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RE: [RoboMower] Advice on buying a robo mower

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  • Kevin Turner
    I live in the UK and have owned an RL2000 for about a year. I have got to say that setting up the perimeter wire is a bit of a pain in the bum – especially
    Message 1 of 13 , Jul 16, 2013
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      I live in the UK and have owned an RL2000 for about a year. I have got to say that setting up the perimeter wire is a bit of a pain in the bum – especially if your garden has a complex layout (mine does). You just have to be prepared to keep tweaking the position of the wire to get the optimum. Now I have it the way I prefer, I couldn’t do without it. I have set various programs and zones and the mower just gets on with it. Occasionally, when I get home, I find it has got itself stuck somewhere but not very often. If it has, I just either set it going again or send it home so it can try again the next day. The RL2000 mows for a good 4 hours+ so I get pretty decent coverage. I still have to strim some edges, but that is a lot less hassle than mowing ☺

      Personally I think they are ideal for people who like gadgets, have some patience, and have a pragmatic approach to small issues (like setting it up), but you don’t have to be a rocket scientist to have one working well. Every time I have an irritation with it, I remember what it was like to mow the garden myself and my irritation soon subsides.



      ________________________________
      From: boyerdk1 <boyerdk1@...<mailto:boyerdk1%40yahoo.com>>
      To: RoboMower@yahoogroups.com<mailto:RoboMower%40yahoogroups.com>
      Sent: Monday, July 15, 2013 8:38 AM
      Subject: [RoboMower] Advice on buying a robo mower



      This is my first post so sorry for the length. I have been researching robo mowers and am finding it difficult to know what I should be doing to determine whether to pursue buying one or not. I have a double city lot with a practically flat yard. I see that there are quite a range of robo mowers available both in cost and function. Here are my basic questions:

      1. Is this really a market for hobbyists who already know a lot about working with this technology, or is it stable enough for neophytes?

      2. Are there reputable reviews and comparisons for the various brands?

      3. The number one issue I keep reading about is being able to maintain these mowers. How big a deal is that?

      4. Does brand make a big difference? Are there really cheap (in quality) brands vs. better, more reliable brands?

      5. Are there any major pitfalls that any of you may have discovered when you first started that you can share with me?

      Thanks for any information you can provide. I am excited about getting into this and am hoping to get some good direction.

      [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


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    • rann_georgia
      I ve read the replies so far and will weigh in my thoughts. I have a watt/amp meter and figured that each mowing costs about 25 cents in electricity when
      Message 2 of 13 , Jul 16, 2013
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        I've read the replies so far and will weigh in my thoughts.

        I have a watt/amp meter and figured that each mowing costs about 25 cents in electricity when recharging. I had seen a comparison of gasoline powered mowers versus these for the lifetime of the mowers and I think it was about equal or a bit higher to have a robotic mower.

        As another poster pointed out, the perimeter wire is the Achilles heel of these beasts. I never had trouble with breaks in the wire until a neighbor woman dug up ground on her side to plant a garden and broke the wire. I eventually decided to solder everything from that point on, apply shrink wrap tubing and coat it in liquid black tape.

        Lightening is a problem. I live in Georgia and while away, lightening struck destroying the docking station, TV, stereo, fridge and total about 13k of damage. As I was out of town, I had locked the mowing unit up and it was undamaged. Now, I operate it with the battery operated transmitter and use the indoor charger.

        Theft. No, it won't work without the wire or the transmitter or docking station. However, anyone thinking of stealing it is unlikely to know that. I therefore, mow the yard and then place it in a fairly hidden location.

        A thief might take the unit, discover that it won't work but unlikely to come knocking on your door saying "here's your mower back." I considered making a garage/tunnel/dog house that the unit would drive into with the docking station at the end. Basic design, wooden stakes in the ground, pressure treated plywood roof that could be raised after removing a padlock making it hard to snatch it.

        Ants. Occasionally, if it's not used everyday ants may want to make it a nice home for themselves. I've never found that they can get inside the unit, only that they get into the controller compartment.

        Is it for everyone? No. If the yard is fairly smooth with no holes or tree roots, you can expect a relatively trouble-free mowing for several years.



