Saturday, August 27, 2011

Sleeve Hitch and Winch

I don't remember exactly when I added it but it was about 6 months ago/end of winter. I bought one of the Harbor Freight 12V winches and hooked up a sleeve hitch I had put together. I dont really have any attachments to put on it other than a hack job cultivator. I used the cultivator at a friends house with no grass in yet. We actually used the cultivator and the plow and the trailer to move 2 tons of gravel and level off his yard after putting sprinklers in.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Old Hat

I haven't updated for a while because everything is working as needed. I've used the mower nearly every week to mow my yard. Though my front yard is really too small for this machine, so mostly just the back yard. I use the battery push mower I picked up on Craigslist for $25 to do the front yard. The tractor does a great job for me, and cuts well enough. I think I need to sharpen the blade. I'd much rather have 2-3 small blades driven by individual motors, but I haven't found motors for that yet.
I'm still working on a rear implement system. I've abandoned the 3-point hitch and I'm nearly done with a sleeve hitch system. My first implement is a plug aerator because my yard needs it! After that perhaps a plow of some kind to use on my brothers property. I can see a use for a de-thatcher, a drop spreader (maybe broadcast?), perhaps even a sprayer.
I'd really love to get something with more fixed gears rather than the belt drive. I'd also very much love a shunt wound motor for a more constant RPM. Future project I guess!

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Snow Plow

I guess it's been a little while since I updated. I finished the mower deck at the end of summer. I had to build an extension shaft and shaft coupler to mount the pulley which drives the blade. I used it to mow the last month of the season! It doesnt do so well with thick grass. It bogs down the blades and motor until it's not spinning fast enough to cut. But if I keep up on it it works great. I now wish I had a catcher for it, or make it mulch.

Winter showed up and we got some snow. I had built part of the snow plow last year, and having snow inspired me to throw something together. My brother helped me grab some plywood and strap it to the metal ladder under the mower. It worked well enough to plow my driveway, my neighbors drive way, and the sidewalk up and down my street. I would have happily kept plowing, but my brother was bored! I thought it was very clever, but I wanted one not made of wood. I looked through my steel pile and found a 4.5" diameter tube about 30" long. I cut it in half lengthwise and partially flattened it to make a 7" high plow blade. the two half were bolted to some angle iron which is welded to a square tube. the tube pivots on a 5/8" bolt and its angle is held with another bolt. It looks great, but we havent had any more snow for me to use it on! I may need to add some weight to it so it has some hold down force.

I had considered adding the spring system like commercial plows have but it was more complex than I wanted to figure out.

Monday, August 24, 2009

A little test

I have a bunch of sod I need to pull up and level out. I was thinking I could do it all with a shovel, or I could use this super powerful handy lawn tractor that I have! I have still not made the cutting deck work, but it can pull stuff. I think I can make a sod cutter attachment to pull up my lawn. First I wanted to see if I could produce enough pulling power for that, so I did a little experiment.

I build a little sled from some 3/4" plywood I had sitting around. I loaded it up with the heaviest things I had, a couple buckets of dirt and decorative bricks.

I couldn't move the sled with my own strength, I'm guessing it was about 1000lbs. I pulled it around my yard several times. The tractor slowed down a bit, pulling about 50A in the lowest speed. I was impressed! It lost traction (particularly when trying to turn) and dug up some grass in a few spots. I think I could pull more if I had more weight on the tractor. I think this means I will have plenty of power for cutting sod, or pushing/pulling plows! Now I just need to finish the snow plow attachment, build a sod cutting attachment, and get the cutting deck working.

I'd like to change it somehow to stop the motor faster. When I adjust the belts to where they should be, it grabs when I try to stop, and the momentum of the motor forces the tractor to roll forward another 6". Bad when trying to get close to something and not hit it. Either better brakes, some way to make sure the belt doesnt grab the pulley, or just make the motor stop. Being series wound I think if I add a diode backward across the field and short the armature, if I switch fast enough from on to off it will plug brake itself. Not sure on that yet though.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Mower deck

I finally got that motor mounted to the 30" deck. However I deem it a fail. It would spin the blade and draw a lot of current (30A). But as soon as the blade hit the grass it slowed or stopped and pulled lots of current (80A)!

So I put the cordless mower back together. Maybe I'll get some batteries and use it as it is. My next plan is to build a pulley shaft to run the blade from the main motor. I suppose I might be able to find a multiblade deck, but I'm not waiting around for that. Besides, I dont have enough motors to run a multiblade deck.

Oh well, not what I wanted but it will get it working!

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Making the mower mow

I posted an ad on craigslist several weeks ago, looking for any cordless 24V mower. The other day I got an email from a guy with a cordless mower that has dead batteries. I bought it for $25. It was a Toro E24, 18" mower.

Inside I found a permanent magnet motor, about 6.25" long, 3.5" diameter. 4 6V gel batteries, a 24V gel charger, and a double throw contactor

The motor might be a bit small for a 30" blade, but I'm going to try it anyway. I think it will work better than the 250W scooter motor I was going to try! It looks like I can even use the original blade mounting bracket with the 30" blade, if I drill a couple of alignment holes in it.
Next is to get it mounted to the deck. Maybe I'll install heavier wires on the motor too. If only I can find a few more of these motors, I can do a multiblade deck :).

Up and running, mostly

I have recovered the seat with new foam and vinyl. The seat switch is not yet working though.

I got a volt meter and amp meter+shunt from ebay (China). Blue LEDs mean it will work in the cold when LCD freezes up.

Still using a single borrowed battery I've been using the tractor already. Here I have about 550 lbs of brick in the trailer. That sure saved my back!

Here are the new batteries. I bought them at Batteries Plus. Werker brand. I had designed for a 50 amp load, running for an hour. I wanted about 50% DOD. I was looking for at least 120 minute reserve capacity. I ended up getting 160 RC batteries. They are much larger than I need, so they should last quite some time! I plan to build an enclosure around the batteries and motor eventually.

This is the control panel. The original key switch turns on the system (and meters). The red button and switch control the PTO contactor. Flip the switch to on and then press the button to start. Flipping the switch to off, turning the key to off, or breaking the seat switch will all turn off the PTO.