Monday, September 19, 2011

Solar lights from a bottle.

Here is a nifty way to reuse bottles to make lightbulbs. They are using this in electrically strained areas around the world.

Friday, September 16, 2011

Lawnmower links and timeline

Lawnmower Conversion Links:
(the site that motivated me)

My Timeline:
2008- Gas lawnmower dies. Purchase adapter and blade, put new cord on electric motor, pull engine from the mowing deck, and mount electric motor to mower deck.

2008-2010- Graduate from college, change jobs twice, and move three times.

May 2011- Find bushing to fit blade adapter to drive shaft, put tin on underside of masonite, mount blade to drive shaft and blow several breakers on test run.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Electric Lawnmower Update

I have had some trouble with the electric lawnmower throwing breakers. I set it on the bare concrete the other day and plugged it in to see how long it would go before it threw the breaker. The answer is exactly 76 seconds. I assume there is something going on internally that is causing extra friction, and therefore too much Amp pull. I will need to take the motor apart and see what is going on. Because of this issue I have been using my old people powered Reel mower all summer, hopefully I can get the electric mower up and running reliably for next year. The one time I successfully used it, it worked like a champ. The grass looked like it had been mowed by a grass powered mower. Those who have used both rotary and reel mowers know the quality cut difference. For those who don't, it takes roughly 3-4 passes on a reel mower to get the same quality as one pass on a rotary mower.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Homemade Air Conditioner

The air conditioner in our van went out, and it would cost more to repair than the van is worth. We are headed to Washington state next weekend, so I went and found plans for an alternative air conditioner. This set up cost me $30 because I already had the fan, ice chest, and inverter.

I am including this on the blog because this type of A/C can be used in electric cars.

I hope to test this out before we take the actual trip, and I will let you know how well it works. Reports on-line for this type of A/C is up to 20 degrees F cooler.

(Prices are rounded off to the dollar)

Ice Chest (Already owned)
Car Fan (Already owned)- $10
400w Inverter (Already owned)- $35
Fountain water pump- $15
10 feet Vinyl tubing 1/4in ID 3/8in OD- $4
10 feet copper tubing 1/4in OD- $8
2 hose clamps (1/4 in)- 85 cents each.

Put 2 gallons of water in the ice chest with lots of ice. The pump circulates the ice water through the copper tube which the fan blows past, there by circulating the cool air through the vehicle. This may also be used to cool a small to medium sized room in a house.

This worked well for the kids in the back seat, but up front we were still quite warm. I would recommend a bigger fountain pump than what I used. It had trouble keeping a steady flow of water through the copper tube because it was topping out the height the pump was designed for, a larger pump would not have had this problem.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Electric Scooter Tune-up

Finally got around to fixing the electric scooter that had a blow out on us in Rexburg. I was on my way back home (5 miles south of town in Lyman) when the rear tire went out as I was going down University Boulevard to 5th West.

I checked the batteries to make sure they would charge last Saturday, they miraculously did after no use and no maintenance for 2 years. Then last night I pulled the rear tire assembly appart to find one tiny hole in the innertube. It was the tire wall that took the beating, so I could have had this fixed right after the tire went out. A new tire is $25 from the website (, we own the x-360 model.) The brake needs replaced as well ($29), but that can wait. It is just over a mile to work with 2 uphill stretches on the way home. I will take it for a test ride tonight to make sure it will make it the distance. I am going to assume the battery life has been somewhat depleted as a result of its lack of attention and use.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Electric Lawnmower- Maiden Voyage

It works.... well sort of.
I blew the 20 Amp breaker in the house, so I had to raise the mowing deck to one of the highest settings. The label on the motor says it should be pulling between 5.5 and 11.5 amps, so it is likely the motor needs cleaned out. What it did cut, it cut well. I finished the lawn with the people powered Reel mower, it took 3 passes to cut as nicely as the electric mower did with one pass.
May 31, 2011

Electric Lawnmower- Blade Assembly

Here is the Blade, Adapter and Bushing (7/8-5/8).

May 29, 2011

Electric Lawnmower- Blade to Drive Shaft

Cut some tin to cover the masonite so it doesn't rot, then I pounded the blade on to the drive shaft. It is a forced fit at the moment, but it will work.
May 29, 2011

Friday, May 27, 2011

Lawn mower conversion- Bushing

I have purchased a bushing to match up the blade adapter to the drive shaft, I have also mounted the motor using masonite for my adapter plate, this will need to be lined with tin or aluminum before all is said and done so that it doesn't rot.

I have other pictures that I will post tomorrow, along with new photos as I hope to get the blade adapter mounted by the end of the day.

Also on the back burner, I have purchased a donor car for my electric conversion, a 1989 Plymouth Sundance for $400. I am driving it as is until I can purchase the parts to convert it.

Lawn mower conversion- gas motor pulled.

Gas motor off, and everything sitting roughly where it will end up.

Lawn mower conversion- blade distance

Measuring the blade distance so that it is in the correct place when all is said and done.

Lawn mower conversion- new power cord

New power cord for the electric mower.

Lawn mower conversion- motor and battery

The 3/4 HP motor and donor battery.

Lawn mower conversion- Starting Photo

Here is the original lawnmower.