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Re: Old mower with incomplete setup - what else do I need?

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  • aceomeg
    ... Hi Ricky, Here is what I did to get my used yellow RL800 going, I hope it helps. For wire I used a spool of solid core 14 gauge wire from lowes. It s about
    Message 1 of 12 , Aug 24, 2013
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      --- In RoboMower@yahoogroups.com, Ricky Hatch <ricky.hatch@...> wrote:
      >
      > I'm new to this group and have enjoyed the posts so far. Last year
      > inherited a yellow RoboScan mower. I've looked for a model number but
      > couldn't find one. It's probably 10 years old. I have the mower, tons of
      > plastic green stakes, and what looks like the base unit for the perimeter
      > line. I don't have any wire, nor do I have the charging stand.
      >
      > Is there a site/place where I can buy parts for such an old unit?
      >
      > If not, I'll probably just sell it. I love the concept, but I'm not
      > technically knowledgeable to get it going. Is there even a market for an
      > old, incomplete robo-mower setup? I have no idea how much I'd even sell it
      > for.
      >
      > Any suggestions/locations would be most appreciated!
      > Thanks,
      > Ricky.
      >
      >
      > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      >

      Hi Ricky,
      Here is what I did to get my used yellow RL800 going, I hope it helps.
      For wire I used a spool of solid core 14 gauge wire from lowes. It's about $40.00 for 500 feet. I picked black wire. The green available there was too bright. It feels hard to bend when it's short but when you get many feet out, it is easy to work with. I ran around my yard with a rolling tape measure to figure out how much wire I needed.

      I used waterproof butt splices and heat shrink tube to join the wires, and heated them up carefully with a Bic lighter to shrink them. Just wave the flame over the splice till it shrinks and the silicone glob comes out the end. A tiny little clear doughnut will appear at the edge of the splice when it's complete. Wear some leather gloves to prevent burns.

      Practice on a few inside to get the hang of it.
      Also a heat gun would have been easier and faster.
      Remember to put the heat shrink tube on one piece of wire first and move it far away from the joint so it doesn't accidentally shrink when you are heating the butt splice.
      Also remember to wait till the splice cools before putting the heat shrink over the splice.

      To sink the steaks into the ground, I used a cheapo 6 inch phillips screwdriver to push in a pilot hole. Steaks are not cheap and breaking them off on a rock in the ground will suck if it happens a lot. If the screwdriver wont push into the ground all the way, then neither will your plastic steak. So just move a couple inches till you do get a smooth pilot hole. Leave the screwdriver int he hole till your ready to hammer in the steak so you don't loose your place.
      I used a rubber mallet thining it would hurt less if I hit my fingers with it. It worked out well. ;)

      For me, a 20x20 foot test square did not work. The mower kept telling me "move from wire". So I did a full square of my yard with just the corners staked into the ground. While the mower ran the perimeter, I just stood on the wire a few feet in front of the robot to keep the wire tight to the ground as the mower ran over it.

      Once I had a temporary layout that worked well, I staked it more completely and worked out problem areas. Places where it was maybe too close to a tree or shrub and would get stuck and have to readjust itself backing up and going forward and backing up and going forward till it got around the block. That wastes mower time, and I think it's easier for me to do a little extra weed whacking around a tough spot. So I'd move the wire around till it was good.

      My mower straddles the wire when he does the perimeter, so I used half his width as a guide for edges. Like the length of the hammer handle plus a couple inches. So I placed the wire half his width from the edge of something hard like a stone wall, fountain, sidewalk etc.

      Don't get too concerned about the wire. It's easy to adjust and not permanent. Although once in place and staked the way you want, it wont move or come undone without a smidgen of work. You may have to make adjustments as you get more familiar with your yard and your mower, and levering the steaks out of the ground with a flat screwdriver is easy enough. Just be a bit patient with yourself. You really will start to see your yard differently through this process.

      You may want to reset the unit to factory defaults, and go through the initial setup that the quick start guide tells you about. It orients itself to the magnetec field of your property in relation to the north and south poles. Really. And if like me your mower came from a few states away, it would be a good idea. If your mower came from a several miles away, you could probably skip it.

      Finally, remember that this will be fun and the goal is to free up your time down the road, and make all your neighbors jealous ;). So there will be some adjustments in the early stages. Just be patient.

