Browsing Miscellaneous Publications by Author "Ericksen, Jim"
Conversion of a gasolinepowered 1955 Allis Chalmers 'G' tractor to battery powerSmeenk, Jeff; Ericksen, Jim (Agricultural and Forestry Experiment Station, School of Agriculture and Land Resources Management, University of Alaska Fairbanks, 2010)The Allis Chalmers ‘G’ tractors have long been favorites with market gardeners because the model combines excellent toolbar visibility, overall maneuverability, and good fuel economy in a relatively simple mechanical design. Unfortunately, the tractor’s small size and unique style make it a prime target for tractor collectors. This means that buying repair parts for the model ‘G’s can be expensive, since the suppliers cater to the hobbyist-restoration market rather than those using the machines on working farms. Conversion of the tractor to electric power eliminates the excessive costs involved in repairing the engine with original parts. The farmer who originally converted a conventional Allis Chalmers ‘G’ to a solar-powered cultivating tractor received partial funding through a Sustainable Agriculture Research and Education Grant. He was very happy with the re-powered tractor and developed a website describing both the process of conversion and the resulting tractor (www.flyingbeet.com). The conversion of an Allis Chalmers ‘G’ to an electric (and ultimately solar-powered) cultivating tractor provides several benefits for the University of Alaska’s Matanuska Experiment Farm: ▷▷ 1) The Agricultural Experiment Station plays a leadership role in developing sustainable farming practices appropriate for Alaska, and using a tractor that does not operate on limited fossil fuels provides a working example of sustainable agricultural practices. ▷▷ 2) Among other duties, the tractor is used to cultivate inside 30’ x 96’ high tunnels where carbon monoxide would be a hazard to the operator. ▷▷ 3) The price of the conversion kit was only slightly more expensive than a replacement gasoline engine, and repair of the electric engine is considerably cheaper than repair of the gasoline engine.