DIY Installations do not need to be daunting or overwhelming. Most Robot Lawn Mowers now come with pretty great installation instructions and their is a wealth of installation videos online from both the manufactures and other DIYers. Just follow the user manual and you will be done in no time.
The biggest step is selecting the right Robot Mower for the job. Step one below will help guide you, however if you need help please contact us and we can work out the best mower for you.
Below we will step through the process from conception to sitting back, cold drink in hand, watching your lawn being mowed fully autonomously.
Worx Landroid Installation Video
Ambrogio Installation Video
Step by Step Guide
Selecting a Robot Lawn Mower for your Lawn
The very first thing to do is to ensure Robot Lawn Mowers are suitable for your Lawn. Most Australian lawns are split from front yard to back, left side and right side of the driveway as well. So your Robot Lawn Mower needs to be able to navigate these areas either by traversing itself around or by you physically lifting the mower from one area to another. Gates and narrow or loose stone paths will likely prevent the mower from having full access between all areas.
The ability of Robot Lawn Mowers to climb slopes is approximately 45% gradient for most models. Remember this is Gradient and not degrees. As a guide 45% gradient is about 24 degrees. So measure any slopes you have and ensure you select a mower that is suitable for your lawn.
Thirdly, you need to know the total area of each of your zones in meters square and also know the total length that your perimeter wire. Your wire will need to surround all of your areas and to and from each area and also around any island gardens or "no go" zone that you may have internal to your lawn area. It is highly recommended that you select a mower that is capable of at least 130% of your measured area for simple open areas and 150% for more complex areas with multiple obstacles and/or narrow paths navigate though.
Purchasing your Robot Lawn Mower
Now that you have all the details of your lawn requirements you can simply select a mower that suits your lawn size, slopes and sub areas. But ensure you think of the following items when you at the checkout:
*Does your mower exceed your total lawn area by 130-150%.
*Is your mower capable of navigating the maximum slopes you have on your lawn.
*Does your mower capable of enough sub areas to cover the amount of zones you need.
*Is the power cable from the charging station long enough to reach your 240V power outlet.
*Does the mower come with enough perimeter wire and pegs to complete your installation.
*Do you require a cover or garage for your mower (Highly recommended purchase if your charging station is not going to be installed in a fully shaded location.)
Know your Robot Lawn Mower
Once you know what robot mower you are purchasing you can now read the installation manual to get a full understanding of your robots parameters. Some robots have different requirements for how the the charging station must be positioned. They all have different distances that you must lay the perimeter wire from the edges and there are also different functions on some mowers that can be triggered by different configurations in your perimeter wire installation . So understanding these parameters before you plan your installation can be the difference between installing once or having to perform multiple changes to your installation.
Plan your Installation
Time to put pen to paper and plan your installation. We recommend you either draw a simple sketch of your yard, or print out a google maps image of your yard. You can then mark your planned charging station position. Draw out you whole perimeter wire installation showing the distances your wire needs to be from each of the edges of your yard. Take particular notice of areas where your mower is turning around exterior corners to make sure the back of the mower does not hit anything as it turns.
Make sure you can get power to your charging station and that you have selected a position that allows for enough straight wire in front of your charging station to allow the mower to dock correctly. This is typically about 2 meters
Installation of Charging Station
The charging station position and installation is one of the most critical element of your installation. The chosen location is preferably in full shade, or if not a sun cover should be purchased and installed. As mentioned earlier you will also need around 2 meters of straight perimeter wire in the lead up to your charging station to allow the mower to align itself and dock correctly every time.
We recomend that you remove the grass under the charging station and you prepare the ground as level and flat as possible. This will allow for the mower to enter the charging station without having to jump up to a different level. A small amount of crusher dust under the charge station will also help the installation from sinking or moving over time. Note that some charge stations (Worx Landroid for example) are designed to let the grass grow up underneath. For this type of station we recommend you simply mower the grass down very low and install the station over the grass.
Installation of Perimeter Wire (Part 1-Distances from edges)
The distance in which you install your perimeter wire from your lawn edges will vary from model to model. However the principle is the same for all. These distances will be clearly shown in your manual. When your robot mower is traveling from its charging station to a set zone or when traveling back home to the charge, it will travel with the perimeter wire approximately centre to the mower.
Where your lawn has hard edges such as a fence or raised garden bed, you will need to install your wire about half the width of your mower plus a few centimeters for clearance. This will allow the mower to not hit the fence, it cut as close to the edge as possible.
Where your lawn has transitional edges that will allow your mower to travel half on and half off your lawn, (typically and concrete or paved area beside your lawn) you can lay your wire typically 10 centimeters or less from the edge. This will allow your mower to cut all the way to the edge.
We recommend that once you have your installation planned you place pegs around your lawn to indicate the distances required on each lawn edge.
Corners should be installed in a radius rather than square. We recommend approximately 45cm radius.
Installation of Perimeter Wire (Part 2-Islands and No Go Zones)
In most installations you will have an area within your lawn that you don’t want the robot mower to enter. This might be an island garden or pool or similar.
