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Robomowers - any good?

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Landscaping nearing completion, grass seed going down asap.

Going to need a mower or do I need a 'Robomower'?

 

Very rough guess maybe 1000sqm of lawn, with 800sqm of front lawn and various bits (all connected) of it. All fairly smooth and level but a few bits and bobs sticking out here and there (e.g. trees, sewage treatment plant stacks, patios, etc)

 

Anyone got experience of a robo-mower?

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Friend swears by the husqvarna one but he's maybe on commission from local agent. Programmed to come out twice a day.

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31 minutes ago, Alexphd1 said:

Friend swears by the husqvarna one but he's maybe on commission from local agent. Programmed to come out twice a day.

 

a friend of mine has one too. He swears by it, I believe the latest gen has just been released.

VERY comprehensive long term review here (8 parts):

http://www.automatedhome.co.uk/reviews/husqvarna-automower-review-part-1-the-robots-are-coming.html

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We have a friend with a husquevarna, he raves about it. Hates gardening so it suits him.  It likes straight lines and so does he.

 

I have only about 350sqm of lawn so couldnt justify the price tag for the robo. I have bought a bosch cordless rechargable mower, its light as a feather, cuts well and does stripes. Whole lot cut on one charge. I am v happy at less than £300.  If I had larger grass areas would def go for a robo.

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I took the plunge on one of these. Momo is now part of the family and has been providing sterling service for 2 months so far. I love it!

 

Some input:

  • The boundary wire installation needs careful planning. our whole lawn area (front, back and sides) is one contiguous area so this worked well for us. route it around obstacles like beds
  • make sure you allow for a permanent docking station with electical supply. Ours is on the side of the garage
  • do not bury the wire initially, you will need to adjust layout as you fine-tune the installation
  • hard obstacles like trees, vent stacks can be ignored if taller than about 100mm - the mower will bump, reverse and keep moving
  • be careful of rapidly growing hedges, weeds etc creeping over the mowing area. they will stop the mower from working
  • lanw area needs to be kept clear of toys, clothes, dropped fruit from trees etc. Momo chewed a sock that fell off the washing line, then sulked
  • mower cannot take care of edges - i use a battery strimmer to do this

I went with a Worx Landroid 106, suitable for our lawn area of approx 400m2. Good balance of features and price and some nice reviews, has a edge-trim function which makes the mower follow the boundary wire and get as clean an edge as is possible with this type of mower. These have app control so you can monitor and set your timers (need wi-fi in the garden). The app also permits multi-zone setup, I have not tried it.

 

Momo has covered 100km since start and it is nice to come home to a trimmed lawn - I tend to work away from home so in the past we would go from knee high to cut and short and straggly - we now have farily even and well managed areas. I have not buried the wire so beware cutting too low as this will cut the wire and then mower stops. I have set it to about 45 mm and that suits us.

 

Also be aware that the cutting is based on the robot wandering over the lawn at random, so some areas might get missed. If you extend the frequency and time every area should eventually get cut. No stripe effect possible. We send Momo out very day, though on weekends we reduce his working time.

 

I purchased from here - they offered the best prices, a 5-year warranty and 30-day money back guarantee. Nothing to lose.

https://www.myrobotcenter.co.uk/en_gb/lawn-and-pool-robots/lawn-mowing-robots?countryswitch=2&mrc_data_area_rasenmaehroboter=82

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@ragg987 wow they are cheap! everything I looked at was £1500 plus which is why I decided it was too expensive for my small patch. If I had seen at that price would have been bought and in operation now!

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1 minute ago, lizzie said:

@ragg987 wow they are cheap! everything I looked at was £1500 plus which is why I decided it was too expensive for my small patch. If I had seen at that price would have been bought and in operation now!

Yes, I paid about £570 for mine. A good Honda petrol mower gets close to this plus you need to man it every time you want to cut the lawn. It made a lot of sense at that price.

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How does it work the cuttings??

How long do you get in a charge??

Is it noisy or could it be done at night time??

