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Now that finally the sunny weather is here, I can enjoy my garden and reap the rewards of keeping it lovely and in shape. I enjoy pottering around in the garden, although I mostly prefer sitting in the garden and having a glass of wine but that is another story! My worst gardening job has to be cutting the grass as once this has been done, I have to put the lawn mower away and get the trimmer out so that I can edge the lawn and trim the grass around the trees that the lawn mower misses. We have a very old petrol trimmer belonging to my husband but the line breaks every five minutes and the whole thing is noisy and cumbersome so we decided to upgrade to a new machine. They are so reasonably priced these days that you do not to spend tonnes of money to get a reliable machine. After considering all the many different models, I quite fancied one that ran on battery power as one of my worst fears about doing the lawn is running over the flex cord! I know most have a safety cut of these days but I thought that a battery powered one would give me a little bit more freedom and would be easier to manage. In summary, this machine was a great investment and it is exceptionally easy to use and handle. I can highly recommend it.
We bought this trimmer about four weeks ago for around £64.00. I think this is a very good price to pay for a top of the range trimmer from a well known brand. We bought it from the local garden centre and paid for it and took it home the same day.
Unfortunately as with most things these days the trimmer comes flat packed. It is quite annoying how everything comes packed so small and needs building as this is not even that big when it is fully assembled. There is something rather unnerving about having to assemble something electric yourself, but on the whole it is not that hard to do and the instructions clearly explain which bits to stick together. In terms of assembly it probably took us around twenty minutes to unpack it, read the manual and erect it. To assemble the trimmer in brief, you need to push the two parts of the shaft together until the parts click and lock and then assemble the wheel. The wheel also comes in two parts, these needs locking together and then inserting into the bottom of the trimmer, once inserted the wheel should rotate freely. The last step is to fasten the safety guard on the front and make sure that the nylon line is fed through the hole on the safety guard. It is really important that this is securely fitted so give it a twist before using it to make sure it has not worked loose.
CHARGING THE BATTERY
The next step to set up is charging the battery. The battery pack needs connecting to the charging unit and then plugging into the mains supply. The charging unit will glow red continuously to let you know that it charging sufficiently. After approximately six hours the LED light will glow green and this means that battery pack has reached its capacity. When you first buy the machine, although I imagine you want to rush out and try it straight away, you really will not get very far unless you charge for a good 6-8 hours. We were eager beavers and took it off charge after three hours hoping to get about ten minutes out of it so we could play with the new toy but it lasted less than three minutes. During charging the battery pack and unit becomes warm, this is normal so do not worry that it is over-heating. Once charged you should get about twenty five minutes out of a full battery. We probably get Around 20 minutes of so which is enough to do the edging at the front and the back. Once you notice that the power is failing and the machine is losing its strength you should re charge the battery pack. You should avoid running the battery pack right down and flattening the battery as this can seriously damage it. To load the battery pack into the trimmer, you need to insert it into the cavity just below the handle. It clicks into place and to unlock the battery and remove it you need to push down a button at each side and slide it back out.
YOU CAN HAVE IT IN ANY COLOUR, AS LONG AS ITS ORANGE
Once the trimmer is assembled and whole it stands about a meter tall. This is a comfortable height so you do not need to bend down to use it or put too much street on your back. The whole thing weighs 1.7 KG s it is one of the lightest machines around. As with all Flymo items it comes in the signature orange colour. I was a little dubious thinking that the battery pack would add unnecessary weight to the machine but it really does not and to be honest the way the battery pack is positioned under then handle, it centres the machine and adds a little weight so the machine can be tilted easily. The handle is designed to be held comfortably, it has a rubber coating to it so it makes it easy to keep hold of. There is a switch lever used the handle to control the machine and a safety button on top of the handle in easy reach in cases of emergency.
At the bottom of the trimmer there is the plastic safety guard to protect you against the line and it also protects plants and bushes. You can use the trimmer without this, but I would recommend you putting it on as it makes the machine much safer to use. The machine runs with an 18 V battery which is powerful enough for the machine as it is designed for a small garden. The machine has an auto line feed so when you turn the machine on you will hear a clatter as the nylon line hits the line cutter. This can be quite alarming at first so just remember that it will do it or it will make you jump! It sounds like something has got caught up in the mechanism but it is completely normal. After five seconds the line will be cut and normal motor sounds will resume. If you do not hear this noise then you will have to turn it off and back on again, waiting until the motor fully stops before firing it up again as it is important for the line to be fed out. If there is a problem you can manually feed the line, in order to do this there is a little button at the bottom of the spool. You need to pull it out until it is in line with the cutter. If the line extends past the line cutter, too much line has been fed out. If too much line is fed out, remove the spool cap and click spool anti-clockwise until the line is at the desired length. After a while, the line will run out. It comes loaded with a 10M nylon line but when you buy the line separately you will normally get around 20M and this costs around £4.00.
