Robotic Lawn Mower General Overview
One of the most common questions we receive when interacting with a potential customer who is interested in a robotic lawn mower is “how does a robotic lawnmower work”? This question is usually answered with the simplified answer that a robot cuts your lawn within a perimeter that is marked using boundary wire. The robotic mower will proceed to cut your lawn and once the battery is low the robotic lawnmower will follow the boundary wire home to the charging station to re-charge. Time and date can be programmed and the robotic mower becomes fully automatic. This blog post will discuss and blend together technical information and the importance of choosing the right robotic mower set up.
After an assessment of a garden is done and plan on where the boundary wire will be placed is decided, two methods can be applied in installing the boundary wire. The first method is placing the boundary wire on top of the grass and using pegs to fasten the boundary into the ground. By using pegs the boundary is still somewhat exposed but will sink into the ground after a couple of weeks. For yards that are around 500 square meters and lower, the hammering down of pegs is done quickly. An advantage of the boundary wire still being partially exposed is that adjustments can be made easily while the robot lawnmower is getting familiar with the newly installed lawn. The other method is using a cable layer. A cable layer is device that digs down and places the boundary wire a couple cm under the ground. The cable layer is a service usually provided by an authorized dealer who specializes in installations of robotic mowers. An installation using a cable layer saves time as the process of a machine digging down the wire and moving forward at the same time provides great efficiency. Potential adjustments can be a bit difficult, as the boundary wire has to be dug up again. Once the charging station is set up, the boundary wire with most robotic mower brands will create a complete circuit. Within this circuit a frequency is transmitted allowing the robot to read the boundary wire and knows when to stop and turn in another direction when reaching the boundary wire. This is also made possible due to the robot having signal receiving PCB cards that can read the frequency signal.
The cutting of the robot is done in random sequences. The software allows the robotic mower to cut until it has reached an obstacle. An obstacle like a tree can either be left as is or have boundary wire place around it. The robotic lawnmower will either have a mechanical crash sensor where the robot can hit the obstacle and notice it has made contact with an object, back up and proceed into another direction. Newer version mowers are also equipped with an ultrasonic sensor, which detects any objects and before making impact directs into another direction. The mechanical crash sensor is proven to be reliable in the sense that it will crash and back up with every solid obstacle it hits. If an obstacle is not stable enough like a flowerbed in which the robot can power itself to drive over, boundary wire will have to be placed around to protect the area. The ultrasonic sensor can detect any obstacle regardless of density and therefore could make an installation easier as fewer obstacles need to be protected by boundary wire. The other sensor that plays a key role from a safety point of view is the lift sensor. When the robotic mower is lifted off the ground or has somehow driven up an obstacle or temporary object like a kid’s toy, it will shut off the cutting motor and driving motors. The combination of crash and lift sensors increase product security and performance.
Factors to Consider Before Purchasing a Robotic Mower
When looking at all the different models, robotic mowers are often categorized in how many square meters a specific model can cut and how much slope it can handle. From a customer’s perspective finding out the size of your lawn is a first good step. If there are any uphill slopes, finding out the degree of slope can help guide a customer to the right model. The layout of the garden is also important when considering if the lawn has any small passages or different zones. Certain models have extra functions where gardens with several small passages can benefit with zone cutting in order for the robotic mower to find all the areas within a lawn consistently. From our experience, a robot that has friendly user settings and an easy to use display has brought the most value to customers. No need for over complicated and or unnecessary features. The final factor that plays a vital role is the after sales service support. A service center with helpline support, service and repair workshop, and spare parts stock play a key role. This way the customer has access to product information, trouble shooting solutions, and access to maintenance services or warranty claims. Often robotic mowers with strong mechanical features that are easy to use and have knowledgeable after sales support go a long way in having a product that cuts your lawn for years to come.