The Adventures of Thing 1 and Thing 2
I have 2 Robomow RS 630 mowers working in a yard that is about 1.4 acres of lawn. There are quite a few trees and other things for them to mow around. Both mowers are in the same "zone". It is called Main Zone. I call one mower Thing 1 and the other Thing 2. I have 2 Base Stations or Docks where the mowers recharge their batteries. I call them Base 1 and Base 2. There is also a 24/7 Perimeter Wire Switch that supplies the radio signal on the Perimeter Fence all the time. Each Base is capable of doing that also, but they turn the signal off when a RoboMow is charging so this Switch keeps the signal going all the time.
First, I am not ready to make a recommendation for or against yet. If you are always wanting more free time, then they are going to be worth it. If you have a lot of free time now and you enjoy mowing your lawn, they are not.
They do a pretty good job of mowing. They do need to be watched every now and then to make sure they are not stuck. That does take a few minutes every day or two.
It is kind of a catch 22. The bigger the lawn, the harder it is to get a model that works. But the bigger your yard, the more you want to have one to do it for you! If you have half and acre or less to mow and cost is not important, they are likely a perfect option.
However, I may change my mind in a couple of months.
There are 3 major players in the lawn robot market. Husqvarna Automower is probably the best model out there. It is also the most expensive. For me, the reason I did not get one is because they don't seem to care about the US market at all. I was concerned about getting parts and support after the sale.
I was really wanting to go with LawnBott due to it's ability to mow steeper slopes and it has a model with greater capacity than the others. One Lawnbott mower could have done my whole yard by itself.
The biggest retailer in the US handles both Robomow and Lawnbott. As I was describing my yard to her, she recommended 2 Robomowers and said they would handle the slopes fine. The cost of the 2 is less than the 1 Lawnbott. Also, I have a feeling the model of Lawnbott I wanted may not be something that is really in stock!
Robomow has the most mowers out there and the most experience. They have a better support channel also. Between the recommendation that came with a 30 money back guarantee, the user base in the US, the years in service, and the support in the US, I went with Robomow.
One more thing is the blades. Each has a different method kind of blade with a different life expectancy. It seems to me that Robomow has the most durable blades. They can handle more little branches than the others. And you can "turn them around" half way through the year to use the other side of the blade and double the amount of life you get from them.
What follows are the notes I took along the way.
Watch the You Tube Videos called Robomow Wire Follow to see the initial set up and Thing 1 and Thing 2 what happens over time. These play lists will be updated over time. Come back every few weeks to see what is new.
The initial set-up videos. https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLR_uh_fzwdHBgITzZZxCRvgPRb5chLsZB
Want to see all the videos? https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLR_uh_fzwdHB6Lt3T9mm4CmkpYMl3DgJk.
Aug 9 2016 - Tuesday
They are here! Thing 1 is out of it's box so I can take a look at it. Thing 2 is still packed up. I am pretty sure it will be Saturday before I get time to set up a perimeter wire to keep them in the yard. Once I do that I can power them up and see what happens.
Aug 13 - Saturday
The robots are in yard. There is a fence in place. It is not completely staked down as it is awaiting the initial walk through by one of the robots to check it out. That has not happened because ... The power supply for the perimeter fence has a European power plug on it!!! GRRRR!!!!
Tomorrow I may go for a work around. There are 2 more places to power the fence, that being the base stations, but they would conflict with each other. However, If I only turn one on, it may be OK at least to get some testing done.
The downside is I have to add another splice to the wire to make this happen. I am already 400 feet over the recommended wire length, and 200 feet over the length after adding an amplifier! I may have to cut out some of the yard. I need to run the test to find out.
The place that sold them to mowers is shipping an adapter. Not sure if that means a converter, or a different wall wart with a US plug on it. I would prefer the right wall wart. I'll know in a couple of days. For now I am using Base 1 to power the Perimeter Wire.
Aug 14 - Sunday
Thing 1 and Thing 2 are charging in their base stations right now. Thing 2 is in Base 2. Base 2 is ready to mow automatically. Thing 1 is in Base 1. I somehow set up Base 1 to be in manual mow. I am happy about that because I am not ready for them to take off on their own yet. I really want to watch to make sure they stay in the yard and stay out of the pond!
Since I do not have a 24/7 perimeter switch yet, I am pretty sure when I let Base 1 say go mow, Thing 1 will take off. I think that means Thing 2 will see a fence signal and should take off on it's own. I am not sure about that yet. Have to observe and record that data. :-)
What I don't know is what happens when either Thing 1 or Thing 2 get low on power and look for a base. One of them will find Base 1 first. When that happens, I am suspecting that Base 1 will turn off the fence. What happens to the other mower when that happens? I am hoping it just stops where it is and says No Fence Signal or something like that.
Until I get the 24/7 switch working, the lawn will not get mowed right. That maybe be mid-week or later. Even after that, it takes the mowers a week or 2 to work the lawn down to the final mow level. I have to have more patience!
Thing 1 and 2 must be "balancing their battery cells". Should be 2 hours to charge unless they are doing that. It's about 3 hours in and Thing 1 is at 41% while Thing 2 is 52%. May not get them running in auto mode today.
Aug 15 - Monday
A couple of lessons learned. I decided to change the direction of the wire around one of the islands that is having a problem. (See you tube to see what was happening.) I noticed that not all islands have a problem. Sure enough, the wires are crossed which makes the signal go the same direction as the perimeter. The mower gets confused and does not know where the edge of the yard is at that time.
I set the mower free pointing it at the newly corrected island wiring. It headed right for it and turned when it got to the wire. Yes! I think I have 2 more to do.
Lesson 1: The wire around islands MUST go clockwise. If the incoming wire has to cross the outgoing wire, it is not going to work. I thought the drawings in the install guide were saying keep the wires next to each other without a gap. This is why I like words, not pictures!
Lesson 2: So ... there is an electrical current on the wire!!! Snip and all is well. Strip the first wire and all is still well. Strip the other end and at first I thought my carpal tunnel was doing it's thing. Tingling in my hand! I swapped hands and ... oh yeah .. that's electrical current! Just a minor zap. But I had to walk back to the power and unplug it and then walk all the way back to wire it up.
Both mowers are out doing their thing again.
Aug 16 - Tuesday Evening
I am sure everyone is waiting excitedly for a Thing 1 and Thing 2 update. ;-)
Amazon shipped an EU to US plug adapter already. I took Base 1 out of the loop and put the tiny loop plug on it so it will be happy thinking it is in control. I hooked up the 24/7 perimeter switch again and powered it up. Thing 2 started mowing again since it was in the yard. Thing 1 was in Base 1 recharging.
I did a factory reset on Thing 1 and told it to skip the perimeter wire test. Then I put it back in the charging station and now the mobile app says it is doing battery maintenance.
Thing 2 was out mowing. I had my son stop it and told him to bring it to Base 2. He asked if there a way to remote control it. Why YES! There is. Good time to test out the mobile app remote function. He manually drove it to the base. The app does work.
I tried to do a factory reset on Thing 2, but the menu kept scrolling instead of resetting. It is reset by pressing stop and down arrow at the same time. It was like it was only seeing the down arrow. I scolded it firmly and tried again a minute later. That time it worked. I put it in it's base station and it is also charging.
