A robomower is a robotic lawn mowing machine designed to automatically trim grass at a specific day and time. The mowing unit itself uses a rechargeable battery pack to power a set of self-propelling wheels and three mulching blades. High-end models can have the equivalent cutting power of a 5.5 horsepower gas push mower. Because the blades turn the clipped grass into a fertilizing powder, there is usually no need for bagging or raking afterwards.
Robomower owners do have to perform a few chores before the unit can be allowed to mow. A generous amount of wiring must be staked around the perimeter of the yard, much like the wires of a fenceless dog restraint system. The homeowner wraps the wire around a small stake every 10 feet (3 meters) or so. Curves in the landscape may require more wire and more staking than anticipated, so owners should plan accordingly. It is better to have all the wiring on hand rather than wait several weeks for delivery. In a pinch, any 18 to 22 gauge copper wiring could be used for augmentation. This wire should be placed at ground level, where growing grass will eventually render it virtually invisible. The entire grid is energized with a battery unit while the mower is working.
Once the perimeter wire has been properly positioned, the device should be fully charged with a special charging unit connected to a standard household plug. The unit itself can require two people to lift it into place. This is not a lightweight robotic toy. Once the wheels have been adjusted for the preferred cutting height, one push of a button will set the robomower in motion. Some may find the initial mowing pattern to be a little unorthodox, but the unit follows a grid pattern which will eventually pass over every section of the yard inside the perimeter wire.
If the mower encounters a perimeter wire, an onboard computer will calculate its position and immediately back away. The same holds true for foreign objects like trees, people, rose bushes and baseballs. If any part of the robomower's 360 degree bumper system is touched, the onboard computer will immediately seek another path. Owners should always check the yard for obvious debris such as sticks and pine cones, but an occasional encounter with natural obstacles shouldn't hurt the blades.
One obvious area of concern for would-be owners is safety. After all, a powerful set of blades will be running through the yard without human guidance. The designers of the robomower system have incorporated many safety features. The unit will shut off instantly if turned over on its back. The blades are never exposed while in operation — if a child wanders into the path of a robomower, the bumper will detect him or her and change direction. Should someone attempt to steal the unit between assignments, an alarm will sound. The operational buttons and programmer have child locks to prevent accidental usage.
Some owners of a may have to do some trimming around the perimeter of their yards, but the yard itself should be perfectly cut every time. When the robomower has finished for the day, it will automatically return to the recharging unit and await the next assignment.