Robot mowers

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davek_964

Original Poster:

7,743 posts

152 months

Friday 6th May 2016
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JMC180 said:
What do you do about the unfinished edges?
Strimmer I guess - however, before laying the boundary wire I'm going to take some steps to miminise the need for this. About 2/3rds of my edges are flower beds - although as I mentioned they're pretty much 100% weeds. My neighbours recently had their garden dug up and re-turfed, and edged with paving blocks, which looks quite good. I figure my weed beds should now be edged with the same things, level with the grass - which should hopefully allow the mower to cut to the edge.

davek_964

Original Poster:

7,743 posts

152 months

Tuesday 10th May 2016
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Well, it arrived today so I've spent the evening laying the guide wire around the border of the garden. I initially started laying it slightly dug in but decided that was too much effort - at least until I prove it works.

Which it does - or at least, it navigates it's way around the garden. Since the grass was cut very recently anyway it's too early to say whether it's actually cutting anything!

One slight negative, is that although it's "intelligent" - it's actually pretty dumb at docking. It follows the guide wire back to the base, and looks on perfect course for the charging pins - but once it's on the base and millimetres from the pins, it often suddenly swivels slightly to the right - which means the front of the mower now hits the pins rather than slotting in to the holes.
It does eventually dock - sometimes it's first time, but more often it will take 2 or 3 attempts. It's a bit odd - the guide wire is definitely correct under the base. I'll see how it goes - since it does work eventually I suppose it doesn't matter, but I may delete the map and restart or maybe even not feed the wire in the guides on the underneath of the base and force it to come in slightly to the other side.

I'll give an update in a few weeks when I guess it will be obvious whether it's been keeping the grass cut.

Podie

46,549 posts

252 months

Tuesday 10th May 2016
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On the verge of a Robomow purchase, but hadn't seen this thread.

Interested to see how you get on OP.

TimJMS

2,551 posts

228 months

Tuesday 10th May 2016
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I've got several Robomow machines of varying sizes. Good units. The oldest lithium unit is getting a bit like triggers broom now. It is a pre production beta model that has worn out many sets of blades, a few mowing motors and some drive motors. For about 6 years it has been left out in all weathers. It just goes mowing if the temperature is above 7 degrees. The result is the lawn looks great all year. There is no longer such a thing as the 'first cut of the season'. The battery is original and seemingly as good as the day I first put it to work.

I bought the latest RS 635 a couple of weeks ago. The machine has evolved very nicely since the early days, with some nice touches such as bluetooth programming and GSM data connection.

davek_964

Original Poster:

7,743 posts

152 months

Wednesday 11th May 2016
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I tried making it leave the base / return a few more times last night, and although it generally seemed OK it did fail to dock once and got completely stuck.

Anybody looking at my garden would say it's flat - however, it's actually a bit uneven. To put the base where I wanted it, it's actually on a very slight slope (and I do mean very slight) - so the mower is going very slightly uphill as it docks. Unfortunately, when the grass is wet, the wheels are wet, and the base is wet - this leads to some wheel spinning. In this case, the front of the mower was on the base, but the left rear wheel appeared to have found a slight dip and was spinning away so it couldn't dock. It's probably made worse by the fact that - due to trying to sort my garden out - some of the edges it's doing are more mud than grass, which means the tyre "tread" was caked in mud.

I had another brief trial this morning, and it had a major wheelspin when it got both rear wheels on the base, resulting in it going very sideways - but amazingly, it corrected itself immediately and docked first time.

The instructions do say that the base should be on level ground, so I may have to move it - if I move it about half a metre further up the garden, it should be flat so I will probably do that. Although that does mean I'll have to cut the cable on one side and join it to the other side.

Turquoise

1,457 posts

74 months

Wednesday 11th May 2016
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Podie said:
On the verge of a Robomow purchase.
I see what you did there...

skibum

1,032 posts

214 months

Wednesday 11th May 2016
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Any idea how these cope with a bumpy lawn?

TimJMS

2,551 posts

228 months

Wednesday 11th May 2016
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If you mean uneven and undulating then better than any other mower. All the bits of grass that a ride on or a walk behind would miss get caught by virtue of the fact that the robot will cut grass from different angles every time.

Small bumps would cause the front wheel to bounce though.

Podie

46,549 posts

252 months

Wednesday 11th May 2016
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skibum said:
Any idea how these cope with a bumpy lawn?
Robomow state the inclines they can cope with, and even offer different wheels for bumpier lawns.

rfisher

4,814 posts

260 months

Wednesday 11th May 2016
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I have a Bosch 1000 Connect (the 3G version with an app).

Bit of a tip for you.

When you do the initial setup, stick the docking station somewhere that's easy for you to lay the front and back perimeter wire dead straight for at least a meter.

Get the machine to do its thing, following the wire all round the garden.

Watch carefully to see if it gets too close to the edge anywhere, or starts to fall off the lawn, and adjust the wire position at those points.

Once its been all the way round it saves a crude map (which it then refines over the next 10 or so mows).

It doesn't save the docking station position so you can now place this anywhere, as long as you leave a meter to the side of the station for it to get out.

It doesn't need to be able to get to the back of the station either.

