I recently converted a John Deere 214 Garden Tractor to Electric Motor propulsion. You can read all about this project here:

Now it is time to put it to work.

First order is to build an Electric Motor powered mowing deck. Yes, I have enough power in the 13HP electric motor to run a belly mounted mower deck, like the tractor used when it had an ICE (Internal Combustion Engine). But what fun is that! Plus all those belts and pulleys are a Rube Goldberg mess in my opinion.

And my yard is small with lots of nooks and crannies where a front mounted deck might be more advantageous.

My original plan was for this deck to have its own LiFo (Lithium) battery pack. I thought if it had its own battery, it could be used on my IH Cub Cadet 782 tractor that still has its gas motor. But on second thought, that tractor is extremely heavy and with four Agricultural tires it makes a mess of my lawn. The 782 will remain the work horse, plowing, cultivating, etc. And in using the JD electric conversion tractor I find I have lots of battery capacity. So for now, it will operate off the tractors 36v system.

So….On with the project.

First I needed a proper sized deck. As it turns out, my first electric conversion was a TORO lawn tractor. The deck it came with was a three blade design which made it quite compact in the front to back space. The front mounted roller was cut off as was anything else attached to the deck that wasn’t going to be used. This left me with just the shell.

Next was motors. Since the JD Electric Conversion runs on three 12V AGM deep cycle batteries, 36V, I needed three 36-40 wold motors. Most of the cordless, battery powered push lawn mowers on the market are using the same 40V brush type motors.

I was lucky enough to find a seller on Ebay that had three, brand new, 40V lawn mower motors from Craftsman lawn mowers. $160 for all three…shipped!

The cutting blades on this deck were trash. I needed to order new. This mower deck utilizes 16″ blades so I ordered from Ebay, Oregon 91-389 John Deere Lawn Mower Blades, 3-Pack, 16″ for $35

When the blades arrived it was clear they were not a direct fit to the motor shafts. So at the lathe I turned adapters for each motor to mate with the blade.

The center shaft of the motor was threaded metric, bolts were secured and the motors mounted to the deck and blades installed

Next was the “carriage” to carry the deck. A few pieces of welded angle and square tubing did the trick after anything I was not going to need on the deck was removed.

Four swivel casters were employed with adjustable supports.

To attach the casters to the pipe stems, simple gas pipe flanges were welded directly to the casters

I planned on using an electric linear actuator to raise and lower the deck. I had previously installed a front mounted receiver hitch to easily reposition trailers around my property. I welded an upright support that utilized this receiver hitch to carry the linear actuator

To attach the deck to the tractor took a bit of thinking…..Four “arms” were fabricated out of bar stock and the geometry was calculated so the deck remained parallel to the ground when lifted. I utilized the existing mounting points on the tractor.

To allow the deck to “float” the attachment point on the deck itself was elogated to allow up and down movement

Deck fabrication being completed, a coat of JD yellow was applied

On to the wiring….

A heavy duty contactor, EZGO 36 Volt 200 Amp Golf Cart Solenoid, was acquired from online at along with a pre-charge resistor and a solenoid diode and mounted on the deck along with a ground buss bar and other associated wiring (PS, the wiring of this contactor is the same as was done on the tractor. You can see this in the link on the Electric Conversion posted above)

The deck is connected to the tractor for power via a heavy duty Anderson Connector. A smaller, light duty Anderson Connector turns the contactor on and off to start the motors

A JD GREEN security type toggle switch was installed to turn the deck on and off

The deck is raised and lowered with the linear actuators control box which has a strong magnet attached to the bottom so it can be placed on anything metal.

So the deck is finished and installed

How does it work?….Here are a few video showing that it works fantastic! Better than I expected. I’d call this project a sucess!

So there you have it! Hope you enjoyed this little post on the John Deere Electric Tractor Front Mounted Mower Deck……You can see many more of my “Garage Projects” here


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  2. Brian Edmond Reply

    You did a great job, congratulations, I also have been working on tractor conversions and have come up with a very similar design, It can cut up to 2-3 acres on a 50cent charge, I now sell a conversion kit and plans on my website :- here is some info on my design if you would like to see?DIY electric garden tractor plans, and it could be charged by solar, zero pollution
    2hrs cutting approx 2 acres or 8-10 hrs pulling trailer on a charge
    Converting to battery power is a great idea for a garden tractor I converted one 20yrs ago, I used the 3 separate motor design and it is still cutting grass on a daily basis, it is amazing how it never breaks down and needs almost no maintenance, I renew the batteries every 7 yrs I am just on my 3rd set now, my design will cut up to 2 acres on a 50cent charge there are no belts or pulleys and no oil on the entire tractor, it can pull a trailer for about 8hrs on a charge, because battery run time is the most important aspect of most conversions I paid particular attention to the most efficient design, I used 3 separate small motors one for the drive with electronic speed control and two smaller with a cutter blade mounted on the shaft of each cutter motor ,total amperage when cutting grass is approx 40amps, (2000watts) this design only uses the battery power req to do the job, very little wasted battery power, it uses magnetic breaking of both tractor and cutter blades and automatically applies parking brake when you stop or get off the seat, an amazing tractor.
    Now available a riding mower conversion kit:-

    Video #5 Ploughing Snow
    Video #4 Ploughing Veggie Garden
    Video #3 The Little Electric Tractor That Can! cutting grass
    Video#1 on youtube
    video #2 Making an electric 3 point hitch

  3. Charlie Andersen Reply

    Do you have any idea the exact model of the motors you used for the deck? If yes, could you share it or email it to me? Have you broken them at all hitting anything or have they remained reasonably reliable

    Trying to add a deck like this to one of our robots to see how it might work (, and struggling to find a deck we can just buy.


  4. Loren Reply

    Very great job on this! I have a 1968 Craftsman rider I have wanted to make electric since the Tecumseh 10HP engine is getting expensive to repair, is loud, and stinks. I have held off because of the expense of controllers and the like. However, seeing how happy you seem to be with the basic on/off engine control and using the tractor’s clutch, I may get this project underway for a late spring or early summer debut! Now I kind of regret selling my JD 212 which also had the variator! That cheater stick is the best.

  5. Anthony Winfree Reply

    Great write-up, Roy, and the videos that go with it are excellent.

    Q: Do you think the motor you chose would power the hydraulics on a 2xx or 3xx series JD that was so-equipped?

    I’ll be watching for updates on your tractor adventures!

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