        --- In RoboMower@yahoogroups.com, "boyerdk1" <boyerdk1@...> wrote:
        >
        > This is my first post so sorry for the length. I have been researching robo mowers and am finding it difficult to know what I should be doing to determine whether to pursue buying one or not. I have a double city lot with a practically flat yard. I see that there are quite a range of robo mowers available both in cost and function. Here are my basic questions:
        >
        > 1. Is this really a market for hobbyists who already know a lot about working with this technology, or is it stable enough for neophytes?
        >
        > 2. Are there reputable reviews and comparisons for the various brands?
        >
        > 3. The number one issue I keep reading about is being able to maintain these mowers. How big a deal is that?
        >
        > 4. Does brand make a big difference? Are there really cheap (in quality) brands vs. better, more reliable brands?
        >
        > 5. Are there any major pitfalls that any of you may have discovered when you first started that you can share with me?
        >
        > Thanks for any information you can provide. I am excited about getting into this and am hoping to get some good direction.
        >
      • Danny Miller
        24v x 20AH = 480 watt/hrs Electricity costs ~$0.11/KWH. The charging cycle is certainly not 100% efficient. On the other hand you don t get a full 20AH run in
        Message 3 of 13 , Jul 16, 2013
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          24v x 20AH = 480 watt/hrs
          Electricity costs ~$0.11/KWH.

          The charging cycle is certainly not 100% efficient. On the other hand
          you don't get a full 20AH run in most cases. Basically "less than a
          dime" though.

          Battery life is another thing though. The replacement cells are $125.
          In theory you can get 300 full cycles off them, in practice, 200 is
          probably the max, which would be $0.63/cycle plus the electricity.
          That's assuming they're maintained well and you keep using them over and
          over until they're all used up. That is, if you use them 50 times, have
          something break, put the broken mower in the shed and forget about it
          until the batts die, it's $125/50= $2.50/cycle.

          Danny

          On 7/16/2013 2:14 PM, rann_georgia wrote:
          > I've read the replies so far and will weigh in my thoughts.
          >
          > I have a watt/amp meter and figured that each mowing costs about 25 cents in electricity when recharging. I had seen a comparison of gasoline powered mowers versus these for the lifetime of the mowers and I think it was about equal or a bit higher to have a robotic mower.
          >
          > As another poster pointed out, the perimeter wire is the Achilles heel of these beasts. I never had trouble with breaks in the wire until a neighbor woman dug up ground on her side to plant a garden and broke the wire. I eventually decided to solder everything from that point on, apply shrink wrap tubing and coat it in liquid black tape.
          >
          > Lightening is a problem. I live in Georgia and while away, lightening struck destroying the docking station, TV, stereo, fridge and total about 13k of damage. As I was out of town, I had locked the mowing unit up and it was undamaged. Now, I operate it with the battery operated transmitter and use the indoor charger.
          >
          > Theft. No, it won't work without the wire or the transmitter or docking station. However, anyone thinking of stealing it is unlikely to know that. I therefore, mow the yard and then place it in a fairly hidden location.
          >
          > A thief might take the unit, discover that it won't work but unlikely to come knocking on your door saying "here's your mower back." I considered making a garage/tunnel/dog house that the unit would drive into with the docking station at the end. Basic design, wooden stakes in the ground, pressure treated plywood roof that could be raised after removing a padlock making it hard to snatch it.
          >
          > Ants. Occasionally, if it's not used everyday ants may want to make it a nice home for themselves. I've never found that they can get inside the unit, only that they get into the controller compartment.
          >
          > Is it for everyone? No. If the yard is fairly smooth with no holes or tree roots, you can expect a relatively trouble-free mowing for several years.
          >
          >
          >
          > --- In RoboMower@yahoogroups.com, "boyerdk1" <boyerdk1@...> wrote:
          >> This is my first post so sorry for the length. I have been researching robo mowers and am finding it difficult to know what I should be doing to determine whether to pursue buying one or not. I have a double city lot with a practically flat yard. I see that there are quite a range of robo mowers available both in cost and function. Here are my basic questions:
          >>
          >> 1. Is this really a market for hobbyists who already know a lot about working with this technology, or is it stable enough for neophytes?
          >>
          >> 2. Are there reputable reviews and comparisons for the various brands?
          >>
          >> 3. The number one issue I keep reading about is being able to maintain these mowers. How big a deal is that?
          >>
          >> 4. Does brand make a big difference? Are there really cheap (in quality) brands vs. better, more reliable brands?
          >>
          >> 5. Are there any major pitfalls that any of you may have discovered when you first started that you can share with me?
          >>
          >> Thanks for any information you can provide. I am excited about getting into this and am hoping to get some good direction.
          >>
          >
          >
          >
          > ------------------------------------
          >
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          >
          >
          >
        • Gene Harvey
          My first RoboMower was a refurbished 500 from WOOT, bought in 2005. Its life ended with getting stuck on a root and ruining the gears that drove one of the
          Message 4 of 13 , Jul 17, 2013
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            My first RoboMower was a refurbished 500 from WOOT, bought in 2005. Its life ended with getting stuck on a root and ruining the gears that drove one of the wheels. I bought an 850 to replace it. It has been going strong for years. I learned that the batteries need to be charged separately and when they are cool. My current set of batteries are on their fourth year of use. I sold my gas mower because I never need a backup. I have replaced blades a few times. I have needed to lay new wire were it has been cut a couple of times. This is all of the maintenance that has been required. RobowMowers have worked well for me, so I have not looked at replacing them with something else. This group has been great when I have needed answers to my questions.

