The project’s objective is to demonstrate feasibility of using solar energy to power farm equipment instead of relying on non-sustainable energy sources. The focus of this demonstration is the conversion of a gasoline-powered Allis-Chalmers “G” Cultivating Tractor into an electric one, with the tractor’s battery recharged by Photovoltaic panels. It is a unique tractor, essential to the project, because its powering mechanism is located in the back of the vehicle in plain view, and it is very easy to take apart and modify, even by a lay person. It hasn’t been manufactured since 1955, but we have located and purchased one recently – see below; note the engine location at the rear of the tractor.
The precedent for such conversion was described in great detail in the Winter and Spring issues of Biodynamics magazine, and on an accompanying website http://www.flyingbeet.com/electricg/solar.html. In addition to step-by-step guidance, the articles include pricing of all parts required and the manufacturers’ contact information. CFAA reviewed the parts list and refined it to get higher quality, more appropriate, and/or less expensive parts.
The conversion requires:
- Removal of the gas tank, engine, and original battery box from the tractor.
- Installation of the electric motor and attaching it to motor plate and pulley system.
- Installation of the battery, battery box platform (to hold batteries), battery cables, and cable lugs. Attaching the new system to tractor’s frame.
- Installation of the controller, the Albright Contractor (a relay switch) and the speed controller.
- Recharging the tractor’s battery system with Photovoltaic panels requires, mounting the solar panels, a charge controller, and a fused DC “on/off” switch to frame and placing it in an appropriate location.
Our tractor wasn’t used in a while and required a lot of work to be ready for the growing season. See some before, in progress, and after pictures below.