How to Bypass the Safety Switch on a John Deere Lawnmower, step by step


A famous lawnmower manufacturer, John Deere, incorporates a safety switch system in its machines to ensure that the operational mowing hazards are minimized. However, there can be circumstances where you would like to disable the lawnmower safety switches due to productivity reasons. It also could be that your machine’s safety switch has developed a technical fault, and you want to bypass it until it is repaired. If you’re looking for a DIY solution online, then you’ve come to the right place. We provide a step-by-step guide for bypassing the safety switch on your John Deere riding lawnmowers in this blog post, in addition to answering some related questions.

How to bypass the safety switch on a John Deere lawnmower, step by step:

  • Step 1: Remove the spark plug before the modification and unplug the battery terminals.
  • Step 2: Lift the seat of the mower and pinpoint the safety switch.
  • Step 3: Take the switch out and remove its connector.
  • Step 4: Remove the pins which open or close the safety switch in the connector.
  • Step 5: Reassemble everything and restart your lawnmower.

There are various mechanisms for safety switches on riding lawnmowers. Generally, the safety switch below the seat is referred to as the ‘safety switch.’ Whenever the user jumps off the seat, the safety switch shuts the engine off to prevent any accident. This safety feature can prevent the engine from starting on its own while no one is sitting on the seat, thereby providing a safety layer. Often, you might think of bypassing the safety switch for the sake of efficiency and preventing it from starting again and again.

It’s reasonably easy to disable the safety switch on your John Deere lawnmower.  We’re going to provide you a non-destructive way of doing this, along with a few helpful tips.

Bypassing the Safety Switch on a John Deere Lawnmower, step-by-step:

A disclaimer before we begin the steps on how to bypass the safety switch. Reassess the purpose for removing the feature from your lawnmower. Manufacturers have added a safety switch for some reason. It adds a protection layer to shield users from operational hazards. While it is not recommended from a safety point of view, there might be grounds for considering taking it off for the sake of repair or ease of operation.

Deactivating the safety switch on your machine is very easy, in any case. However, it is best not to rush the job and take the step-by-step approach not to harm electrical components that could invalidate your warranty.

● Step 1: Detach the connections for the battery and spark plug:

Before you start making any changes, it is a first-hand suggestion that adequate safety measures be taken.

– Disable the spark plug and the ignition:

To begin with, detach the spark plug wire from the spark plugs. Take the key off from the ignition switch.

– Take off the battery:

Always make sure the battery is disconnected. To do this, detach the cable from the negative terminal of the battery. This measure protects you from electrical hazards.

Step 2: Lift the seat and find the switch:

With the connections disabled, we shall proceed to the next steps.

– Raise the seat:

There’s a safety switch right under your seat. Use the wrench to unplug the bolt that connects the seat to the lawnmower body. Generally, for most mower designs, the seat is free to lift without removing any bolts.

– Find the connector:

When the seat is lifted, try searching for a safety switch right underneath it. You might notice a cable directed from under the seat to the center of the seat. This cable makes electrical connections to where the switch is located. You need to remove the connector to make the changes.

● Step 3: Deactivate the switch:

You need to remove the connector and block its connections with any insulator to disable the switch. The steps are given below:

– Slide your seat:

To remove the connector, you need to pull the seat cover to the top to make it visible. Lose the nuts that secure the seat’s metal cover and pull it upwards to view the switch and the connector.

– Modify the connector:

Remove the connector plug from its place by pulling it out with the screwdriver. Now, you could see three or four pins coming out of the connector plug. These pins are behaving like springs. When a person’s weight is added to the seat, the pins close the safety switch, allowing the current to flow through the circuit. The connection keeps the engine running. As soon as the weight is withdrawn, the pins lose connection, and the engine turns off.

For deactivating the switch, the key objective is to prevent the pins from touching each other. You can achieve this by plugging the toothpicks in their ends. Or you can put heavy cardboard (or maybe an old credit card) between the pins. However, the most effective and non-destructive way to achieve this is to use the nose pliers to pluck the pins out of the connector housing. You shall reinsert them anytime you want to reactivate the switch.

● Stage 4: Reassemble and power the mower:

With the pins removed, the safety switch is now evaded. Put the mower seat back in its place. Attach the battery cables and the spark plug wire. Now, restart your lawnmower by sitting on the seat. You shall be able to get off your seat now without your engine shutting down. Thanks to the safety switch of the seat that has now been bypassed.

Related Matters:

1. How to test the safety switch for riding a lawnmower?

Safety switches are circuit breakers that activate or break the circuit depending on the application. The switch can be conveniently checked using a continuity test.

– Test for continuity:

To check its continuity, detach the switch from the frame. You could see two pairs of terminals beneath the switch. Link the multimeter ends to each pair of terminals separately. If the multimeter has a beep tone, the terminal pair is connected, and the switch is engaged in that direction. Attempt to replicate the same test with the button pressed this time around. You might note that the opposite pair of terminals is now activated.

2. What are the other safety switches in John Deere lawnmowers, and how can they be bypassed?

Safety switches are designed to prevent injuries from happening. It is also not recommended to uninstall them on your own unless you conduct maintenance or are highly skilled in the use of lawnmowers. The following are the other kinds of safety switches in your John Deere lawnmowers:

– Brake pedal switch:

There’s a braking pedal in the lawnmowers. It needs to be pushed anytime you want to start your lawnmower.

Fix: It is reasonably easy to uninstall the brake pedal switch. Remove the mower hood from the front and find the pedal-connected switch. Now, detach the switch connector to see the wire connections.

You would need a multimeter to verify the connectivity of the switch terminals. Notice that only certain ends of the connector can be jumped to match the switch’s unconnected ends at the unpressed position of the switch. This step bypasses the safety valve by connecting the terminals. Now, you’ll be able to start your lawnmower without having to press the brake pedal.

– Reverse switch:

The reverse switch stops the unit from reversing when it is mowing. It’s on the dashboard beside the steering.

Fix: Much like a brake pedal switch, raise the hood to find the reverse switch’s connector terminals. Remove the connector and short circuit the purple wires similar to the above case. This step helps you reverse the machine while mowing. You should refer to the video below for a hands-on demonstration:

3. How am I supposed to know if my lawnmower solenoid is bad?

 Riding lawnmowers are using starter cables to turn the engine. The starter solenoid is used to complete the electrical connection between the battery and the starter engine while turning the ignition key. Before checking the solenoid, you should first verify whether the battery is fully charged and the terminals are not corroded.

– Solenoid test:

If the engine doesn’t operate, a poor solenoid might be one of the causes. Make sure the mower blades are disengaged before you inspect the solenoid. Place the ignition key in the lock and turn it to the ‘on’ direction on the switch. You need to short circuit the big terminal posts on the solenoid. You could do this by connecting the solenoid terminals to a screwdriver. If the engine starts with the terminals attached, this means that the solenoid is weak. If it doesn’t function, you need to troubleshoot other parts, i.e., the starting motor itself.

Final Remarks:

From a safety perspective, one should never attempt to mess with the safety system that the manufacturer has installed. If your lawnmower is controlled only by you and no one else, so, in that situation, you might conceive about bypassing the safety switches to make your work easier. Otherwise, you could be hurting yourself or someone else. If you’re trying to deactivate the switches, don’t do it yourself because you could end up harming the electrical circuitry. These damages can make your warranty statements null and void. Please adopt a non-destructive way to bypass safety switches so that you can reinstall them as needed.

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