            I too, wish you good luck.
            Gene




            ________________________________
            From: Richard Gard <richardgard@...>
            To: "RoboMower@yahoogroups.com" <RoboMower@yahoogroups.com>
            Sent: Monday, July 15, 2013 10:20 AM
            Subject: Re: [RoboMower] Advice on buying a robo mower



             
            hi.  have fun researching - it is a great thing to have the robots.  they do do the work for you, but they do require some care.  I think the care they need is a fraction of what gas mowers need, and the electric robots are more reliable in the long run as long as you don't make them do things out of their design (like getting stuck on a root and burning up their motors)... just like gas mowers.

            hobbyist is the best.  you will learn as you go.

            reviews are few

            you figure out maintenance as you go.  batteries are top priority

            robomower is great.  get one used or new.  

            What city do you live in?  that might make a difference in parts or people.

            good luck
            R

            ________________________________
            From: boyerdk1 <boyerdk1@...>
            To: RoboMower@yahoogroups.com
            Sent: Monday, July 15, 2013 8:38 AM
            Subject: [RoboMower] Advice on buying a robo mower


             
            This is my first post so sorry for the length. I have been researching robo mowers and am finding it difficult to know what I should be doing to determine whether to pursue buying one or not. I have a double city lot with a practically flat yard. I see that there are quite a range of robo mowers available both in cost and function. Here are my basic questions:

            1. Is this really a market for hobbyists who already know a lot about working with this technology, or is it stable enough for neophytes?

            2. Are there reputable reviews and comparisons for the various brands?

            3. The number one issue I keep reading about is being able to maintain these mowers. How big a deal is that?

            4. Does brand make a big difference? Are there really cheap (in quality) brands vs. better, more reliable brands?

            5. Are there any major pitfalls that any of you may have discovered when you first started that you can share with me?

            Thanks for any information you can provide. I am excited about getting into this and am hoping to get some good direction.

            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]




            [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
          • bluenosr
            I ll weigh in too. I have an RL1000 and I m halfway through my 6th season. My battery still gives me ~2-2 1/2 hours on a charge, but I ve bought a new set this
            Message 5 of 13 , Jul 22, 2013
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              I'll weigh in too.

              I have an RL1000 and I'm halfway through my 6th season. My battery still gives me ~2-2 1/2 hours on a charge, but I've bought a new set this year. I've got approx 7000 square feet in front yard, 5000 square feet in back. If I can get back to 3 1/2 hours + run time on a charge, I can get the entire front yard done in one shot, hardly ever a missed spot. Hec, 2 1/2 hours barely misses a spot. While I'm still able to purchase them, I would not do without it, I love it. Not a big fan of the mowers that mow a bit, charge a bit, mow a bit more. I don't want to spend 5 hours + watching my mower, I'd prefer mowing in just one session. The RL1000 is big and burly enough to handle it.

