I am sitting in my hammock while writing this article – watching my brand new Robomow RC306 cutting the grass in our little garden. I bought the guy a couple of days ago and he is doing his third round in autonomous mode today. As a robotic fan (but also as a lazy person in general) i must say, i am impressed. Ok, to be fair – i was not too impressed in the beginning because the setup procedure is really kind of dumb. Not the software, it comes with an app and even without that the configuration of the device is really ok. What i mean by dumb is how you tell him where your garden is. To do that you have to install a wire around the green parts of your garden, separate it into zones if needed (that’s not your decision), take care if there are difficult trees or other objects that might cause trouble etc. – in 2015 i thought a company with the tagline “friendly robotics” would do a little smarter. But i shouldn’t blame them because it seems to be the standard among these kind of robots at the moment. I read a quote somewhere saying that irobot is working on a different solution without the wire – but yet they have no grass mover in place.
The thing with the wire is – it’s not just a pain to install it, you even have to check very carefully whether the Robomow is ok with it and can use it as a guide to drive around safely. Plus: just today he cut the wire twice and i had to solder the pieces together to get him working again. Increase cutting height of the robot and position of the wire again, will see…
Besides that i really like it – he is much more silent than a manual mover and once the wire-problem is solved does his job quite nicely. The algorithms to avoid being stuck seem to work ok as well. Although i took the 306, which is meant to work for 600 square meter the battery does not last to do my significantly smaller garden in one approach – but i don’t bother too much. He just moves back to his station and starts over again some hours later.
As said – an app is available for iOS (and Android i guess) which works quite well. All relevant settings can be modified here which is much more convenient than on the device itself.
The Robomow does have a rain-sensor, can’t tell yet how good that works, but i think it’s a crucial feature because cutting in the rain is not a good idea – not so much because of the machine but because the ground starts to get muddy and the mover will not only get stuck but also start messing around with the ground.
We do have an iRobot in the house since quite some time but stopped using the automatic (timer-based) mode bacause it was not really convenient in the end (noise, the need to prepare the ground to some extent etc.). Not sure how this will play out with the Robomow and whether we will use him in full autonomous mode or turn him on manually from time to time. But even in that case – a nasty bit of work has vanished from my life, thank you Robomow.