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  1. #21
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Dec 2006
    Posts
    468
    Location
    Quebec
    Tractor
    Two Gravely Two L One with 10 h.p Dek-Diesel engine one Grillo 107d and one BCS 735 diesel

    Default Re: electric motor conversion for a BCS or Gravely?

    Hi! For now! Sun and Wind are FREE here. But I must pay for gas and diesel. Energy from Sun is fabulous. As one kwhr by square meter. No more oil in 20-30 years. We must import a lot of oil now. We must find new technology for take and stock Sun energy. In Texas you have a lot of Sun. You are rich and you dont know. I think my childs and grandchilds would use electric cars and tractors. I am optimist. SUN is again here for a very long time. Be happy! Good luck! Oldmech

  2. #22
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Posts
    739
    Location
    NE PA
    Tractor
    AC 5020, Gravely Com12, JD X300R, WH 16 Auto

    Default Re: electric motor conversion for a BCS or Gravely?

    Yes Old the sun and wind are of themselves "free" energy, however the equipment to utilize them aren't, so no free lunch. Electric conversion wouldnt be for everyone, but for those who could put it to use it could be a good thing, once all the inital conversion costs were "paid for", and all those costs for a useable conversion are "up front", not pay as you go.

  3. #23
    New Member
    Join Date
    Nov 2013
    Posts
    5
    Location
    les C鐡res, Qu饕ec
    Tractor
    Valtra 700, Landini 6830, Oliver(Fiat) 1355, Hefty-G, Bolens G10 diesel

    Default Re: electric motor conversion for a BCS or Gravely?

    Hi All.

    I've checked in on this thread a couple times over the years to see if anyone had made any progress because it's a project I've considered for a while. Until recently it just didn't seem to be a realistic project because of battery power and weight limitations (lead delivers low current unless hundreds of pounds and that's no good for a 2-wheeler).

    With the advent of good lithium batteries at prices even a farmer can stomach it seemed to me that the constraints of the problem were loosening and after I used some Chevrolet Volt battery modules to update a utility cart for our farm (meet Bob here) I started dreaming about converting our BCS to battery-electric. By sharing 24V battery modules with a couple other tools (Crown pallet truck and others not yet built) I could broaden the benefit of building up robust portable batteries, thus diluting associated expense and also increasing runtime for any one tool because it could borrow from the fleet of shared batteries. Like cordless power tools but 42Ah at 24V instead of 2 or 4Ah at 18 or 20V. The bricks are 1kWh meaning they can provide 1000W steadily for 60 minutes but because they're lithium they can also provide outrageous peak power - thousands of amps - so need to be carefully fused etc. Do your homework before you start playing with bigger lithium batteries.

    So far I have one brick assembled and working and parts for 4 more. So far the brick is great and I think they'll prove robust enough for the tasks. For battery geeks out there I'm not running a BMS with these but have cell balance monitor/low voltage alarm and a balance charger, all borrowed from RC hobbyist industry to keep batteries monitored and balanced. The photo below shows a completed 24V power brick and the motor that eventually went on my BCS sitting on a scale and showing weight in kg.
    electric motor conversion for a BCS or Gravely?-img_1058-jpg

    With the batteries sorted out it was the BCS electric drivetrain that needed attention. Our BCS is a circa 2001 model 730GX11 though I guess I could rebadge it 730E when I'm done. I found what turns out to be a perfect DC motor in an industrial auction (Advanced Motors and Drives DD0-4002 aka 2450003). I built an adapter plate to fit the DC motor to the existing motor mount "cone" and replaced the clutch with a driveline fabricated out of a scrap BCS clutch and a variety of other adapters and bits, joined, welded, turned, etc.
    electric motor conversion for a BCS or Gravely?-img_1160-jpg

    A cradle made entirely out of head-scratching and scrap metal now carries one or two batteries to either side of the electric motor and also carries an Alu plate with the motor controller (Curtis 1243), main contactor (Albright SW80) and a main fuse/ammeter. The battery cradle subframe also manages airflow for proper cooling of motor and controller and protects the motor from aspiring bits of flammable crap like grass for instance, into the motor (airflow-managemetn not yet finished in pic below).
    electric motor conversion for a BCS or Gravely?-img_1197-jpg

