You probably want to mow when the lawn is not being used. For example you may choose to only cut at night time if you have pets, or children using the garden throughout the day.
To make the change you can summon the mower to the charging station by pressing the Park button on top of it or go to the machine itself and hit the stop button. Once at the control panel the setup is pretty straight forward. Call up the timer function from the main menu then adjust the hours and copy them to the days required. According to the manual…
The lawn should not be cut too often to obtain the best mowing result. Use the timer function to avoid a downtrodden lawn and to get the maximum life from the robotic lawnmower.
Using the manufacturers figures the 430X cuts for 135 minutes, followed by 65 minutes of charging. So that’s 200 minutes for one complete cycle, ignoring the small amount of time it takes to travel back to the charger.
It’s probably best to avoid cutting during the early hours of the morning because of the dew that makes the grass stick to the wheels and leads to debris on the lawn. So we could set the timer to cut starting at say 10am each day and finish at 8pm. In that 600 minute window the machine will finish 3 complete cycles and this could easily be pushed to more, especially as the last cycle can rely on charging overnight.
So those 3 cycles per day would equate to 405 minutes (6.75 hours) of actual cutting time. Again using the manufacturers figures the machine can cut an area of 135m2 per hour. That figure may actually take charging into account – I’m not sure – but even if it does it means were cutting more than we calculate here.
Now, 6.75 hours x 135m2 = 911m2 per day – meaning the entire 2,700m2 area of our lawn should be cut completely every 3 days. There’s further advice from the manual too…
If the size of the working area allows it, the quality of the grass can be further improved if it is cut every other day instead of a few hours every day. In addition, the grass benefits from resting completely during at least a three- day period once a month.
It’s hard to see how you could have 3 days rest other than manually stopping the machine. However it’s should be possible to completely cut the area once a week by program it to run every other day (Monday, Wednesday, Friday, Sunday).
Despite all that great sounding maths above, there are other factors to consider here. First it assumes the machine’s GPS is good enough to make sure it’s not cutting parts of the lawn more than once. That’s probably unlikely as GPS resolution is usually a few meters rather than centimetres.
More problematic than that though is the fact that the machine must track across areas it has already cut time after time to ensure it cuts the entire lawn from multiple angles.
This table in the manual suggests running 20.5 hours per day, 7 days per week to cut the area closest to ours (2,750m2). That’s a huge difference from our calculations.
But our lawn has hardly any obstacles and so should be much more efficient to cut than perhaps the formula used to arrive at Husqvarna’s figures suggests. If we can run the machine less frequently than the recommended pace in that table then we’re going to extend the time it takes to replace the batteries, reduce the charging costs and lengthen the overall life of the machine.
So we’ve had the Automower on our 3 cycle per day experiment described above for a week now and apart from the (unrelated?) appearance of a crop of buttercups everything seems fine so far. I’ll update things on this experiment in part 4.
What About the Weather?
There is also a ‘Weather Timer’ which when enabled automatically adjusts mowing times based on how quickly the grass is growing. This means it will actually cut more during wetter weather when growth is faster. The Timer function overrides the weather one, as the manual puts it…
The robotic lawnmower will however not operate longer than the time that may be configured in the timer settings. For optimal weather timer performance, it is recommended when setting the timer to only de-select the times when the robotic lawnmower must not operate. Other times should be made available for the weather timer.
We’ve not tried the weather timer yet but may give it a go later on once this warm dry, unusually summery weather no doubt disappears.
One Month Update
We’ve had the Automower for a full month now and although we’re not quite there yet, you’ll see from this weeks video that the tracks left in the lawn from our ride-on are starting to fade away. Thanks to Paul and Mark for the great drone footage in this third part of our video review (please like, share and subscribe – thanks)…
Make sure to check out all 8 parts in this video review series…
Part 1 – The Robots are Coming
Part 2 – The 1st Cut is the Deepest
Part 3 – Perfect Timing
Part 4 – Connect Control
Part 5 – Rain or Shine
Part 6 – Stolen?
Part 7 – I Messed Up
Part 8 – A Tesla for your Garden