• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies living kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • raven ranson
  • Jocelyn Campbell
  • Julia Winter
stewards:
  • paul wheaton
  • Burra Maluca
  • Devaka Cooray
garden masters:
  • Anne Miller
  • Pearl Sutton
  • Joylynn Hardesty
  • Shawn Klassen-Koop
gardeners:
  • Joseph Lofthouse
  • Bill Crim
  • Mike Jay

Wheaton Laboratories Electric Tractor  RSS feed

 
Posts: 641
Location: Missoula Mt
42
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here are some pictures of Paul's electric tractor being built. One of the interesting features in this model are the removable battery packs. Which will let you use the tractor until the battery is low then switch out the packs and use it some more.
Electric-Tractor-2.png
[Thumbnail for Electric-Tractor-2.png]
Electric-Tractor-3.jpg
[Thumbnail for Electric-Tractor-3.jpg]
Electric-Tractor-4.jpg
[Thumbnail for Electric-Tractor-4.jpg]
 
Sam Barber
Posts: 641
Location: Missoula Mt
42
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Some more.
Electric-Tractor-5.jpg
[Thumbnail for Electric-Tractor-5.jpg]
Electric-Tractor-6.jpg
[Thumbnail for Electric-Tractor-6.jpg]
Electric-Tractor-7.jpg
[Thumbnail for Electric-Tractor-7.jpg]
 
Posts: 3366
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
36
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Cool!

What is the donor?

How are you going to switch out the batteries? That isn't exactly light.
 
Sam Barber
Posts: 641
Location: Missoula Mt
42
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Some more!
Electric-Tractor-8.jpg
[Thumbnail for Electric-Tractor-8.jpg]
Electric-Tractor-9.jpg
[Thumbnail for Electric-Tractor-9.jpg]
Electric-Tractor-10.jpg
[Thumbnail for Electric-Tractor-10.jpg]
 
Sam Barber
Posts: 641
Location: Missoula Mt
42
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I believe that the tractor will be able to switch its own battery packs out. Using the loader.
 
Sam Barber
Posts: 641
Location: Missoula Mt
42
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
one more
Electric-Tractor-11.jpg
[Thumbnail for Electric-Tractor-11.jpg]
 
steward
Posts: 25360
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It sounds like there will be an on-board battery pack, and there will be the ability to pick up an extra battery pack with the loader and plug into it - or with the 3-point-hitch and plug into that.

 
R Scott
Posts: 3366
Location: Kansas Zone 6a
36
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

paul wheaton wrote:It sounds like there will be an on-board battery pack, and there will be the ability to pick up an extra battery pack with the loader and plug into it - or with the 3-point-hitch and plug into that.



Extra ballast AND runtime. Put it on the 3 pt when using the loader and on the loader when using the 3 pt (or hitch). Cool.
 
Sam Barber
Posts: 641
Location: Missoula Mt
42
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here are some pictures of the painted battery boxes as well as the roll bar.
Electric-Tractor-14.png
[Thumbnail for Electric-Tractor-14.png]
Electric-Tractor-15.png
[Thumbnail for Electric-Tractor-15.png]
Electric-Tractor-16.png
[Thumbnail for Electric-Tractor-16.png]
 
Sam Barber
Posts: 641
Location: Missoula Mt
42
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
more
Electric-Tractor-17.png
[Thumbnail for Electric-Tractor-17.png]
Electric-Tractor-18.png
[Thumbnail for Electric-Tractor-18.png]
 
paul wheaton
steward
Posts: 25360
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Likes 3
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here is the tractor as it is getting loaded to head this way:








electric-tractor.jpg
[Thumbnail for electric-tractor.jpg]
electric tractor loaded
 
paul wheaton
steward
Posts: 25360
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
It arrives!
electric-tractor-trailer.jpg
[Thumbnail for electric-tractor-trailer.jpg]
electric tractor on trailer
 
paul wheaton
steward
Posts: 25360
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Likes 4
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
The three point bonus battery pack:

 
Posts: 629
Location: Thunder Bay, Ontario, Canada
30
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Well that beats AAA's

So what battery technology did you decide on? I recall in a podcast way back that you were considering Nickel/Iron due to the durability and weight.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1926
Location: Toronto, Ontario
143
bee forest garden fungi hugelkultur cooking rabbit trees urban wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Awesome! I think we all want to know how it performs.