LOADING THE LINE
Replacing the line is the most time consuming and frustrating aspect of trimming, especially when it breaks so freely. It is not a completed task though and I will break it down into short steps. Firstly, remove the Trimmer Head Spool. There is a channel in the spools for winding line through. The channel will have a hole in it that keeps the line in place. You should insert one end of the trimmer line in the hole and wound the rest around the spool. It makes it easier if you cut the line at an angle. It seems to help attach it, as the point is neater to manage. As you wind the spool, just make sure you are winding in the right direction. There is usually an arrow to indicate this. Wind the line tightly and neatly in rows, once covered pull the excess line through the retainer and then the rest will need feeding through the hole on the trimmer as you insert the spool back into the machine. If this sounds complicated then you can always buy replacement spool and line. It is a little more expensive but it saves this annoying job.
OPERATING THE TRIMMER
Finally we can now use the machine and get the garden looking ship shape. Using a trimmer gives the garden that finished look and removes the grass that the lawn mower cannot get and makes the edges neat. So firstly, pick up the unit with your right hand on the shaft and your left hand on the handle. When cutting, keep the power unit at waist level with the attachment parallel to the ground. Slowly move the trimmer from side to side or in and out of the cutting area and allow the tip of the line to do the cutting. Donít force the trimmer to make heavy cuts as they can overload the engine. Thicker and tall (over 8 inches) grass should be cut in smaller increments to avoid damaging the line. Then following this pattern, keep moving along the lawn edge, cutting to the lawn height. Using the Plant & Tree Guard allows the trimming of grass close to plants and trees without damaging them with the cutting line. To do this, flip the guard down as illustrated and use the trimmer around trees and near plants. To use the trimmer as an edger, turn off the unit, rotate the head (or handles on some units) and use it as a lawn edger. Rest the edger on the wheel for extra stability and line up the edge of the lawn with the two indicators on the guard. When edging, ensure that the edging wheel is always resting on the grass (and not on the path/driveway.)
The safety guard gets filthy as the wet glass often sticks to the sides and then dries. This is easy to clean off and after the summer I will always remove it and give it a good wipe with a damp cloth before storing the mower away for the darker months. The underneath should be given a good clean with a bristled brush after you use it, this will help clean dried glass clumps and keep the trimmer in good working order. You should avoid using chemicals or water to clean the underneath sections.
STORING THE TRIMMER
Before winter storage you should fully charge the battery and then every three months recharge the battery up for a full six hours. This will prolong the life of the battery and make sure it is ready for when you need it in the summer. The trimmer generally can be stored upright in a dry cool place. It is small enough so there is no need to pull the shaft apart and store separately.
WHAT IS IT LIKE TO USE
The trimmer is easy to handle as it is really light and is comfortable to hold. The machine is powerful enough for a small garden. When using the machine, the length of the cutting thread is 25 cm. This makes small work of long grass and plants but anything slightly thicker such as a bramble or twig causes the machine to cut out or break the line. As the machine starts out after the 6 hours charge the machine works on full capacity and it is really quite marvellous, you can edge the lawn within such a small amount of time and the grass around the trees is gone in seconds. I would advise you to wear long trousers and shoes when using this as it does send stones and bits of twig clattering into your ankles. It can be quite dangerous really so it is best to be dressed for it. After fifteen minutes of use, you will notice a severe decrease in output and it will stop more and find things more challenging. This is frustrating as I then know I have another 6 hours to go before I can get on with the rest of what I am doing. To be honest, 20 minutes is more than enough really but if I am faffing around and spend too long on a certain area I have to rush some parts in order to get the two gardens done in time. You need a set rhythm and a set pattern to follow; knowing exactly where you are going next.
With hindsight, I was wrong about getting a battery machine. Yes, it is much easier to handle and I do not need to worry about the flex lead, I can whip the trimmer round wherever. Yet the freedom I thought I would get from being cord free comes with another restriction on my liberty. I am tied to the battery and if it is not ready to go, then I have to wait. I got the machine out after a long winter and it needed charging before I could use it. It is only a small set back but it is really frustrating that the machine is not always ready to go when I am. I will be buying a machine with a flex lead next time or one with a better battery capacity. I guess I could not expect much more for £64.00.
On the whole though, it edges well and it does a very neat job of the garden. It gives a high quality professional finish and makes things look streamlined and exceptionally neat. I could not have a lawn without a trimmer; I probably just bought the wrong sort of trimmer thatís all. A corded one would be more suited for my spur of the moment trimming needs.
This machine is exceptionally noisy and makes a loud clattering everytime the line hits the line cutter. The motor is loud and you will struggle to hear someone talking to you while you use the machine.
This is a reasonable price so I guess I cannot moan too much and I had some idea what I was letting myself in for when selecting a cordless model. It is a good, robust machine with a comfortable design. The downside is the battery life is quite poor and the battery always needs charging; despite whether you use it or not!
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