According to the app, when Thing 2 gets done charging it will let me know it's status. That is different from Thing 1. I am not sure why. Maybe Thing 1 needs maintenance on the battery, but Thing 2 is good to go. Could be my fault. I think I may have told Thing 1 to mow before it was done balancing the battery cells on day one. I didn't mean to! I was trying to find out how much charge it had yet to go.
One thing I don't like is that the LCD display does not tell you how much charge it has. Only the app does that.
They are both out mowing on their own now. Thing 1 finally finished doing battery maintenance. Each one mowed the perimeter first and then took off to do the rest of the yard. Somewhere out there in the dark are two red blinking lights crawling around.
Still waiting to see how it looks in the long run. Some areas look good already, others not yet. Both mowers say they have about 37 hours of mowing to do before they are finished. Not sure if that is a first time thing or not. In a couple of days I should know more about that number.
Aug 17 Wednesday Morning
Woke up to Thing 1 following the perimeter heading "home" to recharge it's batteries. It mowed all night. I checked the app and it has 32 hours left of mowing time on this cycle.
Thing 2 was sitting on the perimeter wire with a blank LCD screen. The app would not connect to it. I pressed GO and it woke up. It said to leave it in the base when not in use. What? I didn't take it out! My son said it was sitting there around midnight when he got home. Not sure what happened. Sitting on the wire makes me think it was low on battery and was heading to a base station to charge.
I carried it to the other base and pushed it in. It said "wait ..." and then showed the charging battery message. I opened the app and it connected. At first it said once the battery was charged it would give me a status. I backed out and went back into the app and it said the battery was at 2%. That's pretty dead! It was now doing "battery maintenance". I think that is more than just a regular battery charge. That is what I was hoping it would do yesterday when I set it back to factory defaults. It also said it has 36 hours left in this mowing cycle.
All this leads me to think that Thing 2 ran out of battery power on it's way to a base station to charge. Here's to hoping the Battery Maintenance it did fixes that. It is back out mowing right now.
It did rain a little last night. I have no idea what Thing 1 did during the rain. It has a rain sensor, but i don't know if it stops where it is and waits, or if it turns the blades off and heads back to the base station to wait. Thing 2 was sitting parked long before the rain came.
Aug 18 Thursday
Nothing new this morning. Thing 1 was charging when there was enough light out to see. Thing 2 was mowing. When I left for work Thing 1 was still charging and Thing 2 was in the other base charging also.
The yard is starting to look mowed. There are some spots that are missed yet, but most of it looks pretty good.
The grass is looking pretty good. Some tufts here and there.
Thing 1 was stopped when I got home. The base was blinking all 4 lights. Manual said that means the mower had not been seen for over 4 hours. Pressed Go on Thing 1 and it said that message Leave in base while charging. That is not in the manual! I carried it back to a base to charge. It had 9% charge at the time.
Thing 1 says it's 46% done mowing and has 20.7 hours left to mow. Thing 2 says it's 36% done and has 23.8 hours left. If it takes 48 hours to get from 38 hours down to 23 hours, then a mowing cycle will be 4 days. There is no way they can mow twice a week! Maybe this is a special first cycle. I'll see what it looks like in a couple of days.
Aug 19 Friday
Today's robot report will be lengthy. It might have some interesting twists making it worth reading. There were some lessons learned this morning.
As I am about to take a shower this morning, I decide to check on Thing 1 and Thing 2. When I woke up Thing 1 was charging and Thing 2 was mowing.
I don't see them in the back, so head out front. I see Thing 2 is following the wire on the island circle around the sewer tanks. That's not good! Following a wire means it is looking for a base to recharge. It isn't supposed to find islands. I decide to keep an eye on it and see what happens next.
I look across the yard and Thing 1 is mowing. Good! They are both working and survived all night. :-) It starts to rain as I walk outside. I watch Thing 1 find a perimeter wire and turn back to the yard. I wonder how long it will take it to sense the rain, and then what will it do? I am finally going to see this live.
I look back at Thing 2 and it has completed the island circle and then heads back to the perimeter and follows it again. OK. Maybe it just started looking for a base and hit that circle first. Good to see it is smart enough to know after it made a circle around an island, to get away from it to try again. :-)
I watch Thing 1 and see it make another turn away from the perimeter and back to the yard. It is still a very light rain, so maybe it hasn't noticed it yet. I watch Thing 1 cross the yard.
When I look back at Thing 2, I notice it has found the next island around a tree. DOH! What is it up to? It circles the tree and then follows the "null" wire between it and the next tree. A "null" is where there are both wires going and coming from an island circle and they are in parallel next to each other. The idea being that they cancel out each other's signal making it invisible so the mowers will just ignore them. Maybe it is coincidence that it is following that wire.
I look back at Thing 1 and it has found a perimeter wire and is starting to follow it. The rain sensor must have kicked in. Cool! It has turned the mower blades off and is looking for a base to park in. :-)
Back to Thing 2. It finishes circling the second island around a tree and then gets lost. It heads in the wrong direction towards a point after Base 1. That means it will have to circle the yard again looking for Base 2. By this time I realize that Thing 1 is going towards Base 1 also and will get there first. I am thinking that Thing 1 has plenty of battery left and can go to either base. So, I give Thing 2 a little help and point it back in the direction of right before Base 1 so it will get there before it runs out of battery. My assumption at this point is that maybe this is why I have found them turned off near or on the perimeter wire. They get lost on their way to recharge and never make it there.
So I now have Thing 2 heading to Base 1 and Thing 1 is going to get there first. As I am debating what to do next, Thing 1 bumps into a tree just 15 feet before Base 1. Huh? I didn't see it do that when I watched it the first time it went looking for a base.
I realize I had told Thing 1 to "near wire follow" further away from the wire than the default. I left Thing 2 at the default. Robomow has this feature where the mowers will not follow the wire when heading back to the base in the same exact place as it did when it mowed along the wire on it's first time out for a given mowing cycle.
That sounds like a great idea, but I then realize the initial wire mow is a one time thing, but the return for recharge is like 10-15 times a day! It doesn't matter since the distance away is not random. It is what ever distance you set it to those other 10-15 times. OK then. I think Thing 1 is too far away now and that is why it clipped the tree on the turn towards the base. Easy enough! I turned off "near wire follow" so it will run right on the wire from now on.
So where was I ... Oh yeah, Thing 2 is heading to the base, and Thing 1 is confused about where it is and makes a turn away from the perimeter wire to get away from the tree. There are 3 trees near by, and it hits another tree! It does a back and forth a couple of times trying to get back to the wire, but in the end it gives up and heads across the yard.
By now Thing 2 has found the perimeter wire about 7 feet before Base 1. It does it's near wire follow thing turning a few extra inches away. Then it gets about 3 feet from the base and turns right onto the wire. The Base must have some kind of extra signal telling it to get lined up right. I wondered how it knew to get on the wire in time to dock right. In it goes and the LCD says "waiting ...". A few seconds later it brings up the charging screen.
It is raining pretty good now. I notice that Thing 1 is heading to a location where it will find the wire that is before Base 1. I want to follow it, but don't want to wait that long, so I give it a little help to head towards a location that will take it to the back yard where Base 2 is waiting for it. This saves me about 3/4 of the perimeter wire follow time. I stay out in the rain and follow it to the perimeter wire. It turns and follows it as expected.
I go back to the house and close the front door since I am going to follow it to the back yard and see what it does. I want to see if it circles the islands also or not.
