Troubleshooting and Repair

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Although the manufacturer doesn't supply repair information to the general public, RoboMower users have been able to collect, discover, and create useful information that we are piecing together here for the benefit of all.

Service Code

The service menu requires a 5 digit code to get into to it. Proceed with caution as there are options under that menu that can mess up your mower. Codes to try are: 12321, 01210 (Works on my c.2007 RM400), 01010 (Works on c.2010 RM400)

Calibration

Someone please fill in the procedure for DK and edge calibration.

Take Apart

See the take apart a RoboMower page for photos and information about disassembling a RoboMower. A separate page has information about opening the battery pack.

My RoboMower RL550 had some serious navigation problems, and regularly spent time doing the circle dance creating unsightly crop circles on the lawn.

After finally working out the problem was due to the motor drive currents, I removed the fluxgate, soldering a 6 pin header onto the main board. This allowed me to move the fluxgate right to the front of the mower on top of the left balast weight, just clear of the lifting handle.

I tried to calibrate, but it failed with an error K=83. (Anyone know what these K errors are?)

No matter though, the mower is fixed! It mows perfect straight lines and has not made a wrong turn yet.

Is it a design fault? Comments appreciated. Feel free to move or share this information anywhere appropriate. The mower had this problem from new.

Internals

Want to know what's inside a RoboMower and how it works? The RoboMower Internals page is the place to document the inner workings and parts used to build a RoboMower.

Finding a Broken Wire

Simple Continuity Testing

Breaks can be found using a multi-meter or battery powered beeper, along with some long wire and a probe sharp enough to pierce the insulation of the perimeter wire. Instead of a sharp probe, you could scrape a bit of the insulation off the wire with a knife to get a good connection. Connect one wire of the beeper or meter to one end of the perimeter wire then poke the probe into the perimeter wire at various places until you find the break. The quickest way is to probe near the halfway point to determine which segment the break is in. Do this again at the half way point of that segment and keep repeating the procedure until you have focused in on the break. It may be handy to have a couple flags or markers to stick in the ground to keep track of your position.

Inductive Amplifier Probe

One of the easiest ways to find a broken perimeter wire is with an inductive amplifier probe, which is typically used for finding breaks in telephone cables. One such product is the Greenlee / Tempo (formerly Progressive Electronics) inductive amplifier probe model 200EP along with a matching transmitting unit. They are sometimes also listed as tone and probe kits or fox and hound kits. They can usually be found on eBay at a substantial savings.

The probe works by clipping the transmitter to one end of your perimeter wire, which it uses as an antenna to transmit a low-power signal. You then use the probe to scan along the wire as you listen to the beeps it makes to locate the break.

The probe gets the best signal if you clip the transmitter's ground to an electrical ground. Bring along a large flatblade screwdriver and jab it into the ground and clip the ground wire to it.

Some have suggested trying the low-priced Cen-Tech Cable Tracker at Harbor Freight Tools. User:Dougs tested this cable tracker and it did not work at all for this application. It is not designed to find a break in wire in a continuous loop.

Pet Fence Wire Break Finder

PetSafe makes a Boundary Wire Break Locator for finding breaks in a pet fence wire. This sounds promising because it is specifically designed to find breaks in a continuous loop of wire within a few inches. Here is the operating manual.

The device emits two different tones, one along each side of the boundary wire. You follow along the wire with an AM radio to hear one of the tones. The signal becomes weaker as you approach the break. When you cross the break the other tone will be heard.

Do it Yourself Devices

  • Instructables has an article on using an RF Choke and an AM Radio to find a break in an invisble dog fence. The article clearly and simply explains the procedure, which has been successfully utilized to identify a perimeter wire break for a 1st Gen (RL500) Robomower wire. Notably, the RF Choke costs <$2, making this perhaps the least expensive method to identify the location of a perimeter wire break without "dig and test."

High Resistance Faults

One of the more difficult problems is finding a bad connection in the loop which will not carry the fence signal, yet still conducts enough for an inductive probe to conduct across the joint. A Robomower loop should measure tens of ohms of resistance at most. To better the detectability with the tracer, ground the unconnected side of the loop. There are two ways to try this: 1. Connect one side of the loop to the tracer, and ground the the other side to the same ground you used on the tracer. This requires that some sort of grounding stake such as a long screwdriver is used in the ground. 2. Bring along a second ground stake (screwdriver) and drive it into the ground far from the transmitter's ground, and connect the other side of the loop to it.

This may yield a poor signal if there is no high resistance fault in the loop, so it is not advisable to attempt first.

Wet Ground Faults

If there is an insulation break, due to either stripped insulation, an exposed metal connector, or a broken wire exposing copper and it contacts wet ground, an inductive tracer may give an overly generalized signal across the ground. An area 3 feet wide (or more) may have a signal as strong as the wire itself. This can make it very difficult to find the wire or pinpoint a break. There are no clear solutions except to wait for the ground to dry out.

Sounds

This is a place holder for anyone who wants to upload sound files of common RoboMower noises with a description of the related problem.


