Mower Robots: The right care and maintenance

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Lawn mowing is one of the most hated gardening activities besides weeding. No wonder that more and more hobby gardeners are buying a robotic lawnmower. After a single installation, the devices work completely autonomously and the lawn is barely recognizable after only a few weeks. As robotic lawnmowers turn their rounds daily and repeatedly cut off the leaf tips, the grasses grow in width and soon form a dense, rich green carpet.

Most robotic lawnmowers operate on the principle of free navigation. They do not ride in solid tracks across the grass, but criss-cross. When they hit the perimeter wire, they flip over and continue at an angle specified by the software. The mowing principle prevents the robotic lawnmower leaving permanent lanes in the lawn.

Check and change blades regularly

One of the most important maintenance work is the blade change. Many models work with a knife mechanism with three blades. These are each mounted with a screw on a rotating plastic plate and are freely rotatable. Over time, however, moths can gather between the knives and the hanger so that the knives are no longer movable. If possible, check the condition of the blades once a week and if necessary remove the grass between the blades and the suspension. Be sure to wear gloves during maintenance to avoid injury from the sharp blades. Before the beginning, the theft protection must first be deactivated with the PIN code. Thereafter, the main switch on the bottom is set to zero.

Waiting for robotic lawnmower

Knife change robotic lawnmower

Always wear protective gloves during maintenance work (left). The blade change is done quickly with a suitable Phillips screwdriver (right)

The blades of many robots are almost as thin as razor blades and similarly sharp. They cut the grass very cleanly, but also wear off quite quickly. Therefore, you should change the knives approximately every four to six weeks depending on the operating time of the unit. This is one of the most important maintenance tasks, as blunt knives not only increase power consumption, but can also lead to consequential damage such as worn out bearings and other signs of wear in the long term. In addition, a set of knives is very reasonably priced and the change with a little practice in a few minutes done - you have to turn out depending on the device per knife often only one screw and fix the new knife again with a new screw.

Clean the robotic lawnmower from below

If a blade change is pending, it is a good idea to clean the mower housing from below. Again, you should wear because of the risk of injury gloves. Do not use water for cleaning, as this could damage the electronics of the devices. Although robotic lawnmowers are very well sealed from the top against penetrating water, they are susceptible to moisture damage under the mower deck. It is therefore best to remove the mower with a brush and then wipe the plastic surfaces with a slightly damp microfibre cloth.

Robotic mower clean underside

Clean your robotic lawnmower with a dry brush

Clean electrical contacts

Each robotic lawnmower has two contact plates made of a copper alloy on the front side. They establish the connection to the charging station so that the robotic lawnmower can recharge its batteries. Moisture and fertilizer residues can cause these contacts to corrode over time and lose their conductivity. If the robotic lawnmower does not leave the charging station for several hours during normal mowing, you should first check the contacts and clean them if necessary. Light soiling can be quickly removed with a brush or a microfibre cloth. If larger quantities of verdigris have formed, simply remove them with a fine-grained sandpaper.

Lawn Mower

Rain does not bother a robotic lawnmower. However, over time, moisture may cause copper contacts to start to lose their conductivity

Store robotic lawnmower in winter

If the lawn barely grows, you should also dismiss your hard-working robotic lawnmower in the earned winter vacation. Thoroughly clean it again beforehand and make sure that the battery is at least half charged. The charge status can be found under the status information on the display. Then store the robotic lawnmower in a dry room until the next spring with temperatures as constant as possible between 10 and 15 degrees. Most manufacturers also recommend that you recheck the battery after half of the storage time and recharge it if necessary to avoid a deep discharge during the winter break. Experience shows, however, that this almost never occurs with the lithium-ion batteries used.

Also, the charging station including power supply and cable should be cleaned thoroughly at the end of the season and then brought into the house. First remove the plugs of the induction loop and the guide cable and loosen the anchoring screws. Although you can leave the charging station outside, but this is not recommended especially in regions with heavy snowfall. If winterizing is too cumbersome, then the charging station should be connected to the power supply throughout the winter.

Regular software updates

If you want to winterize or seed the robotic lawnmower, you should also check to see if your device's software is up-to-date. Go to the website of the respective manufacturer and see if your model is updatable and if an appropriate update is offered. New software optimizes the robotic lawnmower control system, corrects any errors that may exist and often improves operation or theft protection. Modern devices usually have a USB port, with which they can be connected directly to the computer. For some robotic lawnmowers you have to insert a USB stick with the new firmware instead and then carry out the update on the display of the mower.

Video Board: Lawn mower maintenance tips | Consumer Reports.

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