Video series shows how to build your own solar-charged R/C lawnmower

rc-solar-lawnmower

As winter is officially upon us, we’re pretty sure that the last thing most of you are thinking about is mowing your lawn. We would argue that it’s actually the ideal time to do so – that is, if you are interested in automating the process a bit.

[Robert Smith] has spent a lot of time thinking about his lawn, wanting a way to sit back and relax while doing his weekly trimming. He set off for the workshop to build an R/C electric lawnmower, and thoroughly documented the process in order to help you do the same.

On his web site, you will find a series of videos detailing every bit of the solar charged R/C lawnmower’s construction, taking you through the planning phases all the way to completion. [Robert] has provided just about anything you could possibly need including parts lists, schematics, code, and more.

If the short introductory video below has you interested, be sure to swing by his site for everything you need to build one of your own.

Comments

  1. fa says:

    I had no idea what to expect from the video!

    Other than that, I think it’d be great if that thing could operate autonomously.

  2. cryogen says:

    Heh heh… That almost makes me wish I still had a lawn.

  3. Hunter says:

    That man brought game.

  4. easycheese says:

    Dang. If every write-up linked on this site were created with that depth…well I don’t know actually, butt he world would probably be a better place.

  5. aRp says:

    The build alone demands serious respect.
    The documentation is unbelievable. 14 videos mostly over 10mins.

  6. fartface says:

    R/C? FAIL.

    Call me when he adds grass length sensors to it finds the uncut line and mows automatically.

    Honestly, RC based is good for getting the robot platform working, then you rip out the RC garbage and put a http://www.sparkfun.com/products/8785 ardupilot on it so it can mow on it’s own.

  7. Vonskippy says:

    So what does the motor (under load) use, compared to what the solar panels can provide?

    I’m not a fan of rambling videos that may or may not provide the details (TL:DL). Also, spreading the technical info across several links is not good either.

    The project looks good (or at least looks like a good starting point for an autonomous mower), but the guy needs to learn how to do a technical write up.

  8. Scott says:

    I think that more work went into the videos than the mower, and the mower was no small project…exhausting detail. I’m sure that there will be a lot of complaints about this not being done in the usual geek shorthand-with-shaky-videos-and-hand-drawn-documentation, but this guy could take a novice pretty much from start to finish.

  9. Jaybee says:

    Didn’t they do this in Honey, I Shrunk the Kids?

  10. anyone says:

    oh the whole rc mower thing jumped the shark when honey i shrunk the kids came out.

    plus YOU STILL HAVE TO WASTE TIME CONTROLLING THE MOWER.

    i want to see a completely automated mower that schedules itself to cut the grass, know not to do it on rainy days, empties it’s clipping bag at some good place, and fills up its own gas tank (face it, electric mowers blow)

  11. Hirudinea says:

    Is it just me or does this thing look like it should be mowing lawns on mars?

  12. John says:

    Great project. Thanks for showing us your process and providing an extremely amount of detail. You did not have to do any of this, but you did and did not charge anyone a dime. Yet people continue to find something to complain amount here at Hack A Day, but do not let that get to you. Know that people like me appreciate you taking the time and effort to help others out for free when you did not have to. We need more people in this world like you, and less people that bash other people’s project.

    John

    • Vonskippy says:

      I’d take real criticism/feedback/suggestions over mamby pamby political correct and meaningless “great job” dribble any day.

      Engineers/designers/techies/geeks grow/improve/thrive on feedback (no matter how insensitive it might be given). Everything else is useless fluff.

      Besides, they’re all just suggestions (opinions), they can take it, use it, modify it, laugh at it, or ignore as they see fit.

    • I wish that we lived in that world. But it is clear to me after looking around that the primary goal regarding the depth of his documentation is indeed future profit. I thought it was odd, the amount of time spent documenting it was probably greater than it took to make it, and that’s not a path that most hacker/engineers would take unless there is a specific reason for it. If you look at this guys other sites, he seems to be trying his hand at SEO, and his DIY solar cell kit plans, etc. In other words, he’s an entrepreneur. Nothing wrong with that, just saying if it looks too good to be true it probably is.

  13. NatureTM says:

    If someone left that thing outside to charge in my neighborhood, it’d be gone in a day! Wow, that is a nice writeup though.

  14. bbsux says:

    I hope he realizes that he’s wasting juice by using a battery “MULCHING” mower! They shouldn’t even make battery or electric mulching mowers! All they do is waste power.

    He should have bought a dead 120vac black and decker mower with a side discharge then transplanted the 36volt motor into the chassis (I did that, dead mower was free, mount is the same)

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