[mowbot] Test Post and Introduction of new Member

Michael Davenport (Michael.Davenport nospam at wheatstoneenergy.com)
Fri, 14 May 1999 11:15:46 -0400

Still trying to figure out how to post. Take 2.

From: Michael Davenport
Sent: Wednesday, May 12, 1999 2:10 PM
To: 'mail nospam at mowbot.ro.nu'
Subject: Test Post and Introduction of new Member

Greeting from the newest mail list member,
Sorry this is so long - please respond with ideas / suggestions / comments / greetings / etc.

By way of introduction:
Name: Michael Davenport
d.o.b. 01-15-69
occupation: Electrical Engineer
location: North Carolina, USA
Interests: motorcycle sport riding and racing, computers, music (guitar, piano), snakes, home improvement projects (construction), automobiles, tinkering
Yard: .9 acres of tall fescue, plush and green! (I just bought the house - the previous owner did a great job establishing the lawn)
Current lawn mower: Murray 3.5 HP push, single speed, mulching blade - plain jane $95.00 model from Home Depot (Worked great on my .25 acre lot before I moved, now it takes me 4 hours to cut the grass)

My Project Plan:
I am planning and designing a radio controlled lawn mower. Not exactly a "mowbot", I know, but my design has some very positive features, and I hope that you will all help with your input. The biggest reason I want mine to be radio controlled is safety. As long as one has to babysit it (steer it) one should be able to avoid hitting obstacles - I am thinking about adding an additional radio "kill button" for added safety.

This design will also allow me to provide the cutting path, choosing the most efficient and speedy path as I cut. My yard tends to grow quite well, plush and green, in only certain areas where the soil is perfect.

I also do not wish to redesign the cutting platform and/or mechanism. The Briggs & Stratton motor / mulching blade / Murray platform work great - I'm just tired of pushing it.

I can also build it to move faster than I can push it so yard trimming time is reduced. Not having to push will also allow me to pick up debris that is in the path of my next cutting swath.

Maybe one day I will add some modes of automation to it, making it a true "mowbot"

Use old bicycle frames to weld up a new, larger frame, 4-wheeled (large diameter), front steering (using raked steering heads so it wants to travel in a straight line), with rubber bushing mounted Murray platform. (Leave the push handle attached encase I have to pull it out of trouble.)

Attach generator to engine to provide electricity for drive motor(s), steer motor(s), and radio servos. Mount servos to new frame to isolate them from Briggs & Stratton's vibrations. I'm thinking of using a motorcycle generator / voltage regulator for power generation, 12 VDC gearmotors for drive and steering, 2-channel servo and radio from RC car for controls (not sure yet how to actuate steering and drive motor speed with servos) - no battery on board the mower. I'll set it up to run at a constant RPM. I can speed up if the grass is short, or slow down a bit where it's tall.

Put gas in it, put 9V battery in pistol grip radio control handle, walk around and pick up pine cones / sticks as I cut the grass. Or sit back in a lawn chair on the porch and watch the neighbors gaze in amazement.

Thanks in advance for your time and consideration.
P.S. My wife thinks I'm an utter genius for thinking of this - I'm not telling her, yet, that there are others out there who have already thought of it / done it / perfected it / sold it / did all this before I was even born !