Introduction: Electric Wheelbarrow

My name is Evan Pickett.  I graduated as a dual major in both mechanical and manufacturing engineering. I love coming up with new designs and innovative solutions to any problems I encounter - or to projects that are thrown my way. Rather than just making something that will work, I prefer to make something that will work better than ever anticipated. That’s what I’ve come up with on my latest idea: the 100 Hills Wheelbarrow. This design started as a basic assistant for yard work, but with beta testing has shown remarkable versatility. It can help so many people in many different modalities My wife moved 4 yards of dirt and 4 yards of rock up a hill in the mud at the end of an Oregon winter 6 weeks post-op from major surgery. As she said, "There is no way to do that without your wheelbarrow. Everyone needs one of these.” I see this allowing our aging population to continue doing difficult projects in their yard longer. I see a use for contractors, beach goers, race pit crews, and so many other areas. My wheelbarrow will go up hills, through mud, gravel, sand, bark dust, over small obstacles on the ground, all with little effort from the user.

With the prize money I will purchase enough parts to build 50 wheelbarrows as a first edition build. With these 50 units, I will have enough product to get my wheelbarrows UL certified and bring them to market.  I will use the rest of the money to define my business brand with the help of a marketing team. I am also working on a website that the wheelbarrows will eventually be sold from.


sasukeka (author)2017-03-02

Hi, i'm aika??????
i really want to built electric wheelbarrow for my college project but i have no reference to do it. May i have your tutorial how to make the electric wheelbarrow?

jbach3 (author)2014-03-17

this is amazing, i want one.

gtbrit1 (author)2012-08-13

Nice work, but you should check out , they have been making these for years

DIY-Guy (author)gtbrit12012-11-23

I like the idea of being able to ride on the Instructables version of the electric wheelbarrow.
Great idea!

Bill WW (author)2012-09-21

Congratulations on second place win! I did not even make it to the finalists. I was looking forward to the (remote) chance of winning the IPad. Was kind of hopeful when there were only 30 entrants. But yes, I enjoyed and learned from the experience.

I spent yesterday wheelbarrowing heavy loads of mud and dirt uphill. Today my 71 year old body really feels yesterday's efforts. I could have used an electric power assist.

I'm also a mechanical engineer, retired from employment but not from engineering and building.

Washington State

bennelson (author)Bill WW2012-09-27

Glad to see that a fellow "electric vehicle guy" placed in the contest.

I was really thinking of this as the entry to beat right off the bat!

Nice design and great job!

Bill WW (author)bennelson2012-09-27

Gee, thanks, but I did not win anything. I only "wished" I had a powered weelbarrow! My entry did not even make it to the finalists.

DeadNuts (author)2012-08-31

It is getting to be that time. What time you ask? It is almost time for the good folk at Jack Daniel’s to name the first, second and third place winner of the Independence Project. I am having mixed feelings about how soon I got my project up here. On one hand I was up pretty early and got some good publicity and it has been p for a long time, but on the other hand I am now of the 6th page of projects. The contest has gone from 30 projects to over 110 in the last 3 days. I know there are some great projects out there, but don't forget the fun we had in the beginning.

One last thing.
If I win I will give DEEP discounts to instructables members on the purchase of wheelbarrows or kits.

iwoodinspire (author)DeadNuts2012-09-07

Of course, if you're like me, you switch the entries to be ordered by views, since they tend to be the better ones. Especially since there are now 296 entries. It's impressive that you held such a commanding "view" lead for so long. My guess is you're a finalist at the very least. I just hope I make it as a finalist (or more) also. Good luck in the contest.

iwoodinspire (author)2012-08-02

Awesome, man. No doubt the max speed for the wheelbarrow will have to be cut in half to be safe enough for the general public :)

btw, how long will the battery charge last on it?

DeadNuts (author)iwoodinspire2012-08-02

It has a 1200 watt hub motor and 2.5 watt hour battery. It will go about 4 miles at top speed. Naturally range will be decreased the more time you are in the high power draw.

Kinnishian (author)DeadNuts2012-08-12

Err...2.5 watt hour would get you 1/10th of a mile. typo maybe? I just ask because 2.5 kw hour doesn't make sense to me either, as 2.5kwh costs about $2000.

