Robomow RC308 – the dream of a novice robot owner
In July 2016, a detailed review about the design and operating experience of the Robomow RS625 robotic mower was already published on our website. And when representatives of the DONT.RF company proposed to compare it with one of the models of the younger RC series, we agreed with interest, and soon the Robomow RC308 model came to us for testing.
The weight of the Robomow RC308, together with all the accessories in the box, is 22.4 kg.
Recall that almost all such devices operate on the principle of an autonomous mulching lawn mower, the mowing area of which is limited to a special low-voltage electrical circuit, which is detected by the robot's sensors. The robotic mower moves according to a random algorithm within a circuit limited by a wire and gradually mows and crushes the grass over the entire area. Recharging takes place automatically at the base station, which is located in the place where it starts and where the laying of the perimeter contour ends. In our case, the wire was laid along a contour of complex shape, and the fenced area can be estimated only approximately. Roughly it is 13-14 acres, on which we decided to try the RS308, as they say, in the field. One of the useful features of Robomow mowers is the ability to organize several mowing areas on one site. If the site is divided by landings or buildings into several zones, interconnected by passages of a width of 3 m or more, then lay the cable, considering the entire area as one main zone. If the width of the passage between the parts of the section is more than 1.2 m, but less than 3 m, then additional zones will be required during the cable laying process. Finally, if the aisles are very narrow, you can program individual zones. If the total length of the perimeter wire does not exceed 800-1000 m (this is the maximum length into which the transmitter can pump a signal). then you can connect them to the main zone in one loop, otherwise you will need to create them using an additional perimeter block and transfer the mower there manually.
Open the box
The cost of the mower is 96,990 rubles. – It is more than one and a half times cheaper than RS625. At the same time, the manufacturer recommends it for caring for the site no more than 8-15 hundred parts. For comparison: RS625 is capable of servicing sections up to 25-40 hundredths, depending on the configuration and the number of obstacles in the section.
There are three main differences between the RC series and RS: half the cutting width – 28 cm vs 56 cm, one engine with a power of 200 W, instead of two with the RS, and, finally, smaller dimensions and weight — 11 kg vs 20 kg.
The latter is noticeable already in the box. You can take it out of the Robomow RC308 store alone.
We study a complete set
The mower comes with a base station for recharging, a stationary control panel with a 15-meter extension cord to connect power to this station, a wire to limit the perimeter 200 m long and 250 pegs for fixing the loop wire to the ground, as well as an operating manual in 11 languages , including in Russian. But we don’t need all this, because for testing we will use the circuit already laid out for the RS625 model. Recall that its creation took 300 m of wire and it took 400 pegs. Therefore, in the event that the site is complex in shape, it will not be superfluous to immediately purchase an additional coil of wire and a set of pegs.
Recall also that when laying the perimeter, the perimeter control unit should be installed in the house, and the base station should be located on an even area of the site, so that a power cable could be brought to it and taking into account the fact that the robot would need a 3-meter section without bends of wire for even check in to the base.
Four metal rods are attached to the base station for improved fixation, and it is proposed to simplify the perimeter laying by using a special robo line with the marked minimum distances to a fixed vertical barrier (28 cm to the wall) and to the edge of the lawn (18 cm). Rain is not terrible either for the mower or for the base station, therefore, it is not necessary to build any additional shelter for them. However, if from an aesthetic point of view, as well as for additional protection of the mower, there is a desire to equip its place of deployment, then optionally you can purchase a special company shelter.
Signature Shelter for RC Series Models
The RC308 is noticeably smaller than its older brother, and this allows it to work a little more successfully in narrow aisles. This is especially noticeable in the manual mowing mode.
Functionally, the RC308 and RS625 were almost the same. Both devices can easily be programmed to automatically turn on at a convenient time and day of the week, both models have a rain sensor with adjustable sensitivity, which sends the robot to the base until the precipitation stops. Both have a mowing mode of the edges of the lawn, the ability to select the operating time and adjust the intensity of mowing. Even the period of operation until the need for recharging is similar for them – 60-70 min, despite the fact that the older model uses a lithium-ion battery with a lithium ferrophosphate cathode (LiFePO4) with a capacity of 4.5 Ah and a voltage of 26 V, and the youngest similar battery with a capacity of 3 Ah Batteries of this type have an increased number of full discharge / charge cycles, that is, three to four times longer service life than a conventional lithium-ion battery. 3-5 years, subject to proper storage in the winter. About it below.
The base station from RS625 did not fit for charging the RC308
The first problem I had to deal with was that the base stations for the RC and RS series were not compatible. Therefore, it was necessary to charge the mower battery by a non-automatic method – through the connector in the back, which is intended for recharging during winter storage. This must be done once every three months, if there is no desire to change the battery annually.
Mowing height is set smoothly in the range from 15 to 60 mm
Adjusting the mowing height in the RC308 is not as convenient as in the RS625, although it is simple and does not require special tools. In principle, the design of the RC308 mower turned out to be even more simplified compared to the RS625: there is no separate LCD display (only a less informative built-in on the board), there is no fuse, all elements are easily disconnected and changed if necessary. But at the same time, the settings of all functions are less intuitive than in the RS625, so you can’t do without careful reading of the instructions.
It looks like a control panel with LED indication
On / Off switch you will not find quickly
However, you can install a proprietary application from the AppStore or Google Play on your phone or tablet, through which it will become quite convenient to make all the settings. By the way, with the help of the application you can control the lawn mower manually and even cough up some areas of the lawn that the robot cannot get into automatically. In addition, to control the mower in manual mode, you can additionally purchase the proprietary Robomow Bluetooth remote control.
Using a smartphone, configuring all functions and controlling the robot is very simple.