When I get back to it, it is doing a 360 next to the wire. Hmm. It gets back on track and does another back up and turn and go forward. It heads back to the fence and continues to follow. My best guess is that the rain has weighted down some of the tall grass that it is next to and it hit it like an object.
As I watch it go around the pond, the rain gets really hard! I think to myself, I should have brought a bar of soap out with me. I could take my shower right now. :-)
I wait until it gets close to the next island. Sure enough! It turns to follow the island. It makes the circle around it. There is another island near by with it's own "null" wire. The mower turns towards it before finishing the first island. Then it seems to see the perimeter signal again and heads towards it. It did not follow the second island wire. From there it was close to Base 2. It found it and parked.
I went into the settings and turned on the "islands" setting for Thing 1. The manual says to do that if it follows islands. I am not sure how it makes it know the difference, or what the side effects are of doing this. I may need to do this to Thing 2 also if it helps Thing 1.
This is one of those times that I am happy this new home has a patio door on our bedroom right next to the master bathroom. I am dripping wet and I go in that door and don't have to leave a trail of water getting to the shower and finish my morning routine.
We got about half an inch of rain in that half hour. It stopped for about an hour, or anyhow got to be a very light sprinkle. I see both are out mowing right now. It is starting to sprinkle again.
I held off posting this for another half an hour. They are both still mowing in the rain. It is not really heavy, but heavy enough that I expected them to stop. Not sure what to say. There is a sensitivity setting. I may need to change it if they keep mowing. Or, just let them do it. They seem OK right now.
Near Wire Follow is not as cool of a feature as it sounds. Make sure you do not have any obstacles within 3 feet of a right turn on the wire.
Islands can make the robot get lost on it's way back to a base station.
Aug 19 - Friday Afternoon
A couple comments I forgot to mention.
I turned on Smart mow. That has made the turns they make at the perimeter smoother. No more get to the wire, stop, backup, turn, and go. Now as it approaches the wire, it turns and goes in one smooth move.
I also checked, and they are in "Turbo Mode". I read that they do this on the first mow. That means the blades spin at full speed and that uses more battery power. Once they get done with the first cycle, that mode will automatically turn off. That should reduce the total mowing time for the next cycle. I will have to see what happens.
BTW: I just went to check on them. Not really raining anymore. Both are out mowing. But, I can not see nor hear either one. There are a couple places I can see from the house. Will have to go out and look for them if they don't come out of hiding soon.
When I went back out, Thing 2 was in Base 1 and Thing 1 was heading to Base 2. They were hiding. Thing 2 had 13 hours left to mow. Thing 1 had 10.
Aug 20, Saturday Morning
Thing 1 is charging and is 66% done with it's first mowing cycle. It has 6.4 hours of mowing left. I think tomorrow it should be in a waiting for the next cycle state.
Thing 2 is also charging this morning. It is still in Turbo mode and I still can't get BT to connect. I can only assume it is still doing the initial mowing cycle. But, it is now too long. It should have finished that sometime yesterday. Give it another day I guess! Also looks like the down arrow button may be sticking on it. When I went to the menu options this morning, it kept spinning through them, until I pressed the down arrow and released it a bunch of times. When I tried to do the factory reset, I was having problems getting it to work. I think that may have been due to that button not working right too. It makes sense now thinking about the symptoms.
Waiting for Tech Support to get back to me on Thing 2's issues.
It's 51 degrees outside this morning! My mosquito bites from the past week are starting to make me itch all over. I can't tell if I got new ones this morning from the walk around the yard, or if it is just old ones still lingering. I was hoping at 51 degrees, they may be staying out of the air this morning.
Thing 1 was charging this morning. It is out mowing now. It says it has 5.7 hours left to mow.
Thing 2 was also charging. Then it went out. A couple minutes later it poured rain. Another 1/2 inch in less than 30 minutes. Thing 2 stayed out the whole time! So much for rain sensors. After it docked to recharge, I tried to connect to it. It would not connect. First the app said to reset the mower. I didn't want to do that without knowing what else it would do. Then it said to make sure the mower was made after 2014. I decided to wait for it to charge. Went out and followed it to connect after it started mowing again. Getting the same message. I will wait for it to dock again and then reset it.
Aug 21 - Sunday
Thing 1 was out mowing this morning. I followed it and connected via Bluetooth. It said it was 14% done and had 16 hours left on this cycle. That has to mean it finally finished the initial mowing cycle and is now mowing it's first real cycle. I checked, and turbo mow mode is now off. 16 hours seem like it is still 2 days with charging time. Will have to keep track of this and find out. 2 days is OK though since it is supposed to mow twice a week. That will leave it with a day of rest between. ;-)
Thing 2 is not well. I still can't connect to it via Bluetooth. I know it went out and mowed some last night because I found it in Base 1 this morning and left it in Base 2 last night. It shows the icon for being in a mowing cycle and turbo mode is still on, so I can only assume it is not done with the initial cycle yet. Without BT, there is no way to find out how far along it is and how long it has to go yet. I have a query into tech support. I bet they will tell me to do another factory reset. I will ask how to tell it to stop that initial mow cycle.
Thing 1 was heading to Base 2 this morning. I am not sure for how long. It may have started before Base 1 and found Thing 2 there so continued the rest of the way around. I went to head back into the house. When I got to the deck, I saw Thing 1 heading across the lawn in the wrong way further away from Base 2. I walked back out to the yard and gave it a turn to point it back in the right direction. It found the wire and followed it. It went past the point where it turned off the wire to cut across the lawn. I kept an eye on it and it got to within about 15 feet of Base 2 and put up a message saying Charge Battery. It was no longer moving. Hmm. I got to see a stop on the wire symptom in person. I carried it to the base and it is charging right now again. Another query to tech support on why it ran out of battery on it's way there. Their last comment was to check if the bases were lined up right. Yes they are. It left the wire on it's way to the base this time, not missed the base and had to go around again.
Thing 1 is done with it's first mowing cycle. It is now sitting in Base 1 waiting until Wed at 12:42 to start mowing again. 12:42? I guess it was about 7:42 when it docked in the base. That might explain the "42" part of the time. Or ... it might be the answer to everything! ;-)
Thing 2 is in Base 2 charging. Still appears to be on it's initial mowing cycle. Still waiting for Tech Support to make a suggestion on what to try next for it. It goes out and mows every couple of hours, so it will do it's job. I just don't know what it's doing, and I don't think it will ever take a break at this point.
I heard Thing 2 mowing outside my window about 4:30 this morning. So I know it is still working. Didn't go look at its status. Still waiting for Robomow support to get back to me. It has to be done with the initial mowing by now.
Thing 1 is still in the base staying charged.
Thing 2 seems to have started talking blue tooth again. However, it is strange. At first it said it has 8.2 hours left to mow. I pressed the button to show status a second time just seconds later, and now it says it's done and will mow again on Wednesday at 3:02. Is that AM or PM? It was still in turbo mode. I manually turned that off.
The only thing I can think of is moisture. It was a wet weekend. The down arrow was sticking. It isn't now. Maybe the BT module was wet? That isn't good either.
Need to watch it close for a while.