      For charging, I bought a NOCO Genius G7200 7.2 amp charger. It charges 24 volts at 3.6 amps which is significantly faster than the stock charger. I just put a SAE connector pigtail on the battery and left the end stick out the handle. After several days of being left alone on the charger, I have to pull the battery pack up and put it back down for the mower to come on. No big deal, you should just be aware.

      Here is a link to the RL800 Operating Manual. It will be similar for all models.
      http://ec1.images-amazon.com/media/i3d/01/A/man-migrate/MANUAL000049795.pdf

      Finally, I'd just do the easy stuff first.
      Lay out a large perimeter, charge the mower, and put him out there and see what he does. If it works right away, great. If not, come back here and let us know what it's telling you.

      Have fun.
    • Ricky Hatch
      Thank you all for so many helpful and thorough responses! I was originally just planning to sell the mower, but your comments make me want to give it a try,
      Message 2 of 12 , Aug 26, 2013
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        Thank you all for so many helpful and thorough responses! I was originally
        just planning to sell the mower, but your comments make me want to give it
        a try, even though I'm not a super smart electrical guy.

        I'm going to charge the mower with a 10-amp,12-volt charger. I'll just
        charge one battery at a time. Then I'll see if I can even get the mower to
        power up. If I can, I'll get the wire & set up a test perimeter.

        I actually like mowing my lawn (it's pretty small), but there are lots of
        things I like more, so this could be a really nice assistant.

        Thanks again everyone for your advice. I really appreciate the time you
        took to help. I'll keep you posted!
        R.


        [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      • Lee Hart
        ... Try it; you ll like it. Besides, if you do decide to sell it, it s a heck of a lot more valuable if you can prove it works! :-) -- Any intelligent fool
        Message 3 of 12 , Aug 26, 2013
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          Ricky Hatch wrote:
          > Thank you all for so many helpful and thorough responses! I was originally
          > just planning to sell the mower, but your comments make me want to give it
          > a try, even though I'm not a super smart electrical guy.

          "Try it; you'll like it." Besides, if you do decide to sell it, it's a
          heck of a lot more valuable if you can prove it works! :-)

          --
          Any intelligent fool can make things bigger, more complex, and more
          violent. It takes a touch of genius, and a lot of courage, to move
          in the opposite direction. -- Albert Einstein
          --
          Lee A. Hart, http://www.sunrise-ev.com/LeesEVs.htm
        • Danny Miller
          I recommend solid OUTDOOR wire. The regular insulation does not fare all that well in the long term outdoors. UV and moisture are problems. What I recommend
          Message 4 of 12 , Aug 26, 2013
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            I recommend solid OUTDOOR wire. The regular insulation does not fare
            all that well in the long term outdoors. UV and moisture are problems.

            What I recommend is the stuff they put on the pet shock-collar systems
            (very similar "radio boundary wire"), Petsafe, Innotek, "pet
            containment", "boundary" wire:
            http://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_odkw=%28petsafe%2Cinnotek%2Cboundary%29+wire+solid&_sop=15&_osacat=0&_from=R40&_trksid=p2045573.m570.l1313.TR0.TRC0.X%28petsafe%2Cinnotek%2Cboundary%2C%22pet+containment%22%29+wire+solid&_nkw=%28petsafe%2Cinnotek%2Cboundary%2C%22pet+containment%22%29+wire+solid&_sacat=0

            That insulation is TOUGH. You need sharp wire strippers to get it off.

            Note, not all the eBay sellers are selling the right stuff. I've seen
            some unethical sellers selling 30ga Kynar-insulated wire used for
            wire-wrapping printed circuit boards. Thin as thread, and
            non-weatherproof insulation. WRONG for the task.

            18ga is fine. 20ga is a bit thin (larger numbers means smaller wire)
            and would say DO NOT go this thin. They do sell it in thicker gauges
            like 16ga or 14ga, at higher prices. People here may swear by it, but
            you don't NEED it that thick IMHO. Unless you wanna stop the weedeater
            with it if it accidentally grabs it. Well, if a tree grows against tight
            14ga, it'll probably grow around the wire rather than break it. But
            18ga solid often works that way too.

            I would recommend black because it's typically more UV-resistant (no
            light gets through the outermost surface). Yellow is easier to see and
            keep the weedeater from grabbing it, so it's your choice.

