DIY electric lawn mower

Solar lawnmower

Can’t afford a new electric-powered mower? Why not convert your old polluting mower. Shaun Williams shows us how to do it.

Well the old Victa had finally got the better of me. After more than a decade of steady decline, becoming nearly impossible to start and developing a very noisy and smoky cough, I’d had enough. In a previous life I was paid to repair carbon-pumping motors like this one but I wasn’t going to waste any more of my precious time on this particular little environmental vandal. Not a hint of nostalgia here, I poked it with my foot and growled ‘That’s it. You’re gone.’ Besides, for the last few months I’d been itching to see if that 500 watt electric motor on my son’s electric go-kart would have enough grunt to cut thick grass, and now I had my excuse.

It sounds easy enough—just attach the mower blades to the electric motor shaft and mount the motor where the petrol one used to be. Sure enough, that’s what many people have done over the years, but of course, I felt the need to do it differently. After all, that is a personality pre-requisite for most of us who read this magazine!

Firstly, it struck me that the little bearings inside the electric motor that I was going to use might not be up to the job for any extended period of time. You know how it is: Whack! As you inadvertently try to slice through that massive cattle thigh bone the dog left half buried in the long grass. Clunk! As once again you give the concrete garden edging a bit of unnecessary de-glazing.  You really need big bearings and a heavy shaft to handle such treacheries of our urban war fields. I knew where I could get such equipment, in fact components designed to do this exact job—and they cost nothing!

Secondly, I wanted my new mower to be self sustaining—no trips to the petrol station, no charging cords, no wind-up springs and definitely no extra grunt from me. Obviously that means going solar or wind powered. Well there’s not a lot of wind here in BrisVegas but there’s certainly plenty of those golden rays of energy in our Sunshine State.

Read the full article in ReNew 105