Doing a little math ... 8.2 hours and 78% done ... round to 8 hours left is 20% of the time. That means the last cycle was about 40 hours. That was the initial cycle. It was 39 hours. So, the display was showing where it left off or maybe some kind of cache that BT was saving to transmit from when it last connected. It may have finished that cycle Sunday as expected, and then started it's first real cycle and just finished it today sometime. So now it sent that cached data and the next refresh sent current data which said it is done. It's a possibility!
Went out to check on Thing 2. It is just starting to sprinkle a little. The grass isn't even wet yet. I am able to connect to Thing 2, but it says it can't transfer data. Grrr! I look at the LCD panel and it is charging the battery. That should mean it has already been out mowing in this cycle and is not waiting for 3 PM this afternoon. I will see if I can catch it mowing during the day before 3.
So ... Thing 1 ... unbelievable! It now says that it can't connect via BlueTooth. It wants me to reset it also. That is frustrating. But, it does make me now think there is a bug in the firmware. Could be why I am not getting a response from RoboMow on what to do. However, the LCD says it is waiting for Wed at 12:42 to start mowing. So I am pretty sure that means this afternoon, and not back at midnight this morning.
Thing 2 is out mowing in the rain.
1.) Rain sensor is JUNK!
2.) 03:02 is AM, not PM.
3.) At least it is doing it's job of mowing the lawn. <shrug>
The place I bought it is telling me to call an 800 number for support. They have no idea why the BT is having problems. That is OK. I understand it's time to escalate the problem to an engineer.
What I am not so sure about, is how they flip flop every time I ask a question. First I needed 4 zones. Then 2 zones (OK, I volunteered to cut out part of the lawn.) Then 1 zone. Then 2 zones. Then 1 zone. Now they are back to telling me I would be better with 2 zones. The problem with 2 zones is they need a 6 foot gap between them! I don't want a 6 foot unmowed gap in the middle of my yard!
Oh yeah, they said to email them for support first. I would have called RoboMow if they hadn't asked me to work with them in the first place. If they didn't offer the only 2 mower package deal, I may not have bought from them. Also keep in mind there are only about 3 retailers in the whole US. There are 3 in Wisconsin, but none of them have the mowers in stock! No one sells them at any price less than retail. Or, should I say after you compare shipping costs, they are all the same price. Some offer discounts, but then you pay shipping to equal the cost of retail.
But, they did send me a free 24/7 perimeter switch. Which is weird! They did that during one of the "use just 1 zone" times. If I had 2 zones, I would not have needed it!
All in all they are quite responsive. If not a little bi-polar.
I have been researching robot lawn mowers for 10 years now. I think I have read every review on the planet by now! I even have Google Translate a German forum, which happens to be the most active forum. There are a couple English ones, but they have very few posts.
I knew what I was getting into. I am probably one of their worst customers. Most customers would not even use the BlueTooth app. They would just do a simple install and let it go. They would not call unless it stopped mowing all together. They would have no idea how it mowed or when it was supposed to mow. I am a trouble maker. I want to know everything about them, and when they do not act exactly as they are supposed to, I MUST know why! :-P
Robomow Tech Support was a very nice fellow with what may have been an Irish accent. He said that BT saying the mower needs to be reset is a known bug. That is why the sellers support wouldn't respond. They can't admit to things like that. ;-)
He had me delete the account in the app and re-register. I had done that before. But, this time, I went into Manage Applications and cleared the Cache and Data from Storage. I think it was saving some bad state. I also think that is where the weird "last status" screen came from yesterday when it suddenly started working.
Below is a screen shot of Thing 1 just after it got back to it's charging station. 7% done with 17.4 hours more to mow. That means it started with somewhere between 18 and 19 hours on a mowing cycle.
A comment about Turbomow Mode while I am thinking about it. I think I know what the difference is. Turbomow mode is not "faster". It is literally slower! It mows at a slower speed to be more thorough. I am pretty sure both mowers look to be moving faster than they were during that initial mowing cycle.
The second image below was my test of the rain sensor. It seems that the logic is backwards, in my not so humble opinion. Instead of making the sensitivity number lower, going from the default of 25 down to 16, I need to raise it to 29 to make it "more sensitive" to rain. The App has a max of 27, but the manual buttons can go as high as 30. Tech Support told me not to go to 30 since that has problems also.
Anyhow, I got the sensor wet enough to make it say "Humid conditions detected". I will see if they stop in the next rain storm or not. This may also delay mowing on cool nights when there is too much dew on the mower. As long as it still has enough hours to mow, that will be OK. :-
This is what the app looks like when it works and while Thing 2 is actually active mowing the grass.
One of the Things was mowing and the other was charging this morning. All is quiet on the Robot Front.
It looks like on average, they can mow for about 10 hours a day. I am guessing that means about another 10 hours of battery charging, and 4 hours of wandering around looking for the base to charge.
Thing 2 should finish up over night tonight, and Thing 1 will get done mid day tomorrow. I am curious to see what day and time they pick to start their next cycle. Will it be Sunday or Monday? Is it 2 days and 17 hours after they get done? That was roughly the time space they waited last time.
Keep in mind this is at the largest yard setting of 32,000 sq ft. If your yard is smaller, they will mow it faster.
The video is Thing 1 from Friday. He got stuck a couple of times. Now he squeaks sometimes. Not all the time yet. Have to see if it is temporary or not. Not sure if getting stuck is related, but it better not be! That would be what I would consider a design flaw. I bet it's just a bearing that had a manufacturing problem. I have sent the video to support and will see what they say.
We were gone camping a couple of days. Thing 1 finished it's last cycle. Both are now on their second cycle of mowing. But ... both were stopped when we got home today.
Thing 1 was making a turn on the wire and must have gotten a little past it. It was complaining that it was outside the wire. I put it back in and let it go. It was very low on battery so it headed right to a charging base. I did not hear the wheel squeak.
Thing 2 had found a tree branch that fell during a storm while we were gone. Somehow it got itself caught on it and dug a couple little holes with the wheels. It was asking to be moved to another place so it could try again. I tossed the branch into the woods and told it to go. It had 40% or so battery left, so it took off mowing.
The good news is that Thing 1 is no longer making squeaky noises from the left wheel. :-O
Now I get to find out how fast they turn around repair parts. It looks really easy to replace.
Neither Thing is doing anything now. Thing 1 is waiting for a new wheel. Thing 2 seems to be jealous and refuses to mow. It has the mower with a slash symbol on the LCD screen and won't connect via Bluetooth so I can tell what is going on. I told it to just GO late yesterday and it did. When it got low battery, it went to charge. It is still there this morning still with the mower with a slash in it. I checked the operations settings, and it does not have days when it is supposed to sit idle. I have no idea what it's up to right now.
Got shipping information for the wheel and motor to fix Thing 1. 2 day USPS. Should have it Thursday.
USPS tracking number shows Thing 1's wheel will arrive tomorrow.
Thing 2 was paused by the base station it was in. The red light was on. I thought it was flashing yesterday morning, but it was solid last night. Got it turned off and told the mower to go and it looks to still be in a mowing cycle this morning. BT still not working, so I don't know where it is in this cycle. It was charging when I left for work.
On Friday the mower was stuck on a down branch. The power box had all 4 lights flashing to show the mower was gone for more than 4 hours. I never remember how to reset it, so I unplugged it and plugged it back in. That may have set it to pause. I wasn't expecting that. I know now!
Thing 1's wheel is on a US Mail truck out for delivery right now. So later today I will be able to replace it.
