Frequently Asked Questions

 

 

 

 

 

Is solar recharging really practical?

Not is it only practical, but it can actually double the life of your  batteries.   Nothing is worse for most rechargeable batteries than to sit for long periods of time in an uncharged state.  With the solar panels, an uncharged battery will quickly recover from a low voltage and slowly increase its reserve until fully charged.  Depending on the size of the
battery, the output of the solar panel will be matched so that it charges when needed, but maintains only a trickle charge when the batteries are charged.

Regarding the question,  practicallity also includes nuisances like noise, odors and pollution, hauling gas, cleaning
carburators, filters, plugs and points and pulling starter chords.

Why doesn't everybody use this technology?

You would be suprised at how many solar charged systems are in use today.  From the 60,000 plus homes running
off grid to the thousands of RV's on the road all over the continent, this is a well proven technology.  It is only the
mentality of the general public that needs to change to get more solar reharging products on to the market..

Why is solar recharging a desireable method for gardening and landscaping operations.?

Gardening on the small and medium scale is usually done in fairly short intervals considering the busy schedules of
most people who are including gardening in their busy lives. Usually there are several days between each gardening
activity which allows ample time for the solar panels to charge the batteries.

Questions from a potentiail customer. / Thanks John Lewis!

I saw your add in 'Growing for Market' and looked over your web site.  I have some questions about the Sun Horse operation.

It might be useful to know the context of my questions.  I have a two acre market garden and several greenhouses.  I use hired help for the operation of this enterprise.  They are not greatly mechanically inclined - so equipment must be easy to operate.

The farm is in South Georgia - so we have a year round operation.  The soil is very sandy.  Our typical weeds are bermuda grass, pig weed and dog fennel.

1.  Can the Sun Horse handle clearing weeds between rows?

That's what it is made for. You can adjust the width of the wheels  from 12" centers to 24" centers and  the weed
sweeps are also adjustable to any spacing uoup to 30"  The sweeps glide through the toughest weeds cutting them off about 1" below the soil.

2.  How long will it typically operate between charges.

 It should last up to two hours when weeding and you can get a lot done in that time. Plowing about 45 min to 1 hour depending on the soil, seeding & wheelbarrow up to 3 to 4  hours

3.  How do you charge it?  Do you leave it outside?  Can the solar panels really charge it?

There are many ways to charge the Sun Horse.  The on board solar panel keeps it charged for light usage (add 10 min per day) you can charge overnight with the included battery charger.  You can also get an auxillary charging kit to mount on a barn or shed with two panels which can keep a standby set of batteries charged and ready to replace the drained ones. All conections are quick disconnect.

4.  How heavy is it? - If it runs out of a charge 400 Ft. from a power source is it very difficult to lug back?

It is heavy by design to offer stability and cutting power.  When the batteries are low,  it will still run quit a long way befor stalling otherwise,  you can just let it sit for a few minutes in the sun.

5.  Do you have more detailed info - maybe the operations manual in a form that can be e-mailed.

Yes we do.  If you send me your address, I will send you a packet of info. Also please feel free to check our web page at www.freepowersys.com

  Thanks for the info.  John Lewis
 

Thank you for your interest in our Sun Horse gardening system.

Tom Lopez / FPS
 

From: "Scott Hertzbeail
Date: 
Tue, 18 Jun 2002 14:00:23 -0400

Hello,

I am a market gardener working an acre of intensive vegetables. I have plans to work up to 2 acres. Is the Sun Horse system too small for my operation?
Are there any small farmers my size that successfully use the system. If so, do you have testimonials? How long does it take to plow A half acre? Can you put the Sun Horse's power in horse power, 5hp, 10hp?  Any how, it looks like
you have made a wonderful break through. Can you send or e-mail me more information so I can assess wheather it is the right package of tools for our little farm. By the way, you probably should change the link colors on your Webpage. The links are very hard to read making the site not that user friendly. May have to change background color. Good work and thank you!
 

Dear Scott,

Thank you for your interest in our Sun Horse gardening system.  I call it a gardening system because the tractor alone is only part,although crucial, of the package.
We dont sell the tractor alone as it is useless without the custom tools that attach to it.

Firstly, your size of garden is perfect for the  Sun horse, however, some of the methods you have been using may need to be revisited.  Crop rotation,as you know, is
imperative for continued crop quality and volume.  We recomend alternating rows and isles annually which will reduce plowing area(only plow where you are going to plant).

The gang seeder(1-4 seed boxes) can be set as close as 8" and the Sun Horse can still travel between rows for early between row weeding and cultivation.

Concerning your question about horsepower, The motor is rated one half horsepower. This is equivalent torquewise to about a four horsepower gasoline motor, but when you run it through a 60:1 gearbox  most operations are done with no operator effort except steering (plowing and cultivating are mildly aerobic).

Aside from ease of operation and quick change tooling, control is the greatest benefit of our system.  You can finness the tractor with implements around and through
tight situations quickly allowing for more work in less time and you dont have to worry about the motor overheating or dying.

A market gardener in our area who has been using the Sun Horse for over a year is John Martin 303-823-0975.  John purchased our first unit and has begun to use it
more this year with the arrival of several new and improved attachments.  We have other market farmers also who are using it effectively and others who have
ordered it to the point where we are confident this system will establish a solid niche in market gardening.

Scott, thanks again for your interest.  We are enthused about working especially with people like yourself who are in a competitive environment and need reliable
tools which are also environmentally friendly and, I might add, fun to use...

Sincerely,

Tom Lopez/ FPS

From Jay Lowder Missoula, MT

Found out about you in Mother Earth News.  Your web site was helpful, but still had a few questions

1)  How long can your tractor operate on a cloudy day--say doing heavy work like plowing in an existing garden?
 
  The sun horse operates on deep draw sealed batteries it Can last over an hour when plowing day or night.
Backup pluggin batteries are included in the system price, so you can keep going if you need to.
For most other operations, The tractor will run all day on a charge.
 
2)  What is top speed--say with the wheel barrow attachment unloaded?

It will run at a fast walk at top speed

3)  How does it compare in power to a 12 hp gas walking tractor?

If we compare total performance over say, a month, when you consider all the things the Sun Horse system can do;
the ease of operation, precision control, low maintenance, no start or prep time, quick tool change and the five
implements that are included for under $5,000, the Sun Horse system will out perform any combination of tractor
and implements that we know of that is available for under $20,000 new.
 

4)  Do you have plans for a tiller attachment?

We sell a small tiller for seed prep and small plots, but it  isn't really necessary when using the cultivator
attachment on long rows.
 
5)  Is the pricing on your web site current?

Yes

Any written material, if different than the web site, would be appreciated.

A brochure is on the way.  If you need more, we can send you a home video.

Thanks and Happy gardening!

 

Tom Lopez/ FPS

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