Adam shows us how to build a remote controlled lawnmower
For quite some time now, I’ve wanted a robotic lawnmower. I love the idea of having my lawn manicured without having to push a mower in the hot, sticky summer days in my area. I’ve been looking at several different brands of robotic lawnmowers and ended up finding out that Adam, an old friend of mine that I’ve known since Elementary School, actually built a remote-controlled lawnmower at home. The article below outlines his process on how to build your own Robotic Lawnmower using the same steps and equipment he did.
Adam told me that he originally set out to create this robotic creature in the hopes that he might get his son to help cut the grass. Hearing that story reminded me of the movie Honey, I Shrunk the Kids. In the movie, the father, played by Rick Moranis, invents lots of different things around the house. One of those things was a remote-controlled lawnmower. So, when I heard about Adam’s robo-mower, I asked him about it.
|N: What made you decide to build this robotic mower?|
A: I originally decided to build it in the hopes of getting my son to cut the grass.
|N: Did you have any difficulties putting it together?|
A: The first one I built was way more challenging than the final version. It took a few days to figure out the fist build, but I built the one seen in the write-up in just a few hours.
|N: How long does the battery last?|
A: With my 2-battery 24V, I can cut multiple yards before I need to charge it.
|N: Why did you choose the parts you did?|
A: I originally used the sabertooth controller and it was more difficult to work with. Also, the motors were vertical which made it more challenging to mount. I would always choose the pride motors and smartdrive duo over the jazzy motors and sabertooth if the option is there.
Adam’s Robotic Lawnmower Set-up
This may seem complicated and intimidating but it’s not. I built this in a day, and you can build one too!
The first thing you will need is a lawnmower of course. Most of the new mowers have plastic where the front wheels attach. Avoid those. We want an all-metal mower so it is nice and sturdy for mounting the front caster wheels we are going to use. I always use this particular mower because it’s priced well and has everything I am looking for.
- Yard Machines 20″ all-metal mower: https://amzn.to/3fUMIR3
Now, to take this from an ordinary lawnmower to a remote-controlled robotic mower, we need a controller that can handle the task. We will be running a dual motor set up so we will need a dual-motor controller. There are two controllers that I use and they are both easy to use with no programming required.
- Sabertooth 32A dual motor controller: https://amzn.to/30DMvve
- Cytron smartdrive duo 30: https://amzn.to/2ON6Vwi
I prefer the smartdrive duo because of its onboard test features and plug and play use. The Sabertooth will require you to adjust DIP switches on the board for your setup. Also, the smartdrive duo comes with 3 pin hobby wires in the box. If you use the sabertooth you will have to purchase 3 pin RC extensions.
Next, we want a good RC transmitter and receiver to control our motors via the motor controller. I always use Flysky brand. It is easy to use and has every feature one could want.
- Flysky FS-I6X 6 channel: https://amzn.to/39o4YQo
There a several options for front caster wheels but I prefer something I can bolt straight on. For this, I always use EazyMow zero turn casters. They are very well built and allow height adjustment with ease. No fabricating or welding, just bolt them on and you’re good to go.
- EazyMow casters: https://amzn.to/2WQSxaP
The motors we will be using can be run at 12V or 24V. A single 12V battery will suffice for most yards. However, if you run at 24V you will have more power and speed. Two batteries can be run in parallel or series to either double your run time at 12V or double your power/speed. The main focus is you want high amp hour batteries. I recommend 18-22 amp hour. I always use these.
- 22 AH 12V batteries: https://amzn.to/2ZScdNu
The motors required come from powered wheelchairs or mobility scooters. I recommend Jazzy chair motors or Pride mobility motors. You can source these from various places but I recommend you buy them used from eBay or marketplace. I used Pride motors in this particular project.
You can mount the motors many different ways, in this project I simply used 5/8 threaded rod and ran my rod through the holes where the mower handle used to mount. In another project, I used small angle iron and welded Ubolts to hold the motors upright.
Other Items for This Build
- Battery Disconnect: https://amzn.to/3hwHZW3
- Flexible Battery Cables: https://amzn.to/2Z1eDHT
- 3 Pin RC Extensions: https://amzn.to/2BlcIpI
You can follow Adam on his YouTube channel to see more on his homemade Robotic lawnmower and other interesting things he’s doing.