Curbside Mower Gets Electric Transplant

There’s few things more exciting to a hacker or maker than seeing a piece of hardware on the curb. An old computer, an appliance, maybe if you’re really lucky some power tools. So we can only imagine the rush that known lawn equipment aficionado [AmpEater] had when he saw a seemingly intact push mower in the trash. The pull start was broken on the gas engine, but where this mower was going, it wouldn’t need a gas engine.

When he got the mower back to his garage, he started on the process of converting it over to electric. Of course this means basically everything but the wheels, handle, and deck would get tossed. But starting with a trashed gas mower still sounds a lot easier compared to trying to figure out how to make or source a wheeled mower deck.

Step one in this conversion was stripping all the paint off the deck and welding a plate over where the original gas engine was. [AmpEater] then 3D printed some mounts to hold the DeWalt tool batteries he would be using as a power source, taking the extra time to align everything so it would have the look of an old flathead gasoline engine. A tongue-in-cheek reference to the mower’s old gasoline gulping days, and an awesome little detail that gives the final product a great look.

The controller is a commercial model intended for electric bikes, and the heart of this new mower is a brushless direct-drive motor capable of 3,000 RPM at 40 A. [AmpEater] reports a respectable one hour run time with the six DeWalt batteries, and more power than his store-bought Ryobi electric mower.

If the name [AmpEater] looks familiar, it’s because this isn’t the first time he’s graced us with a mower conversion: back in 2013 he impressed us with his solar-electric Cub Cadet zero-turn. This build isn’t quite as slick as the Cub Cadet, but the much lower cost and difficulty level means that you may be able to follow in his footsteps even if you don’t have his Zeus-level mastery of the electric motor.

As electric mowers have gotten more popular, we’ve seen an increasing flow of hacks and mods for them. Everything from replacing the batteries to turning them into something else completely.

28 thoughts on “Curbside Mower Gets Electric Transplant

    1. Holy shit, $100 per battery. This only really makes sense if you already have all of those for other tools. Otherwise I’m sure there are cheaper alternatives for that much power.

    2. Seems pretty obvious that AmpEater already had the batteries from his existing collection of Dewalt tools, and didn’t buy them for this project…

      If you’ve already got hundreds of dollars invested in a particular type of battery, it makes sense to utilize them as much as possible. But Dewalt doesn’t have a battery powered mower on the market right now, so DIY is the only option.

    1. The power required to produce those packs is enormous, just one of those packs is far worse for the environment because of pollution than just running a gas mower for the rest of your life.

    2. Where are batteries capable of holding enough power to do a decent job mowing a lawn AND high enough quality to last enough charge/discharge cycles plus sitting on a shelf all winter lawn to still be worthwhile affordable?!?!

  1. Project seems way overkill.

    When my electric reel mower’s lead acid batteries gave out, it was too expensive to replace them (2 x 12V). So I replaced them with a single Ryobi 18V Lithium. Ion pack. (actually runs closer to 20V)

    Works great, get about 20 minutes of mowing on a charge. Batteries recharge in about 15-minutes (much faster than lead-acid). Just enough time for some iced-tea during the imposed break.

    1. I am in the process of making battery holders for my 18v dewalt batteries. I have 8 of them and use them for led lights and projects. But I was not quite happy with the holder I had made so I makeing new ones.
      But everything is on hold now.
      I drilled threw my 3d printers circuit board.
      So so stupid.
      I will try to do a post when I’m done.

      1. Well if I had the knowledge to yeah I would but honestly I would just change the cord .

        If the starter in my car goes bad im not going to rip the motor out and engnieer a motor powered by drill batteries lol

  2. I just rescued a 50cc gas engine roto-tiller, it’s only a foot wide. I might electrify it but with a 110 volt motor and take the wheels off it for ditch digging for drainage tile.

    The cost of wireless for convenience only when so close to the source of line power is like the use of blurtooth for headphones to a pocket worn phone. Expensive, complicated, and not green.

    With a corded lawn mower any lot with mains power is serviceable. On average mowing your lot with a gas mower is the pollution equal of driving 140 miles! I have 2 electric mowers more than a half century apart. The oldie is a gallon paint can sized induction motor on a deck with a power switch on the handle. The newer one has a big plastic cover hiding a naked universal brush type drill motor.
    Quietly, a large disc bearing 4X 1 inch long swinging blades for safety, flip over handle to mow without turning around vs. this. A spring loaded deadman switch blade to motor clutch and a flap that prevents backing up and as loud as any gas mower. Noise $ells!

  3. Wow another great deal like the Honda Civic Hybrid. 2800.00 for a new battery. People won’t even spend 10.00 to change the oil in their 89.00 mower, good luck convincing them to pay 600.00 for a battery pack for their push mower.

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