The Honda Miimo: Automation Comes to the Lawn

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It’s been a long time coming: 5 years since it was first shown to the public and four years on the market in Europe, we’re finally going to get Honda’s robotic mower. While the Miimo has been compared to the Roomba, this tiny rechargeable mower takes a new approach to mowing that makes it unlike anything on the market. However, that doesn’t mean you should throw out your walk-behind mower just yet: it comes with some limitations that make it more of a niche product than a replacement for human-operated devices.

A New Way to Mow

The Miimo can handle slopes up to 25 degrees and can cut to a height ranging between 0.8 and 2.4 inches like most mowers, but it doesn’t cut grass like a traditional mower. It uses three tiny blades mounted to a fan designed to increase mowing chamber vacuum. This combination cuts off just 0.12 inches (three millimeters) of grass with each pass. These tiny clippings are absorbed into the top layer of the soil without requiring the multiple cuts of a mulching mower, and since it doesn’t need an operator, the Miimo can cut far more often to maintain grass height for an even finish through the season.

Navigation

The Miimo’s navigation is controlled primarily through a set of boundary wires that are installed by a certified technician when the mower is first purchased. This wire outlines the edges of the yard as well as obstacles including trees and landscaping features. Depending on the area, this wire can be under or on top of the ground surface, making for a clean installation.

When mowing, the unit uses sensors to both pick up the positions of the boundary wires and scan around its immediate location for obstacles. The fully floating cover has its own sensor system that tells the mower if a collision is detected.

Cutting Modes and Times

This mower uses two independent wheel motors, letting it maneuver like a ZTR; Honda says this lets the mower turn around obstacles without ever needing to back up, saving considerable time when mowing. The onboard computer can be set to approach mowing in 5 different ways:

– Random mode turns the mower at a wide angle when it detects a boundary wire.

– Directional turns the mower at a narrow-angle when it detects a wire, helping it maneuver in narrow areas near gardens and sheds.

– Mixed mode lets the mower switch between random and directional modes as needed.

– Spiral mode tells the mower to concentrate on areas that are likely to have the highest growth.

– Edge mode tells the mower to mow along the boundary lines first.

Why so many cutting modes? In most cases, the Miimo won’t be able to cut an entire lawn all at once, so it needs to make the most out of each charge. The Miimo HRM 310 can mow for up to 30 minutes between charges, while the HRM 520 comes with a bigger battery that can last up to 60 minutes. The cutting width is only 8.7 inches, which severely limits the coverage per charge. Once the battery is at 30%, the mower drives back to its docking station and will need to recharge for about a half hour before mowing again.

Security

What if someone decides to walk off with your fancy robot mower or it tips over? If the Miimo loses contact with the ground, it will shut off immediately and sound an alarm. The only way to reactivate the unit is by typing in a PIN.

Is This Mower a Good Choice for My Yard?

If you have a small lawn and you want to take out a significant chunk of the maintenance, the Miimo may be a good fit. However, it isn’t going to eliminate yard work. It can’t cut large amounts of growth at one time, and it can’t bag clippings that could spread weeds, so you may still need to pull out a walk-behind mower now and then. With the ability to cover ¾ of an acre at most, its use is limited to small suburban lawns.

No Matter What You Choose, We Have the Parts to Keep Your Honda Equipment Working

Whether you let an HRM 310 do the cutting or you use a walk-behind HRC for your landscaping business, you can get everything you need for your Honda small engine equipment at www.hondalawnparts.com. As a certified Honda dealer, we’re able to supply you with parts for all of their small engines and equipment from mowers to water pumps, and we can ship those parts to any address in the U.S. and Canada.

Choosing the Right Honda Generator

generatorNeed a generator? Honda’s reliable engines, automatic power control and high-quality components make their generators a great choice. Which Honda generator should you buy, though?

That depends on how and where you’ll use it.

Which Kind of Generator Do I Need?

Honda divides their generator lines into industrial, recreational and home use. These are the main differences between the models:

  • EU-i Series recreational generators are designed to be portable.
  • EU Series RV generators are designed to be quiet.
  • EM and EG Series home generators are built to run several hours on each tank of fuel.
  • EB Series industrial generators have GFCI outlets for ground fault protection.

Continue reading

Operation and Maintenance of the GD320/410

The GD320 and GD410 may be getting long in the tooth, but these diesel Honda motors are still found in a lot of power equipment. Here’s what you need to know to use yours properly and keep it running for years to come.

Before Starting

Engine oil: Remove the dipstick/filler cap, wipe it clean, and reinsert it into the engine without screwing it down. Check the oil level on the dipstick: if it’s low, add some oil. Honda recommends 10W40 made for diesel engines. Screw the dipstick back into the motor.

Fuel: To check the amount of fuel, look at the gauge window next to the fuel tank cap. These engines use diesel fuel. #2 Diesel should be used at temperatures above 40°F (4°C) and #1 diesel at temperatures below 40°F (4°C) or altitudes above 5,000 feet (1,500 m). Continue reading

How to Change a Honda HT3813 PTO Clutch

ht3813Are the blades of your Honda HT3813 not spinning anymore, even though the deck and belt are in good shape? It may be time to replace the PTO clutch. This repair is more complex than most maintenance tasks, but it’s still within the means of the home mechanic.

