'Tis the season to be shoveling and plowing! We at Firgelli Automations want to make your winter more jolly in any way we can, and today we are going to help you get your snowplow rigged up for the oncoming onslaught of snow. During the cold winter months, many of us dread those first few snowflakes, all too aware that an ongoing battle to keep sidewalks and driveways clear is about to begin. Many of us rely on snowblowers and snowplows to help keep on top of old man winter. The problem is when operating the snow blower the chute must constantly be turned and aimed to efficiently redirect the snow. Redirecting the chute can be difficult since both hands are required to control and operate the machine safely. This is where a linear actuator and a simple momentary rocker switch can come in handy. Using a simple setup it will be easy to control the direction of the chute with the simple thumb press of a button. Not only will this allow for safer control of the snow blower but it reduce down-time as there is no need to stop to make adjustments.
Step 1: What You Need Before You Get Started...
Before you get started, there are a few things you'll need to make the conversion:
- Electric Linear Actuator
- Rocker Switch OR a Remote Control
- Wiring Kit
- Mounting Brackets
- Rubber Protector
- Some nuts and bolts
All of the above can be found at the Firgelli Automations main website. Once you have all the parts, you'll need the following tools:
- Wrench/Ratchet Set
- Wire Strippers
- A Warm Coat (depending on where you're working on your snowblower or snowplow)
- Measuring Tape
Got everything? Congrats, your finally ready to get started...
Step 2: First Step: Planning
Determine how much stroke (travel) you need to get the chute to have full range of pitch. This is simply done by picking two points where you would mount a bracket, and then measure the difference from the full down position and the full up position between the two points. This will be how much stroke you need your electric actuator to have.
Step 3: Second Step: More Planning
Next determine the actuator you will be using. This can be done on the Firgelli Automations product page for the light duty rod actuator. You'll need to determine the retracted length of the unit you wish to use, and then mark the locations of the mounting brackets accordingly. Then take your hand drill and put a hole through for easy mounting. Put the bolts through and tighten them up with some washers and nuts on the other side. Now you have the foundation that you will attach the linear actuator to.
Step 4: Third Step: Attaching the Linear Actuator
This is the easiest part: attach the linear actuator. All you need to do is line up the holes on both ends of the actuator with the mounting holes on the brackets and slide the clevis pin through. After this is done, you can use the cotter pins supplied, or P-clips to secure the pins in place. Now route the wires from the actuator to your rocker switch or remote control unit.
Step 5: Fourth Step: Mounting Your Rocker Switch
Of course now we need to hook up the switch that will control the actuator. This is pretty simple, and it can be done by determining the size/footprint of the switch you plan to use. The dimensions of all of the Firgelli Automations rocker switches can be found on the product page, allowing for easy mocking up and cutting. After cutting out the hole for the switch, it should just pop in without any need for additional mounting. Wiring instructions for the rocker switches available at Firgelli Automations are on their respective product pages under technical drawings. If you source a switch from another manufacturer, be sure that you are familiar with how it needs to be hooked up to prevent damage to the components or electric shock.
Step 6: Fifth Step: Hooking Up the Battery
Since most tractors use a 12V battery, the swap for an electric actuator is probably the simplest upgrade that a person could make to their rig. Simply take the fuse included in the wiring kit and run it in-line to the rocker switch; this will prevent an overcurrent situation that could potentially cause damage to the linear actuator or other components you are using.
Step 7: Sixth Step: Blow Some Snow!
We highly recommend the use of a rubber protector (as you can see in the pictures). This will ensure the long life of the linear actuator and protect it from most environments. The actuators are proven to work very well in cold climates, and with the rubber boot: damp environments.
It is also advisable to store the unit when not in use in a dry warm area so that it has ample time to dry out after use. If you store your snowblower in a garage this shouldn't be an issue. We wish you a fantastic winter season and all the best with getting the snow out of the way!
For more information visit our site or call us today!