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Electric Farm Vehicle

November 3, 2016 at 8:20 am
gdyatian farm Electric Vehicle

GDYATIAN Electric Car

My new electric farm vehicle picture in front of two of our friendly alpacas.  They were about to spit at each other, they seem to enjoy doing that.  Thankfully they dont seem to see any need to spit at us!

Well Ive had a chance now to test out the vehicle.  Its great for what we need it for.

We unpacked the thing from its shipping container a week ago – that was a challenge. It came in a sturdy metal frame of angle iron, wrapped in far too much plastic, and was very well packed in with double glazed windows.  Another few centimetres and it would not have fitted. It was a close call!

After unpacking the charger, I saw it was 72V, definitely not compatible with a 48V vehicle. There was a nameplate on the side (in Chinese) which was unreadable because of its location hard up against the side of the container.  We couldn’t get a good look without first getting the car out, which took a considerable amount of effort.  Turns out they swapped the car for a 72V model and didn’t think to tell me. I guess 72V is better than 48V so I’m surprised but not unhappy.

The charger is very noisy with two fans that make a racket.  The shed is 100m away from the house so it doesnt matter being noisy.  The shed is where our PV system is so we avoid losses by charging it there.  It came with a rollover-frame I havent attached yet which might be a good place to mount a panel or two, however the thing doesnt have a smooth ride, so a glass panel might not survive.  I probably should have got turf tires instead of the clunky ones they supplied, the car vibrates at low speed.

Batteries are 8 by 9V lead-acid all nicely mounted low under the centre of the vehicle and easy to get to when the tipup tray is in the up position.

If you want to see it up close – come to the expo Nov 26, 27
expo.naroomarotary.org.au    You can even buy an electric golf buggy off Mark!

Come for the weekend, and visit Narooma – “how life should be

 

 


 

Electric Zero Turn Mower

December 3, 2015 at 11:49 am

ZERO TURN 48v AUTONOMOUS MOWER
Autonomous Radio Controlled Mower

Aerial Shot of Clark Bay

Aerial Shot of Clark Bay

ClarkBay has four holiday cottages, and this means there is a lot of grass to cut.  Zeroturn mowers are typically the option selected when there is a lot of grass to mow, and this is what our neighbours use.  At Black Bream Point  they have a Bad Boy Mower which is quick and effective.  Zero turns can go up close to trees and bushes.

I didnt take their advice and instead decided to buy a Hustler Zeon 42in, but was thwarted !  It is no longer being built by Hustler, why I do not know.  With 10kw of PV panels, we have surplus electrons during the day, and get only 6c per kw when we “donate them” back to the grid, so we really want to have a decent electric mower.  The only other commercial mowers available are in the USA .  The Meangreen machine looks good but is expensive even before import and freight costs.

Electric mowers have been around for 50 years or more, we had a 240v model when I was a kid.  But recently we have seen small domestic battery powered mowers become more widely available, examples include the Ryobi 36v all-plastic mower which is ideal for small urban yards.  We have one, here it is in action:

IMG_20151203_093717896 (Medium)

The battery on this all-plastic mower is 36V 5AH, it lasts 20 minutes on the tough kikuyu we have here.  Its perfect for a domestic backyard, but too small and ineffective for us.

Alternatives?  I considered a Husqvarna robot.  Their largest robot is the 265ACX model which can mow up to about 6000m2.
Tempting!

Time to look at the mandatory and “nice-to-have” requirements.

Requirements

Mandatory

  • Steep area operation ( > 30 degrees ).   Parts of our grassed area are just too steep to use a conventional ride-on mower.
  • Radio Controlled
  • Two-hour run time minimum
  • Height of deck adjustable manually

Nice-to-have

  • Be able to “slash” the paddocks to control tussock and bracken.
  • Height of deck – automatic adjustment – raises when cutting tough or high grass
  • Autonomous using centimetre accurate GPS system

The Plan

The plan is to build the mower using the cutting deck off an old Torro ride-on mower, and a 100AH Lithium battery pack from EV-Power at 48volts.  A frame will be built over it to provide a platform for the batteries and control gear.

The dust and debris breathed in when mowing is disagreeable and unhealthy, so the first stage will have radio control so I can sit in comfort and watch it do its thing from the shade of a tree.

For each of the three cutters, Im planning to use direct drive by a BLDC-108 from Golden Motor, 48Vdc, rated power 1.5KW.

For traction, I need two motors, independently controlled, forward backward to get the zero turn thing happening. It doesn’t need to go fast – about 10kph or less when cutting, 15kph absolute maximum.

For communication, I will try Wifi, if I can’t get good reception ( the distances are bit too far), I will try putting Wifi extenders in strategic locations.

 

The traction motors should probably be geared, to provide better power up hills, and use the motors at a more normal RPM.  I came across a controller called Sabretooth dual 25A, it has a tick in quite a few boxes I care about, however the input voltage needs to be less than 30V. I cannot step down the voltage from 48v since the controller is regenerative. The load for traction is only small relative to the load from the three cutters, and it would be possible to use just half of the 48v battery bank, but I am concerned about unbalancing the batteries. Could I use a big relay to swap every few minutes to use the other half of the batteries, or I should I just go back to square one and look for a different controller that can handle the 48v?

The mower will be normally parked under a purpose built shed the roof of which will be solar panels for charging the machine. The 100AH battery pack has the equivalent of 4kwhr of capacity at 80% DOD, and when not required for lawn-mowing I am thinking of using it as battery storage to displace some of my night-time domestic load (we have a 10kw PV system). The four batteries weigh 12.60 kg each and are 280 x 290 x 190.

