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?

It’s Winter

Posted by on 25 Jan 2008 | Tagged as: General

I need to take a picture of the circle of yellow grass in the front yard. I didn’t notice it until a few weeks ago. It looks like a lawnbott pattern, and very well could be.

I sent Betsie out to mulch leaves and after a short time realized her blade was set very low. This resulted in her cutting up the already dying grass (we had a drought this summer) lower than the other grass had been.

I can’t wait for spring and things to turn green again! Winter without snow is just not very pretty.

Rogue Robot… eep…

Posted by on 11 Sep 2007 | Tagged as: General

We got home on Saturday night and pulling into the driveway we saw Betsie in a spot she really shouldn’t have been able to get to. Stuck right up by the garage door munching on some weeds. I have no clue how she got there, and I have had her on house arrest since then because I haven’t had time to watch her closely yet. She was still powered on (display said ‘BLOCKED’) so it doesn’t seem likely anyone picked her up, she would have turned off as they carried her.

I felt like Frankenstein

Posted by on 17 Aug 2007 | Tagged as: General

I downloaded the internet update software yesterday onto my work computer. Thankfully it wasn’t complex enough to need one to be a windows administrator to install it. They include a nice list of all the updates. Poor Betsie was still using software from 2005!

I got home and opened her all up on the porch. Lots of dust, but very clean inside considering! Now she really felt more like a robot to me. All the cards and wires. The Serial port was at the lower right side and needed a 9 pin male plug.

I went to Staples (they’re the closest big box store to my house) and found a M/F DB9 Serial. Very common. Driving home it started pouring! No worries, I already had Betsie up on the front porch waiting for me.

The cable was designed as an extension cable, so I had to remove the annoying metal nuts to get it to fit. I ended up taking the whole shield off and leaving just the pins, but it worked!

I set up my work laptop (my personal laptop is a MacBook and doesn’t have a serial port) in the house foyer and ran the cable out the door to Betsie.

I didn’t get a connection. I tried all the ports and none worked.

I opened the Report program and it told me to have the robot turned on and in Pause mode. So I decided to try that.

Won’t turn on. Ooops, I had grabbed Betsie right from the yard where she had gotten stuck or something and shut down. She needed to be taken over to the house to restart. I checked the rain and decided it was light enough to try it. We only got a little bit wet.

Back to the porch and plugged the cable in again. The rain started back up and the lightning flashing and thunder crashing made me feel all Mad Scientisty! This time, with Betsie on Pause, the software connected perfectly. She’s now running June 28, 2007. It Worked! It’s Alive!!

I put her all back together and tried to get her started but got the Sync and No Signal error, so the rain must have messed with the wire. But even the error is better than before. It used to sit on Sync for a lot longer.

Today we’ll give it a try with the new programming.

Software Updates!

Posted by on 15 Aug 2007 | Tagged as: General

So, I need to find a serial cable, because apparently there have been multiple software updates for the Lawnbott Evolution. Betsie is behind the fashions! Oh no!

The best discussion of the update has been here at the Bamabot’s forums. They also have free cables when you purchase $50 from them.

I will let you know how it goes.

Just a normal humid Monday…

Posted by on 16 Jul 2007 | Tagged as: General

So, I am sitting here right now with a guy from CBS “Sunday Morning” with his camera pointing at me. “We want to film you updating your blog.” Ok…. They have been here since about 12:30 pm filming and interviewing me about Betsie. I was filmed “updating my blog” so, here it is. I had to cheat a bit and edit this later since it’s hard to think about blogging when you’re on camera. I found a friend to chat to via IM to keep the ‘keyboard sounds’ coming steadily.

Just as we finished filming my interview and some shots of Betsie just mowing a lawn maintenance crew came drove up to take care of another yard on the cul-de-sac. The producer and camera guy started talking with them too. They thought it was pretty funny. I couldn’t hear much of the conversation, but they didn’t seem too worried about being put out of business by robots. “They’re slow! They can’t make the patterns in the grass!” Well, guys, speed isn’t too important when my lawnmower is ultra quiet and can run all night.

Then a rain storm came in and now there is thunder and lightning. It’s pouring, so I am pretty sure that Betsie went home when her rain sensor tripped.

I don’t know when we will be on TV, but I’ll be sure to keep everyone posted. It might be in the next 3 weeks. The segment is about the History of Lawn Mowers… so I guess we’ll be near the end. Sunday Morning is a national show, and they’re planning to mention this website. Hence, we’re moving again (not really, the the old address will still mirror) to

A peaceful summer

Posted by on 15 Jul 2007 | Tagged as: General

It has been a few months since I’ve updated everyone about Betsie’s latest news. Truth is, there isn’t much to tell! Things are going very smoothly.

I wired the back yard last month. Even though it is very uneven and doesn’t have much grass I can now let Betsie play back there by herself. Our goal is to reseed or lay turf some day. The soil is mostly hard packed clay… so it is definitely going to need some work before we have nice grass.

Almost 3 weeks off

Posted by on 24 May 2007 | Tagged as: General

I’m surprised the neighbors haven’t knocked on the door yet and asked me what happen to Betsie. Her battery charger stopped working a while ago. I just got the new one today (thanks KA!) and the lawn should be back in shape very shortly. The battery needs to recharge good though.

Lost her eye

Posted by on 02 May 2007 | Tagged as: General


Originally uploaded by sajego.

Somehow Betsie lost the yellow plastic part that covered the hole where the light shines through. I think I need to cover it with something….

Little bit of side yard

Posted by on 29 Apr 2007 | Tagged as: General

Little bit of side yard

Originally uploaded by sajego.

We have this little section of yard to the side of the driveway. It’s probably 5 or 6 feet wide by 20-30 feet long. I didn’t want to run wires across the driveway in 2 places so Betsie can’t get there on her own. I try to remember to put her over there when it gets long.

I was gone for a work trip last week and when I left her wire wasn’t making a closed circuit. So she didn’t mow all week. This morning she got through the side yard and then finished 42% of the front yard before going home to charge.

I want to wire the back yard sometime, but it’s very uneven and doesn’t have much grass. When we get the money we are going to have it graded for drainage and probably lay new turf. Next year I think… we’re still catching up with fixing up the inside of the house this year.

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