Mower: install controls that allow manual and auto operation?

I am now starting to dive into ArduRover for a zero turn mower. :slight_smile:

The mower will be delivered this afternoon: a Cub Cadet ZT2 54.

Do you mower automaters simply remove steering arms and the like and automate, or have you allowed for easy manual mode, to use the mower un-automated (normal)?


  1. Can you operate the mower without having to dismantle servos? E.g should linear motors be favoured over servos?
  2. Do you have a switch that reinstates normal safety measures?
  3. Anything else you’ve done to maintain the dual capability?

Or is it too complicated, cumbersome, expensive to have both modes?

I am asking, as ATM, I am thinking that some areas are too difficult to “mission plan” and need a manual mow.

Any hints, pointers appreciated.

Max, it would be very easy to incorporate a quick disconnect on servo linkage such that they could be physically isolated from manual controls. The potential downfall is that most Hydro Gear transaxles have heavy springs for operator “feedback” because the drive linkage is so easy to move. You either have to accept that your manual “feel” will be touchier (by removing those springs) or you have to use very powerful servos or actuators.

I strongly prefer servos because they tend to respond faster than comparably priced linear actuators.

A master power switch on the autopilot electronics takes care of the rest of your concerns.

As for me - I had designs of having a convertible system like you describe, but quickly ended up removing the seat and control arms in favor of a completely automated mower. I just use the RC controller to “manually” drive around the tight spots to clean them up.


Thanks… makes sense, and how it is going to be.