Squeaky Noise Robomow RL2000

After a few hours of use, my Robomow RL2000 began making a squeaky noise from both the drive wheels. The sound came from the drivetrain inside the robomow. I was not able to lubricate from the outside via the wheel aksel. To fully overcome the noise the main cover had to be removed. Then apply lubricant WD40 on the parts that move relative to each other in the drivetrain. This cured the squeaky noise from my RL2000 completely. It squeaked quite badly. Unfortunately i don't have a sound recording of the sound.

When disassembly/assembly pay attention to the chapter describing Take apart a RoboMower

Robomow RL2000 with main cover removed.
Robomow RL2000. Apply lubricant to parts with relative movement. Rotate wheel by hand while applying lubricant.

Error Codes

Error codes for the RL-500 through RL-800
Fault# Diagnosed Meaning/Possible Cause
100 Drive motors (Forward) Right motor current<100mA Right motor is disconnected
101 Drive motors (Forward) Left motor current<100mA Left motor is disconnected
102 Drive motors (Forward) Right & Left motors current<100mA Right & Left motors are disconnected
110 Drive motors (Forward) Right odometer reading=0 Right odometer is disconnected
111 Drive motors (Forward) Left odometer reading=0 Left odometer is disconnected
112 Drive motors (Forward) Right & Left odometer reading=0 Right & Left odometers are disconnected
120 Drive motors (Forward) Right motor pwm>95% Right wheel friction is too high
121 Drive motors (Forward) Left motor pwm>95% Left wheel friction is too high
122 Drive motors (Forward) Right & Left motors pwm>95% Right & Left wheels friction is too high
130 Drive motors (Forward) Right wheel pwm>Left wheel pwm Right wheel friction>Left wheel friction, or Right motor is slower than Left motor
131 Drive motors (Forward) Left wheel pwm>Right wheel pwm Left wheel friction>Right wheel friction, or Left motor is slower than Right motor
140 Drive motors (Forward) Right pwm<78 or >82 Test again
141 Drive motors (Forward) Left pwm<78 or >82 Test again
142 Drive motors (Forward) Right & Left pwm<78 or >82 Test again
143 Drive motors (Forward) Measured PWM difference >2 Test again
200 Drive motors (Backward) Right motor current<100mA Right motor is disconnected
201 Drive motors (Backward) Left motor current<100mA Left motor is disconnected
202 Drive motors (Backward) Right & Left motors current<100mA Right & Left motors are disconnected
210 Drive motors (Backward) Right odometer reading=0 Right odometer are disconnected
211 Drive motors (Backward) Left odometer reading=0 Left odometer are disconnected
212 Drive motors (Backward) Right & Left odometer reading=0 Right & Left odometers are disconnected
220 Drive motors (Backward) Right motor pwm>95% Right wheel friction is too high
221 Drive motors (Backward) Left motor pwm>95% Left wheel friction is too high
222 Drive motors (Backward) Right & Left motors pwm>95% Right & Left wheels friction is too high
230 Drive motors (Backward) Right wheel pwm>Left wheel pwm Right wheel friction>Left wheel friction, or Right motor is slower than Left motor
231 Drive motors (Backward) Left wheel pwm>Right wheel pwm Left wheel friction>Right wheel friction, or Left motor is slower than Right motor
240 Drive motors (Backward) Right pwm<78 or >82 Test again
241 Drive motors (Backward) Left pwm<78 or >82 Test again
242 Drive motors (Backward) Right & Left pwm<78 or >82 Test again
243 Drive motors (Backward) Measured PWM difference >2 Test again
301 Mowing motors Right Motor current > 100mA Right Motor power unit is faulty
302 Mowing motors Mid Motor current > 100mA Mid Motor power unit is faulty
303 Mowing motors Right + Mid Motor current > 100mA Right+Mid Motor power units are faulty
304 Mowing motors Left Motor current > 100mA Left Motor power units is faulty
305 Mowing motors Right + Left Motor current > 100mA Right+Left Motor power units are faulty
306 Mowing motors Mid+Left Motor current > 100mA Mid+Left Motor power units are faulty
307 Mowing motors Right+Mid+Left Motor current > 100mA Right+Mid+Left Motor power units are faulty
331 Mowing motors Right Motor current < 100mA Right Motor is disconnected
332 Mowing motors Mid Motor current < 100mA Mid Motor is disconnected
333 Mowing motors Right+Mid Motor current < 100mA Right+Mid Motor are disconnected
334 Mowing motors Left Motor current < 100mA Left Motor is disconnected
335 Mowing motors Right+Left Motor current < 100mA Right+Left Motors are disconnected