Curious as to what it is

allen (author)Kinnishian2012-08-12

2.5 amp-hour battery maybe? Yeah, I'm thinking that's what the author meant.

DeadNuts (author)allen2012-08-12

allen, thank you for the catch. The batteries are 2.5 amp-hour

Kinnishian (author)DeadNuts2012-08-12

Good call, I should have seen it.

What voltage though? That would make the number of amp hours a meaningful measurement.

alan brown (author)Kinnishian2012-08-24

Not sure this is appropriate in this forum, but I have a completely different invention (medical field) that requires an engineer that understands motors and motor controllers, and it looks like there are several of you here. Ideally, I would like to create it using a 4 to 5 inch hub motor. If you or any or your colleagues do consulting, I would love to be contacted.
MindSkid Labs

And to Evan: Great idea! I want to see it turned into an extreme sport with wheelbarrow races!

allen (author)DeadNuts2012-08-12

You're welcome.

I was thinking about the voltage when I posted above and I'll guess those are two 2.5 amp-hour batteries in series. It's a 1,200 watt motor and at 24 volts it'd be pulling half the current it would at 12 volts which makes everything easier. Since there's a speed controller half the current makes it smaller, cheaper and with less in the way of cooling headaches.

By the way author (sorry, I can't quite bring myself to use your handle), why so much power? A bit of poking around tells me that's a hub motor for an electric scooter capable of keeping up with road traffic. Is torque inadequate with a 500 or 750 watt hub motor?

Kinnishian (author)allen2012-08-12

Hmm, there really aren't too many BLDC controllers that are setup for 12V, except those for rc motors. So 24v makes sense simply because there are a ton of well priced controllers at that price.

The thing is that the controller fets are seeing phase amps, and for a given motor setup, a 24v controller could actually be more difficult to control. Because it's a BLDC motor the author needs to be careful about how the max speed compared to the typical usage speed.

Say 12v gets you to 10mph, and you don't want to go faster than that, and you typically go 5mph. If you run 24v on that, your top speed will be 20mph. If you want to go 10mph at 12v and pull 600 watts you will need 50 amps from the battery, and you will feed 10amps through the fets. If you want to go 10mph at 24 with 600 watts power you will need only 25 amps from the battery, but your duty cycle will be 50%, and the phase wires will still see 50 amps. The controller however will have more switching losses at 24v. I haven't given the best or 100% perfect answer here, but the general idea is that it's not necessarily better to run higher voltage.

Running a 1200 watt motor is a good idea, because the wheelbarrow application is not a very ideal situation for the motor. If the motor is capable of 1200watts, it will be more likely to survive the less than ideal conditions of running it at slow speeds.

It looks like he's running a "magicpie" it's by goldenmotor. They're decent hubmotors, like 9C continentals, but with a built in controller. I don't know if he's running it with or without the builtin controller. The believe the builtin does not put out 1200 watts, so maybe he's using an external one, which would actually be more reliable. You can run the magic pie at 3000 watts without burning it up, but if the conditions are bad, you can burn it up at 600 watts. Electric motors are different than gas motors in that they have a peak power at which point you have dramatically increased heat losses, but they also have a big range below that peak power in which if you treat them well you can coax a lot of power, but if you don't apply them properly, you can burn up the motor. That's why often a motor is derated, because if you run it at full power up a steep hill you'll burn up a motor that could otherwise deliver that power if you were on flats. But if you run at half power the same motor up the steep hill, it could possibly tolerate that hill before building too much heat.

jakerobinson (author)Kinnishian2012-08-12

I would add to this advice:

Consider licensing the product.

Get a "Provisional Patent" which only costs $110 and is fairly easy to get. It will give you one year of IP protection while you shop your idea out to potential manufacturers... is an "A to Z" book on how to do it... the author repeats himself and could get to the point much quicker but you will see the value in his approach.

here is an interview from the author:

his enthusiasm is infectious...

This may save you lots and lots of money and allow you to profit off your idea without taking the risk... there are already manufacturers out there that are suited to produce your item that already have distribution channels and already know the system to get a product to market and approved for safety measures...

then you can move on to other inventions and products! Hope this helps.