I just recently got to use a diesel tractor about that size with a front end loader I used to clear snow from a friend's property in the country. I couldn't get over how loud it was. Not immediately, but over time, the drone just drowned out all else.

This could have turned tragic, as it turns out. My better half was attending to chores and maintenance tasks in an outbuilding not 10 feet from where I was moving snow, when she missed a step going down the stairs, spraining her ankle. Had it been worse than that, I wouldn't have found out until I had finished with the snow, another three passes with the tractor. As it turned out, she managed to get herself onto an office chair and roll herself across the workshop to the door.

As it turns out, I was at the door, clearing snow, when she opened it. I still couldn't hear her for the engine noise. It was the expression on her face that told me something was wrong.

Those things are LOUD. I never thought that issue could make electric tractors safer, though, except to operators' hearing over time.

Congrats on the new wheels, Paul! What's first, a new hugelbeet, or doughnuts in the parking lot?

-CK
 
paul wheaton
steward
Posts: 25360
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
There is a reason we are updating this thread.  More updates to come.

One of the big advantages of an electric tractor is that when you mount the batteries low, the tractor has an amazingly low center of gravity.  This tractor has the batteries mounted high. 

I said I would not buy this tractor because I need four wheel drive for plowing snow.  I was told that this tractor would out-pull a 4 wheel drive ford F350 in a tug-of-war.  After I paid the money, I was told "I may have been wrong about that."  

After paying the money, I was told that you cannot allow one drop of rain to land on the tractor or it would damage the electronics.  Which makes it pretty useless for moving snow and a long list of other tasks. 

When it arrived, it had two flat tires and three oil leaks.  It took months until we could get it running and then it couldn't lift it's own bucket when the bucket was empty.  One we got it operational, we attempted to use it just on sunny days - but people didn't want to drive it because if you get on the gentlest slopes you start to freak out that it will roll over. 

One time we thought we would try to use it for skidding logs on flat ground.   On the way to get to the logs, we encountered a frozen cow pie.   The tractor could not get past the frozen cow pie - and that was with no load. 

It stayed parked for a year and then I bought the diesel kubota tractor, which has been used heavily.  And during all of that time the electric tractor has remained parked.  There have even been times when we needed an electric power source somewhere, but there was concern about possible rain, so it remained parked. 

Work that needs to be done:

- weather proofing

- any new oil leaks?

- any changes to the hydraulic system?  Filters look okay?

- explore the idea of making a wider footprint in the front.   Frame augmentation?  Definitely new tires and wheels.  Probably put beet juice in the tires.

- Widen the footprint of the back wheels.  Maybe three inches for each wheel.   New, wider wheels with new tires.   Add beet juice.

- Add weight to the belly. 

Possible add-on's that could be useful:

- 12 volt outlets

- usb outlets

At the appropriate technology course this year, all of this stuff will be done to the electric tractor so it can go from being a dust collector to being the useful tool it was intended to be.

To prepare for that, Fred will be uploading some more pics soon.

 
paul wheaton
steward
Posts: 25360
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Congrats on the new wheels, Paul!



I actually bought this in december of 2013.  It was supposed to arrive before february 2014 to be used for clearing snow.  Then I was told that the agreement was for it to arrive on february 14.  Then there was a delay so that it would arrive the first week of march for sure.  No, that was "march for sure - where did you hear 'first week?'" ....  april ...  may ...   ok, it will definitely be here before the solar power workshop in june where this thing is billed as the star of the show ...  In july i had to fetch it.  