Found Thing 2 on the perimeter wire when I got home yesterday. The base power box had all 4 lights flashing again showing it had been over 4 hours since it was there for a charge. Pressed the power button to reset instead of unplugging and plugging it back in this time.
Maybe I pressed it too long, I am not sure. It went into pause mode again. Fool me once, shame on you. Not going to fool me twice! I pressed the power button for 2 seconds and the red light for pause turned off.
Went to Thing 2 and tried Blue Tooth. It worked this time. It had 8% battery and wanted to be charged. I usually carry it to the base. I wanted to see if it could make it on it's own. I told it to GO. It warmed up and moved. It was a long ways away and would have to go 3/4 of the way around the yard. I put it in manual mode and steered it across the yard closer to the base it needed to get to. I headed it towards the wire again, and told it to go home. It found the wire and followed it.
I looked a few minutes later and it was about 20 feet from the base and stopped again. I tried to tell it to go, but it said it didn't have enough voltage. The app said it was at 6% battery. I had to carry it that last 20 feet.
My best guess is that Base 1 is still at too much of an angle. I am thinking that the mower find it and tried to dock. When it misses, it thinks that there is a mower already there, and that means it has to go all the way around again. Not enough battery to do that twice with this big of a yard!
I saw fresh tracks in the yard in the dew this morning, so I know it mowed. Found it in the base charging. It was 90% charged. But it also had a message about the mower motor having a problem. I flipped it up and found a stick jammed in the blade. Pulled it out and put it back in the base to finish charging.
Right now it is kind of weird. It says it is at 100% battery and I thought it should be mowing, but it says balancing batteries. I read not to stop that so I will be patient a while. Another thing where only that app can tell me what is happening. The LCD display has the icon for in a mowing cycle and the date and time. Nothing more to tell me what it is doing.
I am wondering if it still thinks it has a mower motor issue and I need to manually tell it to go. I will give it a couple more hours to let it balance the batteries and then tell it to GO anyhow thinking it is really stuck due to the mower motor with a stick problem.
Both things are out doing their jobs this morning. Both are also in their 3rd cycle of mowing.
I think Thing 2 started yesterday afternoon. I may have been reading the screen wrong when I forced it to mow on it's own. That date and time thing is when it starts the next cycle. It was the same day and I may have been reading the time as current when it was actually telling me that it would start again early evening.
Thing 1 started just an hour or so ago. They start with a little over 18 hours for a mowing cycle.
Thing 1 has 17 hours left and Thing 2 has 14.7 hours left.
Sunday - Sept 4
Thing 2 is done mowing. It will start again on Monday at 6:56 AM. The first picture is what the LCD panel shows. The 2nd is the "i" button in the app. The 3rd is the main page of the app.
Thing 1 is done mowing. It will start again on Monday at 1:27 PM. The first picture is what the LCD panel shows. The 2nd is the "i" button in the app. The 3rd is the main page of the app.
This is what the yard looks like. There have been 3 mowing cycles since the initial mowing. The mowers will just keep mowing for 2 days then take a day off and then mow for 2 more days from now on. I am not 100% sure about the wait times. I will have to gather more data to be sure that is the pattern. They are supposed to mow twice a week, so they may take a 2 day pause every other time.
Thursday - Sept 8
I was gone for a few days. Thing 2 finished mowing and is in the base staying charged. He goes out to mow today at about 7 PM.
Thing 1 was stuck in a wet spot between 2 trees. I need to do something to block that area off. I got him going and he is mowing now with about half an hour left on this cycle.
Thing 1 was stuck on the perimeter wire when I left for work. He had about 30 minutes left of mowing. I pointed him to Base 1 and watched. He missed it 2 times in a row! So I need to do more work on that base. I built up the ground under it with sand last week to make it more level. He is still hitting it a bit to the left. I will need to pull it up and move the wire under to the right now I think.
Friday - Sept 9
Thing 1 and Thing 2 are both out mowing in their next cycle right now. One started late yesterday and the other very early this morning. It looked like the Star Trek original series episode The Tholian Web with both in the front yard going in opposite directions. J
Base 1 still seems to still have a problem. I found a mower out of battery on the perimeter again. I got it back to Base 1 and let it drive in on it's own. It didn't make it. I made a few adjustments to the wire leading up to it and even pulled the base up to make sure the wire under it was straight. That seemed to help.
Then I carried the mower back further and let it approach on it's own. Ah-Ha! This needs some set up to understand.
It seems like a good idea to place the base near a building where there is a power source. It should also be very close so the mower can mow as close to the building as possible. However, buildings need slope away from them so water does not drain off the roof and back in towards them.
This means that the base is on a little bit of a slope. That is not good. The mower has a single "swivel" wheel on the front. With 2 drive wheels on the back, that means it slowly slides downhill when going sideways on a slope.
So, I leveled the base last week to help the Things hit it centered. I moved the wire a bit today to get it come at the base from "up hill" by an inch. However, that was only part of the problem!
I set the mower 10 feet back and let it go home. There is a bit more slope that far back. The front wheel starts to turn left and the mower tries to compensate. If there is bit of moisture on the grass and ground, the left wheel slips a bit trying to turn it right and back up hill. Gravity takes over and the mower turns even further left going more down hill. When the front wheel gets about 6 inches away from the wire, the right tire stops moving at all to get it to turn right and back to the wire. But, since the right wheel was still turning all along, the mower is now only about 6 feet from the base and is not lined up at all! It does some quick hard turns to get back on target, but it is down to only about 2 feet away by this time. Although the front wheel is on the wire again, the back ones are aiming uphill yet. That means it makes one last small turn to get back on target as it hits the base. Sometimes it works, and others it does not.
So ... I need to get some more top soil and make the slope leading up to the base a little bit less. It really needs a very level approach. This is a catch 22! You really want the mower close to a building, but the mower does not like any slope at all near the base! :-(
In full disclosure, the slope 10 feet back is a bit excessive. It almost looks like there was some wash out before the grass set in way back when the grade was originally made. So, filling it in some is not a "bad idea". ;-)
Base 2 does not have this problem because it is near a gardening shed with a level slope. There is also some landscaping around it so it is really about 3 feet away, not 6 inches away!
Sunday - Sept 11
Thing 2 finished mowing overnight Friday. It found Base 2 first and is happily sitting there charging. It is going to mow again Monday at 7 AM.
Thing 1 has only half an hour left to mow. It is spent a lot of time looking for Base 1 and stuck without enough battery to make it.
I have spent that last couple of days fine tuning the land and aligning the wire around Base 1. I just got done digging some of the sand out from under the end where the power plugs are and putting more where the wheels rest. I also pulled the wire out all the way around it and repositioned it just a little to the left of where it was.
I sent Thing 1 to the base and watched it park. It worked. I pulled it out and sent it home 4 more times. All 4 times it parked on it's own. Maybe this finally got it aligned right. Time will tell.
The question of leaves came up. I have a few trees already shedding leaves. The RoboMowers do not have any "lift" and there is nowhere to blow the leaf parts out. They are chopping them in a bit, but not as much as a bigger mower would do. So far, it looks like they are keeping the leaves mulched in. Once the bigger maple and oak leaves start to fall I will let you all know how they do.
