A grapple-like project using 12v RAM

   / A grapple-like project using 12v RAM #1  


Elite Member
Apr 21, 2012
Cascade Mtns of WA state
Kubota B-series & Mini Excavator
If my grapple project is satisfactory I would plumb it into the hydraulics but to start I think I'll use this 12v Ram. My grapple project will basically be a "hold-down hand" for holding a brush pile onto the brush forks while travelling. It's for grabbing a pile of brush & sticks, not for tearing out stumps.

actuator 12" stroke , 1000 lb, $188, 12 seconds. Actuator travel is 1 inch per second.

Anyone have experience with these 12v rams? Is this the type & duty cycle used on snowplow attachments? How long do they last? Do you think it would last 500 cycles? Sure seems easier than plumbing into the tractor fluid if used for "positioning" & not really "actuated under load".

I see lots of folks say "forget it, you have hydraulics, use the hydraulics." I understand that but am not ready to add $700-1000 to this project yet. I am not using this little BX to make a living,in fact I'd sell it the moment I find a 30HP tractor that I like better. I will simply remove the 12v ram and plumb with hydraulic power if it seems necessary.

Would be great to hear from someone with GENUINE experience using a 12v ram (in the 1,000 lb category) to operate something like a grapple.
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   / A grapple-like project using 12v RAM #2  
There's a TBN member, Locknut I believe, that used 12V actuators to build a front end loader for his G series Kubota tractor. He most often posts on the Kubota Lawn and Garden area. Might do a search on his thread starts - pretty sure he did a write-up with pic's on it (that is if I remember his user name correctly).

Just for comparison purposes, I used the backhoe power beyond loop to add a dual spool valve for rear remotes on my BX25. All told, I think it ran me around $300-$350 for the valve, hoses, fittings and quick connects. On the other hand, I don't see anything wrong with using the linear actuator to start with, and maybe it will be all you'll need for what you end up using your grapple for. Good luck.
   / A grapple-like project using 12v RAM #3  
I have a linear actuator identical to that one.... I used it to control remote steering on my boat while fishing the ocean... I put the toggle switch on a 30' cord to steer from anywhere the cord would go.. It worked as expected and I think 500 cycles is low.... they use the same actuator on handicap ramps on vans...
   / A grapple-like project using 12v RAM #4  
Do I think it will last 500 cycles.?. Yes and many more, but would I wait 12 seconds to use a grapple or thumb? heck no. I think you will become very frustrated waiting on it for this application. If you do some research and your google fu is up to par, you can sure get those hydraulics going for less than $700 to $1000. I am thinking half of that. Surplus center and discount hydraulic hose are your friends here. More power to you if this is the way you want to go, but it sure would not satisfy me. Hydraulics look daunting when you first start trying to learn it, and I am no expert, but just keep asking questions, googling and reading, and it gets easier every day you try to learn.
   / A grapple-like project using 12v RAM #5  
I agree with K0A on the 12 seconds, doesn't sound like very long but to me it would seem like an eternity waiting on a grapple to open and close. You should be able to make most of your hydraulics usable on a different tractor when the time comes.
   / A grapple-like project using 12v RAM #6  
On YOUTUBE there is a vid by Extreme Metal Products showing a product you wish to build. I called them yesterday about the product because I couldn't find it on their web site. was told they no longer make the product. Looks like the one they had just used gravity to close, so not vey useful to grip, but their construction might be useful to you.
   / A grapple-like project using 12v RAM
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   / A grapple-like project using 12v RAM #8  
Perfect. thanks that helps a lot. Assuming this is the vid you are referring to: Description of Electric Grapple from EMP or EMP Electric Grapple in action
Agreed James 12 seconds is too long, 3 seconds might be OK so half stroke of a 7" actuator might be sufficient:
12vDC electric actuator, 7.32" stroke, 1 inch/sec. 1,000lbs, $240

PS: Looks like that $188 actuator link above is a 500lb, not 1000. :confused:

Well that one is a bunch better, the stroke is more like what you want, and the clamp force is better but your close time from full open to full close is still 7 seconds, Better, but not ideal at least for me. It might work for you.