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Old 11-08-10, 11:42 AM   #1
NeilBlanchard
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Default Electric Landscaping Machines

Hello,

I have four plug-in electric machines that I use to do work in my yard.



Electric 20" mower





Electric leaf vacuum/blower





10" pole/chainsaw

I have heavy duty hedge/brush cutter, too -- I forget the brand and model at the moment.

The mower uses an average of 0.425kWh per hour. The BTU equivalent is 0.0127 gallons of gasoline per hour.

The leaf vacuum/blower uses 1.15 kWh per hour. The BTU equivalent is 0.034 gallons of gasoline per hour.

I used the chainsaw (to cut fallen trees and to prune dead branches) for about an hour, and it used 0.3kWh -- which is equivalent to just 0.009 gallons of gasoline. keep in mind, that you cannot use a chainsaw as continuously as the other tools. It does also require chain lubrication oil, like any chainsaw does. The pole attachment is adjustable up to 15' long, and it is an awesome tool if you have any trees to deal with.

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Last edited by Daox; 02-12-14 at 01:24 PM..
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Old 11-10-10, 01:47 PM   #2
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Your electric mower is corded then, so I'm curious how big is your yard and what obstacles do you have?

I have far too big of a yard for a walk behind mower, but have been considering an electric walk behind model for trimming around the house and the trees in the front yard. So far, I've been thinking cordless though.
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Old 11-10-10, 02:42 PM   #3
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I have a corded electric. my yard is about 9000 sqft with maybe 2000-3000 of that being lawn. the cord is a bit annoying but not bad when you get used to the pattern you have to follow so that it's always out of the way.

My biggest complaint is if the lawn is damp you just can't mow, it will bog down and clog, it's also a warning in the manual to not mow wet grass. During the summer this is fine, but spring and fall when the lawn grows the fastest I have to have 3 or 4 straight days of no rain and that hasn't happened in over a month so the lawn is 6 inches tall...
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Old 11-10-10, 02:46 PM   #4
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How do you like the yard tools Neil? A pros/cons list would be cool.
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Old 11-10-10, 03:48 PM   #5
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Hi,

Quote:
Originally Posted by gasstingy View Post
Your electric mower is corded then, so I'm curious how big is your yard and what obstacles do you have?

I have far too big of a yard for a walk behind mower, but have been considering an electric walk behind model for trimming around the house and the trees in the front yard. So far, I've been thinking cordless though.
My yard is 'L' shaped an is about 4/10's of an acre. I live in New England, so there are a fair number of obstacles. I use 200' of cord and it is way more than I need for most of the grass area. I have also used the mower on a very large lawn (close to 2 acres that takes over 4 hours to mow) with 250' of cord. i have also used it on several other lawns from 1/4 to 1/2 acre or so. The obstacles are an issue, but with a little trial and error you can figure out ways to make it work.

I use the same cords with the leaf blower and the chainsaw. I get good at chaining them -- which uses interlocking loops to prevent (most) of the tangling.

I realized I also own one other electric landscaping tool: a heavy duty hedge/brush cutter.

Quote:
How do you like the yard tools Neil? A pros/cons list would be cool.
Sure -- I meant to add some details.

Managing the cords is the main issue. I have two 100' 14 gauge cords, and one 50' 12 gauge. The 100' cords are rated at 15A, and while the mower peaks at 12A (very briefly on start up), it runs most of the time between 4-6A. I just made a really cool looking and effective way to link the two cords together out of 12 Velcro straps (that I had for wrapping up computer wires). I'll post a picture of this soon.

Chaining the cords is the main chore with any of the tools. The mower and the chainsaw can cut the cord -- I did manage to cut it once with a chainsaw... Luckily, it is on a GFI outlet and I only cut off about 10', so a new receptacle was all I needed.

The mower is great -- the wheels have ball bearings and the deck is steel and is quite sturdy. It is very easy to push, because it is light weight and rolls very smoothly -- and I think the wheels will last a very long time; like decades.

I was suspicious of the one-lever height adjustment, but it has worked flawlessly. It is very quiet, and runs completely cool and fume-free! The handle folds in half with two knobs, and it fits easily into my Scion xA with the 2/3 side of the rear seat folded flat.

I have used it on damp grass, and yes it clogs a bit with the rear bag, but worked fine with the side discharge. On really thick grass, it slows the motor more in mulching mode, so I use the side discharge chute.

The leaf blower/vacuum is pretty noisy, and I use a pair of good "ear muffs" to prevent my ears ringing after extended use. The model I have has a cast aluminum impeller and this is key -- I have also used a lesser model Toro, and the plastic impeller doesn't work quite as well. The impeller does have a significant amount of wear and tear, especially from the small twigs and the occasional chunk of wood or pebbles that get sucked into it.

The biggest challenge in deep leaves is to prevent it from clogging -- sweeping it back and forth works well. Wet leaves are harder to deal with and sometimes twigs cause clogs inside the housing. You need to wear sturdy work gloves to keep the flying bits from stinging your hands -- I find that by blocking the discharge, you can often unclog it without too much effort.