So it arrived in july of 2014.  Seven months after I bought it.   And it was in such poor shape, it took months of work until we could try it out.   By october of 2014 it was parked and it has been parked ever since.



 
Chris Kott
pollinator
Posts: 1926
Location: Toronto, Ontario
143
bee forest garden fungi hugelkultur cooking rabbit trees urban wofati
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Oh, I see. That's exciting, in it's own, less-than-optimal way. Still, it must be satisfying to be able to stack functions like that, course material for the at course, and you finally get a functional electric tractor out of the deal.

Do you have a budget for improvements beyond as-little-as-possible?

I would look into hub-mounted motors, in your position, and if you would like me to, I will do a little research. I was all set to buy a skid of them for another project back in 2008, but the company making them restructured, and my opportunity lapsed.

But putting the drive motors in the hub would lower the centre of gravity considerably. The existing motor, especially if insufficient for moving a frozen cowpat, might be reused in a tractor implement where you could build-in moisture protection.

Failing that, which is a somewhat extreme course, are there plans to modify the frame any to allow for the mounting of the batteries lower on the frame?

I wish Project Lemonaide all success, in any case.

-CK
 
paul wheaton
steward
Posts: 25360
Location: missoula, montana (zone 4)
bee chicken hugelkultur trees wofati woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Budget for improvements will depend on total ATC tickets sold and ... a whole lot of other factors.  

I do like the idea that the tractor could be converted into 4wd by adding electric motors into the hubs of the front wheels.

 
gardener
Posts: 416
Location: St Paul, MN/Tularosa, NM and now a gapper at Wheaton Labs
263
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here are some more photos of the tractor in its current state.
batteries-too-high.JPG
[Thumbnail for batteries-too-high.JPG]
high-batteries.JPG
[Thumbnail for high-batteries.JPG]
switches.JPG
[Thumbnail for switches.JPG]
dashboard-right-side.JPG
[Thumbnail for dashboard-right-side.JPG]
dashboard-left-side.JPG
[Thumbnail for dashboard-left-side.JPG]
operators-area.JPG
[Thumbnail for operators-area.JPG]
AC-inverter.JPG
[Thumbnail for AC-inverter.JPG]
AC-inverter-with-cover.JPG
[Thumbnail for AC-inverter-with-cover.JPG]
rear-battery-connect.JPG
[Thumbnail for rear-battery-connect.JPG]
front-battery-connect.JPG
[Thumbnail for front-battery-connect.JPG]
three-point-hitch-motor.JPG
[Thumbnail for three-point-hitch-motor.JPG]
narrow-wheel-base.JPG
[Thumbnail for narrow-wheel-base.JPG]
bucket-controls.JPG
[Thumbnail for bucket-controls.JPG]
battery-pack-under-the-seat.JPG
[Thumbnail for battery-pack-under-the-seat.JPG]
battery-pack-under-the-hood.JPG
[Thumbnail for battery-pack-under-the-hood.JPG]
electronics-under-the-hood.JPG
[Thumbnail for electronics-under-the-hood.JPG]
 
Posts: 16
Location: N Idaho
1
bee dog trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If you are planning on using those Trojan Batteries in the final rework, you had best get them on some kind of Desulfator asap. so they are ready for the ATC.
It takes at least a month, or more, to get big deep cell batteries back into shape after sitting discharged for a long time. I imagine if its been parked for 5 years, they are not in very good shape, even if they are Trojans.

Do you have any specs on the motor?  It looks like its all set up as a 48v system, but I couldn't read any of the motor fine print.

Best of Luck getting her going!

James
 
Attractive, successful people love this tiny ad:
Permaculture Playing Cards by Paul Wheaton and Alexander Ojeda
https://permies.com/wiki/57503/Permaculture-Playing-Cards-Paul-Wheaton
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!