In the mean time ... It is coming up on a month. That means the 30 day money back guarantee is about to expire. I am going to keep them. All of the problems have been due to the size and complexity of my yard. I am learning how to adjust for that, and am very close to having the mowers work all the time. I have not had problems with Base 2 since the first week. The island problems were all self inflicted. The pauses of the Thing in Base 1 were also self inflicted! The only real problem I have now is Base 1, and I know what is wrong, but am not sure exactly what position is going to be the "perfect" one yet. I know it is very close today.
The only "defect" I have had was the axle on the one drive motor. That failed early on and was replaced with no hassle. I can't complain about that!
The only continuing issue will be that the branches that fall out of the trees during storms need to be picked up right away. No leaving them out for a week until I feel like removing them. That is not the fault of the mowers. It is me being lazy. ;-)
Monday - Sep 19, 2016
Time for a Thing update.
I was gone for the weekend. When I got home one was charging and the other was mowing. It was dark and I was tired.
Went out this morning to check on them. Thing 1 was charging in Base 2 and had only a couple hours left to mow. Thing 2 was mowing and had about 4 hours left. They have both been out and about during the day. I see one or the other from the window. I suspect Thing 1 is in Base 2 and has been most of the afternoon. Thing 2 went by the window a little while ago. I see it is in Base 1 right now. It should be done.
I will go out tomorrow and see where they are in the next mowing cycle.
While I was gone, one of them got hung up on some landscaping. That happened once before a few weeks ago. Some landscaping bricks are not 6" high and twice now a mower has run up on top of them and hung up. I need to go to a place and get some more bricks I guess.
Mower 2 was in the base charging, but Andrew said it was beeping. It was asking for the date. Hmmm. I wonder why it did that? He tried to set it, but they are European and the default is Day-Month-Year. So his first attempt didn't work with Month-Day-Year. Then it took off mowing on it's own. I need to confirm what day it thinks it is. No hurry. I may do it tomorrow.
The good news is that both mowers found a charging base station without help for a complete mowing cycle! :-)
Wed - Sep 28, 2016
How are the mowers doing you ask? Quite well. Both have been parking in the bases without issue. I was gone for a few days again and they seem to both be OK. I am told my son had to rescue one when it was stuck on a fallen branch. My wife found one with a low battery and returned it to a base to charge. It was on the perimeter wire again. It was a rainy day and the ground was wet. Thing 1 has that problem with lining up right for Base 1 when it is wet out.
Thing 2 is mowing on a new cycle as of 4 AM this morning. Thing 1 was in it's base yesterday with a stick shoved up it's ... well, with a stick caught in one of the blades. ;-) That is the second time for that. I am not sure if it heads home when that happens, or if it runs out of battery and then heads home. Both times it was parked in the base waiting for someone to remove the stick.
I finally had time on a dry day to let Thing 1 head into the base a few times to narrow down why it's approach is like a drunken sailor who hasn't found is land legs yet. ;-)
I found that it was turning right on top of a splice in the wire.
I pointed the splice straight down into the ground and pushed it in. Then I pulled on the wire and made it as straight as I could. It was straight when I laid it, but somehow it seems to have gotten a little loose and was crooked.
Doing these 2 things fixed the swagger on approach. Sorry Yellow Beard, but for these things, stagger, stagger, crawl, crawl doesn't work out. :-)
Friday - Sep 30, 2016
Thing 1 is mowing OK yet.
Thing 2 was stopped on the perimeter this morning. I pressed OK and nothing happened. Nothing was working at all. I lifted it and carried it to Base 2. Normally after a few seconds it starts beeping to let you know it doesn't like being carried away! It stayed silent. Hmmm. Battery totally dead! :-(
I pushed it into the base and it came alive. It said the battery was charging, but had no indication of what mode it was in. I left it for about 3 hours.
When it didn't come out on it's own to mow, I connected the app to see what it was up to. It said it was in Winter Charging Mode! I am pretty sure that means it thinks it was plugged into a power source, but not via the Base Station.
I pulled it out of the base to see what it would do. It just stayed like it was. Pressing OK didn't seem to matter. I pressed the "back" button and it started scrolling through all of the options. Interesting! Back to the problem where the up arrow button was sticking. I wonder if that made it run out of battery? I pressed it a bunch of times to unstick it.
I had to go past setting the date again. Then I told it to go home. It warmed up and pulled back into Base 2. The app said it is 99% full battery, but there is moisture (aka rain) in the air so it is waiting. It is lightly raining right now.
Might be time to report a sticky up arrow button while it is still under warranty.
Tuesday - Oct 4, 2016
Been having problems with Thing 2 lately. It keeps stopping for no reason and the display keeps changing when it should not.
It was stopped in the middle of the yard again. When I tried to make it go, it was at the DATE prompt again. Once I got past that, it said it needed to have the battery charged so I carried it to Base 2. After a couple of hours, it is at 100% battery, but says it is balancing the batteries yet.
I am working with support. They want to look at logs. I had wondered about the GSM module. They are saying it does have one and calls home with logs! Interesting. I'd love to see those logs.
Thing 2 display problems.
This isn't as exactly what I see, but it is similar. When it happens, the date numbers roll up on their own. I had to press the back key to get it to happen in this video. Right at the beginning you see it go from Mower Options to Child Lock before I can press Go to select Mower Options.
Thing 2 display problems the next day.
Close to what I see, but still not quite. Right at the start there is a change from Main Zone to Service all on it's own. That is what I am talking about. As I press GO on the Mower Options screed, it goes to Child Lock. The rest are all related to the back key. Again, the numbers usually change on their own between presses of GO. This time it looks like it happens while pressing GO. I was under attack by mosquitoes again which is why the camera keeps moving as I am swatting them away. That is also the time when my fingers cover the camera. I am using my other hand to swat them.
Wednesday - Oct 5, 2016
Thing 2 was stopped again today with the DATE prompt. Support is sending me a new LCD panel assembly. Got shipping notice already. Looks like 2 days. If it gets here early enough on Friday I will replace it right away. Otherwise it will be later on Sunday before I get time.
Friday - Oct 7, 2016
Thing 2 now has a new LCD panel. It started up as expected. No scrolling of the screen nor the numbers. But, that did not happen all the time. Only time will tell if this fixes it. For now it's is out happily munching/mulching away at leaves in the yard. :-)
Pictures are of the old part.
If you wonder what a Robomow looks like naked, aka without the cover on it ...
Wed - Oct 12, 2016
Have not had any parking/docking problems with Base 1 since I pointed the wire nut in the splice near the base straight down into the ground instead of letting it lie sideways. No mowers sitting on the perimeter waiting for help since then.
Thing 1 had a stick caught in one of the blades on Monday. It was sitting in Base 1 with a Mower Motor message. I removed the stick and pressed Go. The LCD said it was charging. The App said it was at 100%, but was balancing battery cells again. I let it sit for 3 hours. It never left the base. I went out and pressed Go. It took off and has been mowing and recharging ever since. Well, maybe it was done this morning. It was dark and I did not walk over to see what it's status was. It may be waiting for the next cycle. It was sitting in Base 1.
So, that means that when it gets a stick caught, I need to force it to Go and not wait for it to finish charging. This has happened twice so far and both times it did not go finish mowing on it's own.
Thing 2 has had the new LCD part for 5 days. No problems at all. I have gone out a couple of times and ran through the menu options to see if it changes on it's own. It has not done that again. Is has not stopped in the middle of the yard again either. I found it hung up on that tree on the side of a slope where the landscape bricks were not high enough again. It climbs over the top of them on the high side of the slope and gets stuck. I pulled it off and told it to go. It took off mowing again.
