Wednesday 1 August 2007

Tomy the Mowbot - Review

Well, as I am completely lazy, I’ve bought myself a robot lawnmower. I eventually went for the Mowbot, which is designed and built in Italy. Information is quite hard to find about these things, but it eventually became clear that the Lawnbott is exactly the same beastie under a different name.

I’ve a circular lawn, with a 65mm wide brick border around it. Time will tell if it actually manages to cut upto the edge - I was advised that it would be able to, as it will go around the edge on its way back to its garage, however when it decides it is time to go home, it drives until it meets the perimiter cable, turns right and follows the wire home. This means that the edge to the left of where it meets the wire will not be done.

It probably needs a software patch, to cut the edge by following the cable in an anti-clockwise direction before turning round and following it clockwise to get back to base.

Another unwanted feature is radio interference. My lawn is quite small, and consequently, the perimeter wire is quite short. Next-door ended up phoning the local FM radio station to ask if there were any problems with the transmitter. The old version of the installation manual expects a minimum of 20m of perimeter cable, whereas current instructions just tell you for testing you should add 35 feet of cable as the loop. My suppliers have provided me with an additional filter, and the filter (along with a 20m coil of cable) mean that Radio 4 is back on the air.

The next problem is the beeping. The mower beeps every 20 seconds when it is in the garage, and more regularly (and even louder) if it detects rain. There is no menu through which the beeping can be turned off. For some reason, the manufacturers decided to put the beep enable/disable on a hidden service menu - the mower is now quiet.

To access the service menu:

Turn on and press Pause.

Press Charge.

then +

then -

You are now in the service menu.

Use +/- to navigate to 'Beep'

Press Enter to change settings.

Press Pause to exit

Take care, as you can probably do some damage in this menu.

Happy days.


It's been over a year now, and I can confirm that Tomy does not cut up to the edge. If you lay the cable out as instructed (300mm from the edge), the robot can navigate its way back home without falling off the lawn, but leaves a 150mm ring around the lawn that it does not cut.


  1. I'm interested to hear if you are still using your mowbot? Have you needed to replace any motors or other parts? Cheers, Jeremy.

  2. It's bee about 2 years now, and I've not had to replace anything. I really should flip over or sharpen the reversible blade though.

    He spends about 50 minutes, every other day, out in the garden cutting. In winter, I have been leaving him out in his little garage, on pause - they do sell a winter charging kit, but it has been so mild here, and my garden is so sheltered, I haven't bothered.

  3. Cheers, appreciate the comments. Are you using lead acid batteries, and have you replaced the batteries?

  4. Nope, the mower came with LiIon batteries. I'm extremely pleased with the mowing that I don't have to do!

  5. I have a MowBot and have been very happy with it until I realised that it is responsible for my poor Broadband internet speeds. I will need to source a filter to see if it works with may BT Router as well as Radio 4. The postman was complaining this morning that his radio reception was poor in our drive - which made me check the noise readings in my router (5dB Noise margin with Mobot On, 21dB with it off)...

  6. I too had the same - my mowbot supplier provided me with the in-line filter, and I lengthened the border cable, leaving a coil by the 'garage'. If it is still bad, you could put a timer switch on the mains to the mower, so that it comes on during the middle of the night to charge, and for the hour or so you have it cutting.

  7. Superb machine, very well built/over-engineered in my view, after over five years outdoors summer and winter the original lithium battery eventually fails to hold enough charge to do a complete mow.

    On my second one now, the new Mowbot was delivered with a very large signal filter included as standard, plus some very minor changes like a guard ring around the blade, and hinged power contacts in the charging station, but exactly the same manual, and exactly the same really annoying beep - so thanks for publishing the service menu fix, works first time, Mowbot now sits happily charging without annoying the neighbours - perhaps the importers could set this up before shipping, or at the very least include a note about it!

    Works fine on a really complex lawn, and over stepping stones and paved edges, but it is worth spending the time setting out the perimeter cable, especially the bit about making changes in direction smoothly, no 90 degree turns - makes a big difference. The grass soon grows over and buries the perimeter cable.

    On grass/wooden fence boundaries I put the wire 150mm into the grass, so I occaisionally have to take a strimmer to a few wisps of grass at the edges, but any nearer and the Mowbot bumps into and bounces off the fence! The reccomended 300mm is probably the Health and Safety department being way way way too cautious!!

    On the paving/grass boundaries, I put the wire 50mm out, and it cuts over the edge, so no strimming to do at all - just have to remember to put the chairs back on the paving, not leaving them half over the grass, during the week!

    Does not cope with drifts of daffodils in the spring, but otherwise it is bliss not having to do the mowing any more!!

  8. Had one for four years, then it went wrong, and keeps going wrong - looks like it will go for four years or so then fall apart! Blade motor failed, drive motors failed -all worn out brushes, batteries failed (fair enough), tire tread worn - so it slips when it butts in to something and tries to keep going so it gets stuck, display failed, limit switch failed, and now it sometimes just ignores the perimiter wire and keeps on going!! So it's time to buyt a new one, questin is, do I buy another Mowbot - or another make??

  9. I need new border wire and blade, I cannot source them anywhere, can anyone help?. The problem seems to be that Mowbot have taken the franchises back. I have had mine since 2006 with a huge complicated garde and it copes no bother it comes out every day unless raining for one and a half hours.

  10. Best thing since sliced bread, no more mowing and no grass to get rid of. On my second one now as the first was requiring to much TLC and parts. Made my own spiked wheels and cutter blade.

  11. There are new kids on the Block now in the UK see

    1. Also

  12. I dont seem to get any response from does anyone know if they are still going and if not is there any body repairing these things?

  13. Hi mowbot repairs are still up and going please all try again. Just Google mowbot repairs and its at the top

  14. I've had an L300 for five years now, it had a shaky start but the problems were sorted by the excellent importers in Nottingham. Unfortunately they lost the franchise which was given to the dealers from Southern Ireland - disaster! Very difficult to get hold of or get any response from them. Good kit spoiled by bad after sales which will bite them in the **m as there is now lots of choice.