How much of the boundary wire do you get?? I would have maybe 200m plus of a boundary.

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1 hour ago, Declan52 said:

How does it work the cuttings??

How long do you get in a charge??

Is it noisy or could it be done at night time??

How much of the boundary wire do you get?? I would have maybe 200m plus of a boundary. 

Theory is it cuts litle and often, so you let the clippings drop onto the lawn. I cannot see them after a mow.

Our model has a 45 min run and 30 min charge cycle. I have programmed approx 4 hrs operational per weekday.

It is a tiny electric motor and yes can be heard when you are about 10m away and in clear sight, but should not disturb neighbours through walls or open windows.

Measure your boundary. Ours came with 200m (and sufficient pegs), I went to screwfix to get an additional single-core copper cable and used the 3m waterproof connectors supplied to join them.

 

Note they do not like tall or wet grass. Ours has a rain sensor that stops it when wet. I have programmed a delay of 90 mins so after sensor gives the all-clear it gives the grass a chance to dry before it comes out.

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39 minutes ago, ragg987 said:

Theory is it cuts litle and often, so you let the clippings drop onto the lawn. I cannot see them after a mow.

Our model has a 45 min run and 30 min charge cycle. I have programmed approx 4 hrs operational per weekday.

It is a tiny electric motor and yes can be heard when you are about 10m away and in clear sight, but should not disturb neighbours through walls or open windows.

Measure your boundary. Ours came with 200m (and sufficient pegs), I went to screwfix to get an additional single-core copper cable and used the 3m waterproof connectors supplied to join them.

 

Note they do not like tall or wet grass. Ours has a rain sensor that stops it when wet. I have programmed a delay of 90 mins so after sensor gives the all-clear it gives the grass a chance to dry before it comes out.

If it doesn't like rain then it ain't going to work in NI!!

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I had a Robomow one for a few years and was quite pleased with it. It was cutting around 350 square metres of grass.

 

I was very lucky with the price I paid and a few years later they were a lot more expensive. Prices have come down a lot recently.

 

My next door neighbour who wasn't great with DIY then bought one and couldn't get it set up right so gave up on it.

 

There are a few issues to bear in mind.

 

It doesn't strim the edges and obviously doesn't weed which seemed to be a bigger job in our garden.

 

They say that the small cuttings will mulch into the lawn over time. However, I found that after a couple of years use my lawn was choked with cuttings and it needed regular scarifying.

 

As noted you have to put a perimeter wire around the edge of the grass to define the area that you want cut. If you have multiple areas then this is a pain. We just had front and back.

 

You get really stung on spare parts. We left the box that sent a current through the perimeter wire permanently outside. After a couple of years it broke and they wanted £100 for a replacement. The perimeter wire would also sometimes come up and then get cut by the mower so had to be fixed. Finally the battery eventually needed replacing and was maybe £200.

 

I just checked and spare parts are available which is good, but are very expensive.

 

https://www.magic-parts.co.uk/acatalog/DATABASE_ROBOMOW.html

 

We then built an extension and the shape of the garden changed which would have meant reinstalling all the perimeter cables. At this point for this, a new battery, new cabling, new blades,  and a perimeter switch I was looking at about £400 after three years of use. The power supply and controller were also getting erratic. Basically with these lawnmowers costing £500-1000 you need them to have a long life to pay for themselves. I think I paid around £500 over 10 years ago which was quite a deal at the time.

 

I decided to buy a Bosch battery lawnmower which was a great product.

 

After a few years I got a fantastic deal on having someone cut the grass, £160 a year for doing it every two weeks. They also strim the edges. My reckoning is that I over the years I have spent around £100 a year on tools to do it myself anyway so this was a no brainer. I have never looked back.