I use the blower nozzle to gather leaves that are dispersed. I use the vacuum without the bag most of the time -- this shifts everything and chips it down to a fraction of the volume. This is especially good way to go, if you can pile the leaves up under a tree or on a garden or planting bed. Or, I do this once to reduce the volume, and then use the bag to collect everything, and then I dump it out on a tarp to move a large quantity to a place where I can compost them.

I also use the electric mower to mulch leaves in place, if there aren't many left, and/or before collecting them with the vacuum. This lets the small bits compost in place without having a mat, which kills the grass.

I never bag my leaves for curbside collection. By chipping them up, they will completely compost by the next year, and this eliminates the need for any chemical fertilizers!

The pole saw is an awesome tool! My neighbor Mack has put it to more of a test than I have -- they heat with wood, and he has had to do some major tree work with it. I can't see how I could get along without it -- broken branches and heavy pruning, and the endless numbers of Norway maple weeds have put it to the test.

You have to be *very* careful how you cut long branches, especially when the handle is 15' long -- I bent the chain bar almost 30 degrees on a branch at my Mom's house. You cannot let it get bound up... So cutting off long branches in say 8' long segments is a wise thing to do.

About half the time, I use it as a small handheld chainsaw -- it works very well at this. The one weak point is the chain oiler is not consistent and it could be improved a bit. Again, it is very quiet, and runs very cool (though it can warm up with lots of continuous use) and -- no fumes is an excellent thing!

Last edited by NeilBlanchard; 11-10-10 at 03:57 PM..
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Old 11-16-10, 08:19 PM   #6
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I almost forgot -- I also have an electric trimmer, made by Husqvarna. Though now that I try to find a link to post; it seems it may have been discontinued... :-(
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Old 01-22-11, 10:40 AM   #7
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I used my neighbor's Toro 1800 18" single stage electric snowblower for about 50 minutes, and used 0.59kWh. I was using it quite hard -- I cleared about 18" of snow from three storms from most of a driveway that can park about 6 cars lined up; and a 40' path to my compost bin through even more snow, and also cleaned up the other driveway (I live on a corner lot)! In 50 minutes...

The hourly energy use is ~0.708kWh = 0.34 cup of gasoline per hour. At my local (relatively expensive) electrical rate of about 17 cents / kWh, that's about 12 cents worth of electricity per hour.

This is pretty impressive performance, I think. If I was going to buy an electric snowblower, I would get this one, which is slightly larger and a bit more powerful than the Toro model, and it is significantly less expensive:


(click on image for link)
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Old 01-22-11, 06:00 PM   #8
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Quote:
Originally Posted by NeilBlanchard View Post
I used my neighbor's Toro 1800 18" single stage electric snowblower for about 50 minutes, and used 0.59kWh. I was using it quite hard -- I cleared about 18" of snow from three storms from most of a driveway that can park about 6 cars lined up; and a 40' path to my compost bin through even more snow, and also cleaned up the other driveway (I live on a corner lot)! In 50 minutes...

The hourly energy use is ~0.708kWh = 0.34 cup of gasoline per hour. At my local (relatively expensive) electrical rate of about 17 cents / kWh, that's about 12 cents worth of electricity per hour.

This is pretty impressive performance, I think. If I was going to buy an electric snowblower, I would get this one, which is slightly larger and a bit more powerful than the Toro model, and it is significantly less expensive:


(click on image for link)
I have the Toro 1800 too and I can vouch for it's very impressive performance. I read lots of reviews before deciding on the Toro over the Snow Joe. If you look closely at the two you will see how narrow the chute is on the Snow Joe. Since clogging is a real concern, that was the final deciding factor. In two full winters of use the only time I gave up using the Toro I have, was a very heavy snow fall where the plows had compressed the end of the driveway too much. My Toro easily cleared the two 18" falls we've had this year.
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Old 01-22-11, 07:14 PM   #9
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That is something I had not considered; though the auger designs are slightly different as well -- the Toro is a smooth arcing helix, while the Snow Joe has the flat section. They may be a bit different size? The base of the Snow Joe chute appears to be hinged for clearing?

Can you link to any review comparisons, please?

[Edit: found one! http://www.amazon.com/Snow-Joe-622U1...R3BLOJAWECUYN1 ]

The Toro 1800 appears to be revised a bit now. Here's the new version:


(click on image for link)

Here's the older version, which is the one my neighbor owns:



The motor is up from 12A to 15A (which is definitely good!), the handle, cord, chute crank and angle, wheel size, etc. are all revised. I like the lower handle, and it may be that the Toro is much lighter weight. The older part number was 38025, and the new one is 38381.

[Edit: do we know how the Toro connects the motor to the auger? The Snow Joe uses a belt, and several folks mention it as a problem point...

Also, someone mentions that on the SJ you have to push a button and then grab the lever on the handle to start it -- this sounds like an extra step that would be irksome in the long run?]

Last edited by NeilBlanchard; 01-22-11 at 07:39 PM..
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Old 01-22-11, 08:09 PM   #10
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I've answered my own question:

https://homeownersolutions.toro.com/...ualsResultPage

You may have to enter the 38381 model number...

The Toro uses two belts: the first one is toothed and steps down about 1:3, and the second is a multi-vee groove with a tensioner, which further reduces the speed by about 1:6 or 1:8. The belts are on the left side as you stand using the machine.

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