These machines have slip detection hardware including yaw and pitch. They can do some spectular drifts if you happen to place the wire on a muddy sloping bit by mistake, or possibly on purpose whistle.

davek_964

Original Poster:

7,743 posts

152 months

Wednesday 11th May 2016
quotequote all
rfisher said:
It doesn't save the docking station position so you can now place this anywhere, as long as you leave a meter to the side of the station for it to get out.

It doesn't need to be able to get to the back of the station either.
Interesting - I assumed it did know the location of the docking station, but perhaps it just remembered where it started. But that does mean I can simply shift the docking station further along it's current line which will mean it's no longer on the slight slope. I sent it out earlier from work just to amuse myself, and it spent 15 mins trying to dock, so must have taken quite a few attempts!
From watching it map the lawn last night, it does need to be able to get to the back of the dock when working out the initial perimeter, because that's how it knows it's finished. But I agree - it doesn't seem to need the 1m that the instructions would have you believe.

rfisher

4,814 posts

260 months

Wednesday 11th May 2016
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Yes - once its done the initial run around the wire and hit the back of the docking station, it doesn't need to get to the back of the station again.

davek_964

Original Poster:

7,743 posts

152 months

Wednesday 11th May 2016
quotequote all
Base has been moved to level ground. It's stopped the wheel spins - so should stop it getting stuck - but not really made much difference to its ability to dock first time. I just saw it take 4 or 5 attempts.

As long as it succeeds it doesn't matter - I won't usually be watching it!

rfisher

4,814 posts

260 months

Wednesday 11th May 2016
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It shouldn't do that.

I'd do a factory reset and run through the initial setup procedure again.

You haven't buried the wire too deep where it runs up to the station have you?

Could be a weak wire signal or interference from a metal pipe under the soil.

I've left 3m extra wire at both ends of my perimeter wire so that I can move the base around from to time.

I just roll up the excess and tuck it under the station.

As long as the 2 wires at the back of the base are pegged together as shown in the quick setup leaflet the mower is happy.

davek_964

Original Poster:

7,743 posts

152 months

Wednesday 11th May 2016
quotequote all
Nope, wire isn't buried - it's pegged in. It always looks on target but sometimes isn't quite lined up right at the end

When I moved the base, I deleted the map so it basically started from scratch again.

moles

1,717 posts

221 months

Saturday 14th May 2016
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How accurate is the Bosch one at following the buried cable?. I'm about to pull the trigger on one but I have almost a raised garden with flower beds all around the perimeter that are 2 inches lower than the lawn. Will it constantly be falling off the edge?. Also how does the mower follow the wire is it set to mow inside the wire or does the mower follow over the centre of it?. I am trying to work out where I would have to bury the wire (on the edge of the flowerbed, right on the line of the lawn edging or 5cm inside of the lawn edge)?. We have smartedge lawn edging which means burying the cable may be hard around the perimeter as the triangles that are pegged into the grass are unable to be removed now without mass destruction

MrCheese

302 posts

160 months

Saturday 14th May 2016
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If you buy a robot mower make sure you are confident that spares will be available in future years. I have a robomow, it is excellent but after a few years use it did need servicing + an electrical board developed a fault. It is very well supported with spares for old models readily available. It is a huge financial investment so be sure that you can get it fixed...

mikeiow

3,744 posts

107 months

Sunday 15th May 2016
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I guess I should google more, but did this already: what made you favour the Bosch over the cheaper Flymo?
Flymo does get pretty good reviews, it is very tempting.....

davek_964

Original Poster:

7,743 posts

152 months

Sunday 15th May 2016
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moles said:
How accurate is the Bosch one at following the buried cable?. I'm about to pull the trigger on one but I have almost a raised garden with flower beds all around the perimeter that are 2 inches lower than the lawn. Will it constantly be falling off the edge?. Also how does the mower follow the wire is it set to mow inside the wire or does the mower follow over the centre of it?. I am trying to work out where I would have to bury the wire (on the edge of the flowerbed, right on the line of the lawn edging or 5cm inside of the lawn edge)?. We have smartedge lawn edging which means burying the cable may be hard around the perimeter as the triangles that are pegged into the grass are unable to be removed now without mass destruction
It follows the wire over the centre of the mower - so you need to leave 35cm between wire and edge of lawn. It follows it when it maps the garden the first time, and when it does a border cut (every 4th mow) but usually it's mowing across the lawn and stops as it crosses the wire.

I chose Bosch because I didn't want a dumb mower that was running randomly for 12 hours a day. I've programmed the Bosch to come out in the evenings and it's done in half an hour.

mikeiow

3,744 posts

107 months

Sunday 15th May 2016
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davek_964 said:
I chose Bosch because I didn't want a dumb mower that was running randomly for 12 hours a day. I've programmed the Bosch to come out in the evenings and it's done in half an hour.
Okay, although I read that with the Flymo you can:
  • "choose your cut times and days with the easy to use programmable schedule. The easy to use screen on the robot mower itself allows you to quickly set it up to the schedule so that you can ensure the lawn is cut when you are not using it. The regularity of the cutting is up to you and can be done every day if you require."
The German site looked like you can get updates on yours by t'internet.... The Internet of Things reaches the garden!

First review up at https://www.amazon.co.uk/Flymo-Lithium-ion-Robotic... is pretty extensive.....I am tempted !!