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Farmall Converted To “Hybrid Power”
Robert Braun, a retired automotive instructor and farmer, converted his gas-powered 1951 Farmall M into a hybrid dual-fuel tractor. He powers it with a 10-kW array of solar panels he erected on his farm.
    To begin the transformation, a friend found a NetGain WarP 9 electric motor for Braun that produces up to 500 hp.
    Initially, he thought he’d use a 48-volt electrical system to power the tractor but eventually decided to upgrade to 12 12-volt deep cycle lead acid batteries. This was partly because of the weight they would add, increasing traction, and partly because he didn’t need the rapid recharge rates lithium-ion batteries delivered at their higher cost.
    Since a 144-volt system is dangerous, Braun secured the batteries in two padlocked steel boxes, each holding six batteries. All external cabling was orange-wrapped for safety.
    He decided to transfer the power into the tractor through the exterior belt pulley housing because it provides a direct drive into the gearbox and transmission. The belly pump is left engaged for the live hydraulics since it’s running through the transmission. The PTO is also operable because power is going into the upper gear where the input shaft is.
    To switch from gas to electric power requires depressing a clutch.
    “It has a clutch lockout which you push down,” Braun says. “An electromechanical solenoid connects, you manually engage the gearbox, and it’s all set for electric.”
    Battery recharging is done from the farm solar system with a 240-volt charger.
    The project was supported by a $15,000 SARE grant from the USDA. “A complete report will be published when the project is done,” Braun says.
    Contact: FARM SHOW Followup, Robert Braun, Pigeon River Farm, E7148 Neitzke Rd., Clintonville, Wis. 54929 (ph 715-754-2425; pigeonriverfarm@outlook.com; www.pigeonriverfarm.com).

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2023 - Volume #47, Issue #6