336 Mowing motors Mid+Left Motor current < 100mA Mid+Left Motors are disconnected
337 Mowing motors Right+Mid+Left Motor current < 100mA Right+Mid+Left Motors are disconnected
341 Mowing motors Right Motor current > 2A Right Motor is overloaded
342 Mowing motors Mid Motor current > 2A Mid Motor is overloaded
343 Mowing motors 343 Mowing motors Right+Mid Motor current > 2A Right+Mid Motors are overloaded
344 Mowing motors Left Motor current > 2A Left Motor is overloaded
345 Mowing motors Right+Left Motor current > 2A Right+Left Motors are overloaded
346 Mowing motors Mid+Left Motor current > 2A Mid+Left Motors are overloaded
347 Mowing motors Right+Mid+Left Motor current > 2A Right+Mid+Left Motors are overloaded
351 Mowing motors Right Motor current > 100mA Right Motor stopping is faulty
352 Mowing motors Mid Motor current > 100mA Mid Motor stopping is faulty
353 Mowing motors Right+Mid Motor current > 100mA Right+Mid Motors stopping is faulty
354 Mowing motors Left Motor current > 100mA Left Motor stopping is faulty
355 Mowing motors Right+Left Motor current > 100mA Right+Left Motors stopping is faulty
356 Mowing motors Mid+Left Motor current > 100mA Mid+Left Motors stopping is faulty
357 Mowing motors Right+Mid+Left Motor current > 100mA Right+Mid+Left Motors stopping is faulty
401 Wire sensors FR sensor <2 FR sensor is disconnected
402 Wire sensors FL sensor<2 FL sensor is disconnected
403 Wire sensors FR+FL sensors<2 FR+FL sensors are disconnected
404 Wire sensors RR sensor<2 RR sensor is disconnected
405 Wire sensors FR+RR sensors<2 FR+RR sensors are disconnected
406 Wire sensors FL+RR sensors<2 FL+RR sensors are disconnected
407 Wire sensors FR+FL+RR sensors<2 FR+FL+RR sensors are disconnected
408 Wire sensors RL sensor<2 RL sensor is disconnected
409 Wire sensors FR+RL sensor <2 FR+RL sensor are disconnected
410 Wire sensors FL+RL sensor<2 FL+RL sensor are disconnected
411 Wire sensors FR+FL+RL sensors<2 FR+FL+RL sensors are disconnected
412 Wire sensors RR+RL sensor<2 RR+RL sensor are disconnected
413 Wire sensors FR+RR+RL sensors<2 FR+RR+RL sensors are disconnected
414 Wire sensors FL+RR+RL sensors<2 FL+RR+RL sensors are disconnected
415 Wire sensors FR+FL+RR+RL sensors<2 FR+FL+RR+RL sensors are disconnected
421 Wire sensors FR sensor is noisy FR sensor is noisy
422 Wire sensors FL sensor is noisy FL sensor is noisy
423 Wire sensors FR+FL sensors are noisy FR+FL sensors are noisy
424 Wire sensors RR sensor is noisy RR sensor is noisy
425 Wire sensors FR+RR sensors are noisy FR+RR sensors are noisy
426 Wire sensors FL+RR sensors are noisy FL+RR sensors are noisy
427 Wire sensors FR+FL+RR sensors are noisy FR+FL+RR sensors are noisy
428 Wire sensors RL sensor is noisy RL sensor is noisy
429 Wire sensors FR+RL sensor are noisy FR+RL sensor are noisy
430 Wire sensors FL+RL sensor are noisy FL+RL sensor are noisy
431 Wire sensors FR+FL+RL sensors are noisy FR+FL+RL sensors are noisy
432 Wire sensors RR+RL sensor are noisy RR+RL sensor are noisy
433 Wire sensors FR+RR+RL sensors are noisy FR+RR+RL sensors are noisy
434 Wire sensors FL+RR+RL sensors are noisy FL+RR+RL sensors are noisy
435 Wire sensors FR+FL+RR+RL sensors are noisy FR+FL+RR+RL sensors are noisy
450 Wire sensors Beat rate problem Beat rate problem
500 Direction Keeper Low resolution reading=0 Direction keeper is faulty
510 Direction Keeper Low resolution readings are noisy Direction keeper is noisy
523 Direction Keeper Coils 1+2 cannot be zeroed Magnetic interference or coils disconnected
525 Direction Keeper Coils 1+3 cannot be zeroed Magnetic interference or coils disconnected
526 Direction Keeper Coils 2+3 cannot be zeroed Magnetic interference or coils disconnected
527 Direction Keeper Coils 1+2+3 cannot be zeroed Magnetic interference or coils disconnected
529 Direction Keeper Coils 1+3 cannot be zeroed Magnetic interference or coils disconnected
530 Direction Keeper Coils 2+3 cannot be zeroed Magnetic interference or coils disconnected
531 Direction Keeper Coils 1+2+4 cannot be zeroed Magnetic interference or coils disconnected
532 Direction Keeper Coils 3+4 cannot be zeroed Magnetic interference or coils disconnected
533 Direction Keeper Coils 1+3+4 cannot be zeroed Magnetic interference or coils disconnected
534 Direction Keeper Coils 2+3+4 cannot be zeroed Magnetic interference or coils disconnected
535 Direction Keeper Coils 1+2+3+4 cannot be zeroed Magnetic interference or coils disconnected