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RL850/800 Self Maintenance

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  • johnz1967
    Hey all, any help appreciated.... I have a RL850 now on its eighth year of service. It is draining batteries at a much faster rate than when new. I bought a
    Message 1 of 8 , Jun 11, 2013
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      Hey all, any help appreciated....

      I have a RL850 now on its eighth year of service. It is draining batteries at a much faster rate than when new. I bought a used RL800 at a garage sale to have spare parts / emergency backup / etc.. but now use it to handle the back-yard and the 850 just does the front yard. Comparing the two when running the 800 sounds much smoother than the 850, the 850 almost sounds like its straining. Not that the 800 sounds brand new.

      My two major problems are: I'm in Alaska, no repair centers, shipping to/from one is not something I'm interested in paying for; Whatever board handles charging on the 800 isn't working, it won't charge a battery (checked fuses, replaced the plug-in charger), so I'm currently carrying batteries around and using the 850 to do all the charging.

      My questions are: What are the logical suspects for causing additional amp usage? Is there any maintenance or lubrication I can do myself to maybe tackle? I've done some internet surfing and didn't come across much.

      Thanks

      John
    • rann_georgia
      How old are the sets of batteries on each mower? What brand are they? And, if replaced, were they replaced in pairs.
      Message 2 of 8 , Jun 12, 2013
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        How old are the sets of batteries on each mower? What brand are they?

        And, if replaced, were they replaced in pairs.



        --- In RoboMower@yahoogroups.com, "johnz1967" <johnz1967@...> wrote:
        >
        > Hey all, any help appreciated....
        >
        > I have a RL850 now on its eighth year of service. It is draining batteries at a much faster rate than when new. I bought a used RL800 at a garage sale to have spare parts / emergency backup / etc.. but now use it to handle the back-yard and the 850 just does the front yard. Comparing the two when running the 800 sounds much smoother than the 850, the 850 almost sounds like its straining. Not that the 800 sounds brand new.
        >
        > My two major problems are: I'm in Alaska, no repair centers, shipping to/from one is not something I'm interested in paying for; Whatever board handles charging on the 800 isn't working, it won't charge a battery (checked fuses, replaced the plug-in charger), so I'm currently carrying batteries around and using the 850 to do all the charging.
        >
        > My questions are: What are the logical suspects for causing additional amp usage? Is there any maintenance or lubrication I can do myself to maybe tackle? I've done some internet surfing and didn't come across much.
        >
        > Thanks
        >
        > John
        >
      • johnz1967
        Don t have the exact brand in front of me as I type, but they are either 1 and 2 years old or 2 and 3 years old. They were replaced in pairs, they are correct
        Message 3 of 8 , Jun 13, 2013
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          Don't have the exact brand in front of me as I type, but they are either 1 and 2 years old or 2 and 3 years old. They were replaced in pairs, they are correct for the application (high drain / deep cycle), about 18ah with as I remember the spec sheet on them supposed to be good for 4-5 hours at the rate of draw from a robomower. I limit them to one section of the lawn each time (<2 hours) and I barely can get that out of them, even when brand new they were about drained after that. While grass grows like crazy in the summer here the mowing season is only 4 months each year so they aren't getting used a ton. I am about as confident as I could be that the batteries are not the issue. I suspect the robomowers, particularly the 850, are now using around 6-7ah instead of the 4ish out of the box. I just don't know where to start with trying to rectify that, thinking it could be anything from the wheel motors to the blade motor to the wheels, stuff worn, dirty, etc.. ?



