Lawnmower That Runs on Renewable Energy

ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
Three years ago we bought a Toro 12V string trimmer and it turned out to be every bit as good as a gas one. Many people have problems with the batteries in them. But ours still works good. So I think the problem some people have with the battery not lasting is due to discharging it too low maybe just to see how far it can go before it needs recharged. Or maybe using it and not charging it right away, and never charging it until it's dead. I think that harms those little 3.6ah VLRA batteries. Three years and ours still runs like new.

Our 20 year old MTD push mower with a Briggs engine was getting in pretty rough shape. Our lawn is slightly over 2 acres so we mow most of it with our John Deere 455 Diesel. But we still need a push mower to trim around stuff where the big mower can't get, and is too much to trim with the little string trimmer.

So we bought a 24V Earthwise 20" electric mower. It said on the box that it runs on Renewable Energy. For most people I suspect it would run on coal. But for us, with our off-grid home, it really does run on Renewable Energy. I used it for the first time today and was pleasantly surprised at how much power it has - just like the string trimmer it's easily on par with our old gas push mower. I hope it works out as nice as the string trimmer has. I sure don't miss mixing gas with two-stroke oil and having it in a separate can just for the trimmer during the summer. I suspect I won't miss changing oil in the push mower either, or dumping gas in it. Definitely won't miss the big cloud of smoke from the gas push mower, due the cylinder being so worn out that you can slide a hacksaw blade past what's left of the rings between the piston and the bore.
--
Chris

Comments

  • icarusicarus Solar Expert Posts: 5,241 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Lawnmower That Runs on Renewable Energy

    I have always thought that an battery mower for the averqge suburban lawn would be great. Charge it with PV, all the better!

    Tony
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: Lawnmower That Runs on Renewable Energy
    icarus wrote: »
    I have always thought that an battery mower for the averqge suburban lawn would be great. Charge it with PV, all the better!

    I think that's what they're designed for - small lawns in town. But I used it for 30-40 minutes today to trim around stuff and mow sections where the big mower can't go and it never ran out of power. It has green lights on it that show the battery SOC and even after a half hour of run time it only dropped one light.

    It has a VERY powerful neodymium permanent magnet motor in it and I would say it's on par with a 5 horse piston engine. It has a 12ah 24V battery and it's not two batteries in series - it's a 12 cell battery. Not exactly sure how they can get that much power from that little battery, but it does.
    --
    Chris
  • NorthGuyNorthGuy Solar Expert Posts: 1,925 ✭✭
    Re: Lawnmower That Runs on Renewable Energy

    I have AC powered 120V lawn mower. I bought it 12 years ago in WallMart. It still runs well, execpt for some troubles with the switch. It is much quieter than gas mowers, and extension cord doesn't get in the way if you figure out how to handle it. It now runs on renewable energy too :D
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: Lawnmower That Runs on Renewable Energy

    That's where we got our Earthwise mower - Walmart. It's manufactured by American Lawn Mower Company in Indiana. They had corded models there too for a lot less money. But we would need a 600 foot cord to reach some of the areas we mow with the push mower in our apple orchard, because the branches on the trees are too low to get under with the big mower. So the battery operated model was a better option for us. We have bee hives too, and the honey bees didn't near as riled up over the electric mower as they do with the gas mower.
    --
    Chris
  • stephendvstephendv Solar Expert Posts: 1,571 ✭✭
    Re: Lawnmower That Runs on Renewable Energy

    I borrowed an electric tiller from a friend this weekend to mix in some manure with the soil for next years veg patch, 1300W electric motor, 240V, worked a treat from the off-grid system.

    I have been threatening to convert one of the bigger walking tractor machines to electric as that would make an ideal EV starter project. They're extremely versatile, 'cause you can attach all sorts of implements to the PTO, even hitch a trailor on the back which converts it into a mini sitting tractor.
    Use of the machine also coincides nicely with good sunlight.

    Attachment not found.
  • RandomJoeRandomJoe Solar Expert Posts: 472 ✭✭✭
    Re: Lawnmower That Runs on Renewable Energy

    I bought a Black & Decker 18" Lawn Hog electric mower when I bought my house. Have to drag the cord around, but my lot is small so not a big issue. It's definitely a plus not messing with gas and oil, just sharpen the blade on occasion.

    The switch on mine went bad too, I just removed it. It had apparently been going bad for a while, slowly increasing in resistance. When I plugged in after removing it the mower ran much faster and had a lot more power! My parents got rid of an electric mower for the same problem, I didn't know it until after it was gone unfortunately.