    Total drivetrain weight is higher than for gas equivalent but by using two batteries wired in parallel I can choose to use one or two as needed, depending on how heavy an implement is attached at the other end. We have a very heavy 21" rotary harrow that NEEDs both batteries in order to balance (gas engine needs almost 20kg weight on bumper) but the stock 26" rototiller balances well with just one battery. So far the weight difference seems to be a non-issue because of the modular battery approach. here's a pic of gas and electric drivetrains side by side. bumper and motor-mount cone at front right of pallet are common to both.

    electric motor conversion for a BCS or Gravely?-img_1226-jpg

    I finally got rough controls worked out and tested the electric drivetrain two days ago. It works like a charm and I have high hopes that 2018 will be it's first season as an electric 2-wheel tractor, being put to work on our farm. I need to redo all the controls and control wiring and still build a cowl/cover for the controller and some other bits but with 2 or 3 more days in the shop it ought to be ready for prime time. For now I actually had to pull it apart and put the Honda engine and clutch back on because we need to prep a lot of greenhouse beds and those 2 or 3 days of shop time are not presently available.

    electric motor conversion for a BCS or Gravely?-img_1225-jpg

    Why we are doing this: We actually built a big new greenhouse last year for season extension and the area to be prepped indoors was what motivated me to tackle this project now. The electric drivetrain is not silent and even some tools are noisy, but it doesn't require ear protectors like a gas engine does and, more importantly, it doesn't make noxious fumes for you or the people around you if several are working in the GH at once. That's the main motivator for us because it's hard to argue that the Honda GX340 engine wasn't doing everything else absolutely perfectly. The conversion will probably cost us close to $1200 with 2 years of reflection and scavenging and almost all used parts. Figure more like $3000 to do it with all new parts and maybe $5000 to have someone do it for you.



    So the tech is now here at last, even for scavengers like me (90% of parts on this build are used) but unless you have a lot of indoor growing space it's probably not a justifiable expense to convert your BCS or other 2-wheel tractor to electric power. It just costs too much in money or time because there are effectively NO off-the-shelf solutions to any of it. Also, it's a tough sell arguing to replace a Honda GX engine because they are probably among the best small gas engines ever built. So unless you've got a strong technical bent, a lot of time and a really strong desire to do this it's probably not the way to go. BUT... it is now possible.

    There are loads of pics of the build on my FaceBook page if you don't hate Facebook - search for Reid Allaway - and a couple videos on YouTube - again search my name.

    I'm glad to finally have a chance to update this thread with some good news. Please let me know if you're working on a similar project and remember, if you see a crashed Chevy Volt or Nissan Leaf please make sure everyone is okay... and then make them an offer on the car's battery :-)

    ~ Reid Allaway
    Tourne-Sol Co-operative Farm, les Cdres, QC, CAN

  4. #24
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    6,750
    Location
    East Coast of Lake Huron
    Tractor
    Deere, several

    Default Re: electric motor conversion for a BCS or Gravely?

    Quote Originally Posted by FredWalter View Post
    A web search finds a bunch of 4-wheel garden tractors that have been converted to run off batteries+electric motor, but I have yet to find someone that has done this conversion with a BCS or Gravely tractor.
    You are probably within a 100 miles of my location.

  5. #25
    Super Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2004
    Posts
    6,750
    Location
    East Coast of Lake Huron
    Tractor
    Deere, several

    Default Re: electric motor conversion for a BCS or Gravely?

    Quote Originally Posted by kiotiken View Post
    I'd love to see the "proof" you provided your son. I've never done any math, but it would seem to me it wouldn't take long to make back the investment on an electric conversion for a car when it cost $60 (here anyway) to fill a small car and I believe about $10 to charge batteries to go the same distance (several charges of a couple bucks each).

    There are no subsidies for hybrids, at least not here, anymore, and they sell just fine at a reasonable price. The car itself as been subsidized throughout history and you could make the case that gas powered cars are still subsidized by the healthcare system for the emissions they produce causing conditions such as asthma, lung and heart disease (read smog). There's always a way to say the true cost is higher because of x. Less informed people even try and put forward that charging a cars batteries can emit more than filling a gas tank because the electric power is coming from coal.

