Converting An Old ATV To Electric Drive

[RCLifeOn] happened upon an old petrol-powered ATV that had seen better days. He decided it was the perfect candidate for a conversion to electric drive.

First up, the chassis was stripped back and cleaned, before being given a fresh coat of paint. It then got fresh valve stems for the tires and was ready for its drivetrain conversion.

The motor of choice is a brushless type, rated for 42 kW at 120 V. [RCLifeOn] doesn’t have batteries capable of maxing out those specs, yet, but carried on with the build. The motor was mounted on the chassis, and a 3D printed hub was installed to get the sprocket on the end of the motor.

A stress test uphill killed the speed controller. This was not unexpected, as it was a cheap unit severely undersized for the application.

The first drive was rough and ready, as the speed controller wasn’t sensored, the gearing wasn’t quite right, and the chain wasn’t very tight. However, it did successfully make it around the grass, slowly. Further improvements then included a water cooling circuit for the speed controller and the addition of a battery compartment. That wasn’t enough to stop the speed controller bursting into flames during a difficult uphill climb, though.

Fundamentally, though, the project shows promise. Bigger batteries, a sensored speed controller, and appropriate gearing should make it a quick beast. 42 kW of power is a good amount for a light ATV, plus there’s the benefit of instant-on torque from an electric motor.

We’ve seen [RCLifeOn] tackle some high-powered electric builds before, like his impressive powered surfboard.  With the right parts, we’re sure he’ll have this thing ripping about at pace before long!

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This Motorless Pull-Behind Mower Is Made From Junk

Cutting a field of grass is a straightforward and satisfying process, given a suitably powered mover. A tractor with a rotary topper to hang on its three-point linkage and power-take-off will make short work of the task.

[Donn DIY] had an agricultural quad-bike, but when it came to mowing its lack of a power-take-off meant it wasn’t much use. When he saw a home-made mower for a quad-bike online he had to give it a go himself, and came up with his own take on a mower made from junk.

He started with the rear axle and differential from a Russian built Lada, which he reconditioned, before mounting in a wooden jig with its input shaft pointing upwards. He then made a frame for three mower shafts, onto which he mounted his custom-made rotors and their machined bearing housings. Some pulley machining, and he could then link the rotor shafts to the differential with a series of V-belts and a further shaft to step up the rotor speed.

He wasn’t finished there, after the rotors came a lever mechanism for lifting the cutters off the ground, and a pair of weight baskets to ensure traction was maintained. The result is a mover that takes its drive from its wheels, and cuts grass very effectively when towed behind the quad-bike. The unguarded blades would probably give a farm insurance assessor an apoplexy, but for the purposes of the video below the break at least we can see everything.

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Autonomous Vehicle-Following Vehicle

Humanity has taken one step closer to Skynet becoming fully aware. [Ahmed], [Muhammad], [Salman], and [Suleman] have created a vehicle that can “chase” another vehicle as part of their senior design project. Now it’s just a matter of time before the machines take over.

The project itself is based on a gasoline-powered quad bike that the students first converted to electric for the sake of their project. It uses a single webcam to get information about its surroundings. This is a plus because it frees the robot from needing a stereoscopic camera or any other complicated equipment like a radar or laser rangefinder. With this information, it can follow a lead vehicle without getting any other telemetry.

This project is interesting because it could potentially allow for large convoys with only one human operator at the front. Once self-driving cars become more mainstream, this could potentially save a lot of costs as well if only the vehicle in the front needs the self-driving equipment, while the vehicles behind would be able to operate with much less hardware. Either way, we love seeing senior design projects that have great real-world applications!

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