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  1. #1

    Default Mower-Power Inverter?

    Since this is the off-season (at least for those of us south of the snow belt ) I thought I would start a few threads now and then asking what may be unusual questions. Any technical experts' knowledge would be greatly appreciated.

    So here goes: Can a power inverter be successfully (more importantly safely) hooked to the battery of a riding mower? My power inverter is 3000W and of course works fine attached to a car or truck battery, but what about the smaller charging system of a mower? For that matter why hasn't a manufacturer thought of this and to end up with a rider that also serves as a portable, (and drivable!) generator?

  2. #2
    Platinum Member
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    1998 JD 770 & 2004 Toro LX417

    Default Re: Mower-Power Inverter?

    There just isn't enough power generated by a lawn or garden tractor.

    The typical garden tractor alternator has very low output and has a low capacity battery. The alternator on my 17 HP Kawasaki generates only 12 amps. Enough for the headlights and to keep the battery up. It would be able to make only about 1,200 watts or less. The 3,000 watt inverter would kill the battery in only a few minutes. Even the 25 hp Diesel on my JD 770 CUT only has a 20 amp alternator.

    There is are one or two manufacturers that have/had interters, I believe possibly Craftsmen and John Deere on very limited models.

    You could get by with very limited use of an electrical drill or maybe a skill saw on a GT. You might be better off with some of the more powerful cordless tools for more extensive use or hauling a generator in a trailer if you needed long term power for lights and power tools.

    A larger alternator could be installed if it would fit, but it's cost and limited use would make a generator more practical.

  3. #3
    Veteran Member Dutch445's Avatar
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    Aug 2001
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    2,140
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    Upstate NY
    Tractor
    JD X585

    Default Re: Mower-Power Inverter?

    here's some info on the JD model GT235E that was out a few years ago:


    GT235 ELECTRIC OUTLET EQUIPPED TRACTOR
    The GT235 Electric Outlet Equipped (GT235E) Tractor is
    equipped with an inverter, which converts electricity generated
    by the engines alternator to 120 volt 60 cycle AC
    power.
    • It permits the use of tools and equipment anywhere the
    tractor can go that require 1000 watts continuous/1500
    maximum power.
    • The GT235 Electric Outlet Equipped Tractor provides
    a mobile power source that goes where you need it.
    You can operate tools like trimmers, edgers, saws, and
    more with the tractor. It is a convenient way to complete
    yard work, construction, or repairs.


    That was from some older sales info that JD provided.

    not very powerful...but cute..

  4. #4
    Elite Member DieselPower's Avatar
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    Fairfield, PA
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    JD 3020, JD 4230, JD 7410, JD 2440, MF 750, NH LS170

    Default Re: Mower-Power Inverter?

    Have to agree with Joe1. The tiny alternators on most riding mowers and small tractors would not be able to handle the load of the inverter.

  5. #5
    Elite Member BobRip's Avatar
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    Powhatan Va.
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    2000 Power Trac 422

    Default Re: Mower-Power Inverter?

    My Sears 12 HP riding mower has a 2 amp charging circuit. That would be 24 watts. Much too small for an inverter.
    Bob Rip
    Tell me and I will hear.
    Show me and I will see.
    Let me do and I will learn.
    Let me fail and I will understand.

  6. #6
    Bronze Member
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    Heber Utah
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    Kubota B7100 & cub 2160

    Default Re: Mower-Power Inverter?

    My father and I ran a 700w inverter and a car starter motor off our little cub cadet 2160. We replaced the battery (when it was dead anyway) with the largest battery we could fit under the hood. The inverter would last for a couple of hours running the weed wacker and the electric starter motor will run the plow up and down all day under normal use. BUT the little charging system would never get the battery back to 100% (we just don't run it enough). We added a trickle charger thats plugged in when the tractor is not is use to charge the battery.

    We used the system for small things like using the electric chain saw to cut up one fallen branch or weed wack one small area where the tractor wouldn't fit etc. It worked quite well. For "big jobs" we usually broke out the generator.

    So, I think it depends on what your intended use is, and if your willing to add a trickle charger or upgrade the charging system on the tractor. my experince agrees with the other posts, the stock charging system probably won't keep up.
    Kubota B 7100 HST,4' Loader, 4' mower, 7' & 5' blade, 5' rake, ag tires

    Cub Cadet AGS 2160

  7. #7
    Elite Member BobRip's Avatar
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    2000 Power Trac 422

    Default Re: Mower-Power Inverter?

    If you could drive a car alternator off of the engine you get 100 amps at 12 volts. There are pulleys on the bottom of the engine that could do this. It should not be too hard.
    Bob Rip
    Tell me and I will hear.
    Show me and I will see.
    Let me do and I will learn.
    Let me fail and I will understand.

  8. #8
    Super Star Member
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    Default Re: Mower-Power Inverter?

    Quote Originally Posted by DieselPower
    Have to agree with Joe1. The tiny alternators on most riding mowers and small tractors would not be able to handle the load of the inverter.
    Wonder if Some of the older ones like my 1966 Bolens 850 would handle it?
    Tractors 2003 Kubota BX1500 / 2004 Kubota Bx23 / 2005 Kubota BX1500.
    Attachments 60'' Front Blade/48'' Rear Tiller/FEL/Back Hoe /
    60'' MMM/Clamp on Forks/48'' MMM
    South of Canton Ohio L .B

  9. #9
    Super Star Member
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    Default Re: Mower-Power Inverter?

    Quote Originally Posted by Joe1
    There just isn't enough power generated by a lawn or garden tractor.

    The typical garden tractor alternator has very low output and has a low capacity battery. The alternator on my 17 HP Kawasaki generates only 12 amps. Enough for the headlights and to keep the battery up. It would be able to make only about 1,200 watts or less. The 3,000 watt inverter would kill the battery in only a few minutes. Even the 25 hp Diesel on my JD 770 CUT only has a 20 amp alternator.

    There is are one or two manufacturers that have/had interters, I believe possibly Craftsmen and John Deere on very limited models.

    You could get by with very limited use of an electrical drill or maybe a skill saw on a GT. You might be better off with some of the more powerful cordless tools for more extensive use or hauling a generator in a trailer if you needed long term power for lights and power tools.

    A larger alternator could be installed if it would fit, but it's cost and limited use would make a generator more practical.
    Until you put a car battery in it.
    Tractors 2003 Kubota BX1500 / 2004 Kubota Bx23 / 2005 Kubota BX1500.
    Attachments 60'' Front Blade/48'' Rear Tiller/FEL/Back Hoe /
    60'' MMM/Clamp on Forks/48'' MMM
    South of Canton Ohio L .B

  10. #10
    Platinum Member
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    1998 JD 770 & 2004 Toro LX417

    Default Re: Mower-Power Inverter?

    A larger battery would indeed increase the length of time until the battery went dead from drawing more power than the alternator could resupply. It would also mean a lot longer to recharge the battery to a full charge with the undersized alternator or using a 110 source battery charger to bring the tractor battery up to full charge. As I understand it, keeping a smaller battery fully charged will have a longer life than keeping a larger battery undercharged due to sulfation.

    When my GT battery eventually needs replacing, I will replace it with a bigger one, not so I can run 110 tools, but so I have a little more reserve cranking capacity. I usually run the tractor for at least 75 minutes a week and rarely use the lights, so that would keep a larger battery charged fully.

    I live in a warm climate so winter cold cranking is not usually an issue.

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