OK, this is pretty much off-topic for this blog, since no programming or IT is involved. But I don't have anywhere else to post this, so here goes.

I've just purchased a new (used) Flymo electric lawn mower, model Turbo 400. This is probably the sixth one I've bought in about 30 years. So I obviously like them, since I keep buying new (used) ones whenever the current one wears out. (They'd probably last longer, except I have the bad habit of occasionally using them where there are large rocks hidden by long grass, and when the blade gets dinged enough times the whole thing starts vibrating, and eventually it shakes itself sufficiently that something internal breaks.)

Here's a link to the machine I'm talking about: http://www.flymo.com/uk/products/hover-mowers/turbo-400/963410001/

The motive behind this blog posting is that in my opinion the Flymo company is misleading customers. They claim that these machines "hover" on your lawn, and they claim that you should push them.


They don't hover. There's no possible way they could hover. That's just sales bullshit.

And pushing them is not optimal, especially if the grass is long. They work much better if you pull them, although this does require a minor customization for best results.

So, in the hopes this helps anyone who is willing to do a bit of customization, here is my advice on what you should do with these machines.

Why I like the Flymo lawn mowers

But first, a few words on why I like these machines, and keep buying new (used) ones whenever one wears out.

  • I like not having to mess around with fuel and lubrication.
  • I like feeling that I'm contributing less to pollution and climate change problems. (Depends on how the electricity is generated.)
  • I have the impression that combustion engine lawn mowers are noisier. (I may be wrong - haven't used one for 30 years.)

Modification to make pulling work better than pushing

In my opinion it is much easier to pull these machines than to push them, especially if the grass is long. When you push them the leading edge tends to go down into the grass and resists being moved, so the effort becomes too much.

Pulling them reduces this problem, and with the following modification it totally eliminates the problem.

What you need are a couple of bungee cords and an electric drill and some gaffer tape.

Drill two holes in the trailing (soon to become leading) edge of the plastic body of the lawn mower. Hook bungee cords through these holes and up around the handle framework, and then use gaffer tape to ensure they don't fall off. (This makes it impossible to fold the handle - if that is a priority then this modification is still possible, it will just have to be done a bit differently.)

Now when you pull the lawn mower the leading (formerly trailing) edge is lifted a centimeter or so by the bungee cords, and never digs into the grass.

(Model photo - your results may differ.)

Disabling the start/stop levers

Warning: Don't do this unless you're willing to take responsibility for the safety-related consequences. Doing this will make it easier for you to cut your toes off, and similar problems. In particular, don't let your children mow the lawn if you make this modification (and maybe not even if you don't).

Disclaimer: If you do this, and you injure yourself, I cannot take any responsibility. Sorry.

The idea behind this very simple modification is that I find the system with a "lock-off button" and "start/stop levers" very irritating. Without this modification I found that switching hands on the handle, or swinging the mower around at the end of one traverse of the lawn, often resulted in my not holding the start/stop levers depressed and then the mower stops dead and has to be restarted.

So what I do is to disconnect the power cord, press the lock-off button, activate the start/stop levers, and then simply tape them in place with gaffer tape.

Now the way you turn the lawn mower on and off is to simply connect and disconnect the power cord.

With this modification it's even easy to use the Flymo as a bush trimmer.

Warning: Don't do this unless you're willing to take responsibility for the risks involved. See above disclaimer.

Buying a used Flymo lawn mower

As I've mentioned several times above, I have almost always been able to find brand-new Flymo lawn mowers on the local equivalent of eBay, sold as used but only used once or twice, and at a price typically only half of what the price for a new machine is.

I think what often happens is that people who are shopping for a new lawn mower at the hardware store take a fancy to the idea of a machine that can hover and that doesn't involve an internal combustion engine. But then when they get it home and try it out they discover that it doesn't hover, and that pushing it is difficult, especially if the grass is long. They say, "to hell with this", and go back to the hardware store and buy a "traditional" lawn mower.

But the Flymo has been used, so they can't return it to the store for a refund. So they put it on eBay (or, for Denmark, something similar called Den Blå Avis). The one pictured above was bought for DKK 550, which is less than half the new price locally, and it did look like it was only used once, which is what the seller said in the product listing. Shipping with GLS cost only DKK 60, and that actually included delivery to my doorstep.

So, now I'm hoping that I'm all set for the next six years. (That's how long the previous one lasted.)

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