I am not acquainted with US law, but I heard that the US patent system is changing from a "first to invent approach" to a "first to apply approach":

So, be careful, it could be necessary to file the patent before disclosing the invention, even in the US.

Kinnishian (author)Kinnishian2012-08-12

Very crummy of me not to proofread. Wish there was some way to edit. It should say:

. If you want to go 10mph at 12v and pull 600 watts you will need 50 amps from the battery, and you will feed 50amps through the fets. If you want to go 10mph at 24 with 600 watts power you will need only 25 amps from the battery, but your duty cycle will be 50%, and the phase wires will still see 50 amps. The controller however will have more switching losses at 24v. I haven't given the best or 100% perfect answer here, but the general idea is that it's not necessarily better to run higher voltage.

The key is that I wrote "you will feed 10 amps through the fets" in the 12v scenario. Made a typo there, should be 50.

DeadNuts (author)allen2012-08-12

First , my handle is nothing obscene. it is a term used to specify extreme accuracy.

Second, the batteries are each 36v used in series to provide 72v to the motor.

Thirdly, the power... Well the original wheelbarrow that I made is a single 36V battery to power a 350 watt hub motor. It is my most useful garden tool besides the shovel. The fast one with the trailer is more of an exhibition piece, something to show what can be done with batteries.

Kinnishian (author)DeadNuts2012-08-12

I just checked out your comment where you say the top speed is 4mph. That's perfect, you must have picked the winding and voltage well.

Demos are always great to make people realize EVs are serious :)

masterfireeater (author)DeadNuts2012-08-07

Deadnuts if i may, if you would like i have an idea for a name.

DeadNuts (author)masterfireeater2012-08-07

I am intrested. If you go to you can contact me there.

masterfireeater (author)DeadNuts2012-08-08

I just contacted you. you should be getting the email shortly.

pfred2 (author)2012-08-07

I hate to break it to you but power buggies have been around forever.

strafford (author)pfred22012-08-12

Not a helpful comment. Apples and oranges.

pfred2 (author)strafford2012-08-18

No buggies and barrels.

askjerry (author)pfred22012-08-12

This is true, but I think his design is a lighter version aimed at the general public rather than the industry. The power buggies are generally larger and many have gas engines vs. Electric. He may actually have a viable product.

I'm interested to see how it goes.

clazman (author)askjerry2012-08-12

Thanks for keeping on track here. It's surprising how comments get out of hand. But, then, I do the same sometimes if only to supply some levity.

bajablue (author)askjerry2012-08-12


Excellent points, all. :-)

LancasterPA (author)pfred22012-08-12

Funny, that's what I thought. This was just a copy of the idea.

jerryjaksha (author)2012-08-14

I like it because it is a consumer tool, like a $200 concrete mixer instead of the $2000 pro version.
Maybe it is patentable, maybe not. My favorite patent book is "patent it yourself" by Pressman. He gives a good look at the whole process and how to look at your idea and if it is worth patenting.
A patent search would be my first stop. You can do it at the online patent office.

You need to know what others have done before, so you don't waste your time trying to protect a known idea.

Then go the provisional patent route to get your foot in the patent timeline door.

Don't discount the idea of manufacturing it yourself by subcontracting all the pieces and doing the assembly, packing, sales, etc. in house.

Existing manufacturers have a bias against outside ideas. Many ideas take the push of an individual like yourself to get something going.

Jerry Jaksha

(we have sold over 300,000 grip-tite magnetic feather boards sold after starting production in my garage)

Kinnishian (author)2012-08-13

It's probably not a good idea to patent so early, if only because you would never have the money to pursue or fight a patent suit.

Focusing on the product would be the only way to get a foot in.

jakerobinson (author)Kinnishian2012-08-13

Well, it depends... if I were to pursue marketing an item that needed to be manufactured I would certainly pursue the provisional patent first. I don't want to DIY the process. I'd rather use the provisional patent which is dirt cheap and gives you a full year of protection. If you play your cards right you can then shop out the idea to many companies and they will be happy to peruse your idea. They don't have to worry about infringing on IP and they don't have the "Not Invented Here" syndrome. If you find a suitor that makes sense then you can strike a deal to license it to them... Part of an astute negotiation would be to have the company fund the actual full patent route IF the product moves and it makes sense to continue marketing the item. This is a low-cost way for the garage inventor to make some money and actually get a product to market without going bankrupt and getting the help of an established firm that knows how to do it.. and, if it is not a viable product then no harm no foul - you should know within a year (assuming you put in a diligent effort) if it is something folks want... and you're only out $110 for the patent process vs thousands of $$ going the conventional route.

