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View Full Version : Whats the advantage of an electric clutch on a walkbehind mower?


SoloSulkySurfer
03-30-2008, 01:00 AM
I bought an 1998 toro proline and it has an electric clutch, I also have a bobcat wb 1999 and it has a manual belt engage lever. Why put a $200 part on when you could just use the lever. Whats the benifit of an electric clutch?

cgaengineer
03-30-2008, 02:21 AM
The electric clutch is simple really and I think it probably saves on wear and tear on your belt as it engages faster then a person would do if it were manual. It is also on there for safety as it will disengage if it is connected to a seat switch or any other safety switch...the electric clutch could really be disengaged for anything...tilt sensor, speed sensing, operator presence.

topsites
03-30-2008, 02:54 AM
At least on a Toro if you're manually engaged and the osp switch trips the whole thing shuts down instantly engine and all, but with an electric clutch if you trip it the only thing that stops is the blades (but the engine stays running). Also on certain models it's easier to keep belt tension with an electric clutch, the only other thing I know is all float decks have this clutch and all fixed decks are manual so there's likely something to do with that as well.

Personally I prefer the manual engages, but...

KGR landscapeing
03-30-2008, 07:29 AM
moving parts give you more to screw up. electric means one more wire to chase when it stops working. ya how do floating decks work anyway since i am in the learning mood?

Richard Martin
03-30-2008, 07:42 AM
the only other thing I know is all float decks have this clutch and all fixed decks are manual so there's likely something to do with that as well.


Nah, i have 2 Ferris 36 fixed deck mowers, a hydro and a gear and they both have an electric clutch.

bigclawn
03-30-2008, 09:12 AM
Gee--never had to replace a lever!!

topsites
03-30-2008, 09:25 AM
moving parts give you more to screw up. electric means one more wire to chase when it stops working. ya how do floating decks work anyway since i am in the learning mood?

It's kind of like on a Ztr, the deck swivels somewhat independent of the frame itself... That is, the part where the engine sits and the blade deck are not a solid piece, instead they are joined via an intricate system of suspension frames with pieces of steel and chains that hold one over the other...

How to describe it, the front casters are joined to the rear frame (the part that holds the engine) via a 'bridged' type of steel tubing, so the wheels are all one piece... Then, chains are attached to the tubing and these chains in turn hold the deck, the deck thus 'hangs' from the frame and now the deck can 'float.'

What it does for the operator is it eases scalping issues somewhat, keep in mind the deck itself is still solid if it's 48" floating then it's still 4 feet of solid deck... And it only swivels and adjusts by 1-2 inches up-and-down but it does so independent of the frame and thus adjusts itself better to the terrain.

Also even though it still takes time and doing, but deck height is usually adjusted with pins and clips requiring no tools (but it still takes time, practice, and making sure it's even lol).

They're heavier, and as a result usually a little slower and they get stuck (like in mud) easier too, at least Wb's the float decks are almost twice as heavy as the fixed decks, but the float is easier to operate. As you said, more moving parts, more parts to break, and they cost more, too. I like them, but I'm married to my fixed decks.

Anyhow...

KGR landscapeing
03-30-2008, 09:44 AM
It's kind of like on a Ztr, the deck swivels somewhat independent of the frame itself... That is, the part where the engine sits and the blade deck are not a solid piece, instead they are joined via an intricate system of suspension frames with pieces of steel and chains that hold one over the other...

How to describe it, the front casters are joined to the rear frame (the part that holds the engine) via a 'bridged' type of steel tubing, so the wheels are all one piece... Then, chains are attached to the tubing and these chains in turn hold the deck, the deck thus 'hangs' from the frame and now the deck can 'float.'

What it does for the operator is it eases scalping issues somewhat, keep in mind the deck itself is still solid if it's 48" floating then it's still 4 feet of solid deck... And it only swivels and adjusts by 1-2 inches up-and-down but it does so independent of the frame and thus adjusts itself better to the terrain.

Also even though it still takes time and doing, but deck height is usually adjusted with pins and clips requiring no tools (but it still takes time, practice, and making sure it's even lol).

They're heavier, and as a result usually a little slower and they get stuck (like in mud) easier too, at least Wb's the float decks are almost twice as heavy as the fixed decks, but the float is easier to operate. As you said, more moving parts, more parts to break, and they cost more, too. I like them, but I'm married to my fixed decks.

Anyhow...

i was asking more so as to how the deck is driven if its able to move up and down how do u keep the blades moving from a staionary pulley on the motor i know who the floating works

cgaengineer
03-30-2008, 09:49 AM
The floaters use a very wide pulley on the rear (Near the engine). This allows the belt to move up and down with the deck.

KGR landscapeing
03-30-2008, 09:51 AM
The floaters use a very wide pulley on the rear (Near the engine). This allows the belt to move up and down with the deck.

see that was all i needed to know short and to the point. that would make sense beable to give u the angle that you would need thanks

bigclawn
03-30-2008, 10:09 AM
It's amazing how this thread got off topic so fast--it usually takes a few pages....