 

Edited by AliG
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I could nt decide on whether to get one during the build or not - I ended up not doing it at the time as I was nt sure what the landscape/lawn would eventually look like. As it happens it generally a just an area out the back and would suit a robot mower - I m already fed up of the weekly mowing so think I ll get one. Although I m now thinking I ll make do this year and get one installed next spring 

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2 hours ago, AliG said:

They say that the small cuttings will mulch into the lawn over time. However, I found that after a couple of years use my lawn was choked with cuttings and it needed regular scarifying

 

Is this perhaps a problem with your lawn, e.g. moss growth not allowing the clippings to decompose? I bought my (manual) mower specifically because it is a mulcher because it saves a lot of time. Not had a problem with it, although if you let the grass get a little long the cuttings take a few days extra to disappear.

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It might have been that I wasn't using it often enough. I had to set it off to work manually, it didn't have a docking stationing come out itself so it still only got used weekly at best.

 

Wasn't moss, but other than that I'm not enough of a lawn expert to know what the reason was. After a couple of years the ground was clearly covered in small clippings between the blades of grass.

 

In fairness though the garden looked very tidy, my main issue was the cost of spares after three years.

Edited by AliG

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I had no idea they had come down so much in price.  I detest cutting the grass, even though it's only a small area, so one of these looks ideal.

 

Years ago I had a go at making one, which wasn't intelligent, it just used a microcontroller to make pre-programmed turns if it either detected the very low frequency RF from the boundary wire, or if one of the bump switches detected an obstacle.  I used a small motor driving a blade that had two Stanley knife blades fitted to it as the mower part, and it only had enough cutting power to gently trim the tallest blades of grass.  Mine was solar powered, and programmed to turn on and start ambling about the lawn as soon as there was more than a set battery charge current coming from the solar panel on the top, and shut down when the battery voltage dropped to a critical level, and not start again until the battery voltage was at the fully charged level.  It worked OK, and never really left any noticeable grass cuttings behind, but the lawn at the house we lived in then (this was around 1998) was too big, and the mower was just too slow.  It was OK during long spells of dry weather, but just couldn't cope with the spurt of growth from the lawn after a few days of rain.

 

What I did learn was that the "little and often" approach works exceptionally well at both keeping the grass looking good and controlling weeds.  The near-constant topping off of weed shoots seemed to be a very good way of killing them off and letting the grass dominate.

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Well when they invent a real-world usable weed robot...

 

Image result for shut up and take my money

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Current favorite is theHusqvarna 315x:

https://www.husqvarna.com/uk/products/robotic-lawn-mowers/automower-315x/967650103/

 

which has inbuilt GPS so it learn the garden and work out where it has not been recently.

 

Will report back once local sales rep been out to see if it is suitable for my lawn shape and slope.

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Sales rep recommended larger 430x due to a tight corner on a slope, should be fitted in a couple of weeks - if I can get enough grass to grow by then

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3 weeks in: loving it(her)

 

Mo Mo Mrs Mo, as my son has called her, is doing a great job.  Some great features including the alerts to my phone when she gets stuck or falls out of the cutting area.  This is the trickest bit of my lawn a 22 deg slope on a corner.  Currently once every few days I have to reposition her when she has been unable to back up and has fallen out of the zone - optional extra rough terrain wheels might help but I'm trying to avoid the extra cost atm.

 

My 1100m2 lawn is looking fine with cutting period set to 8am to 4pm and I've just dropped the cutting height from 7/10 to 6/10.

 

Roughly she does about 3 hours work before popping back to her home to have a 40-50minute electric juice snack.

 

We've painted some bits of the lower body green, added some eye lashes and her name, along with some extra mods, to make her less nickable - though the useful GPS location function and security pin code should help.

 

Had to clean the wheels of mud a couple of times - but that was my fault for letting her go to work when the lawn is still missing grass in places and it had rained.

 

Apart from when she tried to mount a roller I left on lawn and she tried to climb over some bricks I'd put down as a 'wall' to prevent her getting to some fresh top soil, we had no major incidents.

 

We zip round the very edge of the lawn using a light electric mower and use the supplied electric strimmer (also awesome) to finish off around the tree bases that she can't reach.  (About 40 mins/week).  So other than that, lawn cutting is a thing of the past for me 🙂

 

 

IMG_20180821_080940.jpg

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