It took twice as much time to process the RC308 site – almost two days with a mowing break from 8 o’clock in the evening until 10 in the morning, but the robot coped with the task with dignity. At first glance, there is no difference in the quality of mowing compared to a more powerful model, and just looking closely, you can notice a little more missed small areas. However, with constant mowing, such sites will not remain over time. And this despite the fact that the real mowing area was several hundred more than the maximum allowable.
Returning for charging to the base station, the RC308 follows along the perimeter wire. It should be noted that when returning to the base station, the robot follows almost the same route (along the boundary of the site).
Almost, by the way, because when returning, the robot specially randomly shifts its path by 3-6 cm. This "near-wire" movement was made specifically to prevent the rut from rolling.
Theoretically, the mowing process for both models should be the same. During operation, they move according to an algorithm combining reflection at a certain angle from the edges of the contour with chaotic reflection from obstacles inside the perimeter (trees, poles, high fences). This sequence of actions allows robots to gradually cover the entire area of the site. In practice, unlike the RS625, his younger brother constantly went to the left. Perhaps this is due to the asymmetry of this model relative to the longitudinal axis, and perhaps when moving along the bumps of the site, a model with a shorter distance between the wheels is more susceptible to deviations from the straight path. This did not affect the final result, but manual control turned out to be less convenient.
RC308 likes to walk left
As already noted, one charge of the RC308 is enough for 60-70 minutes of battery life, after which the mower automatically goes to the base and charges for one to one and a half hours. Now about the undoubted advantages, which the RC308 is by no means small. If the laying of the perimeter contour was carried out for this model, then there would have been much fewer zones that had to be finished in manual mode. The RC308 allows you to leave smaller distances between the security islands and the perimeter wire, and also allows a smaller diameter of the security islands themselves (70 cm instead of 90 cm for RS625). Also, you do not need to use a special template for laying a narrow passage to the additional zone.
A knife with a diameter of 28 cm cows the track of the right drive wheel, which allows you to mow the grass as close to the edge of the lawn at vertical obstacles
We also note that one knife mulches the grass in much the same way as two on the RS625. Moreover, the recommended annual replacement of one knife, of course, will be cheaper than two.
Due to, so to speak, the shortened wheelbase, the RC308 worked without problems on uneven areas of our site. Therefore, it was decided to risk testing it in the work of mowing the adjacent territory from a ditch overgrown with weeds in manual mode. In this mode, the robot moves at a constant slow speed, but automatically adjusts the speed depending on the load. Frankly, we did not expect the RC308 to deal with weeds. Of course, this mowing did not go perfectly smoothly. Sometimes the mower turned off and asked to check the knives, sometimes the engine overheated, and had to give it a few minutes to rest, but in the end the RC308 completely cleared the approach to the ditch.
The manufacturer recommends using RC308 for mowing grass, the height of which exceeds the maximum permissible mowing height by no more than 50%, but the robot coped with weeds by four plus
So, what conclusions can be drawn from the Robomow RC308?
Firstly, it’s definitely not worth saving and buying a less powerful device for servicing a site whose area exceeds the recommended by the manufacturer. Otherwise, the mower will constantly work at the maximum of its capabilities, you will often have to change knives and constantly share the lawn with it, which is still supposed to be used for rest, and not for “walking” lawn mowers on it. You can even recommend multiplying the area by 1.5 and picking up a robotic mower with a margin of maximum productivity, focusing on the figure thus obtained. This will minimize the work of maintaining the site in perfect condition and increase the mower resource. The performance of the robotic lawnmower can be found in the specifications (for the RC308 it is 85 sq. M / h). Therefore, if you want the robot to fit, for example, at seven o’clock and at the same time function once a week, then this model is suitable provided that the area of the lawn (and not the entire area!) Does not exceed 6 acres.
Secondly, despite the fact that two knives, of course, mulch grass better, this model also copes well with this task – the effect of “hay on the lawn” was not observed.
Modular design provides easy access to all robotic mower units
Thirdly, the Robomow RC308 is easier to maintain due to its lower weight. But at the same time, fences around objects where it was not possible to lay safety islands with a wire will have to be built more rigid and durable. Thanks to the factory settings for the sensitivity of the sensor in the bumper, which can only be changed at a service center, this mower is not able to stop decorative plastic fences.
The sensitivity of the bumper RC308 is desirable to slightly increase
It is quite possible to entrust the control in manual mode to the child. With the safety of use, she is all right. It was checked that the knives immediately stop turning if the mower is raised or tilted. In the event of a collision with an obstacle, the knives also stop, the robot moves back a little and changes direction.
This time, the plastic fence reflected the RC308, but it’s better not to risk it and strengthen it, for example, with wooden stakes or change to a harder one
It remains to add that, like the older models, the Robomow RC mowers come with a wide range of useful accessories and a three-year warranty. In addition to the remote control, an additional perimeter control unit can also be purchased separately. It allows you to organize an additional zone anywhere, even at a considerable distance from the site. It is enough to bring a robot there, turn it on, set it up and start mowing. It is also possible to organize mowing in two separate areas using one mower, purchasing an additional one more base station. In this case, in both areas, the device will not only mow, but also charge. Also, for all Robomow models (including RC304 and RC308), a GSM module is available to order, which will allow receiving alarm messages on a smartphone or tablet, as well as controlling its approximate location, thereby providing an additional anti-theft protection to an existing lock when using a PIN code.
Additional perimeter control unit
Therefore, if the area of your lawn does not exceed seven to eight hundred parts, you should pay attention to the Robomow RC308 robotic mower model, extremely attractive in terms of functionality, reliability and cost.
. (tagsToTranslate) Robomow RC308 (t) mower (t) lawn (t) Robomow RS625