We came across this website with a howto by Jeremy James at Humboldt State University on how to build a solar lawn mower.
We thought this project was kind of interesting because it was someone taking a stab at alternative fuels in their own life. In the past we have seen people trying to build portable generators from gas powered lawn mowers by mounting a car alternator and inverter on them which is kinda nice although not cost effective since you can buy a generator for less at a store…. but the idea of a solar powered lawn mower is something worth looking at.
The project provides information about purchasing items needed in the gasoline to solar conversion including some items that are relatively costly or cost prohibitive.
Jeremy describes that purchasing a different lawn mower may have been a better option since the one he selected was difficult to disassemble this is where we agree.
The most expensive part of this project was the 3/4HP, 12VDC electric motor for $312.00 .
If he has started with an electric lawn mower he would have already had 90% of what he needed to get the project done and at a far lower cost. Many Electric Lawnmowers although they run on 110v AC from an electrical cord could be quickly converted to DC Power and would have been a better place to start since the mechanicals have been tested to run on electric by the manufacturer.
I would like to see this project attempted again with an electric lawn mower and instead of going bigger with the solar charging panel the battery should be trickle charged over a period of a week which would be the normal time between grass cutting. A small panel could be mounted to a shed that stores the lawn mower and if needed the internal parts that allow AC current to run the lawn mower could be left in place in case a full charge could not cut all of the grass on someones property.
Read Jeremy ‘s Solar Lawn mower project it provides some good information about electric motors and solar charging of batteries. We congratulate him for trying to make things work better.