Lawn-Sharks
03-30-2008, 10:12 AM
My WB has the lever and My ZTR's have the electric Pto and from what i see is just one benifit is safety the manual lever when disengauged still spins the blades (no real force)
but enough to get hurt and the ZTR's electric pto shuts it down and nothing is spinning..
.....................just my thoughts on the subject

GravelyNut
03-30-2008, 10:59 AM
Like most things that have to do with safety, the electric PTO clutch will be a pain to maintain over the manual lever. But the electric will shut down the blade quicker.

Tharrell
03-30-2008, 11:20 AM
I have a 52 Lesco hydro and it's manual. My 48 Scag hydro is electric. All my Bob-Cats are manual as well. I see it as just something to add to the cost. I don't have a problem adjusting belts, I can keep a spare belt on hand at minimal cost whereas a spare clutch would be expensive just sitting around.
5 walkbehinds, one electric clutch. Tony

Restrorob
03-30-2008, 12:26 PM
Whats the benifit of an electric clutch?


From my experience there is no benefit at all.

All they do is add money to the cost and more problems down the road (electrical/adjustments/replacements and belts.


probably saves on wear and tear on your belt as it engages faster then a person would do if it were manual.


This is a common mis-consumption, When a pto switch is pulled on the clutch snatches the belt immediately putting more stress on the belt with each engagement. I have replaced many belts that had plenty of useful life left in them but were snapped from the engagement of the clutch.

If one is informed of the proper engagement procedure for a manual clutch system the belt in most cases will show no more wear damage than with a electric clutch. Also, The manual belt would most likely out last the belt on a electric clutch due to no snatching while engaging.


It is also on there for safety as it will disengage if it is connected to a seat switch or any other safety switch.

While this is true the manual clutch system also has a safety switch as well and I'm pretty sure there isn't but a couple of seconds between the two systems for the blades to stop moving, This is due to the engine dragging the blades to a stop.


As I mentioned above, It's my opinion there is really no advantage to a electric clutch but there is for a manual due to less cost/maintenance and aggravation.

cgaengineer
03-30-2008, 12:50 PM
From my experience there is no benefit at all.

All they do is add money to the cost and more problems down the road (electrical/adjustments/replacements and belts.





This is a common mis-consumption, When a pto switch is pulled on the clutch snatches the belt immediately putting more stress on the belt with each engagement. I have replaced many belts that had plenty of useful life left in them but were snapped from the engagement of the clutch.

If one is informed of the proper engagement procedure for a manual clutch system the belt in most cases will show no more wear damage than with a electric clutch. Also, The manual belt would most likely out last the belt on a electric clutch due to no snatching while engaging.




While this is true the manual clutch system also has a safety switch as well and I'm pretty sure there isn't but a couple of seconds between the two systems for the blades to stop moving, This is due to the engine dragging the blades to a stop.


As I mentioned above, It's my opinion there is really no advantage to a electric clutch but there is for a manual due to less cost/maintenance and aggravation.

I know what you are saying, but according to the Toro manual for my mower it says to engage blades at full throttle.

You can either slowly engage and put more surface wear on belt, or you can engage fast and put a one time quick stress on blade with minimal surface wear and slipping.

The electric clutch eliminates most surface wear due to slipping as the engagement is a constant. Clutches on AC compressors for autos are built the exact same way.

Either system has its +/- but we have to take waht we can get.

My point at the safety issue is that almost anything can be wired into an electric clutch to make it stop...you could even have pedals on a velke that were wired into the unit so that when you step off the mower it would stop the blades (Not that I would want this) but making and example. Its hard to make something idiot proof as idiots are so genius.

Restrorob
03-30-2008, 01:06 PM
according to the Toro manual for my mower it says to engage blades at full throttle.


Yeah, That's so they can sell you more belts....:laugh:

cgaengineer
03-30-2008, 01:09 PM
Yeah, That's so they can sell you more belts....:laugh:

if you engage at slower speeds they will sell you more clutches...

CuttinUP
03-30-2008, 01:19 PM
the only other thing I know is all float decks have this clutch and all fixed decks are manual so there's likely something to do with that as well.

Personally I prefer the manual engages, but...

Not true, My TTHP is floating deck and manual engage and my buddy's Scag WB with fixed deck is electric clutch. Personally I like the manual engage, I agree with Restrorob that if engaged properly manual puts less stress on the belt and system.

TwistedSister
03-30-2008, 01:54 PM
Is there a way to switch from a electric clutch to a manual clutch. I just replaced my electric clutch (went out at 1k hrs.) and it was a PITA. Not to mention expensive. I would love a manual, so is there a way to switch???

Restrorob
03-30-2008, 02:25 PM
if you engage at slower speeds they will sell you more clutches...

Another mis-consumption,

The clutch is a magnetic switch, Once power is applied there is little to no slippage. That's why the engine rpm drops when engaged and belts snap.

Don't take it the wrong way. I'm not trying to bump heads with anyone, Just voicing my opinion from my years experience working on these things. http://forums.vr-zone.com/images/smilies/biggthumpup1.gif