          --- In RoboMower@yahoogroups.com, "rann_georgia" <southbound03@...> wrote:
          >
          > How old are the sets of batteries on each mower? What brand are they?
          >
          > And, if replaced, were they replaced in pairs.
          >
          >
          >
          > --- In RoboMower@yahoogroups.com, "johnz1967" <johnz1967@> wrote:
          > >
          > > Hey all, any help appreciated....
          > >
          > > I have a RL850 now on its eighth year of service. It is draining batteries at a much faster rate than when new. I bought a used RL800 at a garage sale to have spare parts / emergency backup / etc.. but now use it to handle the back-yard and the 850 just does the front yard. Comparing the two when running the 800 sounds much smoother than the 850, the 850 almost sounds like its straining. Not that the 800 sounds brand new.
          > >
          > > My two major problems are: I'm in Alaska, no repair centers, shipping to/from one is not something I'm interested in paying for; Whatever board handles charging on the 800 isn't working, it won't charge a battery (checked fuses, replaced the plug-in charger), so I'm currently carrying batteries around and using the 850 to do all the charging.
          > >
          > > My questions are: What are the logical suspects for causing additional amp usage? Is there any maintenance or lubrication I can do myself to maybe tackle? I've done some internet surfing and didn't come across much.
          > >
          > > Thanks
          > >
          > > John
          > >
          >
        • Lee Hart
          ... Do you have a meter that can measure the amount of current being drawn? From that, and the running time, you can find their true amphour capacity. My
          Message 4 of 8 , Jun 13, 2013
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            On 6/13/2013 2:09 AM, johnz1967 wrote:
            > Don't have the exact brand in front of me as I type, but they are either 1 and 2 years old or 2 and 3 years old. They were replaced in pairs, they are correct for the application (high drain / deep cycle), about 18ah with as I remember the spec sheet on them supposed to be good for 4-5 hours at the rate of draw from a robomower. I limit them to one section of the lawn each time (<2 hours) and I barely can get that out of them, even when brand new they were about drained after that. While grass grows like crazy in the summer here the mowing season is only 4 months each year so they aren't getting used a ton. I am about as confident as I could be that the batteries are not the issue. I suspect the robomowers, particularly the 850, are now using around 6-7ah instead of the 4ish out of the box. I just don't know where to start with trying to rectify that, thinking it could be anything from the wheel motors to the blade motor to the wheels, stuff worn, dirty, etc.. ?

            Do you have a meter that can measure the amount of current being drawn?
            From that, and the running time, you can find their true amphour capacity.

            My Robomower draws around 5 amps running (depends on the grass). I have
            batteries rated at 12 amphours at the 1-hour rate. My Robomower ran
            about 2 hours on them when new, and about 1.5 hours now that they are a
            few years old.

            If the batteries are down to half their rated amphour capacity, they
            should probably be considered bad, and need replacement.

            --
            If we knew what we were doing, it wouldn't be called research, would it?
            -- Albert Einstein
            --
            Lee A. Hart, http://www.sunrise-ev.com/LeesEVs.htm
          • rann_georgia
            Could be just normal aging of the batteries or one yard is harder to mow than the others. On mine, I get about 3 1/2 hours of mowing of a flat yard, requiring
            Message 5 of 8 , Jun 13, 2013
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              Could be just normal aging of the batteries or one yard is harder to mow than the others. On mine, I get about 3 1/2 hours of mowing of a flat yard, requiring just a trim up.

              You could change the mowers to the other yard and see if the time that it lasts is longer.

              Basic battery info that I've learned is to not mix different brands of batteries in the same battery pack. Always replace batteries in pairs. A new battery will fail fairly quickly along side an old, bad battery. Also, some brands are better at supplying power to things in motion, or so I was told by a battery company.

              Either store the batteries over winter with a float charger or buy an indoor charging unit that plugs into the controller. Lighting got the main board of the charging dock of mine. I had a remote transmitter and bought the indoor charging system and never looked back.

