The American dream of home ownership often includes landscaping and gardening. When making the move from an apartment into bayside real estate this blogger realized he needed a whole slew of lawn care equipment previously only seen on television. Lawn mowers, weed wackers, blowers, and more; and and all of these guzzle gas. Sure, there is the electric option, but those tend to be quite a hassle. You either have to drag a 30 foot long extension cord behind you to power your lawn care device, or remember to charge it before use. But one intrepid individual did not resign himself to just these two options. Instead, he created a third option. A greener one. A solar powered one.
Home owner and tinkerer Aaron Tanner decided to turn a battery operated lawn mower into one powered by the sun, and he documented each step so you too can make one. The mower operates just as well as a regular electric powered one does, operating for up to 30 minutes in high grass. Aaron does note though that the mower is a bit heavier and harder to push than a regular gas powered mower, but a small price to pay for ingenuity and more importantly sustainability.
There are many reasons to consider under taking such a project. First off, a matter of convenience. An electric rechargeable lawnmower like the Black and Decker cordless lawn mower can take up to 24 hours to recharge. If you forget to recharge that battery after using the mower, you’ll have to wait a full day for it to recharge before you can mow. This is compared to the estimated charging time of four to six hours for the solar powered lawn mower. But more importantly, a solar powered lawn mower is incredibly green. Gas guzzling lawn mowers spew fumes and carbon dioxide into the atmosphere, while electric powered ones simply passes the pollution of energy creation to a power plant. And if those two aren’t incentive enough, how about the green you’ll be saving in your wallet by not having to fuel up or charge your lawn mower every time you take it out.
To make your lawn mower into a solar powered mower, you’ll need some basic supplies; a battery operated lawn mower, 12 volt solar cell, Wires (red and black), Multimeter, and a Multitool. Following the instructions Aaron posted to convert your lawn mower should only take about an hour. When it’s time to recharge the battery, just setting the lawn mower out in the sunlight does the trick. As with any solar powered device, it recharges best in direct light, but even a cloudy day will recharge the battery on an electric mower in several hours.
For detailed pictures and instructions on converting an electric lawn mower into a solar powered one, check out Aaron’s tutorial.