A safety notice issued by the Office for Product Safety & Standards (OPSS) has identified two robot lawn mower models from manufacturer Husqvarna as presenting 'a risk of fire as a result of the charging pattern'.
Husqvarna's Automower 435X and Automower 535 are the two models in question, responsible for five reported incidents where they have caught fire when their batteries were being charged.
The OPSS has also declared that these products do not meet the requirements of the Electrical Equipment (Safety) Regulations 2016, making Husqvarna legally obliged to address this issue.
First of all, stop using it immediately. Turning off your Husqvarna robot mower is fairly straightforward: if it is currently mowing, then push the 'Stop' button on top of the product. If it's in its charging station, remove it from there and place it down elsewhere. After doing this, push the 'Stop' button again, enter your custom PIN code if required, then push the 'jog wheel' above the 'Stop' button for three seconds to switch it off completely, making sure that the LED status indicator light goes out.
Husqvarna is in the process of contacting product owners directly to arrange a replacement battery through its network of dealerships.
The company is also resolving the issues caused by the charging pattern by issuing two mandatory software updates for the affected models. These updates can be installed via Husqvarna's Firmware Over the Air technology, or by your local dealer which stocks Husqvarna models, and should prolong the battery's life and fix the degradation issues.
Robot lawn mowers let you forget about mowing the lawn ever again and, depending on the model, can cope with complex layouts and sloping lawns.
They work by mowing your lawn within a perimeter set by boundary wires. They also have a docking station, which they return to after each mowing session to recharge the lithium-ion battery. The perimeter wire, which allows them to detect the boundaries of your lawn, begins and ends at the charging station; this passes a weak current through the wire and creates an electromagnetic field the mower can detect to keep it within its set area.
This might sound pretty scientific and technical, but in practice all you need to worry about is laying this perimeter wire by hand, then either pegging it down or burying it a few centimetres deep. (Some companies offer to do this service for you.) Once it's installed, your job should be fairly easy – the robot mower will switch itself on and get to work on a schedule you determine, before returning to its charging dock to recharge ahead of the next cut.
The way it trundles around your garden between rests in its kennel-esque charging dock make a robot mower a bit like the most practical, useful pet you could ever have – and better still, you don't have to clean up after them. They cut up grass so finely that the clippings essentially melt into the ground, ensuring a nice, manicured look in addition to providing the grass with nutrients.