              --- In RoboMower@yahoogroups.com, "johnz1967" <johnz1967@...> wrote:
              >
              > Don't have the exact brand in front of me as I type, but they are either 1 and 2 years old or 2 and 3 years old. They were replaced in pairs, they are correct for the application (high drain / deep cycle), about 18ah with as I remember the spec sheet on them supposed to be good for 4-5 hours at the rate of draw from a robomower. I limit them to one section of the lawn each time (<2 hours) and I barely can get that out of them, even when brand new they were about drained after that. While grass grows like crazy in the summer here the mowing season is only 4 months each year so they aren't getting used a ton. I am about as confident as I could be that the batteries are not the issue. I suspect the robomowers, particularly the 850, are now using around 6-7ah instead of the 4ish out of the box. I just don't know where to start with trying to rectify that, thinking it could be anything from the wheel motors to the blade motor to the wheels, stuff worn, dirty, etc.. ?
              >
              >
              >
              > --- In RoboMower@yahoogroups.com, "rann_georgia" <southbound03@> wrote:
              > >
              > > How old are the sets of batteries on each mower? What brand are they?
              > >
              > > And, if replaced, were they replaced in pairs.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > --- In RoboMower@yahoogroups.com, "johnz1967" <johnz1967@> wrote:
              > > >
              > > > Hey all, any help appreciated....
              > > >
              > > > I have a RL850 now on its eighth year of service. It is draining batteries at a much faster rate than when new. I bought a used RL800 at a garage sale to have spare parts / emergency backup / etc.. but now use it to handle the back-yard and the 850 just does the front yard. Comparing the two when running the 800 sounds much smoother than the 850, the 850 almost sounds like its straining. Not that the 800 sounds brand new.
              > > >
              > > > My two major problems are: I'm in Alaska, no repair centers, shipping to/from one is not something I'm interested in paying for; Whatever board handles charging on the 800 isn't working, it won't charge a battery (checked fuses, replaced the plug-in charger), so I'm currently carrying batteries around and using the 850 to do all the charging.
              > > >
              > > > My questions are: What are the logical suspects for causing additional amp usage? Is there any maintenance or lubrication I can do myself to maybe tackle? I've done some internet surfing and didn't come across much.
              > > >
              > > > Thanks
              > > >
              > > > John
              > > >
              > >
              >
            • aceomeg
              ... Hi John, I m late to the party here but hopefully this is helpful. You can do the drive motor test. Basically stick a 2x4 under the drive wheels to get
              Message 6 of 8 , Jul 3, 2013
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                --- In RoboMower@yahoogroups.com, "johnz1967" <johnz1967@...> wrote:
                >
                > Hey all, any help appreciated....
                >
                > I have a RL850 now on its eighth year of service. It is draining batteries at a much faster rate than when new. I bought a used RL800 at a garage sale to have spare parts / emergency backup / etc.. but now use it to handle the back-yard and the 850 just does the front yard. Comparing the two when running the 800 sounds much smoother than the 850, the 850 almost sounds like its straining. Not that the 800 sounds brand new.
                >
                > My two major problems are: I'm in Alaska, no repair centers, shipping to/from one is not something I'm interested in paying for; Whatever board handles charging on the 800 isn't working, it won't charge a battery (checked fuses, replaced the plug-in charger), so I'm currently carrying batteries around and using the 850 to do all the charging.
                >
                > My questions are: What are the logical suspects for causing additional amp usage? Is there any maintenance or lubrication I can do myself to maybe tackle? I've done some internet surfing and didn't come across much.
                >
                > Thanks
                >
                > John
                >

                Hi John,
                I'm late to the party here but hopefully this is helpful.
                You can do the drive motor test.
                Basically stick a 2x4 under the drive wheels to get them off the ground. Make sure the front wheel is ON the ground. Then go to the service menu and select the drive test.
                The controller can show you RPM and current for each wheel.
                They should be pretty close to each other.
                If one wheel is pulling a lot more juice than the other to keep the same RPM then there is a problem.
                Supposedly the RL800 won't show the numbers, although I think mine did.
                So go to service menu (Service->12321) and do the drive motor test, do Go button, let the test complete.
                Note any error codes.
                Do the drive motor test again, but while it is going press Go again to get the Advanced test which will show the numbers.

                I've also read that the bushings in the gear cage become worn and can offset the gears causing them to not mesh correctly.
                I guess the repair would be bushing replacement?
                I've seen bearing upgrades for some of the RL models on eBay. It looks as though they need to drill out the original bushing and use it as a guide for the bearing or something.

                One other place I'd look are the blades. Dull blades I would presume will eat battery life.

                -Regards.
              • johnz1967
                Hey, thanks for your reply. I don t have an option for drive test on mine (only service option is to set a passcode). The one I m concerned about is an 850. Is
                Message 7 of 8 , Jul 8, 2013
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                  Hey, thanks for your reply. I don't have an option for drive test on mine (only service option is to set a passcode). The one I'm concerned about is an 850. Is there any "hack" for a user to get into this?

