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How to Bypass the Safety Switch on my lawnmower, step by step

Most lawnmower manufacturers incorporate a safety switch mechanism in their devices to ensure that the user’s operational safety is not compromised. However, if you’ve been accustomed to using lawnmowers to such an extent that productivity is more desirable than an additional safety layer, then you would probably think of bypassing the safety switches on your lawnmower. It can also be that you have a technical problem with the safety switch and want to bypass it until it is fixed. If you’re looking online for a DIY solution, then you have come to the right place. In this blog post, we shall provide a step-by-step guide for bypassing the safety switch on your riding lawnmowers, in addition to addressing some frequently asked questions.

How to bypass the safety switch on my lawnmower, step by step:

  • Step 1: Before the modification, remove the spark plug and disconnect the battery terminals.
  • Step 2: Lift the mower seat and locate the safety switch.
  • Step 3: Expose the switch and remove its connector.
  • Step 4: Remove the pins in the connector that open or close the safety switch.
  • Step 5: Reattach the connector and other components and restart your lawnmower.

There are various safety switch mechanisms on riding lawnmowers. Generally, we refer to the seat safety switch present underneath the seat as the ‘safety switch’. Its job is to shut the engine off whenever the user jumps off the seat. This safety provision can prevent the engine from starting on its own when no one is sitting on the seat, thus providing a safety layer. Sometimes, for the sake of productivity and to prevent it from starting again and again, you might think of bypassing the safety switch.

It is relatively easy to bypass your safety switch. We shall provide you with a non-destructive method of doing so, along with a few tips and tricks. So, stay tuned.

Step by Step Guide for Bypassing Safety Switch on a Riding Lawnmower:

Before we start with the steps on how to bypass the safety switch, a disclaimer. Reconsider the reason for removing the functionality from your lawnmower. Manufacturers have added the safety switch for a reason. It adds a safety layer, protecting users from operational hazards. Although it is not recommended from the safety point of view, there can be reasons to consider taking it off for the sake of repair or ease of work.

Disabling the safety switch on your device is, although pretty simple. However, it is better not to rush the job and follow the step-by-step approach to not damage the electrical components that might nullify your warranty.

● Step 1: Remove the battery and spark plug connections:

Before you start making the modifications, it is a firsthand recommendation to take the appropriate safety measures.

– Disconnect the spark plug and ignition:

To start, disconnect the spark plug wire from the spark plugs. Remove the key from the ignition switch.

– Disconnect the battery:

Also, make sure that the battery is disengaged. To do this, remove the cable from the negative terminal of the battery. This step shields you from electrical hazards.

● Step 2: Lift the seat and locate the switch:

With the connections being removed, we are good to go for the next steps.

– Lift the seat:

The safety switch is present right underneath your seat. Use a wrench to unscrew the bolt that connects the seat to the mower body. Generally, for most mower designs, the seat is free to lift without removing any bolt.

– Locate the connector:

With the seat lifted, please search for the safety switch right under it. You might notice a cable moving from under the seat to the middle of the seat. This cable makes the electrical connections to where the switch is present. To make the modifications, you need to remove the connector.

● Step 3: Disable the switch:

For disabling the switch, you need to remove the connector and block its connections with any insulator. The steps for doing that are detailed below:

– Slide the seat:

To remove the connector, you need to slide the seat cover to the top to become visible. Loosen the nuts that tighten the seat’s metal cover and slide it upwards to access the switch and its connector.

– Remove and modify the connector:

Remove the connector plug from its position by pulling it out with a screwdriver. Now, you might see three or four pins coming out of the connector plug. These pins act like springs. When a person’s weight is added to the seat, the pins close the safety switch, allowing current to flow through the circuitry. This connection keeps the engine running. As soon as the weight is removed, the pins lose contact, and the circuit is open.

For deactivating the switch, the main goal is to prevent the pins from contacting each other. You can do this by plugging their ends with toothpicks. Or you can insert thick cardboard (or perhaps an old credit card) in between the pins. However, the most efficient and non-destructive way of doing it is to use nose pliers to pull the pins out from the connector casing. You can insert them back when you wish to reactivate the switch.

● Step 4: Re-assemble and start the mower:

With the pins removed, the safety switch is circuit now bypassed. Place the mower seat back onto its position. Connect the battery cables and the spark plug. Now, restart your riding lawnmower by sitting on the seat. You can now get off from your seat without your engine shutting off. Thanks to the seat safety switch that has been taken out of the equation now.

Related Questions:

1. How to test a riding lawnmower safety switch?

Safety switches are essentially circuit breakers that can engage or disengage the circuit depending on the application. The switch can be tested easily using a continuity test.

– Continuity test:

To test its continuity, remove the switch from its frame. You might see two pairs of terminals under the switch. Connect the multimeter ends separately to each pair of terminals. If the multimeter gives a beep sound, that terminal pair is connected, and the switch is engaged in this position. Try repeating the same test with the button pressed this time. You might notice that the opposite pair of terminals is now engaged.

2. What are the other safety switches in lawnmowers, and how to bypass them?

Safety switches are designed to prevent accidents. Hence, it is not recommended to disable them on your own unless you are performing repairs or are exceptionally experienced using lawnmowers. Following are the other types of safety switches present in your lawnmowers:

– Brake switch:

There is a brake pedal in your riding lawnmowers. It needs to be pressed whenever you are looking to start your lawnmower.

Bypass: Disabling the brake pedal switch is relatively easy. Lift the mower hood from the front and locate the switch connected to the pedal. Now, remove the switch’s connector to see the connections of the wires. Connect the two purple wires using metal wire and electrical tape.

You might need a multimeter to check for the connectivity of the switch terminals. Note that you should jump only those ends of the connector to corresponding to the switch’s unconnected ends at the unpressed position. This step bypasses your safety switch by jumping across the terminals. Now, you shall be able to start your lawnmower without having to press the brake pedal

-Reverse switch:

The reverse switch prevents the machine from reversing while mowing. It is present near the steering on the dashboard.

Bypass: Just like the brake pedal switch, lift the hood to locate the reverse switch’s connector terminals. Remove the connector and short circuit the purple wires just like the above case. This modification helps you back up your machine while mowing. For a better understanding, you can refer to the video:

3. How do I know if my lawnmower solenoid is bad?

Riding lawnmowers use starter cables to turn the engine over. The starter solenoid is used to complete the electrical connection between the battery and the starter motor as you turn the ignition key. Before testing the solenoid, you should first check if the battery is fully charged and the terminals aren’t corroded.

-Solenoid testing:

If the engine doesn’t start, one of the reasons can be a bad solenoid. To test the solenoid, make sure the mower blades are disengaged. Insert the ignition key in the switch and turn it to the on position.  You need to jump the large terminal posts on the solenoid. You can do this by connecting both the terminals of the solenoid using a screwdriver. If the engine starts with the terminals connected, it indicates that the solenoid is bad. If it doesn’t start, you probably need to troubleshoot other components, i.e., the starter motor itself.

Final Remarks:

From the safety point of view, you should never try to meddle with the safety mechanism your manufacturer has incorporated. If your lawnmower is operated by you only and nobody else, then, in that case, you can think of bypassing the safety switches for your ease of work. Otherwise, you might injure yourself or somebody else. If you’re trying to disable the switches, don’t do it yourself, as you might end up damaging the electrical circuitry. These damages can render your warranty claims null and void. It would be best if you adopted a non-destructive way of bypassing the safety switches so that you can reactivate them again when needed.