Almost Live

Posted by on 15 Jun 2008 | Tagged as: General

I’ve got the yard cam live all the time now, but still working on the first person lawnbott cam (it will be up and down). Both are linked from here:

Way to go (mow)!

Posted by on 19 May 2008 | Tagged as: General

From: Don
To: Sara
Date: Mon, 19 May 2008 07:31:46 -0400

Betsie finished by the way! The lawn looks great!


Yeah! The weeds were knee high on Friday night when I got home and found the package from KA.

I set Betsie to charging. When she was ready (or maybe before since I am impatient) she came out, did a spiral, crossed the yard, and went home. Total time, less than 10 minutes!

I began to fear for the battery. However, she was cutting better than ever and not getting stuck in the tall weeds. So I decided not to worry yet.

I’m not sure if it was the new blade, the new software, or maybe the fact that my grass isn’t too thick… but I have never seen a lawnbott do so well in such overgrown grass. I’m pretty the fact that the grass wasn’t too thick helped a lot.

I’m going to try over-seeding when I get home next week (I have a bag of seed that the previous owners of our house left, so might as well use it). Betsie keeps things a bit shorter than I’d like, and that lets the weeds come in more. Anyone have advice about dealing with that?

Lawnbott Live! At least for the moment…….

Posted by on 16 May 2008 | Tagged as: General

Check the box on the right side… if it’s black then Betsie is in her house charging. If it’s a photo then we’re offline. But maybe, if you time it right, you’ll see her out mowing!

If you are seeing this in your feed, come visit the site to see the cam. 🙂

Betsie, Back in Action!

Posted by on 16 May 2008 | Tagged as: General

Betsie, Back in Action!

Originally uploaded by sajego.

I let her charge for about 20 minutes and then got impatient. That was when I realized the charger was on the wrong voltage setting. I switched it, waited 5 more minutes and then sent her out. She made this lovely spiral, crossed the yard to the driveway and must have been cruising because she slipped out of bounds and stopped. I turned her around but she said Low Battery so I sent her home.

Just a little bit of grass to mow…

Posted by on 16 May 2008 | Tagged as: General

Betsie, Back in Action!

Originally uploaded by sajego.

Guess what FedEx finally left me! I was all ready to break down and ask the neighbor’s teenager to mow my lawn (he does my neighbors) since I’m out of town next week. But the charger is here and Betsie is working again!

In other news, the rose bush (they are Bright Pink) has a couple dozen blooms on it!

A Rough Spring

Posted by on 10 May 2008 | Tagged as: General

As I wrote previously, I was planning to redo Betsie’s front yard wire. Strangely enough though, when I started her up for the first mow of the spring, the wire was connecting perfectly and I didn’t have to fiddle with anything at all. I was quite surprised.

After getting the grass short I planted some grass seed that the previous owners of the house had left in the shed. I just tossed it around by hand on the bare spots under the trees (it was a shade grass mix). It had been dated spring 07, but I figured I might as well try it since it was left behind. It has been growing well since then.

Of course the wire around the side yard was broken, and then something disconnected on the main loop too. I placed an order for wire. It hadn’t come by the next weekend so I looked up the tracking number.



“Pasadena, Maryland”

Oh no. That was Betsie’s first home. 3 hours away and who knows who lives there now! I had changed all the addresses when I checked out, and my email confirmation from the company had only the right address on it. I contacted them and complained. I told them they could just refund my money. I ordered from McMaster Carr and had the wire the next day.

My next free evening I installed it. Wow, no wonder I had had so many problems with the wire. In less than 500 feet I had at least 8 different pieces. Now it was all one piece all the way around. I got to visit with my neighbors who came out of hibernation to chat for the first time since fall.

I connected the new wire to the stranded pig tails and went to check the connection. The light on the transmitter that is either solid green or blinking green wasn’t either. It wasn’t even lit.

Betsie wasn’t charged.

Something had gone wrong in the week and a half of waiting for the misdirected wire.

At first I suspected the transmitter, but after measuring the voltage across charger I realized that was the likely culprit, only 5 volts instead of 25.