Where is the Clutch?

Unlike most small lawn tractors, the HT3813 uses a horizontal shaft engine. The blades are driven by a belt that travels from the pulley on the deck, bending at a 90 degree angle to reach the drive pulley mounted at the front of the shaft. The front of the PTO clutch is mounted on the drive pulley and the friction plate is mounted directly behind the pulley on the engine shaft. The radiator fan and radiator are mounted directly in front of the pulley and must be removed for access to the clutch. Continue reading

What’s the Best Honda Mower Blade For Your Money?

Honda BladeWhich blades work best on your Honda mower? OEM blades, obviously, since they have shape and metallurgy Honda intended for the deck, giving them the longest life and best-cutting performance. Which type of blade should you get, and when should you replace them? That’s a little more complex since there are several blade options and several reasons you’d need to fit a new one.

When Do I Need to Change My Blade, and When Can I Just Sharpen It?

The blade on your mower is designed to cut the grass, but if the edge becomes dull, it will stop cutting and start tearing the grass apart. This makes the finish uneven, and can leave the tips of the grass bruised, opening them up to infection. If the tips of the grass are brown after mowing, it’s well past time for your mower’s blade to be sharpened. For residential users, the blades usually need to be sharpened twice per season. For commercial users, blades may need to be sharpened as often as once per week!

Of course, sharpening only works if the blade is in good shape. The blade in your mower should be replaced when it’s bent, chipped, shows signs of cracking, or is heavily worn, either across the edge or along the blade. Since conditions and situations can vary so much between lawn conditions and mowers, there’s no set time when the blade will need to be replaced. A new blade could strike an object the first time it’s used, sandy soil can quickly erode the blade even under ideal conditions, or the blade may slowly wear down from repeated sharpening. That’s why the blade should always be thoroughly inspected whenever cutting performance begins to falter. Continue reading

Honda Engine Maintenance Guide for a GC190

GC190The GC190 is one of the most popular small engines on the market for lawn and shop equipment, but even an engine as reliable as this Honda needs maintenance to keep performing year after year. This guide will walk you through the steps needed to keep your motor working.

Safety

  • Make sure the engine is off before you begin any repairs. If possible, wait at least a half hour to ensure the motor is completely cool to prevent burns from hot engine parts.
  • If the engine needs to be started, do so in an area with good ventilation to prevent carbon monoxide buildup.
  • To prevent gasoline ignition, only use non-flammable solvents for cleaning and keep sparks, flames and cigarettes away from the engine. Continue reading

How to Service a GX120 Honda Engine

Honda GX120If you own professional grade lawn care equipment, chances are you have at least one GX120. That popularity is owed to Honda’s legendary reliability, but even the best engine needs occasional maintenance.

Before You Begin

Before performing any maintenance, shut off the engine. If the engine needs to be run for any reason, make sure it’s located in a well ventilated area to prevent carbon monoxide poisoning. Continue reading

Accessories and Options for Honda Tillers

honda tillerYou can do more with a Honda tiller than just till. The company offers several attachments and kits that can adapt your FG110, FC600, FRC800 or F220 to perform common landscaping jobs that would normally require specialized equipment.

Border/Edger

Want to get a clean border around gardens, sidewalks, and other landscaping features? The FG110 border/edger replaces the tiller blades with a wheel and cutting blade, letting you roll next to edges and cut into the soil to create an even border. The wheel and blade can be swapped, letting you cut from the left or right side of the tiller. The edger is available for the FG110. Continue reading

The Honda Twin Blade Advantage – Why it Matters

The typical Honda lawn mower is packed with great features that enhance its performance and leave a home’s outdoor spaces looking professionally maintained, but one feature stands out among the rest: Honda’s “Twin Blade Advantage.” This unique blade feature is designed to enhance how each blade of grass is processed by the mower, making it easy to achieve a consistent, professional looking result with each pass over the lawn. When choosing a Honda lawn mower, it’s important to understand what the Twin Blade Advantage does and why it’s so essential to a professional result every time.

How to Troubleshoot your Honda Water Pump

Honda water pumps are known for their durability and flexibility through a wide range of operating conditions. However, regular maintenance is a must if you want your pump to continue running as advertised. If you have started to experience problems with your pump, use this guide as a starting point to troubleshoot the issue.

Low Output

If your Honda water pump does not appear to be creating the output that you are expecting or if it seems to be running much slower than normal there are a few things you should check. First of all, check the speed and throttle indicators to ensure that the throttle is turned up high enough. If the pump is set to the correct speed, next check your hose. A hose of the wrong length or size can prevent the pump from creating enough pressure to move the water. Try changing to a hose that better fits the pump if problems persist. If these simple troubleshooting steps are not enough to fix the problem, you may have a worn or damaged pump. Continue reading