I noticed that there are 2 extra rows of bricks on the low slope side that I could "steal" and put on the high slope side to give it a higher "wall" to keep the mower from getting on top of them. They are not well placed yet, aka tight against each other, but I hope this resolves that problem until I get time to redo that whole ring of bricks around that tree and stabilize them better. Now when it is heading down hill right towards that tree it should hit a couple more inches high of bricks that it can bounce off of instead of bouncing over the top of them.
Fri - Oct 21, 2016
I was about to post that both things have been mowing away with no problems. They have been! But, when I went out to make sure before I said anything ... Found Thing 2 stuck in the middle of the yard. The app said "Check ground where stuck and drive wheel rotation is not blocked. Restart elsewhere."
I checked the perimeter wire 24/7 switch and it said all was well. Base 1 was complaining that it had not seen a robot parked for a charge in more than 4 hours. I reset it.
Went back out to see if I could get the mower to run but it would not.
I tried a couple of times to get it to go and it just jerked around a little. I carried it to the base and then told it to mow. It tried to pull out with the left wheel barely moving. It finally said it was stuck again. I got my camera and told it to go. This video is the result. It seemed to be fine. Of course it would not do it while I have a camera on it.
I went out an hour after Thing 2 started mowing again and it was stopped again. This time it won't move at all.
After I walked away from Thing 2 with the motor overheat message, it took off and started following the wire looking for the base. It made it all the way back.
Mon - Oct 24, 2016
Thing 2 has a new drive motor on the left side. Install was easy again. They make these things really easy to work on. The new motor feels smooth when I roll the wheel.
Told it to mow and it took of just fine. Both are out munching on the leaves right now.
I cheated a little over the weekend. I was using the rider to mow the driveway and took a few quick spins under the biggest leaf trees to help get the leaves crunched up smaller when I was done. It took maybe 10 minutes extra to do that and I was already out on that mower anyhow.
Fri - Oct 28, 2016
A few new things in the world of Things!
Let me start with the great flood. It rained about 3 inches in less than 12 hours. The water in the pond got over a foot higher. There were pools of water in many places in the yard. Thing 2 was between cycles, so it stayed put the whole time. Thing 1 was out and it had a few issues. Some water related and some not.
The day before the storm I found Thing 1 outside the fence. That happens maybe once a month. OK. No big deal. Later that day I saw it going around islands following the wires on them. They do that every now and then too. However, this time it spent too much time on them and ran out of juice trying to get back to the base to recharge. I hand carried it home and pushed it on the charger.
The morning that the rain started it was dark and I saw the red blinky light across the yard when I opened the garage door. As I pulled out, the head lights caught Thing 1 making rosies (spinning in circles, doing 360's ) in the front yard. I stopped and watched it do 3 of them. I know the mowers do that when they are looking for the perimeter wire to go home. I had to get to work, so left. When I got home it was sitting just outside of the wire complaining about putting it back inside the fence. I carried it back to the base again since I really didn't want it mowing with all the standing water around. It stayed there all night. I was OK with that. I didn't go look for why. I had some sand and filled in one of the low spots that had water in it. Later that day Thing 1 decided to mow again. Sure enough, it found that hole which had 2 inches of sand and 2 inches of water. Quick sand! Yep. It got stuck. I left it overnight since I wanted the yard to drain a bit more.
Went out this morning and freed Thing 1 from it's sand trap. Smoothed the sand out. The hole is drying out now. An hour later I found it sitting sideways outside of the wire. It must have backed over the wire to get out. That was a first!
Set it free again and watched it. I did see a weird behavior I have not seen. It got parallel with the wire. I thought it was heading home. Instead it did a circle on the wire and a few quick turns that put it back on the wire. It did the same thing a little further down the wire. I heard it was mowing, which means it was not looking for home. It finally made a turn away from the wire and took off across the yard. But, that made me wonder if that circle right on the wire is what lets it end up outside the wire!
About that time Thing 2 woke up and started working on the giant oak leaves under the biggest tree in the yard.
At this time they are both out mowing.
This weekend I need to move the perimeter wire away from the pond about a foot in a couple of spots. I was pretty sure I would have to do that in the spring. I didn't think the water would be going up this fall yet though. When I placed it where I did, I figured the pond was a bit low, but wasn't sure of it.
Sat - Oct 29, 2016
Thing 1 has been acting weird. I keep finding it outside the perimeter wire.
The other day as I was going to work I saw it do 3 360's in a row in the middle of the yard. A day before that I saw it following islands instead of the perimeter. When I went back out later, it had backed itself up over the wire.
Now it is doing 360's in corners. I have a video of one. But it is other corners that are not as slopped as this one too. Sorry about the last few seconds having the bottom cut off. I stopped looking at the screen and was looking right at the mower.
I watched it come parallel to the wire also. As it approached it, it did a bunch of 360's. Then it continued to run next to the wire. At first I thought maybe it had just found it and was heading to a base. But I realized the mower blades were running. So it was still mowing. It went a ways and did a couple more 360's. Then it almost backed over the wire. It followed parallel to the wire a little more and did a couple more 360's. Finally it turned away and headed back out to the yard.
This does not seem normal to me. Especially backing over the wire.
Sun - Oct 30, 2016
Thing 1 was sitting in the middle of the yard. This was the error it gave. There is nothing slippery or anything that would make it get stuck where it was said it was stuck.
It is doing this so much the lawn is not getting mowed right now. I can go out and manually drive it and then it seems OK for a while again. But not for long.
Thing 1 has moved on from doing donuts in the corners and near the wire to doing them in the middle of the yard. Could be the sensor for finding the perimeter signal, or I guess it might be the 24x7 switch. Thing 2 does not have this problem, so I am thinking it has to be the mowers signal sensor.
Tue - Nov 1, 2016
The theory is that Thing 1 needs to have the bumper calibrated. It may be thinking it is hitting something and that is why it backs up and turns so much. Also why it is getting stuck in place when there is nothing to stop it.
The calibration is a super secret procedure! I found it online for a much older model, but this model has secret code numbers to make it run the calibration. Waiting on support to give me the instructions. It looks easy enough to pull the bumper off, but it will take some time to make sure I don't break it while getting to the bumper sensors. That is assuming I have to move them during the calibration process.
Later in the afternoon:
Thing 1 is in the back yard mowing. It has not made it that far in like 5 days! I got the steps to run the bumper calibration. When going into the Service menu, I have to call and tell them the number on the screen and they give me a number to punch in and it lets me get to the menu choices. Kind of like a key card for VPN. Challenge and Response numbers.
Anyhow, I did not have to take the cover off. He just wanted me to push the bumper in 3/4 of the way and then press GO after getting to the bumper calibration option.
Thing 1 went to charge itself without help and now is out mowing. Another couple of hours will tell if that fixed it or not.
Not sure if I should share the secret. But, here goes! Don't tell anyone!
A calculator for the Service Codes.
Based on that page, here is how to figure the codes out. Take what it gives you. Multiple it by 2. Subtract 1. Multiply that number by the number it give you again. =((A1 * 2) -1) * A1 If the result has more than 3 numbers, take the last 3 numbers and add however many previous numbers there are to it. If there are still more than 3 digits, do it again. Keep repeating until the result is 3 digits. For example, if the given number is 13, 13*2=26, 26-1=25, 25*13=325. The code to enter is 325.