    I don't have the answers about electric vs gas and I'm not going to be the first to jump on electric car wagon, but I embrace the new technology and it always bothers me that so many people try to fabricate reasons not to move forward.

    I live in a ontario and pay Ontario electrical prices . I don稚 know how you are going to purchase the same amount of energy with $10 into electricity vs $60 of gasoline .
    Have another look at the subsidizes . We are looking at a Mitsubishi PHEV Outlander fornanyard truck at work. Company has to look green in the public痴 eyes. Rebate this week is $9500.

  6. #26
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    Posts
    431
    Location
    Husak, Slovakia, EU
    Tractor
    Iseki TS35F, Goldoni Special 140 with powered trailer -- Goldoni Special 128 -- Goldoni Uno for mowing -- Czech Vari system

    Default Re: electric motor conversion for a BCS or Gravely?

    Your build is really inspiring! Great job. It will be interesting to see how much you can do on one battery charge.

  7. #27
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Posts
    430
    Location
    Belfast, Maine
    Tractor
    Katie (Wife), Heather, Mariah, Alyson,Gianna, Kaelyn

    Default Re: electric motor conversion for a BCS or Gravely?

    Quote Originally Posted by freedomlives View Post
    Your build is really inspiring! Great job. It will be interesting to see how much you can do on one battery charge.
    I would think that a 2 wheel tractor converted to electric would work really well in a greenhouse situation. In that case there would be no need for battery packs, but rather a self-reeling cable spool to let out the electric cable, and reel it back in so that it was overhead and never in the way. Mounting it like the spray wands at a car wash would work as well.

    (Just thinking out loud)

  8. #28
    Platinum Member
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Posts
    739
    Location
    NE PA
    Tractor
    AC 5020, Gravely Com12, JD X300R, WH 16 Auto

    Default Re: electric motor conversion for a BCS or Gravely?

    Quote Originally Posted by BrokenTrack View Post
    I would think that a 2 wheel tractor converted to electric would work really well in a greenhouse situation. In that case there would be no need for battery packs, but rather a self-reeling cable spool to let out the electric cable, and reel it back in so that it was overhead and never in the way. Mounting it like the spray wands at a car wash would work as well.

    (Just thinking out loud)
    Some old pics of electric machines using no batteries and cabling set ups.

    Bungartz.nl

  9. #29
    Bronze Member
    Join Date
    May 2017
    Posts
    61
    Location
    Ottawa, Ontario
    Tractor
    BCS

    Default Re: electric motor conversion for a BCS or Gravely?

    Quote Originally Posted by BrokenTrack View Post
    I would think that a 2 wheel tractor converted to electric would work really well in a greenhouse situation. In that case there would be no need for battery packs, but rather a self-reeling cable spool to let out the electric cable, and reel it back in so that it was overhead and never in the way. Mounting it like the spray wands at a car wash would work as well.

    (Just thinking out loud)
    Might not work as well as you'd like, normal 110V cables can only go up to about 15A, not enough juice for a walk behind tractor. The nice thing is that the big batteries provide enough amps and current for higher horsepower motors.

    That said, in a hoop house with current nearby, you might just need enough battery power for a shorter run time.

  10. #30
    Gold Member
    Join Date
    Jan 2018
    Posts
    430
    Location
    Belfast, Maine
    Tractor
    Katie (Wife), Heather, Mariah, Alyson,Gianna, Kaelyn

    Default Re: electric motor conversion for a BCS or Gravely?

    Quote Originally Posted by ottawarob View Post
    Might not work as well as you'd like, normal 110V cables can only go up to about 15A, not enough juice for a walk behind tractor. The nice thing is that the big batteries provide enough amps and current for higher horsepower motors.

    That said, in a hoop house with current nearby, you might just need enough battery power for a shorter run time.
    Oh no I knew that. I just bought some #10 SO Cord and it was pretty cheap, about $2.50 a linear foot. Maybe that is expensive???? I am not sure, I expected more I guess.

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