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Daox 11-03-2008 09:41 AM

EcoRider - riding mower electric conversion
Well, the time has come for my first EV project! I really wanted to convert the Toyota Paseo I picked up a while ago, but it would have cost too much for me at the moment. So, my next thought was that I really could use a riding mower. I have push mowed my lawn, and it takes a long time. So, I talked things over with Ben Nelson and MetroMPG, the two EV guys I know and decided to go with an electric riding mower.

This weekend I picked up a Simplicity 728 (no idea what year) from a very kind gentleman. I found and got the mower for free using It currently has a mildly used 8hp Briggs engine in it. The deal with the donator was that I take the engine out and return it to him since it hasn't seen much use. I was all too happy to oblige! So, now I have a new project for this winter. Hopefully updates will come fast. :)

Doofus McFancypants 11-03-2008 10:36 AM

Sweet Will be watching how you progress!!!

MazdaMatt 11-03-2008 11:45 AM

Heh... cool :)

Considering you'll be replacing an 8hp motor instead of a 100hp motor, i expect this would be pretty smooth. Have you set out any "project requirements" (it has to cut my whole lawn without crapping out) or "project specifications" (it must travel xMPH with rotor spinning at yRPM for z Minutes)?

Daox 11-03-2008 12:06 PM

I really don't have any requirements yet besides collecting more parts. I belive the specs I'm planning for will allow for me to cut my lawn without recharging. Other than that, I'm not worried about speed or anything else.

Daox 11-06-2008 02:10 PM

Well, I took the mower out for a spin last night. I really needed to cut the grass and chew up the leaves. So, the mower got its last run on gasoline. It worked quite well for what I seemed to think of as a small mower (only 8 hp).

I'm now starting to track down the necessary other items for the conversion. Ben Nelson said he would donate a few things so I'm really psyched about that! There will be many pictures to come. :)

tasdrouille 11-06-2008 08:16 PM

You can do a lot of things with just 8 hp. I hope the conversion goes well and am looking forward to see lots od pics!

MetroMPG 11-06-2008 09:08 PM


I just remembered there's a left-over controller from the forklift: it's a GE EV-1 (not the car) SCR controller. I understand they're less efficient than PWM, and potentially harder on the batteries, which is why we didn't use it in the car.

But others do - you can probably find a dozen cars & trucks on the EV Album using the same one. If I were you, I'd also seriously consider a simple, 100% efficient, 2-speed 24/48v contactor controller. (Or 3 speed with a fat resistor step: 24v+resistor/24v/48v. You don\'t really need infinite speed control on a lawn tractor.

But you can have the EV-1 for shipping cost, if you want it.

bennelson 11-06-2008 09:21 PM

I think I have enough left over cables to build several mock Electraks.

Tim, if you can make it out on Sunday, I can introduce you to my motor collection.

Motor, cables, controller, and batteries are going to be the main things. I have a few contactors kicking around too.

Wait a minute, is this two electric Metro projects giving birth to a little electric riding lawn mower? How cute!

I mean. Eww.

MetroMPG 11-06-2008 09:24 PM

Haha! I LOLed. Thanks.

I also have the forklift\'s orange strobe light, and... backup beeper. Not sure how useful you\'d find those things, but add \'em to the pile if you want.

I\'d offer the left over Baker contactors too, but I want to hang onto them for the ForkenSwift\'s controller bypass/60v turbo idea.

bennelson 11-06-2008 09:34 PM

Hee heee.

I also have the strobe light and backup beeper.

That\'s it we are taking over Tim\'s project and pimping it out!

Next up: spinner hub caps!

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