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Electric "G" Runs Fuel-Free
Tom Ruggieri's Allis Chalmers G doesn't need its gas tank anymore. It doesn't need grid-supplied electricity either. Ruggieri and his farming partner, Rebecca Graff, have swapped the engine for an electric motor and battery power storage. They've also swapped grid-supplied electricity for an in-field solar panel.
"Even before we put in the solar panels, we got our power from a wind farm through our electric co-op, so when we charged the batteries, no fossil fuel was involved. Now we just get the power free from the sun," says Ruggieri.
Converting the G was relatively easy, says Ruggieri. He simply followed instructions posted on a website by a farmer named Ron Khosla. Khosla developed his conversion plans under a USDA grant (www.flyingbeet.com/electricg).
"The biggest challenge in converting a G was just finding one," says Ruggieri.
Conversion consisted of removing the gas tank, battery box and engine. Also removed was the clutch bar. The clutch housing was left in place, and the clutch plate was retrieved from the engine for use in the conversion. While Khosla provides full plans for machining needed parts, he also provides the name of a supplier - Niekamp Tool Company.
Using Niekamp ready-made parts, installation consisted of attaching the motor and sprocket assembly to the clutch plate and finally to the clutch housing/transmission. The Niekamp package even includes a frame for battery storage. All that's needed is plywood for the base.
Other parts needed for installation included a controller for the motor, an Albright Contactor for a relay switch, and a speed controller that's attached to the original throttle control. Once wiring was completed, the last step was to hook up the batteries.
"We used six 8-volt batteries and ended up with about the same weight over the rear as before we removed the engine," explains Ruggieri.
At 100 amps, the electric motor he installed produces between 5 and 10 hp versus the G's original 7.2 hp. While the batteries wouldn't hold up long doing heavy tillage, the electric tractor is ideal for seeding and light cultivation. Ruggieri hopes to rig up a boom sprayer and eventually a lime spreader for it.
"The motor and controls cost about $1,800, the machined parts about $550, and we spent about $100 on wiring and other materials," he says.
Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Tom Ruggieri, Fair Share Farm, 18613 Downing Road, Kearney, Mo. 64060 (ph 816 320-3763; tom@fairsharefarm.com; www. fairsharefarm.com).

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2008 - Volume #32, Issue #4