To me, provisional patent + license route is like having your cake and eating it too... check out the book, "One Simple Idea" - it lays it all out from ideation to cashing the check...

JAVIERHERRERA (author)2012-08-13

Wonderful project !
Please use safety boots

iwoodinspire (author)2012-08-13

Didn't the read the be nice policy, did we, Stanz? I reviewed the other electric wheelbarrows on youtube, and his design at first sight seems better and less cumbersome than the others. I'm working on a submission myself, and the idea I have has been done like the electric wheelbarrow has, but the method of application is different.

Anyways, good luck on the contest, Deadnut. Judging from other contests I have monitored in the past, you are easily one of the finalists.

askjerry (author)2012-08-13

Take a look at this:

Each one makes cars... multiple vendors, multiple choices. I didn't say his was the ONLY one, just that he has a different target audience than the Power Buggies. If his has the right cost to performance ratio for the consumer he will do well. The other vendors all have their own key points as do car manufacturers... and people have their own tastes and preferences.

I don't think he should just give up because someone else has a similar product... I don't see a place for the person to stand on with the Haulzall, someone with a bad knee would tend to prefer his version. Someone who is stronger may only want a power assist and would be inclined to go with the other vendor.

Again... I'm interested to see how it goes... the marketplace will be the real test.

jakerobinson (author)2012-08-13

look brother,

I have not scrutinized his design. I have not done any patent searches. I am not a patent atty or do I work for an "invention company"

I figure HE is smart enough to figure out if he has IP that can be protected.

Why are you harping on this issue?

move on already.

Kinnishian (author)jakerobinson2012-08-13

I think he got frustrated because there really are companies that cost the hobbyist movement a decent amount of money by enticing them to patent. Still, I'm sure it's been beneficial before.

It looks like all of his posts are removed, but I think it might be worthwhile to include the reference to the oregon state electric wheelbarrow project. Good to learn from perhaps, to improve for this project. It's a similar/related project.

jakerobinson (author)2012-08-13

Thanks for agreeing with me Stanz...

so, you'tre saying that even though the 'weed wacker' was born and the guy that invented never saw any money (probably cuz he did not have the IP properly protected or did not have the funds to prosecute) the idea of a provisional patent on the idea that IS protectable is a wise choice.

And, if you pick up ANY latest model "weedwacker" I bet you can find at least on Patent # on the box even though the idea of a weedwacker has been around for several decades...

Again, everything points to Deadnuts to file a provisional patent IF he would desire to go to these same manufacuters and pitch his "better" design to be licesned and marketed.

AmyLuthien (author)2012-08-12

Now, if you can just figure out how to get the wheelbarrow to fill itself, then you'd really have something! ;D

clazman (author)AmyLuthien2012-08-12

An "exoskeleton" as seen in Aliens, then you wouldn't need this powered wheel barrow. Where do we stop. He simply created an excellent transport system from a common manual transport device.

But, don't get me wrong, I LIKE your comment!! ;)

AmyLuthien (author)clazman2012-08-12

oooo! I like your idea even better! You'd be able to move manure and trim the trees and chop wood all without even breaking a sweat! :D

jakerobinson (author)2012-08-12

Stanz - unless you have reviewed his design, a blanket statement like that could be in error. He may have enough "difference" or change on anything out there that he may certainly able to patent it...

Can you show me a manufacturer that has built exactly what he has created?

Sure, if it is not patenable then this conversation is a moot point but I surely wouldn't assume he doesn't have a patenable item.


Penolopy Bulnick (author)2012-08-02

That's pretty sweet! Sure make it easier to do yard work. How do you control the speed?

The wheelbarrow has a thumb throttle on the left handle, and a break handle on the right.

mad_mat (author)DeadNuts2012-08-12

Great idea, love it :-)
But I don't understand why you'd put the accel on the left and the brake on the right. Accelerator on the right, Brake on the left .. that's just how it is!

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