    I've actually considered a gas mower for my next one (if this one ever dies) just for a way to cycle through the gas I have on hand for the generator. Not sure that's a good enough reason though... A battery mower might be a better idea!
  • Ralph DayRalph Day Solar Expert Posts: 887 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Lawnmower That Runs on Renewable Energy

    My mower collection has varied over the past few years. An old Lawnboy gas, not well liked. Went to a walk behind reel...you had to overlap 1/2 the cut the next time around, so effectively walked 1/3 more than the gas. Not used now as the novelty wore off from having to cut the grass every 3 days! If it got too long it was almost impossible to use. Next was a 24v cordless electric, but the battery would only last 1/2 cut, half the new mower cost for a new battery! Now have a Husqvarna with a Honda engine. 1 pull starts, 2 if it's the first start of the season...gotta love those Honda engines!

    Pushing around the electric was as much work as pushing the Husky, unless the grass was long, then it would be considerably harder and slower. Chris, do you leave your trimmer and mower batteries charging all the time? I would charge after use, then unplug and that might not have served me well.

    Ralph's rules of lawn cutting:

    1. Never cut cut before May

    2. Never have more lawn than can be cut in 30 minutes

    3. Never cut more than once per week.

    I try and live by these rules, but sometimes 3 has to be broken. That doesn't count the time spent on the John Deere 1830 and bush hog, but that's only every few weeks.

    Ralph
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: Lawnmower That Runs on Renewable Energy
    Ralph Day wrote: »
    Chris, do you leave your trimmer and mower batteries charging all the time?

    No, for the trimmer I charge it up right after use, then unplug it as soon as the light turns green on the charger. Plus I have charged it once a month in the winter but the light usually turns green within 5 minutes so I don't leave it plugged in.

    The instructions for our new Earthwise mower say to charge it immediately after use and unplug it as soon as the light turns green. And never leave it plugged in more than 24 hours because it only takes 17 hours to charge it. It says to charge that once a month in the winter too.

    I think many people don't follow the instructions and either leave them plugged in or don't charge them after use. Or some probably run them completely dead. So it wrecks the little battery.

    The replacement battery for our Toro is only $14.95 and the replacement one for our Earthwise mower is $69.95. I figure if the battery lasts three years in the electric mower that's still cheaper than gas because $70 will only buy 17 gallons of gas anymore. It's not hard to run 10 gallons of gas thru a lawnmower in one summer if you got a big lawn like we do. But I'm betting, properly taken care of, that the battery in the electric mower will last probably 5 years.
    --
    Chris
  • solarvicsolarvic Solar Expert Posts: 1,053 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Lawnmower That Runs on Renewable Energy

    Just wondering, Does Lawn boy actually make 2 stroke mowers any more? At the end of the season I picked up a lawn boy self propelled with a 4 stroke Kohler motor. made by Toro. Warranty card was addressed to toro. Home depot had the toro electric also. I didn,t really want a self propelled but it was on sale less than the non self propelled. So I took the gear wheels off the drive wheels and if I ever think I need self propelled I ever need self propelled, just put the gears back on. As easy to start as a Honda. :Dsolarvic:D
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Lawnmower That Runs on Renewable Energy
    solarvic wrote: »
    Just wondering, Does Lawn boy actually make 2 stroke mowers any more? At the end of the season I picked up a lawn boy self propelled with a 4 stroke Kohler motor. made by Toro.

    It is getting harder to find two stroke motors in portable tools these days, at least in good old CA, because it is harder for them to meet the emissions requirements.
    (Imagine a lawn mower with a catalytic convertor....)
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
  • BB.BB. Super Moderators, Administrators Posts: 29,509 admin
    Re: Lawnmower That Runs on Renewable Energy
    inetdog wrote: »
    (Imagine a lawn mower with a catalytic convertor....)

    With garden gnomes with battery powered sawzalls cutting the cat's off lawn mowers and selling them for the palladium/noble metal content to buy more pink flamingos.

    -Bill
    Near San Francisco California: 3.5kWatt Grid Tied Solar power system+small backup genset
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: Lawnmower That Runs on Renewable Energy

    I got the camera back from my wife so I could take pictures of the electric lawnmower and the battery in it.

    https://picasaweb.google.com/110979388690716770927/EarthwiseElectricLawnmower03

    This is the reason the instructions say to unplug the charger when the light turns green and don't leave it plugged in past 24hrs - it's output is 30V

    100_2956.JPG

    I put the battery on the bathroom scale out of curiosity. It weighs 31 lbs.
    --
    Chris
  • solar_davesolar_dave Solar Expert Posts: 2,343 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Lawnmower That Runs on Renewable Energy

    How about one of these?
    http://www.meangreenproducts.com/walkbehind.html
  • mtdocmtdoc Solar Expert Posts: 600 ✭✭
    Re: Lawnmower That Runs on Renewable Energy
    solar_dave wrote: »


    Looks nice but--- "PRICED FROM JUST $4,195.00 plus your LEM option!" :cry::cry:

    Actually I've been thinking about one of THESE
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: Lawnmower That Runs on Renewable Energy

    Actually, Husqvarna makes the ultimate electric mower. My wife and I seen these Husky AutoMowers going in Stockholm a couple years ago. They come with a solar charging station and the whole works. The big one - the 265 - maintains 1.5 acres and even sends a text message to your cell phone if it has a problem:
    http://www.husqvarna.com/us/products/robotic-mowers/automower-265-acx/

    When our John Deere 455 Diesel mower goes belly up we'll probably buy one of those Husky AutoMowers. It's about 1/3 the cost of a new diesel lawn tractor, and other than replacing the blades now and then are pretty much zero maintenance. Not many of them in the US. But we talked to some people that have them in Sweden and they said they are pretty much bullet proof yet after three years of operation.

