Log Splitter Upgrade with PA-17 Heavy Duty Linear Actuator

Log Splitter Upgrade with PA-17 Heavy Duty Linear Actuator

Nathan Bong
Nathan Bong
PA Engineer

Handling heavy machinery such as log splitters can be quite a challenging and physically demanding task, especially for users who have to use them on a frequent basis. Through the use of electric linear actuators, users have the capability to integrate upgrades that offer endless kinds of possibilities and conveniences. In this article, we will cover how Ron Ewart was able to upgrade his log splitter with our PA-17 heavy duty linear actuator to automatically change from horizontal to vertical positions.


Selecting An Actuator to Use for Calculation Estimates

Log Splitter


In order to raise and lower the beam of Ron’s log splitter, an actuator would be required as drive for linear motion. Durable construction along with dust and water resistance was a requirement to account for debris and rain during outdoor usage. Our PA-17 Heavy Duty Linear Actuator offered Ron the suitable ingress protection rating of IP65 for dustproof and water resistant capabilities. Besides being suitable for harsh rugged environments, our heavy duty electric linear actuators offer off-the-shelf options for a high force rating of 850 lbs that still has a respectable speed of 0.55"/sec when fully loaded.

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Testing Out Parameters with Excel Spreadsheet

Log Splitter


For this project, Ron uses the Brute® 30-Ton 250cc Full Beam Gas Log Splitter Model Number: YTL-140-701 by Menards. Ron was happy to share his Excel spreadsheet for our readers as a reference starting point for calculating force and mounting positions when doing a similar project. His spreadsheet allows users to enter the specs of the actuator’s force, shortest length, and longest length in BLUE cells.  Users can then experiment with their own configuration in YELLOW cells.  RED warning cells will appear if the minimum or maximum length of the actuator is exceeded.


Please see the attached spreadsheet for derated actuator forces. The spreadsheet can be used to help:     

  • Maximize the derated force of the actuator.
  • Find coordinates for each side of the actuator that was unobstructed by the physical structure of the log splitter.
  • Optimize the travel to keep it within the 24” stroke of the actuator.

The selected locations of the actuator’s end pivot points are shown in ROW 18.

  • Coordinates (x1, y1) is the lower actuator endpoint in inches relative to the beam’s pivot point.
  • Coordinates (x2, y2) is the upper actuator endpoint in inches relative to the beam’s pivot point.
  • Delta d (long-short) is the total travel used; 22.6” for the final location.
  • The derated vertical open force and horizontal close force are shown in columns O and P.

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Calculating Force and Mounting Positions

Log splitter with PA-17 heavy duty linear actuator


Adjusting the log splitter from horizontal to vertical configuration takes 70 lbs of vertical force at the operator’s handle to lift the beam handle which is 42” horizontal from the pivot point. Since the actuator’s lifting point is located much closer to the beam pivot point, it takes about 196 lbs of vertical force from the actuator once mounted into position.

Actuator vertical force applied = Operator applied force * (Operator lifting point / Actuator lifting point)

Actuator vertical force applied = 70 lbs * (42”/15”)

Actuator vertical force applied = 196 lbs

The formulas in the Excel spreadsheet were used by Ron to help him calculate and home into the final actuator coordinates that were chosen. Many possibilities were tested and generated, however, the best coordinates were chosen and kept so the spreadsheet could remain tidy. Being rated for 850 lbs of dynamic force allows the PA-17-24-850 to have plenty of room for a good safety margin. The derated vertical force capability of the actuator based on the final coordinates is 699 lbs. This equates to about a 3.5X safety margin when considering the force applied will be about 196 lbs.   

Safety margin = derated vertical force capability / vertical force applied

Safety margin = 699 lbs / 196 lbs

Safety margin = 3.57

Our PA-17 heavy duty linear actuator offers high force capabilities for outdoor use! 

Electrical Power and Protection


Weize YTX30L-BS Lithium Motorcycle Battery


For electrical power, Ron used the Weize YTX30L-BS Lithium Motorcycle Battery, 12 Volt 12Ah, 700CCA with Battery Management System (BMS). Ron fused the battery with 30A Type ATO inline blade fuse in this project but would not recommend it if he were to repeat the project. Instead, Ron recommends a 20-amp ATO fuse which protects the actuator better and is about 4x more than required to move the actuator.


Toggle Switch Controls

Toggle switch controls


A three-position momentary DPDT toggle switch Ron happened to have on hand was used to control the actuator. By requiring the operator to physically hold the switch in either the raise or lower position, it ensures that they do not get into a pinch point and can instantly stop the actuator if a problem is noticed. For users using a 20A fuse, Ron recommends a momentary toggle switch similar to the TB2-2G-DC-1 which has a 20A 12 VDC rating at a good price point and availability through distributors such as Digikey.

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Usage of the Upgraded Log Splitter

Upgraded Log Splitter


During operation, Ron found his actuator’s typical current draw at about 3 amps and may spike briefly to about 5 amps on starting. Raising the bream takes about 36 seconds while lowering the beam will take about 38 seconds. Our BRK-17 mounting brackets were used to secure the front and rear mounting holes of the PA-17 actuator while still allowing for 180-degree rotations. The rest of the structure was constructed primarily of 80/20 extrusions of series 1010 and 1515 combined with aluminum angle brackets and plates.


Check out the video of Ron’s upgraded log splitter in action!

View the different use cases and industries that have benefited from our linear actuators!


With the right supplies and some ingenuity, Ron now has an upgraded log splitter for added convenience and efficiency of automatically changing into different configurations with no physical effort required.

Thank you, Ron Ewart, for sharing your project! We hope the log splitter upgrades will continue to serve you well! To see more from Ron, check out his website!


If you have any queries about our electric linear actuators or wish to discuss our other products further, please do not hesitate to reach out to us! We are experts in what we do and will be happy to assist in any way we can.

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