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
> - 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:
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
> 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