    [video=youtube_share;anJTTa-B5iA]
    --
    Chris
  • NorthGuyNorthGuy Solar Expert Posts: 1,925 ✭✭
    Re: Lawnmower That Runs on Renewable Energy
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    Actually, Husqvarna makes the ultimate electric mower.

    Our lawn is not a continuous piece, but is broken with driveway, trails, flower beds etc. These things are hard to move over. I try to remember loan on my previous houses, and it's never been one piece. I wonder how would it handle this?
  • westbranchwestbranch Solar Expert Posts: 5,142 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Lawnmower That Runs on Renewable Energy

    Gulp

    Attachment not found.
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  • newlnewl Solar Expert Posts: 53 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Lawnmower That Runs on Renewable Energy

    That's one expensive Roomba! :roll:
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: Lawnmower That Runs on Renewable Energy

    Yeah, it has a price tag. But we paid $9,000 for our John Deere lawn tractor too, and basically all we use it for is mowing our 2 acre lawn. So from that perspective, the AutoMower is not really that expensive when you look at replacing a high-end lawn tractor with one.

    NorthGuy - we saw one mowing at SKF in Sweden and their yard and courtyard is about as broken up as you can imagine with sidewalks, gates, shrubs and trees, a pool, flowers along one sidewalk, etc.. It had their yard about as perfect as I've seen a yard be. Like for flower beds, you just stake down one of those wires around the flower bed and it won't cross the wire and mow down the flowers.
    --
    Chris
  • solarvicsolarvic Solar Expert Posts: 1,053 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Lawnmower That Runs on Renewable Energy

    Chris, If that John Deere diesel is half as good as my old Bolens diesel, you probably wont wear it out for a long time. Been mowing 7 acres since 1991 with my bolens with a 6 ft. 3 point hitch kingcutter mowing deck. Wore out the original mowing deck. The original movie brings you to other brands and saw that john deere has similar mower to the husqvarna. Maybe the john deere is a huskvarna in john deere green. solarvic
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: Lawnmower That Runs on Renewable Energy

    Deere builds the frame and deck and attachments. The engine and drivetrain parts are built by various other people. The engine is a liquid-cooled Yanmar 3-cylinder so that probably won't wear out. But what goes is the hydrostatic drive. Once that goes south it costs more to fix it than the tractor is worth after it gets 3,000 hours on it.

    We will probably end up selling it while it's still fairly new so we can get decent money for it and buy one of those Husky AutoMowers. My wife does most of the grass cutting, and her being native Swedish plus the Husky AutoMower being a Swedish product, she's had her eye on them since they were first invented. Our lawn and orchard is tabletop smooth with no slopes, and one large contiguous chunk, so I think one of those AutoMowers would do very well on it. We'd still mow some sections with the new electric push mower. But the AutoMower would get under apple trees and areas where the big mower can't go right now.
    --
    Chris
  • RandomJoeRandomJoe Solar Expert Posts: 472 ✭✭✭
    Re: Lawnmower That Runs on Renewable Energy

    Interesting device. I haven't found a good view of the blade system - how close to the edge of the unit do they get? From the Youtube video it seemed there may be several inches between the blade and casing so you'd still have to edge everything?

    My neighbors just might like it if I got one of these - I'm terrible about mowing! I cut it long anyway and tend to look out each weekend and think "eh, it can go another week!" :-)
  • ChrisOlsonChrisOlson Banned Posts: 1,807 ✭✭
    Re: Lawnmower That Runs on Renewable Energy

    The blades are quite aways under the housing - I'd say about 8" or so clearance all the way around. The places we've seen that have the AutoMowers usually design obstacles like trees with a border ring with cedar chips or something in them so the AutoMower can reach all the grass without having to do any trimming work. Things like sidewalks are no problem. But other obstacles like flower beds also need a border so it can reach all the grass.
    --
    Chris
  • inetdoginetdog Solar Expert Posts: 3,123 ✭✭✭✭
    Re: Lawnmower That Runs on Renewable Energy
    ChrisOlson wrote: »
    The blades are quite aways under the housing - I'd say about 8" or so clearance all the way around.
    Enough that it will not chop off your toes before catching on your ankles if it sneaks up on you.
    SMA SB 3000, old BP panels.
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