                  --- In RoboMower@yahoogroups.com, "aceomeg" <aceomeg@...> wrote:
                  >
                  >
                  >
                  > --- In RoboMower@yahoogroups.com, "johnz1967" <johnz1967@> wrote:
                  > >
                  > > Hey all, any help appreciated....
                  > >
                  > > I have a RL850 now on its eighth year of service. It is draining batteries at a much faster rate than when new. I bought a used RL800 at a garage sale to have spare parts / emergency backup / etc.. but now use it to handle the back-yard and the 850 just does the front yard. Comparing the two when running the 800 sounds much smoother than the 850, the 850 almost sounds like its straining. Not that the 800 sounds brand new.
                  > >
                  > > My two major problems are: I'm in Alaska, no repair centers, shipping to/from one is not something I'm interested in paying for; Whatever board handles charging on the 800 isn't working, it won't charge a battery (checked fuses, replaced the plug-in charger), so I'm currently carrying batteries around and using the 850 to do all the charging.
                  > >
                  > > My questions are: What are the logical suspects for causing additional amp usage? Is there any maintenance or lubrication I can do myself to maybe tackle? I've done some internet surfing and didn't come across much.
                  > >
                  > > Thanks
                  > >
                  > > John
                  > >
                  >
                  > Hi John,
                  > I'm late to the party here but hopefully this is helpful.
                  > You can do the drive motor test.
                  > Basically stick a 2x4 under the drive wheels to get them off the ground. Make sure the front wheel is ON the ground. Then go to the service menu and select the drive test.
                  > The controller can show you RPM and current for each wheel.
                  > They should be pretty close to each other.
                  > If one wheel is pulling a lot more juice than the other to keep the same RPM then there is a problem.
                  > Supposedly the RL800 won't show the numbers, although I think mine did.
                  > So go to service menu (Service->12321) and do the drive motor test, do Go button, let the test complete.
                  > Note any error codes.
                  > Do the drive motor test again, but while it is going press Go again to get the Advanced test which will show the numbers.
                  >
                  > I've also read that the bushings in the gear cage become worn and can offset the gears causing them to not mesh correctly.
                  > I guess the repair would be bushing replacement?
                  > I've seen bearing upgrades for some of the RL models on eBay. It looks as though they need to drill out the original bushing and use it as a guide for the bearing or something.
                  >
                  > One other place I'd look are the blades. Dull blades I would presume will eat battery life.
                  >
                  > -Regards.
                  >
                • johnz1967
                  disregard previous message. i thought the initial service menu was asking me to set a passcode, not that i needed to enter 12321 to get into the service menu.
                  Message 8 of 8 , Jul 8, 2013
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                    disregard previous message. i thought the initial service menu was asking me to set a passcode, not that i needed to enter 12321 to get into the service menu. i'm an idiot sometimes. it said it passed but sitting in the garage up in the air while on i realize how really bad it sounds. i couldn't get the numbers but its late, i'll mess around with it more tomorrow. thanks very much again. at least i have a direction to pursue.



                    --- In RoboMower@yahoogroups.com, "aceomeg" <aceomeg@...> wrote:
                    >
                    >
                    >
                    > --- In RoboMower@yahoogroups.com, "johnz1967" <johnz1967@> wrote:
                    > >
                    > > Hey all, any help appreciated....
                    > >
                    > > I have a RL850 now on its eighth year of service. It is draining batteries at a much faster rate than when new. I bought a used RL800 at a garage sale to have spare parts / emergency backup / etc.. but now use it to handle the back-yard and the 850 just does the front yard. Comparing the two when running the 800 sounds much smoother than the 850, the 850 almost sounds like its straining. Not that the 800 sounds brand new.
                    > >
                    > > My two major problems are: I'm in Alaska, no repair centers, shipping to/from one is not something I'm interested in paying for; Whatever board handles charging on the 800 isn't working, it won't charge a battery (checked fuses, replaced the plug-in charger), so I'm currently carrying batteries around and using the 850 to do all the charging.
                    > >
                    > > My questions are: What are the logical suspects for causing additional amp usage? Is there any maintenance or lubrication I can do myself to maybe tackle? I've done some internet surfing and didn't come across much.
                    > >
                    > > Thanks
                    > >
                    > > John
                    > >
                    >
                    > Hi John,
                    > I'm late to the party here but hopefully this is helpful.
                    > You can do the drive motor test.
                    > Basically stick a 2x4 under the drive wheels to get them off the ground. Make sure the front wheel is ON the ground. Then go to the service menu and select the drive test.
                    > The controller can show you RPM and current for each wheel.
                    > They should be pretty close to each other.
                    > If one wheel is pulling a lot more juice than the other to keep the same RPM then there is a problem.
                    > Supposedly the RL800 won't show the numbers, although I think mine did.
                    > So go to service menu (Service->12321) and do the drive motor test, do Go button, let the test complete.
                    > Note any error codes.
                    > Do the drive motor test again, but while it is going press Go again to get the Advanced test which will show the numbers.
                    >
                    > I've also read that the bushings in the gear cage become worn and can offset the gears causing them to not mesh correctly.
                    > I guess the repair would be bushing replacement?
                    > I've seen bearing upgrades for some of the RL models on eBay. It looks as though they need to drill out the original bushing and use it as a guide for the bearing or something.
                    >
                    > One other place I'd look are the blades. Dull blades I would presume will eat battery life.
                    >
                    > -Regards.
                    >
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