 1/2 hours running the machine. Its not continuous use though. I spend maybe 20-35 minutes running it at a time in each store.

I guess I had a vision of just using RV/Marine batteries, but a pack with a easy connect would be really nice. I probably do have some extra 12v lead batteries I could use initially while I was getting everything with the motor squared away. We use that type of battery in floor scrubbers.

So if I got that motor, what other components would I need to make this safe and functional? I'm just trying to get a parts list together. I may actually have a lot of what I need. We have tons of junk floor scrubbers that are all on 36v. They have motors on them as well but I believe they are relatively low rpm (in the 300's). They also have speed controllers and on/off switches. I could take some pics of the electronics on them and post them for more intelligent eyes to inspect
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Old 08-20-14, 03:59 PM   #8
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Yeah, it sounds like you probably have almost everything you need. Those motors probably aren't that low of rpm. Motors generally run at high rpms and are geared down to get more torque. So, I'd imagine that you could use one of the junk motors. Since you have so much lead acid equipment I'd probably stick with that too. And, seeing as how you only use the scrubber for half hour shots, you can actually get away with a much smaller pack if you can recharge between uses. That'll make moving it around a lot easier. RV/marine batteries will do just fine, just make sure they're true deep cycle batteries, not any form of starting battery.

The main components you need are:
- motor
- controller (optional for rpm control), or contactor (which is really just a huge relay)
- batteries
- heavy gauge cable
- charger
- battery rack
- motor to burnisher connection (belt & pully, chain & sprocket, etc.)
- you'll want some form of gauge to watch how charged/discharged the batteries are

Lets see some pics of what you got.
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Old 08-20-14, 04:22 PM   #9
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Wow, super fast reply. Thanks for all of this info! Ill start sending pictures in just a minute.
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Old 08-20-14, 04:34 PM   #10
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Heres one of the main areas. I apologize i had to use my flash some of these may be hard to see clearly.



This is the back of the speed control dial, its at the bottom of the image with the 4 wires.



Heres the overhead view of the controls. The speed control is the bottom right of the image.






And a terrible shot of the specs on the motor

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