              --- In RoboMower@yahoogroups.com, Danny Miller <dannym@...> wrote:
              >
              > 24v x 20AH = 480 watt/hrs
              > Electricity costs ~$0.11/KWH.
              >
              > The charging cycle is certainly not 100% efficient. On the other hand
              > you don't get a full 20AH run in most cases. Basically "less than a
              > dime" though.
              >
              > Battery life is another thing though. The replacement cells are $125.
              > In theory you can get 300 full cycles off them, in practice, 200 is
              > probably the max, which would be $0.63/cycle plus the electricity.
              > That's assuming they're maintained well and you keep using them over and
              > over until they're all used up. That is, if you use them 50 times, have
              > something break, put the broken mower in the shed and forget about it
              > until the batts die, it's $125/50= $2.50/cycle.
              >
              > Danny
              >
              > On 7/16/2013 2:14 PM, rann_georgia wrote:
              > > I've read the replies so far and will weigh in my thoughts.
              > >
              > > I have a watt/amp meter and figured that each mowing costs about 25 cents in electricity when recharging. I had seen a comparison of gasoline powered mowers versus these for the lifetime of the mowers and I think it was about equal or a bit higher to have a robotic mower.
              > >
              > > As another poster pointed out, the perimeter wire is the Achilles heel of these beasts. I never had trouble with breaks in the wire until a neighbor woman dug up ground on her side to plant a garden and broke the wire. I eventually decided to solder everything from that point on, apply shrink wrap tubing and coat it in liquid black tape.
              > >
              > > Lightening is a problem. I live in Georgia and while away, lightening struck destroying the docking station, TV, stereo, fridge and total about 13k of damage. As I was out of town, I had locked the mowing unit up and it was undamaged. Now, I operate it with the battery operated transmitter and use the indoor charger.
              > >
              > > Theft. No, it won't work without the wire or the transmitter or docking station. However, anyone thinking of stealing it is unlikely to know that. I therefore, mow the yard and then place it in a fairly hidden location.
              > >
              > > A thief might take the unit, discover that it won't work but unlikely to come knocking on your door saying "here's your mower back." I considered making a garage/tunnel/dog house that the unit would drive into with the docking station at the end. Basic design, wooden stakes in the ground, pressure treated plywood roof that could be raised after removing a padlock making it hard to snatch it.
              > >
              > > Ants. Occasionally, if it's not used everyday ants may want to make it a nice home for themselves. I've never found that they can get inside the unit, only that they get into the controller compartment.
              > >
              > > Is it for everyone? No. If the yard is fairly smooth with no holes or tree roots, you can expect a relatively trouble-free mowing for several years.
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > --- In RoboMower@yahoogroups.com, "boyerdk1" <boyerdk1@> wrote:
              > >> This is my first post so sorry for the length. I have been researching robo mowers and am finding it difficult to know what I should be doing to determine whether to pursue buying one or not. I have a double city lot with a practically flat yard. I see that there are quite a range of robo mowers available both in cost and function. Here are my basic questions:
              > >>
              > >> 1. Is this really a market for hobbyists who already know a lot about working with this technology, or is it stable enough for neophytes?
              > >>
              > >> 2. Are there reputable reviews and comparisons for the various brands?
              > >>
              > >> 3. The number one issue I keep reading about is being able to maintain these mowers. How big a deal is that?
              > >>
              > >> 4. Does brand make a big difference? Are there really cheap (in quality) brands vs. better, more reliable brands?
              > >>
              > >> 5. Are there any major pitfalls that any of you may have discovered when you first started that you can share with me?
              > >>
              > >> Thanks for any information you can provide. I am excited about getting into this and am hoping to get some good direction.
              > >>
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > > ------------------------------------
              > >
              > > Yahoo! Groups Links
              > >
              > >
              > >
              > >
              >
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