Stopping your mower from entering these areas is simple. The theory of all rob0t mowers it that if you lay your perimeter wire out to to the obstacle, around the obstacle and back along the same path back to your outer perimeter, the mower will ignore the two wires laying together but still obey the wire installed around your obstacle.
Typically with most robot mowers when the wires are laid together atno more than 1 centimeter apart, the mower will not recognise this section.
Installation of Perimeter Wire (Part 3-Closed and Open Loops)
Most Australian properties will have more than one lawn to be serviced by your robot mower. This can most likely be achieved by most models, as long as you are physically able to get the perimeter wire around all lawns to be mowed in one continuous loop.
Where your property will allow access for the mower to travel between areas you may have the option to install your perimeter wire with an open section for the mower to exit the area to travel along the wire from one area to another. We term this an “open loop”. This opening distance is different from model to model but typically around 5o centimeters.
Where your property does not allow access for the mower to travel, or you simple don’t want the mower to travel to this area on its own, you can then install what we term a “closed loop”. This is where the perimeter wire is still installed from one area to another, but where the wires departs from one area there is no gap left to allow the mower to travel out. This is also the same where the wires enter the next area.
Further details of these methods to minimize the distances for open loops are available. Just contact us to find out the best solution for your installation.
Installation of Perimeter Wire (Part 4-Crossing driveways and paths)
Crossing a driveway or part may be a necessary part of your installation. To allow your perimeter wire to cross concrete can be achieved in three ways.
The most efficient way is to use an existing expansion strip in your path. The wire can be simply pushed into the gap.
Secondly we recommend you use a standard concrete grinder and cut a single line across the path about 1cm deep. The word can then be laid in the cut and back filled with paving sand.
Thirdly you can lay the cable on top of the concrete and place either a plastic or aluminum cover strip on this to protect the wire. This strip will need to be glued into position with a construction adhesive. (Note that some aluminum strips may effect the ability of some robots to follow the wire)
The last part of your physical installation is to connect your perimeter wire to your charging station. Once your perimeter wire is fully installed the two ends next to the charging station can be run into their final position. This final connection will be different from model to model. Most will require the wire that exits the charger in an anticlockwise direction to be run either underneath the charger or passed through holes or slots in the base of the charger, before the wire is connected to the terminals in the charger. The other wire coming from the clockwise direction will enter the back of the charge station and be connected to the other terminal.
Once all connection have been made ensure the power to the charge station is on and its time to test the installation.l
Testing the Installation
The first setup of robot mowers can again be different from model to model. Most will have either a Bluetooth of wifi connection so the setup can be completed by a free IOS or Android App. Follow your manual to set up these connection and complete the basis set requirement as per the manual.
Once you have the mower up and functioning we recomend the following tests to check your installation:
Firstly test the alignment and installation of the charge station. For this we recomend to you place your mower on the perimeter wire facing the charging station about 5 meters away. Then send the mower home ten times to ensure with mower docks correctly on each occasion. If there appears to be a misalignment or the mower just doesn’t dock correctly you will need to revisit how the charger has been installed and double check that it is installed completely flat and level. Also check the perimeter wire is install in the correct location under the charger and there is an adequate straight wire leading into the charger. This wireposition can sometimes be adjusted to get the mower better aligned.
Secondly we recomend you run your robot mower around the entire perimeter wire at least 5 times to check that the mower can complete all turns reliably without leaving the wire or hitting obstacle on your boundaries. You can also use this test to see if the mower is cutting as close to the edge as possible. Any areas of the wire that can not be followed reliably, you can adjust the wire to correct any issues.
Programming your Zones & Schedule
Your robot is now ready ready to program your multi zones if your require them. Zones are set up by either just entering a measured distance from the charger into the App and the mower will travel that programmed distance and then leave the wire and stated to mow. Others will require the mower to physically travel around the wire and you will set each zones wire location as the mower physically passes that location.
When scheduling your mower there is again a couple of methods for different models. Some will allow you to set start and finish times for each zone for each day of the week. Some will require you to tell the mower the percentage of total area for each sub area and then set start and finish times each day and the mower will mow each ear for the percentage of the total area set. Most will only allow one start and finish time each day and some will allow two set times per day.
Most mowers will also allow you to set which days you would like the mower to perform an edge mow. This will send the mower for one complete loop of the perimeter wire to cut as close to the edge as it possibly can. Depending on whether your mower has a centered blade system or offset blade system Will determine how close you can cut to the edges.
Yes it is an effort to complete the installation. But keep in mind it is a one off effort that will take between 2 and 10 hours that will save you many many hours of pushing your petrol guzzling, pollution contributing conventional mower.
The more time spent planning will definitely pay off with less time spent with your install.
For all of the above information we have further tips and tricks that can minimise wire distances and allow the mowers to perform a little better than the manufactures recommended limits. So if you are questioning the ability of a mower to work on your lawns. Please contact us so we can provide solutions to suit.