I checked all the fuses, cleaned off some dirt, and it worked again!

For about 5 minutes.

Now the lights on the charger were out too.

This is why Bamabots was having new parts sent to me. What’s happen since then? Well, I got a new transmitter, but they didn’t send a new charger. I’m still waiting.

Talking to myself versus to an audience

Posted by on 10 May 2008 | Tagged as: General

It is strange having a blog that you know people read. My livejournal, which I’ve had since 1999, has never had many followers, so I just talk to myself and feel free to complain about things. It’s actually been “friends only” since I discovered a co-worker reading it a few years ago, I didn’t want to have to worry about what I might have said about my job being too public.

Betsie’s blog, this blog, started because I wanted to tell people about my cool new creature. I talked about her in so many emails and IMs that my friends got tired of hearing about “Betsie this, Betsie that” all the time. So I set up a livejournal account for Betsie and sent emails to that instead.

It was a surprise when people started commenting, and a huge surprise to be contacted by the lanwbott company (KA) because of this blog. Subject matter blogging was just starting to really catch fire at the time, so I guess we fit right in.

Now days I don’t write quite so much. CBS Sunday Morning never did do their story with my interview and Betsie. I know that that happens with TV, but they did act like it would definitely air last summer. My neighbors are still asking me about it.

They are also asking me why Betsie hasn’t been out much this spring. Is that the new polite way of point out how tall the grass is in your lawn? That’s another entry though.

Did I jinx it or something?

Posted by on 06 May 2008 | Tagged as: General

Still no package with new power adapter. I guess my last post jinxed it… or maybe it went the way of my original wire shipment… to the last place I lived in Maryland. Hope not.

Great customer service, as always

Posted by on 29 Apr 2008 | Tagged as: General

Last week, Thursday I think, I put down brand new wire in the front yard. After taking out the old wire my reason for doing this became even more clear. The old wire was made up of various lengths twisted together. I used about 400 feet for the new wire, yet the old wire was at least 8 different pieces! This is what happens when you move an installation from one house to another (or if you have a landlord who likes to break your wire).

As I finished I went to check on the signal and connection with the terminals. That’s funny, no light on the transmitter (little box) at all? Weird. So much for testing the new wire. Betsie’s battery was also drained all the way.

I emailed the folks at Bamabots. I measured a voltage of only about 6 V coming through the charging station. That would be a problem, it should be 27 or so volts. After checking that all the fuses were okay, cleaning some dirt away from one fuse inside the transformer (big box) I tried it again and it worked fine! Wow. I guess it was just dirt.

I left Betsie to charge and I emailed Bamabots to tell them of my success. I came back and it wasn’t working again. This time none of the lights were on on either the transmitter or the transformer. Spoke too soon. I emailed them again.

Well that was Friday, I emailed today to ask if they could just send a new transformer out to me because the rain has stopped and the grass is about to grow a foot!

I got a reply back really quick…

Hi Sara!

A new transmitter and charger are already on their way. They should have went out yesterday from Atlanta.


Now that’s service, yes? I had to respond ‘Thanks for letting me know! ;)’ Maybe it’ll come today!

Redoing the wire

Posted by on 05 Apr 2008 | Tagged as: General

I am thinking about re-wiring the yard with new wire for this season. The wire I have always seems to have breaks in it that I can’t find easily. This is mostly because I used it at another house before moving here. Now that I’m not planning on moving again ANY time soon, it would be nice to have a more reliable perimeter. I wouldn’t be in such a hurry to get Betsie out there mowing immediately so she wouldn’t chop the wire up, plus I think I would just bury it from the start.

Last time I bought wire from Del City and I think I opted for THHN 14 gauge solid/single strand. It has worked pretty well except for connecting to the charging house terminals, I had to do that with the Lawnbott supplied stranded wire to get it to keep a signal loop. The little springs that held the terminal clips in are long gone too. I usually have it covered with tape.

Anyone have advice for where to get more wire from or what to do about the terminals?

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