A little more complicated example if the given number is 55, 55*2=110, 110-1=109, 109*55=5995. That is more than 3 digits so start again. The last 3 numbers are 995. Add the first digit, 5 to it. 995+5=1000. Still have more than 3 digits. 000+1=1. So the result is 1! The code to enter is 1.
How about a big number example if the given number is 283, 283*2=566, 566-1=565, 565*283=15985. 5 digits are too many. Take the last 3 and add the first 2 to it., 985. 985+15=1054. 1054 is still more than 3 digits. Take the last 3 and add to the first one. 054+1=55. The code to enter is 55.
Early in the evening:
Thing 2 has mowed until it needed a charge and found it's own way to a base without any problems. I think the bumper calibration fixed it.
Nov 30, 2016
Thing 2 ran over a fallen branch yesterday and was stuck. I set it free and it went to a base to charge. It is back out mowing again. The leaves are getting munched up pretty good. Soon it will snow enough to stick and I will have to put the robots away for the winter.
Thing 1 is still back at the mothership. I got a report from them today. It is still being repaired. They hope to get back to me soon with a status. Not sure if that means they just started looking at it today, or if they can’t figure out what is wrong, or if they fixed it and are being extra through with testing before returning it! They are in Florida. I mentioned that I would not be able to test it much once it gets back here. He said they would test it there.
Dec 7, 2016
This is probably the last Thing report until spring.
Thing 1 is back from the repair shop. It arrived late last night. It is in the 20's outside right now and looks to stay that way for a while. We are probably going to get a bit of snow this weekend. Since the robots shut themselves down when it gets somewhere in the 30's, neither one would do anything right now if I wanted to set them free.
Thing 2 will be locked up in the potting shed where it's power source is for the winter. Thing 1 will be in the big shed where it's power source is. Both will stay on their charges until the snow leaves and the ground dries out enough to set them free again.
I will find out in April if Thing 1 is good to go again.
May 1, 2017
Time for a Spring Thing Report.
First mowing of 2017.
I picked up 3 4x8 trailer loads of sticks and tree branches that had fallen over winter. I had to ask what idiot thought it was a good idea to buy a property with such a big yard and so many trees in it! I am feeling the pain now.
Last fall Thing 1 was in for repairs in the fall. When it got back, it was too cold for it to run. Snow started to fall a couple of days later. There were still quite a few leaves on the ground.
I left the leaves in place and want both mowers to run to see if they will do much to them this spring. I am afraid they may be too compacted, but want to test things out before committing to mowing them with the riding mower in the fall more than the once that I did last year.
I walked the perimeter and pushed down the stakes that the winter frost had pushed up out of the ground. About half of the wire is getting buried while the other half is still visible. The pond is up about a foot as I suspected it would be. That means some of the wire is under water. DOH! I moved the perimeter fence near the pond so it was not. Gonna have to think about if I want to mow that area, or put pea gravel down. I see there is some at the edge of the pond that was there 30 years ago (I guess). But it has mostly had grass grow up through it. I don't know how far past the shore it goes. I am thinking about getting some pond grass killer and seeing if there is gravel already under that grass that is there. Then I won't have to mow that part. Seems like the best idea.
I pulled both of the things out of storage and put them in a base station. Neither one wanted to mow. I had to read the manual again to remember how to make sure the Power Box for the dock was set to mow. That is with the red light off. So, both are set to red light off. No joy. Neither mower wants to move. I tell them to go manually and Thing 1 goes, but stops half way across the yard. Hmmm. That was the first of the symptoms it showed when I had to send it back last fall. Not looking good. :-( I let it keep mowing. It did that 5 more times and then finally it went all the way across to the perimeter wire and turned around. I left it go and went to Thing 2. I told it to mow anyhow also and it took off like it should.
I followed each around for a while and took this video when they were both in sight at the same time.
Once they finished that cycle, both found a base and are sitting there charging. That was Saturday. It has been raining since then, so I didn't worry about them mowing. In spring like this a long slow rain like that makes little ponds all over the yard, so I let them be.
Finally went out this morning, Monday, and checked on them. Thing 2 says it is too cold to mow. It's about 45. That should be warm enough, but borderline I guess. It also says that the humidity is too high. That one is more like it. Not raining right now, but still very wet pretty much everywhere. I hope that means it is ready to mow as soon as it drys out and the sun gets it a bit warmer under Thing 2's cover.
Thing 1 also said it was too cold on the LCD panel. At least they agree on that. I could not get the Blue Tooth app to connect to see what the actual problem is like on Thing 2. I assume it is actually stopped due to humidity. That bug in the app is not new. I will try again tomorrow or Wed to see if it is ready to listen. Just like a child. They don't listen sometimes. :-)
At least they are ready once it warms and dries out a bit.
May 20, 2017
The things have had some issues.
First is the expected one. It's a bit cold, so they are complaining about that and not mowing at all most of the time.
Thing 1 is being pretty good. I don't know for sure, but it seems to mow except when it is parked. I assume that is due to it being cold. However, I seldom see it mow at all.
I don't have Thing 2 to compare it to. Thing 2 was naughty. It found a soft spot where the wire was not buried yet. The wire got caught in a back wheel and it backed down into the pond with the wire wrapped around it. It finally broke the wire and stopped. But it was under water. I now get to buy a $250 mother board for it.
Picture of corroded motherboard attached.
July 29, 2017
Quick robot update.
Neither mower likes the wet yard. Between getting stuck and plugging the blades with wet grass clippings, I have yet to get the entire lawn mowed in one cycle. Ad to that all tree branches falling during the storms, the mowers also stop when they get caught up in a branch.
Then a few weeks ago the perimeter fence switch started intermittently saying there was a bad twist wire connection somewhere. How the hell will I ever find that!
I gave up and decided to break the lawn up into 2 mowing areas. One for each mower. I knew from the start that the perimeter wire was at it's max length. I am pretty sure Thing 1's problems are mostly related to that weak signal.
The down side is I now have a 6-8 foot strip in the side of the yard that will not get mowed. The 2 wires have to be that far apart to not interfere with each other.
I have a long story about that build, and may post it anther day. It did not go 100% as planned. Mostly self inflicted errors of course. Things like unplugging one place and forgetting to plug it back in and also accepting that somewhere there has to be a cut in the wire, so find it before testing.
Still have problems with Thing 2 getting the mower deck clogged up. But otherwise, it seems to be finally mowing well again.
Thing 1 has a new problem. The deck height adjustment is not holding. It keeps slipping down and shaving the lawn. That has caused 2 wire cuts so far. It also is getting hung up on the edging by the beach. I noticed that a chunk of the mower deck broke off of it. Not sure how that will impact it in the long run.
However, the constant wire signal problems it was having appear to have gone away. One step forward, 2 steps back. :-(
September 15, 2017
Been a while since I gave a Thing update. I guess when there is no news, it is good news! :-)
I have had no problems since changing the size of the perimeter wire at the end of July. OK, yeah there have been stuck mowers. Things like a stick getting stuck in the blades, or the mower running out of battery before making it all the way back to a base. But I have had no crossing the wire or getting stuck in the middle of the yard problems.
Lesson learned: Although they say you can have the fence as long as I had it, they do not recommend it. By not recommending it, I think they mean DON'T DO IT!