Author Topic: My wife bought us a used Raven MPV for our backup generator  (Read 490 times)

Offline creuzerm

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The Raven MPV was a short lived Lowes exclusive Frankenstorm ATV, lawn mower, generator mash up that they couldn't get right. The generator charges a small 48v lead acid battery set. The actual drive system is all electric.

I love the thing. 19 hours on the engine,  looks to be from 2015. $400!

I have an electric start generator that I don't have to carry and that gets run frequently enough not to have gas problems.

Mine didn't come with the mower deck.  A disappointment, but it sounds like a lot of the electrical problems come from the mower, so maybe a blessing in disguise.

It was sold because it wouldn't drive reliably. The owner replaced the throttle peddle Assembly. On a hunch, I thought maybe it was batteries. I dropped the battery carrier, and the batteries are literally split apart at the cell seams.  I bought a set of way too small backup batteries from the local big box hardware store and it runs!  Just needed enough battery to anchor the generator so the electric drive would work.

I got new big batteries and am rebuilding the power pack. I am adding in a power monitor system for a solar system as I intend to run this mostly on battery. I've hilly terrain and its going to be hard on the small batteries.  I can simply fire up the engine to drive it and run it when I need to.

I also picked up a 48v battery charger for it. Electricity is cheaper than gas.  I will also eventually get a MPPT solar charger for it and charge it by solar.


The generator is only 110v so I am looking for a 110v single phase to 220v two phase transformer thingy so I can run my well pump.

Offline creuzerm

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Re: My wife bought us a used Raven MPV for our backup generator
« Reply #1 on: May 31, 2020, 10:33:56 AM »
Some Photos:





Generator




Battery Pack Rebuild
Original battery




Temporary undersized battery back


Trying to build the pack with wire and lugs which made it too tall so it wouldn't fit.



Adding a power monitor so I can see what the battery is doing. Also a temporary wire jumper to build the pack which doesn't work as the power sags really fast when the current starts to flow.



Offline Mr. Bill

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Re: My wife bought us a used Raven MPV for our backup generator
« Reply #2 on: May 31, 2020, 09:14:51 PM »
That's actually pretty cool.  I like the idea of a drivable generator!

Offline Carver

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Re: My wife bought us a used Raven MPV for our backup generator
« Reply #3 on: June 01, 2020, 06:10:33 AM »
Interesting.

Offline creuzerm

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Re: My wife bought us a used Raven MPV for our backup generator
« Reply #4 on: June 01, 2020, 06:31:59 AM »
This weekend's attempt at getting the battery pack rebuilt ended as a dismal success. I can't drive under battery power as the voltage from the batteries collapses to about 15 volts. (I love having the meter now!) I think it's from the jumpers to make the 48v battery pack. The braids on the original battery pack aren't long enough for the new batteries as they are a different post style. I tried to make proper jumper cables with some @2 wire, but that ended up being too big. So I ran multiple smaller wires.

The main wires to the battery is marked as 16mm^2 - or 5 awg good for about 120ish amps. 12 awg wire is good for 40ish amps and 14 awg wire is good for 30ish amps according to a chart I was looking at (Yes, I know that's twice the current allowed to code, but I guess our 100% safety margin?).

So I ran multiple sets of wires to do the jumpering. I one I did one connection with connectors, the other I just formed the wire around the screws. I think the jumpers are way to light and aren't working for the power I am pulling.  Just my guess. Going t o do a thermal of the battery and see where it's heating up.


Battery cable style connections.


These stick out above the top of the battery. No good. Won't allow the battery to fit in it's spot under the machine.


The alternative connections which I think aren't allowing me to pull my power needed. We can see the 'factory' connection on the right connection, the flat braid.



I've ordered some braid which will be here in a week and a half (Gotta love amazon Prime, eh?)

Offline fritz_monroe

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Re: My wife bought us a used Raven MPV for our backup generator
« Reply #5 on: June 01, 2020, 06:43:16 AM »
This was a pretty cool idea, but all-in-1 solutions tend to not do any of their jobs overly well.  I think I remember Jack buying something similar from Home Depot and it didn't work out for his needs.

I'll be watching this thread to see how you get this working.

For the batteries not fitting under the machine, is there a way you can increase the space for the batteries?  Maybe raising the seat a bit, if that's where the batteries actually sit.

Offline creuzerm

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Re: My wife bought us a used Raven MPV for our backup generator
« Reply #6 on: June 01, 2020, 07:11:33 AM »
The batteries sit in a cage behind the rear axle. I dropped the cage an inch and a half with some hanger brackets.  Going to re-make them a bit shorter as it looks I don't need to have this much extra room.

Also a link to a photo album - https://lh3.googleusercontent.com/pw/ACtC-3cyulRja_uLMT64QPuoE5SYy-1y5lC46xWdcLO3gQ1PMeHxvyusyyVnCmoyeNXkUl4bw8JNjFNvhn-d7371w3xkC-cyiFNr17vOmixEdbDqZtDSTKa-XBNWc2huzFfGHFhnOWHA4EmttaZnagWVAyonHg=w2016-h1512-no?authuser=0.


Offline creuzerm

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Re: My wife bought us a used Raven MPV for our backup generator
« Reply #7 on: June 01, 2020, 07:31:36 AM »
This was a pretty cool idea, but all-in-1 solutions tend to not do any of their jobs overly well.

Yep, it's a mess! 

The generator is... well, loud as a generator, and you are sitting on the dumb thing, so you can't get away from the noise while driving it on gas power.

The really nice ATV front suspension does NOTHING because the back end is a lawn mower rigid rear axle bolted solid to the frame with no suspension. Rough riding.

You have to get OFF the machine to switch high and low gears. High gear is SCARY because 17 MPH bouncing around in a lawn mower seat you feel like you are going to fly off the machine! Also, no front breaks, so ALSO scary trying to stop and it just skids.

It's only rear wheel drive with a differential to allow for tight turns, so the thing won't handle hills well. It will just spin one tire in the mornings because the grass is all slicked up.


But it's exactly what I need right now in a single tool. A generator wherever I need a generator. It has a small dump bed for hauling small stuff like saws and tools. Able to move my trailers around.  It drives with the same configuration as a car so the kids will have some familiarity with that control layout in later years.

It's really a toy for me to tinker with. The manufacturer folded, so there is no warranty for me to void so I am going to be modding it to my heart's content! It's going to be my micro-tractor. Eventually it will get charged off the solar that is getting added to the garage. Maybe a solar panel roof.  Likely a power inverter to run off the batteries so I don't need to listen to the generator all the time (which will also connect to my Ryobi 100AH electric rider mower so I have that extra redundancy). Maybe a phone controlled remote start controller for the generator and an automatic switch gear between the inverter and the generator so when the grid goes down I don't need to run it 100% of the time, just on demand.

Offline Carver

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Re: My wife bought us a used Raven MPV for our backup generator
« Reply #8 on: June 01, 2020, 07:37:58 AM »
Definitely a unique concept, Tesla should pick this up.https://d2y5sgsy8bbmb8.cloudfront.net/v2/a8956b9d-a67c-52ca-9618-362dd6084de8/ShortForm-Generic-480p-16-9-1409173089793-rpcbe5.mp4

There is also a Raven MPV Facebook page for owners exchanging tips.

Offline creuzerm

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Re: My wife bought us a used Raven MPV for our backup generator
« Reply #9 on: June 01, 2020, 07:58:36 AM »
There is also a Raven MPV Facebook page for owners exchanging tips.

I signed up for that a few weeks ago, but haven't been approved yet. I can't post in that forum.