It will have a 48V 100AH Lithium battery pack from EV-Power. That is the equivalent of 4whr of capacity at 80% DOD, and when not required for lawn-mowing will be used as battery storage to displace some of my night-time domestic load. The four batteries weigh 12.60 kg each and are 280 x 290 x 190.

For each of the three cutters, Im planning to use direct drive by a BLDC-108 from Golden Motor, 48Vdc, rated power 1.5KW. Rated/peak torque: 4Nm/8Nm Efficiency: >85% Dimensions: 11x10cm Weight: 3.9kgs. The efficiency curve for these motors doesn’t drop off until the load is less than 15% – ideal! Each motor will have its own controller, and the speed will be regulated to about 4000RPM to make sure the tip speed of the blades is kept to 16,000 feet per-minute (well under the legal limit in America which is 19,000fpm, – not sure about the Australian regulations). The motor is adjustable between 3200 and 5000rpm.

Eventually I plan to use GPS and obstacle avoidance to give the mower some autonomy; I see that affordable centimetre-accurate GPS system is a possibility soon! (eg http://www.radiosense.com/ )

For traction, I want to use two geared wheelchair motors with a Sabretooth2x32controller.  I like the Sabretooth it has a tick in every box I care about except the input voltage which is less than 30V. I cannot step down the voltage from 48v since it is regenerative. The load for traction is only small relative to the load from the three cutters, and it would be possible to use just half of the 48v battery bank, but I am concerned about unbalancing the batteries. Should I use a big relay to swap every few minutes to use the other half of the batteries, I should I just go back to square one and look for a different controller that can handle the 48v?

 

Self-contained Accommodation in Narooma

March 6, 2015 at 12:30 am

Come, stay and relax amongst the bellbirds. Each of our four cabins has a great view of the Wagonga Inlet at Narooma on the NSW South coast.

Only 5 mins drive to a choice of beaches, world class golf course, clubs, shops and restaurants .

Twenty-one acres of land is there for you to explore. Enjoy a swim in the outdoor pool which is open from November to February, or play tennis on our tennis court or table tennis in our recreation hall.

Our cabins feature:

  • Electronic main entrances to cabins 1-3.
  • Self catering kitchen with microwaves. Cabins 1-3 have induction cookers.
  • BBQ
  • Remote control reverse cycle air conditioning.
  • Remote control TV, video, CD, radio.
  • Front loading washing machines in cabins 1-3, top loader in cabin 4, drying facilities in units 1-3, clothesline at cabin 3 and 4. All bedding and linen provided in cabins 1-3.
  • Cabin 1 also has a ceiling hoist in one bedroom for people with a disability.
  • Cabins 1-3 have two bedrooms each and sleep up to 6, with cabin 4 having four bedrooms sleeping 12 (two bedrooms with 4 beds each, two bedrooms with 2 beds each).
  • Cabin 1 and 2 have en-suite bathrooms to each bedroom featuring hobless showers, 1/4 turn long handled taps, with fixed and hand held showers. Cabin 3 has one main bathroom with a bath. Cabin 4 has two accessible bathrooms and an additional toilet and sink.
  • All cabins have been built for accessibility, and there are no steps!
  • Ramps have a gentle slope of 1 in 20.
  • Recreation Hall

Our recreation hall is just great for functions like yoga, dancing, workshops or family get-togethers. Its a lovely spot to hang out on a rainy day. Its free to use when you stay with us.

Excellence in Accessibility

We are the proud finalist in the 2016 Eurobodalla Business Awards.

The Weather

Narooma has a very temperate climate and gets less rainfall than Sydney.

Boats and Fishing

Our waterfront is a part of Clark Bay Marine Sanctuary and the water is quite shallow. It is relatively easy to launch your own kayak or catamaran provided it is not low tide. Alternately, there is a public boat ramp just five km away. If launching a boat is your thing, talk to our neighbours at Black Bream Point – they also have accommodation and a boat ramp. Don’t forget that in NSW you must have a Recreational Fishing License, which you can get from any of the Tackle Shops in Narooma.

Getting There

We are just five hours south of Sydney, or three hours east of Canberra. Head South from Batemans Bay, 70 kms. Turn right just before the Narooma bridge. If travelling North, go over the bridge and turn sharp left. We are 4.6 km along Riverview Rd.  Or head on over to the Google Map page of our website.

Our Farm

Alpacas

Our Alpacas will eat from your hand if you offer them some Lucerne Hay, while our contented steers just love oranges – but watch out for the tongue!

Clark Bay is a marine sanctuary and is an important area for fish reproduction in the extensive beds of sea grass along our waterfront. The marine sanctuary is within a wider zone described as a Habitat Protection Zone which includes Montague Island. See a map of the Marine Park Zones. Just 30 metres from the cottages is remnant rainforest with bellbirds that sing all day long. Kookaburras, Rosellas, King Parrots and a wide range of birds fly in. Wallabies are a regular visitors and occasionally we get tortoises, echidnas, blue tongue lizards, and many other animals.

We have embarked on an extensive program to reduce our impact on the environment, including a ten kilowatt PV solar system and Solar Hot Water heaters on the main house and two of the cabins

We have rainwater harvesting to supply drinking water and the bathroom/showers, the water quality is excellent. Toilets and outside taps are fed from a different system supplied by groundwater, so drinking from outside taps is not advised.

Clark Bay Farm is under new management, the new owners – Frank & Iris are looking forward to meeting you.