            This guy for example
            http://stores.ebay.com/SportDogz?_trksid=p2047675.l2563
            18ga 500 ft for $39 shipped
            16ga 500ft for $49 shipped
            Danny

            On 8/24/2013 10:39 AM, aceomeg wrote:
            > Hi Ricky, Here is what I did to get my used yellow RL800 going, I hope
            > it helps. For wire I used a spool of solid core 14 gauge wire from
            > lowes. It's about $40.00 for 500 feet. I picked black wire. The green
            > available there was too bright. It feels hard to bend when it's short
            > but when you get many feet out, it is easy to work with. I ran around
            > my yard with a rolling tape measure to figure out how much wire I
            > needed. I used waterproof butt splices and heat shrink tube to join
            > the wires, and heated them up carefully with a Bic lighter to shrink
            > them. Just wave the flame over the splice till it shrinks and the
            > silicone glob comes out the end. A tiny little clear doughnut will
            > appear at the edge of the splice when it's complete. Wear some leather
            > gloves to prevent burns. Practice on a few inside to get the hang of
            > it. Also a heat gun would have been easier and faster. Remember to put
            > the heat shrink tube on one piece of wire first and move it far away
            > from the joint so it doesn't accidentally shrink when you are heating
            > the butt splice. Also remember to wait till the splice cools before
            > putting the heat shrink over the splice. To sink the steaks into the
            > ground, I used a cheapo 6 inch phillips screwdriver to push in a pilot
            > hole. Steaks are not cheap and breaking them off on a rock in the
            > ground will suck if it happens a lot. If the screwdriver wont push
            > into the ground all the way, then neither will your plastic steak. So
            > just move a couple inches till you do get a smooth pilot hole. Leave
            > the screwdriver int he hole till your ready to hammer in the steak so
            > you don't loose your place. I used a rubber mallet thining it would
            > hurt less if I hit my fingers with it. It worked out well. ;) For me,
            > a 20x20 foot test square did not work. The mower kept telling me "move
            > from wire". So I did a full square of my yard with just the corners
            > staked into the ground. While the mower ran the perimeter, I just
            > stood on the wire a few feet in front of the robot to keep the wire
            > tight to the ground as the mower ran over it. Once I had a temporary
            > layout that worked well, I staked it more completely and worked out
            > problem areas. Places where it was maybe too close to a tree or shrub
            > and would get stuck and have to readjust itself backing up and going
            > forward and backing up and going forward till it got around the block.
            > That wastes mower time, and I think it's easier for me to do a little
            > extra weed whacking around a tough spot. So I'd move the wire around
            > till it was good. My mower straddles the wire when he does the
            > perimeter, so I used half his width as a guide for edges. Like the
            > length of the hammer handle plus a couple inches. So I placed the wire
            > half his width from the edge of something hard like a stone wall,
            > fountain, sidewalk etc. Don't get too concerned about the wire. It's
            > easy to adjust and not permanent. Although once in place and staked
            > the way you want, it wont move or come undone without a smidgen of
            > work. You may have to make adjustments as you get more familiar with
            > your yard and your mower, and levering the steaks out of the ground
            > with a flat screwdriver is easy enough. Just be a bit patient with
            > yourself. You really will start to see your yard differently through
            > this process. You may want to reset the unit to factory defaults, and
            > go through the initial setup that the quick start guide tells you
            > about. It orients itself to the magnetec field of your property in
            > relation to the north and south poles. Really. And if like me your
            > mower came from a few states away, it would be a good idea. If your
            > mower came from a several miles away, you could probably skip it.
            > Finally, remember that this will be fun and the goal is to free up
            > your time down the road, and make all your neighbors jealous ;). So
            > there will be some adjustments in the early stages. Just be patient.
            > For charging, I bought a NOCO Genius G7200 7.2 amp charger. It charges
            > 24 volts at 3.6 amps which is significantly faster than the stock
            > charger. I just put a SAE connector pigtail on the battery and left
            > the end stick out the handle. After several days of being left alone
            > on the charger, I have to pull the battery pack up and put it back
            > down for the mower to come on. No big deal, you should just be aware.
            > Here is a link to the RL800 Operating Manual. It will be similar for
            > all models.
            > http://ec1.images-amazon.com/media/i3d/01/A/man-migrate/MANUAL000049795.pdf
            > Finally, I'd just do the easy stuff first. Lay out a large perimeter,
            > charge the mower, and put him out there and see what he does. If it
            > works right away, great. If not, come back here and let us know what
            > it's telling you. Have fun. ------------------------------------
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