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Re: [RoboMower] Re: From Lame Foot to Lame Reception

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  • Lee Hart
    ... I dunno. Lots of people have commented favorably on my Robomower. I want one! is the comment heard the most. They get stopped by a) the high price, b)
    Message 1 of 31 , Sep 26, 2011
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      Randy Kroeker wrote:
      > People are very set in their ways. It will be the younger crowd that
      > takes this on once the prices come down, if ever.

      I dunno. Lots of people have commented favorably on my Robomower. "I
      want one!" is the comment heard the most. They get stopped by a) the
      high price, b) the difficulty of burying and maintaining the perimeter
      wire, and c) the perceived low quality (all plastic, random mowing looks
      bad, etc.)

      > - for starters, you don't need a steel blade to cut grass

      A friend is an engineer with John Deere, and designs mowers. He told me
      that the conventional big blade lawn mower is the least efficient and
      most dangerous way to do it -- but also the cheapest and easiest to
      make. So that is what gets sold the most.

      Reel mowers are the most efficient, and much safer. But they cost more,
      are harder to sharpen, and require a clean lawn (no sticks, rocks, pine
      cones, etc.) They are mainly used for large-area commercial mowers, or
      push mowers where your muscles are supplying the power.

      String mowers aren't practical for large area mowing, as you use up too
      much string. Efficiency is also low; like cutting with a dull blade.
      They are mainly good for mowing closer to objects, like trees.

      Overall, the small blades of the Robomower are probably a good
      compromise between cost and efficiency. They have recessed the blades
      well away from the sides, making it safer than a regular mower. I don't
      think a string trimmer setup would be an improvement.

      > - gas power?

      Possibly; but many people hate the noise, smell, low reliability, short
      life, having to go buy gasoline etc. Electric is a big advantage.

      The main weakness is the battery. They used the cheapest crappiest
      battery and worst charger they could find.

      I think the Robomower is fundamentally a great idea, but a flawed
      implementation. They tried to build it cheaply, but sell it at a high
      price. That won't work. They needed to choose:

      - If you're going to build it cheap, then sell it cheap to get
      the sales volume up, so you make your profit from high volume.

      - If you're going to sell it for a high price, then the quality
      and service have to be good.

      What I wish they would have done is improve the quality, and make it
      easier to service. Things like:

      - Batteries:
      a. Cheap approach: Use generic size batteries, and design the
      case so they drop right in, without the special snap-locked
      case or wrenching the terminal wires. Who cares if battery
      life is short if they're cheap and easy to swap?
      b. Or, use a high-tech battery (lithium etc.) for much longer
      mowing time and with a 5 year guarantee.

      - Charger: Cheap chargers slow recharge time, and are murder on
      battery life. A little improvement here costs very little, and
      goes a long way to improve customer satisfaction.

      - Motors: Get rid of the cheap gear train, and use something
      decent. Or, design it so the motors are quick-change items,
      and available at a reasonable cost.

      - Perimeter wire. It's easy for them, but hard for customers.
      There are other systems they could have used that might have
      cost more, but eliminated a major installation and maintenance
      hassle.

      > one problem I am finding with burying line this time of year in
      > Canada is the squirrels are digging up the line trench to bury nuts!

      Yes indeed! I have the same problem, except the nut is my neighbor. He
      ripped it out (accidentally or intentionally) so many times that I
      replaced it with a piece of 1/4" plastic coated aircraft cable. So far,
      that's stopped him. I'll bet it would stop squirrels, too!

      --
      Lee A. Hart | Ring the bells that still can ring
      814 8th Ave N | Forget the perfect offering
      Sartell MN 56377 | There is a crack in everything
      leeahart earthlink.net | That's how the light gets in -- Leonard Cohen
    • Randy Kroeker
      personally, I like green for reducing the attention that my red Toro garners...kids and dogs and people in cars stopping in the street ... From: Danny Miller
      Message 31 of 31 , Oct 3, 2011
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        personally, I like green for reducing the attention that my red Toro garners...kids and dogs and people in cars stopping in the street

        --- On Thu, 9/29/11, Danny Miller <dannym@...> wrote:

        From: Danny Miller <dannym@...>
        Subject: Re: [RoboMower] Re: From Lame Foot to Lame Reception
        To: RoboMower@yahoogroups.com
        Received: Thursday, September 29, 2011, 10:47 AM
















         









        All because they changed from Friendly Yellow to puke green.



        Seriously, I do hate the green look. It cancels out everything that was

        "cool" about the Robomower.



        Danny



        On 9/29/2011 12:03 PM, Lee Hart wrote:

        > But... it did *not* become popular. The venture capitalists demanded

        > their money back, and to get it, Friendly Robotics had to greatly

        > increase the selling price. They're now stuck with a design that is

        > expensive to produce in small quantities, doesn't sell well, and no

        > money to change it.



























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