RC Lawn Mower Keeps The Grass Greener On Your Side Of The Fence

For some people, mowing the lawn is a dreaded chore that leads to thoughts of pouring a concrete slab over the yard and painting it green. Others see it as the perfect occasion to spend a sunny afternoon outside. And then there are those without the luxury of having a preference on the subject in the first place. [elliotmade] for example has a friend who’s sitting in a wheelchair, and would normally have to rely on others to maintain his lawn and form an opinion on the enjoyability of the task. So to retain his friend’s independence, he decided to build him a remote-controlled lawn mower.

After putting together an initial proof of concept that’s been successfully in use for a few years now, [elliotmade] saw some room for improvement and thought it was time for an upgrade. Liberating the drive section of an electric wheelchair, he welded a frame around it to house the battery and the mower itself, and added an alternator to charge the battery directly from the mower’s engine. An RC receiver that connects to the motor driver is controlled by an Arduino, as well as a pair of relays to switch both the ignition and an electric starter that eliminates the need for cord pulling. Topping it off with a camera, the garden chores are now comfortably tackled from a distance, without any issues of depth perception.

Remote-controlling a sharp-bladed machine most certainly requires a few additional safety considerations, and it seems that [elliotmade] thought this out pretty well, so failure on any of the involved parts won’t have fatal consequences. However, judging from the demo video embedded after break, the garden in question might not be the best environment to turn this into a GPS-assisted, autonomous mower in the future. But then again, RC vehicles are fun as they are, regardless of their shape or size.

23 thoughts on “RC Lawn Mower Keeps The Grass Greener On Your Side Of The Fence

  1. “For some people, mowing the lawn is a dreaded chore that leads to thoughts of pouring a concrete slab over the yard and painting it green. ”

    Plow up, and plant something less in need of maintenance.

    Or plan B. Buy the computer and sensors off a junked Tesla, and modify to “autonomously” mow your lawn.

    1. Plan A is a non-option in a lot of areas due to strict lawn maintenance ordnances, a Wildgrass Lawn is going to get you smacked with a hefty fine once it gets over a foot high.

        1. Nope. In my neighborhood there was a house repoed by the bank and they didn’t sell it or did anything with it for a couple of years. Weeds grew over a foot tall and were generating lots of pollen and increased weeds for everyone else. Long story short: we complained to the town. Bank gets a hefty fine and we see a landscape company show up every other week to keep the lawn nice since then.

      1. Reasons why I bought a house not in an association. On every house i was shown the first question out of my mouth was is it part of an HA? if yes, the showing was over, I literally turned around and walked out. Also, no lawn ordinance in my town. Half of my lawn is 3 foot tall wild grass. saves me about an hour in mowing time.

        1. Good for you. I also told my realtor, and will tell any future realtors, RULE 1: ABSOLUTELY NO HOMEOWNER’S ASSOCIATIONS. The last thing we need is another layer of government, to which the Constitution does not apply, enforcing the dullest norms of suburban conformity.

    1. I can’t speak for everyone/everywhere, but most communities have laws or rules in place requiring at least a minimum of lawn mowing to reduce problems for neighbors. Around here we mostly worry about deer ticks that carry Lyme Disease, but there are many other good reasons to keep a lawn mowed.

      1. That is horse shit fed to you by people who like mowing. Cities are notorious for enjoying their pollution and doing everything they can to increase it. Lawn mowing is right up there. Some also cite the fire hazard of tall grass, but truthfully that is nothing compared to the old 5 gallon gas can I keep the gas for the mower in. We have a house in the country and choose not to maintain a lot of the property and the ticks are no better or worse there than any place else. Lawn mowing was one of those bad ideas that spread. Few things spread faster than bad ideas. From islands in parking lots (who every thought that one up should be removed to the gene pool, to the dumb assed 3 foot black plastic “fences” they make them put up around construction. One good wind storm and there is back plastic in peoples yards the entire length of the road. Speaking of cities and pollution the city next to me, where they are right up the homeowners asses about anything they can be, just took down a building laces with asbestos. They had the fire company there to keep things wet and from dusting. Of course the next day the water had all evaporated…

      2. The tick issue is the primary reason I mow my lawn. I have a dog and a kiddo, and I don’t want either getting Lyme disease. It doesn’t help the tick issue that my land is partially wooded and the woods surround the the cleared section. Otherwise I wouldn’t care a whole lot.

    2. Because it’s gets too long and kids can’t play in it with out getting soaked from the dew it collects and they loose their toy cars. They can’t ride their bikes through it.
      I suppose I could just concrete it all then I wouldn’t need to mow it

      1. And in the summer it would be about 10-15 degrees hotter around your house due to the way cement/asphalt heats up during the day. Grass actually makes it cooler compared to the former.

          1. I spent 3 hours mowing my lawn today because it got over a foot high in a week.

            I hate the suburban aesthetic, picket fences, 1950s lawn cutting mentality, hell, even grass itself. It’s a useless weed that produces no value, and we are all forced to keep cutting it, almost as slaves to landscaping choice.

            If I had my way- my lawn would be either a giant Japanese 枯山水 dry rock garden, like Ryoanji in Kyoto, or all moss.

            Moss would require the sun to never hit the lawn, a constant dampness that would make my basement mold, but its forever greener than grass, never grows but a few inches high, and smells awesome. Whole temples in Kyoto (I used to live in Japan for a few years) have moss covering tended grounds in shade forests.

            I hate the look and maintenance of grass. Thank 17th century French aristocrats for popularizing the concept of “lawns”. Uggh.

          2. Yah, I’m not saying the current paradigm of lawn is great or good, I’m just saying concrete is bad for another reason (than heat) also.

  2. I’ve got an old lawnmower sitting around. I LOVE (and I NEVER use that word for a non-human) my Ego Electric Mower, so I’m torn between this project and another one on Hackaday today: A HOME MADE DUMPER YOU’D SWEAR CAME FROM A FACTORY

    I think would be more fun because I can test is across the street on a large open grass area.

  3. Has anyone compared maneuverability of a front wheel versus rear wheel drive setup? Looking at the video it seemed that having the swivel wheels on the front seemed to make it less maneuverable. Path planning would be harder to compensate for as well.

  4. more sensors, gps, tensorflow fully automated maximum overdrive type of lawn mower is what i want to see next. the kid next door throws his ball over the fence….lawnmower get angry

  5. My locality has some very nonsensical rules, they outlaw any vegetation that grows to more than 12 inches in height.
    This is an agricultural zoned locality, so all of the corn, wheat and trees growing are in violation.

  6. What’s with the comments questioning the whole point of lawn/grass, or even mowing it?!?! This is hackaday not a referendum on lawn. I think that machine is awesome, would love to see it follow a GPS path! The remote start/stop is beautiful.

  7. When I got my house two years ago, I first bought a battery mower that wasn’t top of the line. Big mistake. I’ll spare you the rant. I got a used gas mower to keep up, but since it frequently has had problems starting or staying running, I’ve kept the battery one just in case. Someday, I need to convert the battery one into something like this.

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